NVIC Vaccine News

Eroding Freedoms: Pinterest Removes NVIC’s Boards

By Theresa Wrangham
Published September 18, 2018 in Media

As Vaccine Awareness Week 2018 approaches, I am reminded how precious freedom of speech is in our country and how important it is to defend it.

Late last week, NVIC was informed that Pinterest removed our account. The Pinterest Team stated, “many of your pins violate our Community Guidelines on misinformation” and explained that “we take actions against accounts that repeatedly save content that includes harmful advice, misinformation that targets individuals or protected groups, or content that originates from disinformation campaigns.”


Earlier this week I sent a letter to Pinterest appealing the take down of NVIC’s Pinterest account. While we wait for a response, I hope you will take a moment to think about what value you place on freedom of thought, speech and autonomy. What value do you place on the free press and Internet? Should opposing facts and opinions be censored when they do not agree with the majority? Will rational dissenting viewpoints be conveniently painted as “fake news” or “misinformation?”

Amid well-publicized vaccine failures for mumps,1 2 3 pertussis,4 5 6 7 and influenza,8 9 10 we cannot talk about vaccines…unless it is to praise them. To do other than praise vaccines is to be labeled anti-vaccine. It shouldn’t matter if you do not vaccinate, selectively vaccinate, or vaccinate according to government recommendations because we live in a country with a Constitution that basically says we don’t have to agree with each other and may voice our viewpoints without being sanctioned. I was taught that, while we may not always agree with each other, we can respectfully speak and listen to each other.

A lot has changed culturally in that respect since I made vaccine decisions for my two daughters. They are grown and gone. But I didn’t have to hide our decision from our neighbors; it was something we could actually talk about, without fear or judging each other. That’s not really true today.11

I chose to work at NVIC because of this organization’s long-established track record of neutrality, education and defense of the informed consent ethic.12 13 I have long-admired our co-founders who gave voice to the fact that vaccines can cause injury and death, and who fought like hell to get that fact publicly acknowledged. How did they do that? Well, it wasn’t their opinion that convinced Congress to include vaccine safety and research provisions in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. NVIC’s co-founders efforts were grounded in the medical literature, which had recorded for decades that DPT vaccine is a highly reactive vaccine that could cause brain damage in children.14 15 16 17 They were, in turn, supported by many parents of children who were also vaccine-injured and wanted safety reforms instituted in the vaccination system. Ironically, it was a journalist who blew the whistle on the whole cell pertussis vaccine,18 19 and the rest as they say is history. Or is it?

I am not sure if what passes for news today really is news. I do know that respect for autonomy, freedom of speech and the exercising of informed consent to vaccination is eroding.20

I will never forget the mom who walked up to me in Colorado as we were opposing a bill proposing to restrict the personal belief exemption to vaccination. That mom said – “I vaccinate my child with all CDC recommended vaccines” – and she paused, while I took a deep breath and got ready to defend my ground. Then she added - “And I am appalled that someone wants to take away my right to decide which vaccines to use.”

S H E  G O T  I T.

While NVIC’s supporters make many different vaccination decisions, we have one thing in common - CHOICE! NVIC has never been about telling the public to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. Are we critical of vaccine laws and policies? You bet! Do we focus on vaccine risks? Of course! Do we support voluntary vaccine decision-making? Absolutely! Why?

OUR MISSION - The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and advocating for informed consent protections in medical policies and public health laws. NVIC defends the human right to freedom of thought and conscience and supports the inclusion of flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions in vaccine policies and laws.

NVIC was founded by parents of vaccine-injured children. Everything we do is through that lens. Our co-founders, who faithfully vaccinated their children without asking any questions, were never told vaccines come with a risk of injury and death. After their children were injured, NVIC’s co-founders felt strongly that parents should know prior to vaccination more about the risks and complications of diseases and vaccines prior to vaccination so that parents could make voluntary, educated vaccination decisions for their children.

Throughout NVIC’s existence over the past 36 years, government has continued to minimize vaccine risks and the numbers of people who are being harmed by vaccines.21 Today, the media often tells only one side of the vaccine story and the proponents of mandatory vaccination policies proclaim, “the science is done.”

Science is never done; it evolves. Look no further than the reports on vaccines published by the Institute of Medicine to understand the science is far from done.22 23 24 25 26 27 And even if such a concept were possible, it should not override one’s ability to say, “no thanks, that’s not for me,” to a medical procedure. Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that can cause injury or death. That is not opinion, it is fact.28 29 30 31 32 NVIC provides information on diseases and vaccines to empower consumers to research, be curious, ask questions and make educated decisions.

It likely took only a moment and a few keystrokes to suspend NVIC’s Pinterest account, but no matter what happens with our appeal, NVIC is not going away. We were an organized public resource long before the advent of personal computers, mobile devices, and web-based social media platforms. You can always find us at NVIC.org, NVICAdvocacy.org and TheVaccineReaction.org.

It only takes a few keystrokes by you to directly connect with NVIC. You can sign up to be a subscriber of our monthly NVIC Newsletter or The Vaccine Reaction weekly journal and become a registered user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal today. That is how you can stay connected to NVIC so we do not lose touch with each other.

You are why NVIC has been able to make a difference in raising awareness about vaccination, health and autonomy. Be strong and continue to have the courage to share your concerns with others so we can work together to preserve freedom of thought, speech, conscience and vaccine choice in America.

Many thanks for your continued support!

Theresa Wrangham

NVIC Executive Director


1 Barclay, L. Lie, D. Large Mumps Outbreak Characterized by 2-Dose Vaccine Failure. Medscape. Apr. 9, 2008.

2 CNN. More than 1,000 get mumps in New York, New Jersey since August. Feb. 8, 2010.

3 Klass, P. Mumps Makes a Comeback, Even Among the Vaccinated. New York Times. Nov. 6, 2017.

4 CDC. Pertussis Frequently Asked Questions: Do pertussis vaccines protect for a lifetime? Doesn’t herd immunity protect most people? Dec. 19, 2013.

5 Wendelboe AM, Annelies VR et al. Duration of Immunity Against Pertussis After Natural Infection or Vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2005; 24(5): S58-S61.

6 Witt MA, Katz PH, Witt DJ. Unexpectedly Limited Durability of Immunity Following Acellular Pertussis Vaccination in Pre-Adolescents in A North American Outbreak. Clin Infect Dis 2012; 54(12): 1730-1735.

7 CDC. Pertussis Epidemic – Washington, 2012. MMWR July 20, 2012; 6(28): 517-522.

8 CDC. Adjusted effectiveness estimates for influenza seasons from 2004-2018. Sep. 6, 2018.

9 Fisher, B. CDC Admits Flu Shots Fail Half the Time. NVIC Newsletter. Apr. 26, 2016.

10 NVIC. How Effective is Influenza Vaccine?

11 Cáceres, M. Harvard Medical School Doctor: Vaccine Science is Not Settled. The Vaccine Reaction. Aug. 18, 2018.

12 NVIC. NVIC’s History.

13 NVIC. Informed Consent.

14 Madsen, T. Vaccination against whooping cough. JAMA. 1933 101(3):187-88.

15 Byers RK, Moll FC Encephalopathies following prophylactic pertussis vaccine. Pediatrics.1948 Apr;1(4):437-57.

16 Kulenkampff M, Schwartzman JS, Wilson J Neurological complications of pertussis inoculation. Arch. Dis. Child. 1974, 49, 46

17 Miller DL, Ross EM et al. Pertussis immunization and serious acute neurological illness in children. British Medical Journal 1981; 282:1595-9.

18 YouTube. DPT:Vaccine Roulette.

19 Trebbe AL. Local TV Honors Its Own: Channels 4 and 7 Sweep the Emmys. Washington Post June 27,1983.

20 Fisher BL. A Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy & Law. National Vaccine Information Center 2014; 2017.

21 Fisher, BL. Williams, K. Wrangham T. NVIC Response to the Government Accounting Office request for NVIC’s perspective on the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP).  Jul. 11, 2014.

22 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Washington, DC. The National Academies Press. 1991

23 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.

24 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Forum. Howe CJ, Johnston RB, Fenichel GM, Editors. Summaries of Two Workshops. Washington, D.C. The National Academy Press 1997.

25 Institute of Medicine. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Appendix D. Causality Conclusion Tables. Washington (DC): National Academies Press. 2012.

26 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies. Summary (p. 5-6). Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 2013.   Summary of Scientific Findings. (pp. 129-130).

27 National Vaccine Information Center. NVIC Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New IOM Report on U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule Safety and Calls for Transparency. BusinessWire Jan. 16, 2013.

28 U.S. Health Resources and Administrative Services (HRSA). Vaccine Injury Table. Sep. 2018.

29U.S. 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-10. Establishment of Program. U.S. Government Publishing Office. 2016.

30 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Washington, DC. The National Academies Press. 1991

31 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.

32 Institute of Medicine. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality - Appendix D. Causality Conclusion Tables. Washington (DC): National Academies Press. 2012.

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8 Responses to "Eroding Freedoms: Pinterest Removes NVIC’s Boards"
Commenter Name
Posted: 9/24/2018 4:32:47 PM
NVIC is one of several email newsletters that I read regularly. And censorship is a growing concern for ALL of us. So I'm puzzled why >Pinterest< would take down NVIC, especially because NVIC seems to always be well within current science. I don't see any "pseudoscience", or "misinformation" coming from NVIC. I hope >Pinterest< will be MUCH MORE forthcoming, and state explicitly what, if anything, NVIC actually *did*, or *said*, that meets what >Pinterest< is accusing NVIC of doing. Note from Theresa - Thanks for your support. We do our very best to present factual information!
Commenter Name
Lisa D.
Posted: 9/25/2018 6:01:39 AM
I'm very concerned that Pinterest is no longer allowing you to post. Are we not capable of considering for ourselves what is harmful advice, misinformation, or disinformation? NVIC has always presented evidence in a thoughtful, factual, and balanced way. To be given only one viewpoint is propaganda. All the more reason for us all to speak out if rational and conscientious viewpoints are being silenced. Note from Theresa - Thanks Lisa, we appreciate your support and voice. Protecting our right to freedom of speech, thought and autonomy is worth defending!
Commenter Name
Deni Blaisch
Posted: 9/27/2018 10:28:44 PM
Cancelled my Pinterest! NVIC has been a very useful tool for me.
Commenter Name
Posted: 9/28/2018 11:31:02 AM
I'm a long time subscriber and was also a long-time Pinterest user. I have 20,000 followers on Pinterest. I have kept all of my vaccine related links on a board titled vaccine research for years and there were over 1,000 medial studies, news articles and informative pages on there. I got a notice yesterday (9 actually -- all identical about the same board) that they had deleted the whole board because it violated their policy against "self harm." I do not plan to delete my account because my other boards are important in my work (from a free advertising and marketing standpoint for my books and blogs) but I will no longer be using Pinterest in any social capacity -- not logging on to the main site (and therefore not seeing any ads or sponsored posts that would get them revenue, not following others, not browsing their content, not repinning anything from their site, and moving all of my stuff elsewhere as soon as I can. I am actively looking for a replacement but so far I've only found a couple of similar sites that are geared towards men and tend to have content I really don't want to see. I was pleased to see "Me We" start up to offer a censorship-free alternative to Facebook and I hope something comes along that does the same for those of us who no longer plan to use Pinterest. Thanks for all you do.
Commenter Name
Aeron Mack
Posted: 12/3/2018 2:21:44 PM
Is there a link at Pinterest where we can leave a comment?
Commenter Name
Posted: 12/13/2018 1:52:53 PM
I have just received this from Pinterest: We're getting in touch to let you know that we removed a Pin from your Pinterest account because it violates our misinformation policy. This policy includes things like promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses, and anti-vaccination advice. While we understand that this topic is very personal, our policy doesn’t allow Pinners to save content from websites promoting advice that may have immediate and detrimental effects on a Pinner’s health or on public safety. We rely on information from nationally and internationally recognized institutions, including the CDC and WHO, to help us determine if content violates these guidelines. View Policy We apologize for any confusion or frustration this may cause. I find it interesting that Pinterest seems not to understand the fundamental right of free speech and I would be interested to know what other topics have been removed from their boards - and with what justification. Everything is, after all, a matter of opinion. In the words of Gore Vidal, "At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation and prejudice." Misinformation and prejudice seem to apply equally well at the Pinterest offices.
Commenter Name
Posted: 2/17/2019 3:24:05 PM
The trick has been, ever since the Clinton Gang 'daze,' conservatives & libertarians hallucinated "Talk Radio" was conservative enough to matter. But it reaches few, relative to TV (which is now on your phone) and the other medias. The main celebrities often used the excuse they're just entertainment--and it's true. Such celebrities never worked together, because they were competing for ads, bumper stickers, air time, accolades, etc. AND real conservatives typically intend PRINCIPLES, thus don't work well with others. Whereas, liberals--notably those who brains are washed by socialism, etc., are AGENDA driven, so can group, together, to attack. CONSERVATIVES NEED TO INVEST & RUN MEDIA. It could be called 'competition.' Loved her writing, but Ayn Rand was wrong, by believing those who got rich through capitalism cared any more about others' Liberty, than those who got rich filthy. NOW YOU CAN SEE IT MAY BE TOO LATE. History is being changed, before our eyes. Censorship is from gov AND media--no more "journalists" investigating. Both seek to punish you, as if destroying the liberty that allows them to be idiots or useful tools will give them their way--whatever they think that may be. They just want to win--by any means necessary. Hey, just in time for 2020's Real ID and Agenda 21 & Comunitarianism. Remember, Vlad Lenin said communism was just socialism, in hurry.
Commenter Name
Posted: 2/22/2019 1:13:47 PM
Sorry but there is no right to free speech when what you're preaching harms others. Please stop.
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