(AFP Photo and Caption)
As the parent of a soon to be 15 year old boy with severe Autistic Disorder I have never attributed his autism disorder to vaccines. I have always accepted the view of public health authorities that there is little or no evidence linking autism to vaccines. With that mindset I never endorsed Jenny McCarthy's views of autism and vaccines although I admired her courage in fighting for her son.
At the other end of the vaccine autism battlefield I support vaccine programs generally as vitally important public health tools but I have become increasingly concerned by the campaign to discredit those who question vaccine safety and the certainty with which Vaccine Generals like Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. David H. Gorski aka Orac have declared that all vaccines and vaccine ingredients can never cause any autism disorder in any child. Given the lack of certainty about what autism is biologically, given the shifting autism definitions used to attack what appears to be an obvious and astounding increase in autism disorders, I don't see how the epidemiological studies can be that definitive. A particular question for me is whether the studies have actually ruled out the possibility that vaccines given to pregnant women might cause or trigger autism in the children they are carrying. Another major question arises from the failure to conduct studies comparing autism rates in existing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
Dr. Offit is the gentle, sweater wearing uncle type who poses for an adoring media and declares parents to be timid fearful sorts who can not understand science and the big picture. Dr. David H. Gorski, aka Orac, is the snarling pitbull who delivers incessant attacks on vaccine questioners AND actual anti-vaxxers with scientific terminology like WOO, QUACK, IDIOT and so on. Both may soon be called on to lead their minions into battle again with news of a study out of Finland, as reported by AFP, which found that children injected with the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine were nine times more likely to contract narcolepsy than those who were not vaccinated :