There is a reason I and others refer to the anti-vaccination movement as fundamentalists and extremists. Put simply, they do go to what we would perceive as extreme lengths to further the reach and the defense of their beliefs.
One thing I found out immediately when I discovered the Australian Vaccination Network, six years ago, was that they subsist on cruelty and hate. And the hatred appears to stem from the fact that they are in some perverse sense jealous of families who have had babies and children die from a vaccine preventable disease. These families have real stories to tell their communities, and they almost always do tell their painful story so others may be spared the same fate. These stories are not just mere anecdotes, or reckons; these children have died from real, diagnosed illnesses, from real pathogens which kill. Anti-vaccinationists hate this. Anti-vaccinationists don’t have real stories to tell. They rely on fallacious reasoning and lies about imagined vaccine victims to bolster their beliefs. Anti-vaccinationists hate this, and they take it out on these families.
There are many ways in which the anti-vaccination movement vilifies grieving parents. They attempt to diminish the seriousness of the particular pathogen; they deny the diagnosis which caused the death; they blame vaccination given at birth (Hepatitis B); they claim the baby wasn’t breastfed; they blame vaccines the mother received during pregnancy; they blame other medication the mother may have taken; they claim the baby’s death was a mere anecdote from which no conclusions can be drawn; they privately message the parents under the guise of altruism which turns venomous; they ring the grieving parents directly and tell them their vaccine advocacy will kill children; they troll the internet where they know their comments will be seen so as to inflict hurt; and they jump onto memorial pages to abuse the parents directly. This list is not extensive.
I want to include a list of just some examples of the above. This list of screenshots is literally a fraction of what I have. Many of the screenshots are from 2009-12 unless otherwise noted. Many URLs from the original posts are gone as the comments were made by the Australian Vaccination Network troll known as Johanna Holland/Nicole Johnson. The Holland accounts have all been disabled. The Johnson accounts are very active on Facebook and on Twitter. This troll has been protected on AVN fora for many years by Meryl Dorey and her admins. So, I’m not going to link to sources of the comments. They aren’t there any more.
This first example is from a now defunct troll account on Twitter; this is the same person who is now freely posting on all AVN fora, and interacting with Meryl Dorey, AVN fans and supporters. The troll refers to the McCafferys as “media whores” and “hateful people”. From November 2014:
In 2011 the anonymous troll calls the McCafferys “liars”: