Monday, January 29, 2024

#2729: Melissa Curtin

Unfortunately for everyone, Steve Currey – leading champion of the Hollow Earth theory – died, which is indeed a pity since he would have provided some lighthearted relief in between all the sordid hate and dangerous nonsense we are currently covering. Now, Jerry Curry’s contributions to civilization aren’t entirely without comedic value either, but it turns out he’s dead, too.


Melissa Curtin’s contributions are decidedly less funny, though hardly less deranged. Curtin is an anti-vaccine activist affiliated with Larry Cook’s group Stop Mandatory Vaccination, and like most anti-vaccine activists, she likes to blame any health misfortune anyone experiences on vaccines, regardless of facts and evidence – indeed, finding tragic stories on social media or in mainstream media and blaming them on vaccines seems to be her main schtick.


For instance, Curtin promptly weighed in on the tragic case of Colton Berret (a case also quickly picked up by Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree’s anti-vaxxine conspiracy flick Vaxxed), a 17-year-old who had contracted transverse myelitis at age 13, something his mother but no evidence blamed on him having received the HPV vaccine: “Another tragic death of a child damaged by and caused from vaccines, and in this case, it was the Gardasil/Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine (HPV) that took his life,” concluded Curtin, fully unconstrained by facts and evidence, adding that “Colton is one of thousands of severely vaccine injured children who ultimately lost his life and succumbed to the toxic travesty of vaccine injury and damage.”


Large-scale, serious studies have found no association between transverse myelitis and prior immunization, including with HPV vaccines, which are safe and effective. Anti-vaxxers, of course, have their own “researchers” suggesting otherwise that they prefer to cite (i.e. anti-vaccine activist Yehuda Schoenfeld) instead of the real studies. But even if there were such an association, there isn’t really even a correlation between vaccination and transverse myelitis in the Berret case given the timeline and how transverse myelitis works. Does that matter to anti-vaccine activists? Of course it doesn’t.


Diagnosis: Silly and angry conspiracy theorist who seems to have found an algorithm for deranged reasoning she sticks to without hesitation and without regard for facts or evidence. But although she is silly, she is also part of a movement that is responsible for genuine harm to real people, not the least through their exploitation of people in tragic situations. So Curtin is at least as repugnant and as dangerous as she’s silly.


Hat-tip: Science-based Medicine

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