There is one image that comes to mind when you think about the Zika virus.
A baby in a bath. A beautiful baby who is loved and being cared for. That baby has microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with an under-developed brain. A condition, experts believe, is caused by the Zika virus.
These Brazilian Zika babies are the frontline victims of the virus, which can leave a carrier symptom-free.
But these babies are being used for another purpose.
Their condition is currently being used by anti-vaccination campaigners as part of an agenda to scare people away from vaccination – specifically the Tdap vaccination which includes a vaccine against whooping cough.
Last night, Therese Kerr, mother of supermodel Miranda Kerr and self-described “Visionary, Public Speaker, Author and advocate for holistic family health” shared on her personal Facebook page a story that links the Zika virus to a common vaccine given to pregnant mothers:
You can read about some of Therese Kerr’s curious ‘wellness’ claims here, and Therese’s daughter Miranda Kerr’s promotion of anti-vaccination messages here: Miranda Kerr is trying to sell you a very dangerous message.
A quick search will find the same or similar articles shared in anti-vaccination circles of the internet.
The article shared by Therese Kerr and other anti-vaccination advocates claims that it isn’t Zika causing birth defects – rather, they believe it is being caused by immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
The article shared by Kerr includes the quote: “Some quick research suggests the real culprit is not this decades-old low-impact virus at all, but rather a program of non-recommended injection of the Tdap vaccine directly into pregnant women.” (emphasis added)
Guy Crittenden, the man who wrote that sentence and has been credited with writing the article about the link between vaccination and Zika, has since stepped back from his controversial claims, writing on his Facebook page, “I have not at any point claimed to know conclusively what is causing the microcephalic births, nor was I the author of the article I shared.”