Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gerberding: Those Kinds of Studies Could Be Done and Should Be Done

In Unvaccinated Children Madness J.B. Handley at the Age of Autism focuses on the failure by government and public health authorities to conduct studies of unvaccinated children. He illustrates clearly , using the words of prominent health authorities and vaccine defenders, the research that should be done and the failure by those same vaccine defenders to provide a coherent rationalizaton for the failure to do research involving unvaccinated children to see if there are differences in autism rates from groups of vaccinated children.

The story line sold by vaccine program defenders to the public is that concerns about vaccines causing autism are perpetrated by irrational, hysterical parents whose observations of the timing of autism onset after vaccinations can not be trusted. Doctors and researchers who question vaccine safety are quacks. The story line continues by promoting vaccine supporters including vaccine patent holder Dr. Paul Offit as spokespersons for true science. and defenders of public health and safety. The story line sold by vaccine program defenders omits any reference to settlements reached over the years with families of children injured by vaccines. The story line omits any reference to the active suppression of research that might determine the issues surrounding vaccines and autism.

Handley's article provides some stunning comments from leading vaccine defenders Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. Julie Gerberding. The first is found in Dr. Gerberding's response to Dan Olmsted's question: Has the government ever looked at the autism rate in an unvaccinated U.S. population, and if not, why not?

Dr. Gerberding gave a very long answer but stated in the course of that answer:

I think those kind of studies could be done and should be done.

The second is vaccine patent holder Dr. Offit's admission that unvaccinated children studies have not been done although he explains that in his view such studies should not be done:

No studies have compared the incidence of autism in vaccinated, unvaccinated, or alternatively vaccinated children (i.e., schedules that spread out vaccines, avoid combination vaccines, or include only select vaccines). These studies would be difficult to perform because of the likely differences among these 3 groups in health care seeking behavior and the ethics of experimentally studying children who have not received vaccines."

If there already exist increasingly large pools of children who are not vaccinated Dr. Offit's ethical rationalization for refusing to do studies that could actually explore possible vaccine-autism connections makes no sense.

As for the difficulty of conducting such studies, SO WHAT? 1 in 150 children are estimated to have an autism spectrum disorder. Surely, that is a serious subject worthy of study even if it involves "some difficulty"? I can understand vaccine patent holder Dr. Paul Offit not having the energy and inclination to be involved in such studies but what about other researchers and what about the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee? Why haven't they authorized funding for such studies even if they are "difficult"?

When important research of the issue is not done, and is in fact discouraged, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that public health authorities really want to fully study possible vaccine-autism connections. It seems increasingly clear they do not want to know if such connections exist and more importantly they do not want the world to know . As Teresa Binstock reported in 1999 public health authorities would rather push the "its gotta be genetic" model of autism.

With respect to studies of unvaccinated populations I agree with Dr. Gerberding that:

Those kinds of studies could be done and should be done.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post!