Russian bots pushed antivaccine propaganda


To the Editor:

Some news you may have missed concerning the question of childhood vaccines: The Russians have had bots and trolls working to discourage vaccination here and in Europe. My source for this is a research study from Johns Hopkins published in the American Journal for Public Health. Also look for a YouTube interview with Samantha Vinograd, who served on the National Security Council under Obama. An evil plot sounds like a bad movie, but there is evidence that a lot of what you’ve heard was based on enemy propaganda.

The Russians have begun to see the results they wanted. There are now more cases of measles and mumps than doctors have seen for a long time. We remember our own childhoods, and tend to think of it as no big deal. But we were vaccinated, so almost nobody had measles that developed to pneumonia, which can kill little kids, babies, and old people.

I am the mother of a son with autism. I totally understand the anguish and search for answers, but the link just isn’t there. That story originated from one corrupt doctor in Britain, Andrew Wakefield, who was on the payroll of a big pharmaceutical company. He is no longer licensed to practice medicine, and has been prosecuted for unethical behavior. It is because autism becomes visible at around the same age as vaccination that grieving parents have been encouraged to believe in a connection that doesn’t exist. Because I too am a parent whose life was turned upside down by autism, I have looked very carefully at this. It just isn’t true.

Parents do research because we love our children. But when you look for information, please do at least consider the idea that there is someone out there who wants to hurt them. Also remember that the Island welcomes visitors from all over the world. We may think of ourselves as isolated and rural, but we are in reality a viral crossroads. A Mayo Clinic expert says that the measles virus can hang in the air for hours. Our Island kids are at risk because too many kids in our schools are unvaccinated. I’m not exactly trying to scare you, but this is a big deal. Don’t believe a rumor. Check it out. At the very least, know what measles looks like — and get Kleenex in all classrooms.


Linda Garberson

Vineyard Haven


  1. Russians also convinced Republicans to elect Trump, a known adulterer who cheated on every woman he ever married. Who cheated contractors out of money. Who paid porn stars and prostitutes to keep quiet. It turns out people are easily fooled. Americans take solace in their right to be ignorant, and those that profit from deceit take solace in our desire to be so.

    • vanadium– trump voters weren’t easily fooled. After 8 years of a black man as president, doing a great job– the misogynistic, racist right could not handle the prospect of a woman being president. Look at the comments on this forum for proof– i believe they actually believe their own lies. And choose to be willfully ignorant–

      • Obama did a great job giving away the store and sucking up to the globalist elite – but you are correct in that Trump voters are not easily fooled.

  2. whether russian bots or any other bots or people — even well intentioned ones’ push this or not– the fact is that if you don’t vaccinate your children, you are exposing them to unnecessary danger, exposing their friends to unnecessary danger. Refusing to vaccinate your children is the most dangerous and absolutely stupid thing a parent can do– the parents should be prosecuted if their un vaccinated child contracts an easily and safely preventable disease.

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