Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vaccine-Autism War: Unrelenting Offit Opinion Offensive

One point is crystal clear in the vaccine-autism war. Dr. Paul Offit has media access and he isn't afraid to use it.

Dr. Offit's "Autism's False Prophets" book was given free press in an article by Donald G. McNeil Jr. in the New York Times on January 13, 2009 - just prior to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's clandestine decision to reverse itself and withdraw approval of funding of research that might have shown the existence of the vaccine-autism connection. Now, on the heals of the Vaccine Court's Autism Triology Dr. Offit is at it again with his Autism's False Prophets book and his heroic struggle to save children around the world from desperate anti-vax parents promoted in a prominent feature by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters UK. Dr. Paul Offit's brown plaid shirt from the NYT interview is replaced with a comfortable blue sweater in the Reuters feature. Parents concerned about possible negative health impacts of vaccines are once again portrayed as desperate and irrational.

Deaths of some children are blamed on such parents by Dr. Paul Offit in this article.

There is no mention of the fact that "the government has paid more than 1,300 brain injury claims in vaccine court since 1988, but is not studying those cases or tracking how many of them resulted in autism".

There is no mention of the fact that "the medical literature is replete with reports of neurological reactions to vaccines, such as mood changes, seizures, brain inflammation, and swelling."

There is no mention of the fact that all the studies relied upon by Dr. Offit are epidemiological studies. There is no mention of the fact that Dr. Bernadine Healy, former NIH head has twice within the past year pointed out the limitations of epidemiological studies in exploring the possible impact of vaccines on susceptible population subsets of children.

There is no mention of the fact that expecting women have received vaccines containing thimerosal, a mercury based preservative which crosses the placenta.

There is no mention of the fact that some vaccines still contain "trace" amounts of thimerosal (FDA Website: "Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine").

No mention is made of an admission by Dr. Julie Gerberding, then CDC director, in an interview with Dr. Gupta, speaking of vaccination that "if you're predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism."

Dr. Offit does not mention in this latest opinion piece that public health authorities have for many years actively and expressly discouraged research that might prove a vaccine-autism connection and he does not mention that his latest media offensive is timed in conjunction with the IACC decision to cancel its previous approval of funding for such research and the release of the Vaccine Court Autism decisions.

Comfortable plaid shirts and blue sweaters or not, I just can't trust a public health spokesperson who does not tell all sides of the story, who demeans parents raising legitimate concerns about their children's health and safety, who ignores credible criticisms and concerns about vaccine safety by doctors and scientists, and who hides the fact that public health authorities have actively discouraged and suppressed the research that could provide more objective answers. And of course the same spokesperson is tied by patent and profit to the promotion of vaccines.

The world will continue to hear Dr. Paul Offit promoting vaccines. We will hear him over and over and over again. Those who are already convinced will remain convinced. Those who doubt vaccine safety, or have an open mind on the subject, will remain unpersuaded by such an unrelenting but clumsy public relations offensive. It is time for the relevant authorities to do the necessary research of possible vaccine-autism connections. The research will hopefully address the concerns of parents and professionals. Dr. Offit's unrelenting, and at times offensive, opinion campaign will not.

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Claire said...

I just had a chat with our naturopathic doctor about vaccines. She says that originally thimerisol (sp?)was though to be "the" culprit, but now they look at leaky gut, heavy metal deposits in the system, and the fact that tiny babies are receiving 5 major diseases at once into immature immune major causes of autism. Naturopaths have no problem with vaccine/autism connection...but they look at it in a completely different way. They are also finding what is known as atypical measles still living in the intestines of kids with autism. Why do these educated health care professionals have this information, and "regular" doctors do not? I know why...but it is quite frustrating.

Stephanie said...

Someone messed with my blog: all of my posts are deleted from my blog though they still exist in my Blogger. Apparently someone was angry about my "Disability and Depression" post. I'll fix it later because I have other things to do at the moment.

shakingsystem said...

Profit,and autism. Somehow this seems like a bad brew,a recipe for disaster if you will. The media only help in exasperating these given situations. The media's focus should be on exposing people who are unwilling ,to look twice at the countless number of children who have suffered some type of neurological effect after receiving a vaccination.Instead,the media applauds their selfish deeds and encourages them to prosper in the name of profit.
Making peace in the Vaccine-Autism War seems unrealistic. The battle between relentless warrior parents and the all mighty crusaders from medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies is far from over. It's time the medical and pharmaceutical companies look at the cold hard facts.

Act now, in the name of the children.