Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Anti-Vaxxers Target Samoa with Disinformation Campaign
By Selected News Articles @ 3:41 AM :: 1458 Views :: Ethics, World News, Health Care

THE GOOD FIGHT: CDC Goes to Samoa to Battle Measles & U.S. Anti-Vax Disinfo 

Anti-vaxxers are targeting Samoa as it fights an unprecedented measles outbreak that has already killed dozens of children

by Blake Montgomery, Daily Beast, Dec. 11, 2019 (excerpts)

The island nation of Samoa has been grappling with two crises: a massive, deadly outbreak of measles—and the spread of disinformation by anti-vaxxers in the United States and other Western countries. Now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is dispatching experts to the Pacific islands to fight both threats.

Samoa only has a population of about 200,000. But in an outbreak of historic proportions, 4,900 people have been infected with the highly contagious measles virus and 71 have died—mostly children under the age of 5. The government shut down for two days last week to wage a campaign of compulsory vaccination assisted by emergency personnel from all over the world, including a group of nearly six dozen doctors and nurses from Hawaii…

The vaccine mandate has riled anti-vaccination activists who have long used social media to spread fear and misinformation about immunizations. Some American anti-vaxxers swarmed the Samoan government’s official Facebook page last week to leave one-star reviews, a practice known as brigading. One woman in Virginia wrote, “Stop poisoning and killing your citizens.” Other posts used similar language….

“They’re pushing every trope we have down there,” Renee DiResta, a misinformation researcher with the Stanford Internet Observatory and the Mozilla Foundation, told The Daily Beast. DiResta identified the brigading accounts as real people, rather than bots, who are sowing fear in Samoa with American conspiracy theories. 

“Can you imagine being arrogant enough to review someone else’s government in the middle of an outbreak from your privileged position?” she asked….

U.S. anti-vaxxers are also sending cases of vitamin A to Samoa, which they claim can be used in place of the MMR vaccine. Edwin Tamasese, a Samoan coconut farmer, naturopath, and anti-vaccine activist, posted a picture of bottles of vitamin A pills he said arrived from both Hawaii and mainland….

The Samoan government has acknowledged the efforts of anti-vaxxers. The country’s minister of communication, information, & technology Afamasaga Rico Tupai said in a recent interview, “Unfortunately, these anti-vaxx people all live overseas, but they’re using social media to influence our population and our community. What can the government do? We’re not wasting time with those people.”…

But the government is wasting time with at least one of “those people.” The United States’ best-known anti-vaxxer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., attended Samoa’s independence celebration in June as a guest of honor. Kennedy also wrote a letter to the Samoan prime minister asking whether the MMR vaccine could have caused the outbreak. Kennedy’s nonprofit, Children’s Health Defense, did not respond to a request for comment on his visit.

Samoa has its share of homegrown obstacles as well. Last week police arrested Tamasese, the coconut farmer, and charged him with incitement against the government vaccine order. Other alternative therapists are hawking their own quack cures like “healing water” as a measles cure. An Australian-Samoan anti-vaxx activist and Instagram influencer Taylor Winterstein, wife of an Australian rules footballer, met with Kennedy and documented their meeting on Instagram for her tens of thousands of followers. 

Like other aspects of the crisis, foreigners have co-opted it via the internet: Two GoFundMe campaigns started by Australians raised more $10,000 for Tamasese before the links to them stopped functioning. GoFundMe did not respond to request for comment on whether the company had removed the pages.

There does seem to be hope, though. According to an official update issued Wednesday evening, the ongoing vaccination campaign has been successful: 93 percent of the population has been vaccinated….

read … Daily Beast 

DoH: Anti-Vaxxers school-by-school Statewide

AFP: Anti-Vaxxer Arrested as Samoa Battles Measles Epidemic

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT