[UPDATE: American Airlines has agreed not to run the interview! That includes both the audio and print versions.]
[Note: This post contains numerous links to articles showing antivax claims are misleading at best, and pose a huge health risk. I strongly urge you to read those links before leaving a comment.]
In May 2011, an
unvaccinated infant infected with measles was brought on board American Airlines flight 3965. Measles is a highly contagious, dangerous, and potentially fatal disease, and because of this public health emergency officials had to track down 100 passengers and quarantine quite a few of them.
This event was not American Airlines’ fault. However, it’s hard to see what they learned from it, since they plan on printing and airing an interview with a notorious antivaxxer who makes provably false and incredibly dangerous claims about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases.
The antivaxxer in question is Meryl Dorey, an American living in Australia who has made it her life’s work to spread misinformation about vaccines. Her ability to distort the truth — to phrase it kindly — is nothing short of herculean. As I wrote about her in 2010:
She has said no one dies from pertussis anymore… when little four-week-old Dana McCaffery died of that very disease, because herd immunity in her area of Australia was so low. Dorey is an HIV denier. She thinks doctors lie and poison babies. [...] It goes on and on.
So why on Earth would American Airlines choose to run an interview with her in their in-flight magazine and air that interview on the in-flight TVs?
The interview is her usual passel of untruths about vaccinations: she tries to tie them to worsening diseases and autism — neither of which is remotely true — and then relies on the discredited research of a man the British Medical Journal outright called a "fraud".
Bizarrely, the interviewer for the American Airlines piece apparently didn’t even contact an actual doctor to get professional information on this topic. At the very least (the very least) the ability to show Meryl Dorey’s claims to be completely wrong is a Google search away, a trivial amount of work for an interviewer to do. Her horrid behavior towards Toni and David McCaffery — little Dana’s parents, who had to suffer through Dorey’s attacks while still grieving over their daughter — is also out there for all to see.
I don’t think they should. That’s why I signed a petition asking American Airlines to not run the interview. I added a note to it, saying in part:
"I will not fly AA ever again if they run this interview, and I will make very sure the thousands of people who read my blog know about my decision."
And I have one more thing to note. Read More