One More Study Shows Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism

Original post from NBC News


Another study aimed at soothing the fears of some parents shows that vaccines don’t cause autism.

This one takes a special look at children with older siblings diagnosed with autism, who do themselves have a higher risk of an autism spectrum disorder. But even these high-risk kids aren’t more likely to develop autism if they’re vaccinated, according to the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We found that there was no harmful association between receipt of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and development of autism spectrum disorder,” said Dr. Anjali Jain of The Lewin Group, a health consulting group in Falls Church, Virginia, who led the study.

“We found that there was no harmful association between receipt of the MMR vaccine and development of autism spectrum disorder.”

Kids who had older brothers or sisters with autism were less likely to be vaccinated on time themselves, probably because their parents had vaccine worries. But those who were vaccinated were no more likely than the unvaccinated children to develop autism, Jain’s team found.

Autism is very common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in 68 U.S. kids has an autism spectrum disorder.

Numbers have been growing but CDC says much of this almost certainly reflects more awareness and diagnosis of kids who would have been missed in years past.

Although fears grew 15-20 years ago that vaccines might cause autism, research backing up these worries has been discredited and study after study since then has shown no link. The Institute of Medicine, an independent group that advises the U.S. government on health matters, has strongly advised that researchers stop wasting time looking at vaccines and look elsewhere for the causes of autism.

Most research shows genes are strongly involved, and some studies suggest the DNA flaws that cause autism often arise randomly. But fears persist about vaccines. The most recent fallout: a measles outbreak that started at California’s Disneyland that infected 147 people in the U.S., including 131 in California.

CDC said unvaccinated people were the source.

Many vaccine-averse parents argue that while vaccines might be harmless to most kids, their own children have a particular susceptibility. Jain set out to see if this might be the case.

The Lewin Group looked at more than 95,000 children covered by health insurance who were born between 2001 and 2007. As expected, kids with an older sibling who had an autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have autism — about 7 percent of them did. And they were less likely to have been given an MMR vaccine.

“Their vaccination rates were about 10 percent less than kids with unaffected siblings,” Jain said.

But the risk of autism was less than one percent in vaccinated kids, whether they had an older sibling with autism or not.

“These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD (autism spectrum disorder) even among children already at higher risk for ASD,” Jain’s team wrote.

byline photo  MAGGIE FOX  Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBC News and TODAY, writing top news on health policy, medical… Expand Bio  …………..’

Vaccine Injury Stories

Original post from About Health


    Pediatrics Expert

Subsequence and Consequence

It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other men, to mistake subsequence for consequence. – Dr Samuel Johnson

Of course, parents make this mistake too. Just because one event is subsequent (happens after) another, it does not mean that it was a consequence (was caused by) the first event.

Another way to say this is that correlation does not imply causation. We often forget that sometimes things just coincidentally happen at about the same time.

While SIDS, early symptoms of autism, and other things may seem to correlate with getting vaccines, it has been proven (again and again and again) that they are not caused by vaccines.

Mistaking subsequence for consequence and thinking that correlation always implies causation is likely why we have so many vaccine injury stories.

But the real problem is that these vaccine injury stories are shared everywhere from YouTube and Facebook to parenting groups and forums and help to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

It is important to remember that no matter how moving or convincing these stories are, they are not evidence of a vaccine injury. And although in the minority, these stories far outnumber the stories of parents of kids who didn’t have a reaction after their vaccines. Parents rarely post pictures on Facebook or do YouTube videos after there kids go to the doctor, get vaccines, and are fine.

They also typically outnumber the stories of children who suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease, although again, that certainly doesn’t mean that vaccine injuries are more common.

Vaccine Injury Stories

In 1994, the first deaf Miss America was crowned, with her mother blaming the DPT vaccine for her child’s deafness. Like many other vaccine-injury stories, Heather Whitestone’s story wasn’t what it seemed. Her pediatrician quickly came forward and set the record straight – she was deaf because of a life-threatening case of Hib meningitis and the subsequent treatment with an ototoxic antibiotic. It took several days for the media to run the corrected story though.

Born in 1973, it would be another 15 years before the first Hib vaccine was approved and began to be routinely given to children. The DPT vaccine, which has never been shown to cause deafness, had nothing to do with Heather Whitestone’s loss of hearing. It certainly didn’t stop anti-vaccine groups from using her initial story and the media coverage to scare parents about vaccines though.

Twenty years later, a mother in Waukesha, Wisconsin blamed the Gardasil vaccine for causing her daughter’s death. The healthy 12-year-old died unexpectedly hours after getting her vaccine and her father’s vaccine injury story was that “It has to be that vaccine.”

It wasn’t until several months later that the Waukesha County medical examiner released the official cause of the girl’s death – diphenhydramine intoxication (too much Benadryl, a sedating antihistamine). The medical examiner also stated that “There is no evidence that any vaccination caused or contributed to her death.”

Keep in mind that very few vaccine injury stories are verified like this.


But don’t all of the reports to to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the payouts from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) support many of the vaccine injury stories?

They don’t, but even so, anti-vaccine folks like to mislead people about VAERS and theNVICP.

They also seem to be favorite talking points for Dr. Bob Sears, who often mentions the yearly reports to VAERS and amount of payouts from the Vaccine Court. He doesn’t mention that most cases in Vaccine Court are settled and not based on a court decision and many more cases are dismissed.

Folks like Dr. Bob also usually don’t mention that:

  • more than 10 million vaccines are given to infants each year in the United States
  • at least 2,236,678,735 doses of vaccines were given between 2006 and 2013 in the United States

It is also important to remember that when looking at VAERS reports, “for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

One study, “Causality assessment of adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” actually found that after experts reviewed 100 random VAERS reports from 2004, only 3 adverse events were thought to be definitely caused by a vaccine. And only one of these was a serious reaction – anaphylaxis.

These results were similar to an earlier report in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, which found that the majority of reports of severe vaccine reactions were unrelated to vaccination and that “to claim that all reported adverse events are caused by vaccination is misleading and erroneous, but the opponents of vaccination often still refuse to accept this.”

Another study, “Seizures, Encephalopathy, and Vaccines: Experience in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program,” found that “a significant number of children with alleged vaccine injury had pre-existing neurologic or neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Among those developing chronic epilepsy, many had clinical features suggesting genetically determined epilepsy.”

DPT Vaccine Injury Stories

Just before similar trials in the United States, a series of lawsuits in England were brought against the manufacturers of the DPT vaccines. They too claimed that the DPT vaccinehad caused children to develop seizures and brain damage.

The trails in England all found that the DPT vaccines did not cause vaccine injuries.

One trial involved 15-year-old Johnnie Kinnear, a child who supposedly began to develop seizures just seven hours after getting a dose of DPT vaccine when he was 14-months-old. His parents lost their case when it became clear after reviewing medical records that he had actually not developed seizures until 5 months after being vaccinated, despite his mother’s testimony of the onset of his symptoms.

In another case, in addition to ruling that the child had not been vaccine injured, the judge called into question several popular researchers and studies that had likely pushed parents into thinking that their kids were vaccine injured.

One study, by David Miller, which reportedly found that seven children developed brain damage within a week of getting a DPT vaccine, actually included two children who had never received the pertussis vaccine, three children who were not actually brain damaged, three children who had a viral infection, and one child who had Reye’s Syndrome.

Study after study found that the DPT did not cause brain damage and as for seizures, it was found that many children who began having seizures after being vaccinated actually had Dravet syndrome, a rare, genetic cause of encephalopathy that causes seizures that are hard to control and developmental delays.

David Miller’s DPT study is reminiscent of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent and now retracted study in which he claimed that the MMR vaccine caused autism. It wasn’t until after Wakefield’s study was published and well publicized that we began to hear more and more vaccine injury stories about autism.

Autism Vaccine Injury Stories

Although many people still seem to be unaware of this, in addition to the fact that there are unvaccinated children with autism, there are many parents who don’t blame vaccines for their child’s autism.

Michele Han, MD, a pediatrician in Texas says that “I do not believe vaccines had anything to do with my child’s autism. I never noticed any change in his speech, behavior or development with vaccines. I believe the protection and benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks!”

So why do some other parents claim that their kids were injured or damaged by vaccines, especially causing autism?

Most certainly are not like the Wakefield ‘MMR mother’ who was found to have fabricated her son’s vaccine injury story.

Instead, it is probably that they don’t notice the gradual changes in development that typically occur in children who develop autism.

Several studies have found that:

  • less than 20 percent of parents notice the gradual changes that occur in children who develop autism, including a loss of social skills in the first year
  • most children with autism who appear to have regression are found to have earlier developmental problems

But even though these aren’t new studies and we continue to see new research some parents continue to blame vaccines.


It is probable that “parents attempt to form their own explanations for the disorder in order to cope with the diagnosis,” and many began to blame vaccines because of “the public debate which has raged since Wakefield et al.’s (1998) initial report of a possible association.”

Other experts think that “the parental focus on vaccines as a possible cause of autism has been encouraged by the recent growth in popularity of ‘unorthodox biomedical’ theories and therapies in autism, particularly in the USA.”

Unfortunately, blaming vaccines can also:

  • adversely affect the parent’s relationship with their autistic child
  • adversely affect the parent’s acceptance of their child’s condition
  • cause feelings of guilt for having their kids vaccinated
  • adversely affect the parent’s relationship with their pediatrician, perhaps even pushing them to an alternative provider
  • leave these children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases
  • waste resources that must be used convincing parents that vaccines are safe and proving that quack treatments don’t work and aren’t safe

And tragically, blaming vaccines can lead to these children being subjected to unproven, and sometimes disproved, often dangerous, unnecessary, expensive biomed treatmentsin an attempt to cure their autism or ‘recover’ them – to beat autism.Related Articles

Vaccine Injuries

Vaccine injuries certainly can occur.

Allergic reactions, thrombocytopenic purpura with MMR, or vaccine-strain polio viral infection with OPV, etc., are rare, but well-known vaccine side effects.

Also, Guillain-Barré Syndrome in very rare circumstances is thought to be caused by vaccines.

In 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) and its associated vaccine injury tables.

In addition to vaccines and specific vaccine injuries or conditions, the vaccine injury tables include a time period after getting the vaccine during which the symptoms should have started to consider the vaccine as the cause. For example, if a child develops anaphylaxis 10 hours after getting a DTaP vaccine, then it is more likely to be caused by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich he eat and not the vaccine. If the symptoms started within 4 hours, then the vaccine would be a more likely cause.

Not surprisingly, many conditions aren’t included in the vaccine injury tables, as they have been shown to not be caused by vaccines, including:

These are not vaccine induced diseases.

True vaccine injuries should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Vaccine injury stories that describe one or more of these conditions should likely be met with more than a little skepticism.


Collet, JP. Monitoring signals for vaccine safety: the assessment of individual adverse event reports by an expert advisory committee. Advisory Committee on Causality. Bull World Health Organ. 2000; 78(2): 178–185. Assessment.

Vaccines (Sixth Edition)

Lateef, Tarannum M. Seizures, Encephalopathy, and Vaccines: Experience in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 166, Issue 3, March 2015, Pages 576–581

Fitzpatrick, Michael. MMR: risk, choice, chance. Br Med Bull (2004) 69 (1): 143-153

Mercer L. Parental Perspectives on the Causes of an Autism Spectrum Disorder in their Children. Journal of Genetic Counseling. February 2006, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 41-50

Related Articles


Opinion: Shouts of vaccine opponents drown out rational arguments

Original post from The Sacramento Bee


It’s a shouting match dominated with bullies who make threats, scream about personal beliefs and fill your voice mail with angry phone calls.

Richard Pan – the Sacramento state senator and doctor – is getting a steady dose of such vitriol amid the hottest political fight in California. He strikes a solitary figure in sensible glasses as he gets pummeled every day in the public square.

Pan has people on his side in the fight to immunize as many children against measles and other infectious diseases as possible. But Pan’s support is expressed rationally, scientifically.

His bill, SB 277, would eliminate personal-belief exemptions that allow parents to avoid vaccinating their children, and would require that children be vaccinated before attending private or public schools. Supporters include the state PTA, California public health officers, the California Medical Association and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The counties of Yolo, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Marin and Los Angeles support this bill, as do the Pasadena Public Health Department, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the American Nurses Association and the San Francisco Unified School District.

There are many more, but you get the point.

None of these groups has demonstrated support by invoking the Holocaust or their “God-given” rights. It doesn’t appear that any of Pan’s supporters have threatened people on the other side. But Pan requires extra security now thanks to threats against him as he lobbies for 277 while it teeters on the verge of being shot down by irrational fears about vaccinations.

Pan’s fellow legislators have begun to buckle. Suddenly, it’s about making sure that those who object to immunizations are not barred from public education.

If that becomes the excuse to undermine the undeniable science that children should be vaccinated to prevent the spread of disease, then it would be refreshing to hear legislators admit that they caved because they were scared.

A myth debunked by science – that vaccines cause autism – has already killed attempts to bolster vaccinations in Oregon and Washington.

“Members just received a lot of calls and emails from the public – some were their constituents and some were from all over the state and the country – just very adamant that they didn’t like it,” said Washington state Rep. June Robinson, a Democrat, to Jeremy B. White of The Sacramento Bee. “I think it changed the vote, quite frankly, for some members who thought they would vote for it and changed their mind. I think people were swayed by the constant barrage of communication.”

What kind of communication?

“They tend to bully, use hyperbolic language,” Pan said. “They’ll call and call and call. Some guy from Texas keeps calling us.”

One Facebook posting compared Pan to a Nazi; another suggested he should be hung with a noose.

Who could forget Robert Kennedy Jr. comparing the rise in autism – which he blames on vaccines – to a holocaust during a speech at the state Capitol?

Kennedy apologized, but the tone has been set. A 1997 British study that linked vaccinations and autism has long been debunked by the scientific community, which finds no link at all. The idea nonetheless persists.

Many people spoke against SB 277 at the Capitol last week. Their reasons were often steeped in fear or in the idea that they could hold themselves separate from a broader community.

The issue that may scuttle SB 277 is the prospect, as expressed by some legislators, that kids would be forced into inadequate home schooling if their parents or guardians refused to immunize them. If a workable compromise can’t be reached – if a mob mentality scares enough legislators to embrace a no vote as an opposed to a compromise – then those who shout the loudest will have won.

There are reasonable people in Sacramento who feel Pan is orchestrating a self-serving overreach. The most recent – and highly publicized measles outbreak – wasn’t at a school but at Disneyland. So why dictate that school kids only gain admission to schools by getting vaccinations first?

Those who ask that question aren’t paying attention.

After being on the wane a decade ago, measles is coming back. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles exploded with 668 cases in the U.S. in 2014. There have been more than 150 so far in 2015, according to the CDC. Most of these are in California. Most of them occurred in people who had not been vaccinated.

It’s not just measles. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that clusters of unvaccinated people were one of several factors that led to the worst outbreak of whooping cough in California in 2010 – worse than any year since 1947.

“Why do we have to wait for someone to die?” Pan said on Friday. “One in five people who contract measles are hospitalized. This is not a benign disease.”

Pan said he is drawing a line at schools because it is where children cross paths and if you are allowing the pool of unvaccinated children to grow, you are creating more chances for more outbreaks among the unvaccinated.

“If you have a baby under the age of 1, that child cannot be immunized,” Pan said. “If your child has cancer or lupus, that child cannot be immunized. These are people that depend on everyone else being (immunized).”

In some respects, Pan knows he being outgunned by strident voices citing anecdotal evidence that vaccines are dangerous. Pan is appealing to supporters to speak up for increased vaccinations. But supporters of SB 277 are not vehement – and vehemence is carrying the day.

“We need to protect all children; that’s what this is about,” Pan said. “God help us if someone gets permanent disability or dies because a minority made choices based on misinformation. Shame on us.”………….’

The incredible power of the measles vaccine, in 3 graphics

Original post from The Washington Post

‘…………By Ana Swanson

Sometimes we take the benefits of modern medicine for granted, but a small dose of data and history can easily remedy that. The chart below, created by Valentine Svensson, a PhD student in molecular biology at Cambridge University, shows the dramatic decline in the incidence of measles in 20th century America.

You can see that the incidence of measles fell sharply after the vaccine was introduced in 1963, only 50 years ago. As the vaccine did its work, the incidence of measles dropped to zero by the end of the century. (The left-hand axis is graphed as a base 10 log, a common technique that statisticians use to bring in spread-out values and illuminate a trend.)

Lest we forget where we came from, here’s a map that shows how deadly measles was in 1880. The map shows the ratio of deaths from measles to aggregate deaths, based on the tenth census ever conducted in this country. The graph at the lower left hand corner of the page shows how the states compared in terms of deaths by measles, while the key at the bottom right hand corner of the page tells you how many deaths the different shaded areas correspond to. (Click on the map, which is republished courtesy of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, to enlarge.)

In most states, fewer than 30 deaths per 1,000 were due to measles, or less than 3 percent of overall deaths. In some parts of Georgia, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, however, that proportion reached 3-6 percent of deaths, while in New Mexico it topped 6 percent of all deaths.

Finally, here’s a graphic showing how measles spreads in an area without a vaccination program, by Bonnie Berkowitz and Lazaro Gamio of The Washington Post. The differently shaded squares represent four generations of infection, from Patient Zero (the darkest red square at the top left) to the people he or she infects (the next 17 reddish squares), the people they infect in turn (the next five lines of peach-colored squares), and the people they infect (the rest of the graphic). The dark squares represent the people who die from measles.

Without vaccinations, each measles case will infect 12 to 18 other people on average every 10 to 14 days. You can see how quickly the disease spreads from the first generation (Patient Zero) to 12 to 18 people in the second generation, 144-324 people in the third generation, and 1728-5832 people in the fourth generation. That adds up to more than 6,000 infections, all within 40 days. In a country with substandard healthcare and malnutrition, up to 28 percent of those infected will die.

Now contrast that with a country with full vaccination: In that scenario the disease would spread to 0.8 people every 10 to 14 days, and less than .3 percent will die. In a country like the United States, where most people have been vaccinated but pockets have not, the disease would spread to 1.1 to 2 people every 10-14 days and less than .3 percent would die.

More posts from Know More, Wonkblog’s social media site:

Where America’s uninsured, untreated, mentally ill live

Map: Where Americans are dying before their time

The terrifying rise of diabetes, in every corner of the U.S.

     Ana Swanson writes for Know More and Wonkblog.  ………….’

Facts Are Your Friends — Vaccinate Your Children

Original post from HuffPost


Kristen Bell Headshot      Mother, Actress

I didn’t think I was going to vaccinate my children. I’ve always been earthy, crunchy, whatever. Fair trade? Artisanal? Free range? I love it all. I care about what I put into my body, and when I got pregnant, I became acutely aware that my decisions affected someone else. Someone who I had a duty to protect.

I’m a fairly confident person, but I was filled with so much uncertainty when I became pregnant. I was thrust into a world of choices: home birth? Drug-free? Inducement? Caesarian? Eat my placenta? And when I shared my birth plan with other moms, I would often feel shame, like I wasn’t willing to go as far as others. Every conversation felt like a million little tests that questioned my motherhood. The consensus seemed to be that anything short of a drug-free home birth in water was child abuse. It was a lot of pressure, but ultimately I felt like having a human pass between my legs was stressful enough. I didn’t need the added trouble of something going wrong and screaming, “Why am I squatting on a silk pashmina surrounded by wind chimes; where are all the doctors!?”

The doubt and difficult decisions didn’t dissipate after the birth. The responsibility of keeping another human being alive was often overwhelming. Each little choice felt like it had the power to irrevocably shape her entire future. The weight of that often brought out strong, emotional responses to even the most benign decisions. The important decisions felt almost paralyzing. What if I messed up and chose wrong?

At first, I leaned toward keeping our kids vaccine-free. I thought the concern about vaccination made sense. There are countless reasons to distrust the pharmaceutical industry, and I didn’t want to put anything artificial or unnecessary in my child’s body. Least of all something questionable that protects from diseases that don’t even exist anywhere near us these days. Still, I felt a nagging responsibility to hear both sides of the argument (largely because I had my heart set on a “mother of the year” mug).

I decided facts were my friends. I couldn’t rely on word-of-mouth, friend-of-a-friend information. It was going to require actual research from vetted sources; I wanted the truth.

It wasn’t easy sifting through all the false and deceptive studies to find them, but now that I have, I feel compelled to share them with any of you who may be struggling with this tough choice.

First, tell me why I need a vaccine.

Vaccines train your immune system. They give it a chance to build up resistance to dangerous diseases, so that if you are ever exposed to the real thing, your body is able to fend it off.

Vaccines DO contain disease particles, which is not only gross — it’s scary. However, the disease particles are dead or severely weakened, which renders them unable to cause the original disease. Even very young children can easily handle them.

The immune system is far more effective when it knows how to identify and fight off what doesn’t belong. Vaccines are like a wanted poster hanging in the saloon. They train the bartender to spot the bad guys and kick them out.

Next, must you put chemicals into vaccines?

You may have heard that vaccines contain mercury. This was a major red flag for me. It turns out that ‘mercury’ is one of those buzzwords that frighten people (myself) without the right information, but shouldn’t in this case. It turns out it’s just a harmless preservative called thimerosal (which doesn’t sound very harmless, I agree), and it is included in very few vaccines still on the market. Thimerosal doesn’t contain the dangerous kind of mercury, and it’s only got a tiny amount that is easy for the body to process and dispose of. There’s less mercury in a vaccine than in a tuna sandwich.

But why are there preservatives in my vaccines at all?

Turns out they have a very good reason for showing up to this party: They’re the bouncers. Preservatives prevent harmful bacteria from growing in a vaccine dose. Thimerosal makes it possible for vaccines to be stored in multi-dose vials — as opposed to single-dose vials. This helps make sure vaccines can stay cost-effective and be provided to as many children as possible.

Still, I’m not into preservatives for my children, and I think a lot of parents feel the same way. I know I was pleased to hear that the United States had decided to remove thimerosal from almost all vaccines (with the exception of some flu vaccines) to reduce our fears as well as our children’s exposure. By 2001 very few vaccines in the U.S. contained thimerosal, and now you can ask for thimerosal-free versions of those that still do.

You may also have heard that there is formaldehyde in vaccines… Someone hand me another red flag and watch me wave it! But then I learned that even infants naturally produce formaldehyde. An infant naturally contains and safely processes 50-70 times more than the maximum amount they would receive from a single vaccine dose. I’m not going to be adding it to my smoothies any time soon, but that really put my fear of formaldehyde in perspective.

Are vaccines sufficiently tested before they’re administered?

The FDA is not doing a good enough job of protecting our food. Period. But theseparate piece of the FDA that handles vaccines is meticulous, and its results are incredibly comprehensive. This branch is called the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), and it conducts extensive evaluation of all vaccines both before they are approved and long after they are in circulation. It can take as long as 10 yearsor more for a vaccine to be approved for use.

What’s the deal with “herd immunity”?

I found the clearest explanation of herd immunity in a comic! Find it here, but essentially, epidemics are prevented when at least 80-90 percent of people are vaccinated. This means that the most important factor in promoting universal health is creating access to vaccination. Even those who are not vaccinated against a disease — because they are too young, or have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy, etc. — are protected, because there are so many individuals with resistance that the disease doesn’t spread very far. It takes a village, people. (Not the actual Village People, but like a village of people… anyway. Let’s continue.)

Do doctors have a financial incentive to administer vaccines? What about the pharmaceutical industry?

Could doctors be recommending vaccines because they’re so profitable? To make themselves more money? If that were true, believe me, I would be flipping cop cars in the streets with super-powered mom rage. But it’s quite the contrary. Many pediatricians don’t make money on vaccines at all. In fact, some have to refer patients elsewhere because the costs are too high.

But I don’t trust big pharma. Are they marketing vaccines like they’re marketing Viagra? Well, if it was more of a moneymaker for them, I’m sure they would. Turns out, the pharmaceutical industry makes peanuts on vaccines — they’re only between 2 and 3 percent of the global market. The bottom line is, drug companies make more money when we all stay sicker. Vaccination actually keeps people from needing more of their products.

Why are vaccines given in clusters? Is this safe?

First of all, overwhelming research shows that giving children multiple vaccinations at once is completely safe. They encounter many more germs every day simply by playing in the dirt than they get in the entire vaccination process.

And every parent I know is strapped for time. Vaccinations need to be quick and convenient, considering most parents have to take a day off work to get them done. Only when vaccination is easy can it create the vital herd immunity that protects all children from deadly diseases, especially newborn babies. Vaccinating in clusters isn’t sacrificing safety for schedule, so multitask away.

(For those parents who still have reservations, most pediatricians will work with youto develop a family plan that is right for you.)

What are the side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines have some side effects. The common ones are mild — redness, slight swelling right around the injection site, brief headache or fever. But these are actually GOOD to see — these symptoms reflect that the body is responding to the treatment, and is learning how to deal with it. This is exactly what we want our bodies to do, so that we can react if we ever encounter the real thing. These common side effects are fire drills. Should the real thing happen, your child’s body will know exactly where the nearest exit is.

There are rare cases of more severe side effects. Most often, these are essentially allergic reactions. These are serious, and scary, but occur almost immediately, and can be addressed by your doctor on the spot. This is why all patients receiving vaccinations are asked to be observed for a period of time before leaving the doctor’s office. There’s a point to making you flip through their back issues of Good Housekeeping magazine. They’re keeping an eye on your little one.

Some side effects are so rare that it is impossible to tell if they are actually side effects of vaccines, or just coincidences. Interestingly, autism doesn’t fall into that category. Autism occurs frequently enough that it can be studied, and it has been — extensively. During my search for information I have found that the overwhelming majority of medical scientists agree that there isabsolutely no causal link between autism and vaccination. I know this can be a big one for many, though, so here are a fewmorearticles to read if you are concerned about autism and vaccines.

Before I started my research, I had no idea what smallpox or polio looked like, and I bet you don’t either. Most people aren’t aware and therefore aren’t afraid of diseases they’ve never seen — or sometimes haven’t even heard of. We owe that peace of mind to the scientists who pioneered vaccines. Maurice Hilleman, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur — they aren’t household names. They’re not celebrities, they don’t have PR people, and they don’t have enviable Twitter followers. But their discoveries have improved our lives more than Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s have. It is the safest time ever to have a child, and only one factor has been more life-saving than vaccines — clean water.

What struck me most during my research was the sincerity of voices on both sides of this debate. Parents are just trying to keep their children safe. It is heartbreaking to me that the FDA and other government agencies have so eroded any trust that even when they are doing a good job it is overlooked or discredited. These agencies need reform so we can once again feel safe to take them at their word. I am confident that if our families can come together to demand transparency and separation between corporate interests and the safety of our children, we will be able to create the kind of trustworthy oversight we need.

As to the benefits of vaccinations, it has been proven; they work. That’s enough for me to climb up on a soap box, make some ugly cardboard sign in my garage, and let other mothers know that it’s safe, important, and bigger than emotion: It’s the truth.  ………….’


Autism Speaks Alters Position On Vaccines

Original post from Disability Scoop


A baby receives a shot at a California clinic. With measles outbreaks in more than a dozen states, Autism Speaks now says

A baby receives a shot at a California clinic. With measles outbreaks in more than a dozen states, Autism Speaks now says “vaccines do not cause autism.” (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Amid concerns about measles, the nation’s largest autism advocacy group has updated its stance on vaccines and autism, but remains mum on whether it will fund further studies on the issue.

Autism Speaks revised its policy on immunizations in a statement published on its website last week.

“Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated,” reads the statement from Rob Ring, the group’s chief science officer.

The language replaces a four-paragraph statement on the issue which had been in place since April 2013. The organization’s previous position also strongly encouraged parents to vaccinate but said “it remains possible that, in rare cases, immunization may trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition.”

The shift in Autism Speaks’ position comes as the nation grapples with a resurgence of measles. The illness was considered to be eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but 102 cases were reported in 14 states from California to New York in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of those affected were not vaccinated, health officials say.

Concerns sparked by a 1998 study suggesting a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine have led some parents not to immunize their children. However, the study has since been retracted and the theory widely discredited by medical experts.

“The updated statement was issued this week to reiterate the importance of vaccinations in light of the measles outbreaks,” CJ Volpe, a spokesman for Autism Speaks, told Disability Scoop on Friday.

As recently as 2010, Autism Speaks affirmed its commitment to funding research examining a possible link between autism and vaccines even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

Volpe did not respond to questions about whether Autism Speaks continues to fund research on vaccines. A search of the organization’s online grant database indicates that the group most recently funded a study looking at vaccines and autism, among other issues, in 2011.

Nonetheless, Autism Speaks’ Strategic Plan for Science outlining the group’s priorities for the years 2013 to 2017 continues to make mention of vaccines.

“Autism Speaks is funding studies on the underlying biology of autism, including studies to better understand medical and genetic conditions that are associated with autism that could potentially be linked to adverse responses to immunization,” the strategic plan states.


Why parents want to believe in a vaccine conspiracy

Original post from The Washington Post

‘….. March 6 at 7:00 PM

Susan Senator lives in Brookline, Mass.

For the first three years of my son’s life, I lived a kind of “Gaslight” experience. Sometimes everything seemed fine. But other times, ordinary activities such as piling him into the stroller and going to the park would feel odd somehow, false. Something was not right, but I could not say what or why. I felt as though I was playing the part of mommy, while the real me was clenched up somewhere in the background, nauseated with an unnamed fear for my son.

Nat had autism, but I didn’t know it. It was 1993 when he was diagnosed, and no one in my circle had a child with autism or even really knew what it was. When I had Nat evaluated, I asked whether I had caused it. “Oh, no, no one believes that anymore,” the doctor said, soothing me with his pragmatic, scientific manner. “Autism is neurological, genetic most likely.”

I was grateful to hear this, but only for a little while, because the real problem was still autism. Around the time Nat turned 8, he hit a rough patch that lasted years. He stopped sleeping on any kind of regular nighttime schedule, and he began to exhibit all sorts of difficult behaviors — false, maniacal laughter, hitting and pinching, breaking things. I didn’t know how to get him to calm down, and I feared for his safety. And because so little was known about autism, no one could really help us. In a way, I found myself back at the beginning, researching the condition, trying to figure out why. Why Nat? Why me?

When I came across the theory that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine could cause autism, it made a kind of Old World sense to me. From what I could gather, it sounded as though the vaccine might blow apart some young children’s immune systems, making them susceptible to all kinds of conditions. I was so worn down, so miserable in those days that I was desperate to believe there was a culprit, something or someone to blame. It was a relief to think that the problem wasn’t my DNA but an outside aggressor, a mistake caused by the medical establishment’s hubris.

 I wondered, if this is true, what should I do? Shouldn’t I sue someone? Kill someone, even? I felt suffocated by anger and horror and also by not knowing what to do next. But the more I thought it through, the less clarity I had.

My husband and my mother told me I had to move on, for how could we ever really know whether the vaccine was the cause? I heard them. I also heard the whisper of those very early days with Nat, when doubt needled me. Something had been off — subtle, but there — before his vaccinations.

So I did more research, and I learned that scientific organizations around the world — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health — had proved the vaccine theory false. No one could say for sure what caused autism, but they certainly could say that it wasn’t a vaccine.

In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why some parents of children with autism want to see conspiracy and evil where none exists. Living with a person with autism can be devastatingly difficult, and learning that truth about vaccines didn’t really help me. Autism seemed to have stolen my son, and he was getting worse. He’d been expelled from school for his aggression. I needed help, and his therapists kept quitting because they were afraid of him. I was afraid of him. I was sick of my life.

I hung on, of course. Spring came. Somewhere I found the strength to keep my family together and to try one or two new things with Nat, such as signing him up for a Special Olympics gymnastics team. Nat started to do better. Nothing earth-shattering, but he was communicating a little more, and he seemed a bit more tolerant of other people. It was the first time I experienced coming through a bad time, finding a light at the end of the tunnel, with Nat.

Now I look back and see that something was indeed shifting in Nat — and in me. Maybe one influenced the other: He felt my happiness, he grew confident, he succeeded at more things and felt my approval. The change was gradual. Yet it was also all at once. I remember one heart-stopping moment when we shared a laugh on the living room couch, and his warm eyes held mine for a sliver of a second. I knew he was in there, and that was enough.

I didn’t get a perfect kid or a perfect life. No one does. But when you’re a young, scared parent, you will grasp at anything to make sense of a hardship such as autism. I know that firsthand. But the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. And more important, autism is not the only tough thing that can happen in this life. A return of deadly diseases kept at bay by vaccines would be far worse.

 Whatever caused Nat’s autism did not crush him. He is all there. Still very autistic but growing toward the light nevertheless.  …………….’

Roald Dahl’s Heartbreaking Letter About Vaccination

This is such an important subject, vaccines do work, but they are never 100%, but then what is.

101 Books

Roald Dahl wrote James and The Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda. He’s one of the greatest children’s authors the world has ever known.

But the following letter he wrote in 1988 is perhaps the most poignant copy he’s ever written. In it, he describes how his daughter died from the measles many years before (h/t to Vox):

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The MMR Vaccination Debate – a Parental Perspective

A sensitive subject and thank you for your insight.

No vaccine can be 100% safe, as can no other medical procedure, but one needs to assess, do the advantages outweigh any disadvantages or not and then decide accordingly.

As the mother of an Autistic child, I can’t help but put my two cents worth in on the recent uprising of controversy surrounding the outbreak of measles and the risk of administering the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. I do believe I have a rather uncommon perspective on the matter. Unique? Maybe not. Nevertheless, here it is.

When my first son (who is completely “normal”) was one year old we went in for his MMR shot and the doctor suggested that I be immunized at the same time. Much to my regret, I did; I found out a few weeks later that I had been two weeks pregnant with my second son when I had the shot. When my second, Chris, was born everything seemed fine. He was developing according to his milestones and even beyond them. He spoke a few words and played normally. Then, at one year…

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