Dec 21, 2019

Osteopathic physician donates millions to anti-vaccine movement

Photo: Jonnie Miles/Getty Images

Osteopath Joseph Mercola has donated more than $2.9 million over a nearly 10-year stretch to the National Vaccine Information Center — accounting for nearly 40% of the organization's funding, the Washington Post reports, citing recent tax records.

Why it matters: Mercola has made millions of dollars selling natural health products, such as supplements, according to court records. He has made claims on his website that some of his remedies are effective alternatives to vaccines, the Post notes.

  • Mercola's claims have resulted in warnings from regulators.
  • Mercola's net worth is close to $100 million, per a 2017 affidavit the Post references, and he has donated $4 million to groups that support the anti-vaccination movement.
  • The NVIC is the country's oldest anti-vaccine advocacy group and claims it's mostly supported by small donations. The organization has played a major role in getting parents to delay or avoid vaccinating their children.

The NVIC lists Mercola's website as a partner on its homepage with links to his site where readers can see and buy his products.

What they're saying: In an email, Mercola told the Post, he offers "simple, inexpensive and safe alternatives to the conventional medical system, which is contributing to the premature death of millions and is causing needless pain and suffering in great part because multinational corporations want to increase their revenues.”

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Officials warn measles patients passed through 5 major U.S. airports this month

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Travelers with confirmed cases of measles passed through five U.S. airports this month and exposed an unknown number of passengers to the disease, ABC News reports, citing city health officials.

Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says measles, a highly contagious virus that can spread from an infected person through coughing and sneezing, can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the the person coughed or sneezed.

Go deeperArrowDec 23, 2019

America's dangerous backslide on infectious diseases

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

After a century of progress against infectious diseases in America, experts now warn of a “very worrisome trend."

Why it matters: Infectious diseases kill far fewer today than a century ago, the AP notes, but the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

Go deeperArrowDec 27, 2019

Most Americans think measles vaccine has "very high" preventative care benefits

A vial containing the MMR vaccine. Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

56% of Americans believe the measles vaccine has "very high" preventative care benefits — an 11-point increase since 2016, according to data out Tuesday from the Pew Research Center.

The big picture: While overall approval of the vaccine (88%) has remained unchanged, Pew credits the increase in perceived preventative health benefits to improved awareness of how measles outbreaks have become a public health problem.

Go deeper: America's dangerous backslide on infectious diseases