In an extensive interview with Dr Paul Offit, known as Dr (Pr)Offit by the antivaxers, he discussed his role in developing the Rotateq vaccine for rotavirus and the resulting intimidation and threats he has received from the anti-vax movement.
On Amy’s Twitter stream a few days after the story, she reported Wired had not received this much feedback in memory; “I have never gotten so much feedback on a story. I’ve been a journalist for more than 25 years….Never have I experienced such an avalanche of letters and emails”, she wrote.
One of the first to respond to Amy’s story was J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, an anti-vaccine group and website, famously supported by Jenny McCarthy. Amy described the correspondence entitled; “Paul Offit Rapes (intellectually) Amy Wallace and Wired Magazine” as suggesting that Offit must have slipped her a date rape drug. Amy recounts; “The roofie cocktails at Paul Offit’s house must be damn good,” he wrote.
The Australian response was also disapproving, one writer on the anti-vaccine Yahoo group questioning Amy’s credentials to write a story about vaccination. They accused Amy of being nothing but an entertainment journalist, whilst ironically, the President of the anti-vax lobby in Australia is proud to declare she has absolutely no formal qualifications, citing a “brain” and “20 years of reading this stuff” as sufficient.
But aside from these abusive and deeply offensive emails, Amy describes “the 249 people who have written me from Spain, the U.K., France, Slovenia, the Netherlands and all over the U.S., 188 of them said they were grateful to Wired…..only 55 of the people who wrote said they disagreed with the piece.”
The story has also been covered by the well known Autism blog, Leftbrain/Rightbrain.
For up to the minute updates, you can follow Amy on Twitter.