Dr. John Crippens, a general practitioner from the United Kingdom, in his widely respected weblog writes:
“Did you know that most Google searches on childhood immunization throw up pages and pages written by the anti-immunization lobby? And that is what parents read.”
To check on this premise, MEDGADGET has conducted an investigation, and our results are far from reassuring. In fact, what you will see below, is something that is quite disconcerting for many of us in the clinical practice. As it turns out, Google is an unwilling participant that is likely responsible for far-reaching health consequences for many children and their parents. After all, as the National Health Institute says, immunization is still the safest way to protect a child.
To see what’s going on, one does not have to go far. Goggle’s search for ‘vaccination’ returns 10 results on its first page. Of them, two are from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). One result from Wikipedia that has some questionable statements , such as “…the overall effect might, in theory, be to cause more deaths than before the vaccination was introduced.” The remaining seven results are from vaccination-haters and moonbats that accuse governments, pharmaceutical companies, the medical lobby, you name it, of untold millions of dead children. The second page of the vaccination search is even worse.
If you wish to refine your ‘vaccination’ search to see results from the medical authorities, you get whopping 54 results. Alternative medicine search returns 942 results. Strong medicine by peasants for peasants, as we say around here.
Do we need to tell you about ‘vaccination risks’ search? The results (from the CDC, NIH, and the FDA) are all comfortably on the bottom. The top of the Google page is occupied by such luminaries as Vaccine Risk Awareness Network, a member of the Committee Against Compulsory Vaccination; whale.to, a URL that says “the primary cause of encephalitis…… is the childhood vaccination program…”); and The Healing Center On-Line, a place that does not have to be quoted.
Many similar searches — ‘vaccination dangers’, ‘vaccine side effects’, and others, return pseudoscience links en masse.
In fairness, Google is not the only one to blame. It seemed to us that websites from medical authorities tend to shy away from using the terms “vaccine” and “vaccination.” Different Google searches, conducted by Medgadget, that featured the term “immunization”, returned much better results (examples: ‘immunization’ , ‘immunization for kids’, ‘immunization child’). But even there everything was not all well. ‘Immunization risks’ search is still full of pseudoscience and scare tactics pages.
In summary, Google and the medical authorities on the internet have to tackle this issue somehow. When it comes to vaccinations, Google’s premise of “Do no evil” clearly does not reign supreme. We believe that it is in the Google’s interest to make sure that it is not subjected to accusations of being biased towards pseudoscience. Even worse, being accused of being an accomplice in a death of a child that could have been prevented.
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