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Your son died. And then they attacked the anti-Vaxer

Grief and anxiety, just days after her son's death, she checked her Facebook page, hoping to read messages of comfort from family and friends.

Instead, she found dozens of hateful comments: You're a terrible mother. You killed your child. You deserve what happened to your son. That's all wrong – your child does not exist.

Confused and perplexed, she closed her Facebook app.

A few days later, she received a text message from someone named Ron. Expect more, Ron warned. Expect more.

The attacks were from those who oppose the vaccine, and this Midwestern mother does not want her name used, fearing that attention would only encourage more messages.

Nothing too cruel

Interviews with mothers who have lost children and with those who spy on anti-vaccine groups reveal a tactic used by anti-Vaxers: when a child dies, members of the group encourage each other sometimes to support each other to go on the mother's Facebook page. The anti-Vaxers then post messages telling parents that they are lying and that their child never existed or that the parent killed them or that vaccines killed the child or a combination of all of them.

Nothing is considered too cruel. Just days after their children died, mothers said they were whores, the C-Word and baby killers.

The mother in the Midwest, who wants to remain anonymous, is not alone.

Jill Promoli, who lives outside Toronto, has her flued off her son. She believes the anti-Vaxers are trying to silence those very people who have the strongest case for vaccination: those whose children have died from vaccine-preventable diseases.

  Jude McGee, who died of the flu at the age of two. His mother Jill Promoli was maltreated by anti-Vaxer.
Three years ago, Flu died of Promolis's 2-year-old son, Jude McGee. Since then, she has launched a campaign to prevent flu, including vaccines, on his behalf.

"I know these people are really trying to hurt me, and I understand that they are doing it because they want me to stop," she said.

Anti-Vaxer React

Larry Cook, founder of Stop Mandatory Vaccination, does not deny that there are such attacks on mothers of dead children.

In an email to CNN, he wrote that members of his group make more than half a million comments each month on the group's Facebook page.

  In some states, parents can leave vaccinations. Then it happens

"Any discussion about parents who lose their children after vaccinating the children would be low and the number of members would be even fewer in private message to voice their concerns that vaccines could have played a role in a death, "Cook wrote.

"I do not accept violent behavior or a good tone and encourage myself during the discussion," Cook wrote, adding that anyone who intentionally [s] involved in politics requires forced vaccination, where children are treated by state Vaccine mandates could be further harmed I can expect to push back and resist, along with knowledgeable discussions about vaccine risk in social media comments. "

Cook said some of the more than 160,000 members of his group were targeted for" harassment campaigns "and" the police actually turned up at the doorsteps of my members. "

He added that he had been threatened and added a screenshot of a private Facebook message that says, "Finally found where you live. Finally I can put you in a ball. They are dead. "

  & # 39; Definitely not an anti-Vaxer *: Some parents reject the recommended vaccination plan

Another immunization leader blamed posts on grieving parent sites for "infiltrators" trying to "create fire situations."

"I tell everyone that you are the person with whom They should talk and see those on the other side of this discussion and recognize that they are also interested in children, "said Del Bigtree, Chief Executive Officer of informed Action Network.

During the public comment phase of a recent meeting of the More than a dozen people have talked about their concerns about vaccines over the past month, the US Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Some said they or their loved ones were injured by vaccines.

"My older son suffered from documented illness and regression after vaccination," said Jackie Martin-Sebell. "These vaccines are not safe for everyone."

Another spokesperson, Rilei Cherry, said her son developed autism as a result of vaccines. "We owe it to our children to really investigate the long-term effects of vaccines and be honest about what might happen to our children," she told the CDC committee.

Despite the speakers' concerns, more than a dozen studies have shown that vaccines do not cause autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics says, "Vaccines are safe, vaccines are effective, vaccines save lives."
  Jill Promoli with her twins Jew and Thomas McGee. Jude died of the flu at the age of two.

The Moms [61959007] On May 6, 2016, Promoli put her toddler Jew and his twin brother Thomas to a nap in their home. Jude had a slight fever, but he laughed and sang as he went to nap.

When his mother went to see him two hours later, he was dead. Promoli said the next few weeks were "hell."

"You need to go in and plan a funeral, and somehow find the ability to take steps yourself to go to a funeral home, make plans, and decide whether to bury or cremate your child – it's just like that terrible, "she said.

When an autopsy showed that Jude had died from the flu, Promoli began her campaign to prevent the flu.

Then the online attacks started.

Some anti-Vaxers told her that she had murdered Jude and invented a story about the flu to cover up her crime. Others said vaccines killed their son. Some called it the C-word.

The worst – those who sometimes made her cry – were the posts they pleaded for flu shots so other kids would die from the gunfire and their parents would be as miserable as she was.

"The first time I felt really sick because I could not imagine how anyone could ever make such a terrible statement," Promoli said. "It surprised me in its cruelty, what kind of person does that do?"

Twisted logic, based on scientific lies, does not bother Promoli so much anymore. She continues her campaign against flu shots and persuades Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to publish his flu vaccine.

"I had to grow a very thick skin," she said.

She said that no matter how many nasty messages she received – and she says she has received hundreds – she will continue her campaign.

"The work we do could mean that somebody else does not have to plan a funeral for their toddler, and that's all," she said.

Other mothers have persistently worked despite attacks by anti-Vaxer.

Serese Marotta lost her 5-year-old son Joseph to the flu in 2009 and is now Chief Operating Officer of Families Fighting Flu, a group that raises awareness and prevention of influenza and vaccines.

In 2017, she released a video on the eighth anniversary of her son's death to highlight the importance of the flu vaccine.

"SLUT," a person commented. "PHARMA HURDE."

"May you rot in hell for all the damage you do!" A Facebook user wrote another post.

She says a Facebook user in Australia has sent her a death threat.

"She called me many names I do not want to repeat, and used the conspiracy theories about government and big pharmacy." I replied, "I lost a child" and asked her where she came from and she continued to attack me, " said Marotta, who lives in Syracuse, New York.

Catherine and Greg Hughes, an Australian couple who lost their month-old son Riley to whooping cough, were also abused online. Riley was too young to be vaccinated and relied on the immunity of the herd – vaccinating others – to protect him.

  While his mother held his hand, Riley Hughes was baptized hours before his death.

But the herd immunity did not protect him, as the area where the Hughes family lived in Perth is among the lowest vaccination rates in Australia.

"Riley's death was a very impractical truth for anti-vaccine activists," Catherine said. "The unpleasant messages began 24 hours after his death, they called us baby killers and said we had the blood of other babies in our hands and were told to kill ourselves."

The couple started a vaccination campaign, Light for Riley.

Catherine said that they receive disgusting comments even years after Riley's death.

"[F**k] You, Hughes family," wrote a Facebook user on the page Light for Riley.

"What a bad whore you are," another user wrote in a private Facebook message.

Another Facebook user was more succinct.

"Please die," the user wrote in a private message.

"Many of them come from the position that they have children who have been injured by a vaccine," said Catherine. "But a good part of them are just haters."

The Professor

Grieving mothers are not the only targets of abuse against Vaxer.

Dorit Reiss, a professor at the UC Hastings School of Law, has received countless odious messages, and as with mothers, many messages are gender-oriented. Over the years she was pretty blase.

"" Whore "is pretty normal," said Reiss, a vaccine lawyer who has written extensively on vaccines. "I was also referred to as [c**t]."

Sometimes the Jewish Reiss receives comments mentioning the Holocaust.

A Facebook user made a memo with a photo of her father with "Proud Holocaust Holocaust Supporters." Reiss says her father has nothing to do with vaccines.

Another meme shows a photograph of Reiss holding her infant son in hand, stating that Reiss "FORCE-injected" her baby with vaccines.

The photo says: "Because a Holocaust was not enough."

  Anti-Vaxer & # 39; Adult son gets measles; now he has this message for the world

Other Facebook users have said that their children look sick in photos and vaccines are clearly to blame.

"The Boy [sic] appears lethargic," wrote a user with "dark circles under the eyes." These are frequent triggers of vaccine-induced immunodeficiency and suppression as well as vaccine-induced transient ischemic side effects. "

Of all the various anti-Vaxer messages, Reiss said that the one that annoyed her most was a voicemail left for her husband on the work phone.

"When I hear or see something from your wife today, I will release your phone number, your work phone number, your work address, your work address, your work phone number," the caller said and correctly recited her phone numbers and home address.

The Doctors

Three pediatricians who use vocal testing were also frequent attacks by anti-Vaxer. All three now have security escorts when they speak publicly.

  Facebook to get harder against Anti-Vaxer

Dr. Paul Offit has a thick folder of unpleasant news that he has received, so that "if someone kills me, my wife can give it to the police." He does not laugh when he says that.

"Dammit, your child killer," a user wrote in an e-mail to Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Go [f**king] kill yourself," wrote another.

Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston is a vaccine researcher who has written a book about his daughter entitled "Vaccines did not cause Rachel's Autism".

"You have no morals and know that you are a [f**king] liar, I hope you rot in hell," wrote an anti-Vaxer to Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine Baylor

Users of the social media platform MeWe discussed an upcoming public meeting that Hotez was expected to attend.

"If we cause him enough stress, he may get a heart attack before [Wednesday]," one woman wrote, adding, "#sorrynotsorry."

Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and a California senator, cited the successful attempt to eliminate vaccination exceptions for personal or religious reasons for school children in his state. He was often the target of racist abuse by Anti-Vaxer on Facebook.

He says he has received thousands of hateful messages from anti-Vaxers.

"Chinese garbage," wrote a user on Pan's Facebook page, followed by vomiting and devil emojis. "Most ignorant [a**hole]."

"I hope they steal you to death," wrote another Facebook user. "I'm making a special trip to see your head cracking happily, and the parents of the children you destroy should give everyone a chance, like a Nazi Piñata."

Some of the experts and mothers interviewed for this story said they reported the abusive messages they received on Facebook. Most of the rapporteurs said they had received an automated response and in the end nothing changed. Others said that after sending a report, the sender was briefly blocked by Facebook or their offensive messages were removed.

Others said they had not contacted Facebook because the process was cumbersome or they heard it would not change.

A Facebook spokesman responded to these concerns:

"We try to give our users controls, such as blocking other users and moderating comments, so they can be exposed to unwanted, offensive, or infringing content." We also encourage "Report bullying on our platform so that we can review the content and take appropriate action," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

"We want people on our community to feel safe and respected on Facebook. They will remove material that purposely targets individuals who are intended to demote or shame them. "

The Spy

  Erin Costello creates false Facebook accounts so she can join anti-Vaxer groups to see if members want to attack mothers of dead children.