Autism + Vaccines = Death

… threats. By yahoos.

A new book defending vaccines, written by a doctor infuriated at the claim that they cause autism, is galvanizing a backlash against the antivaccine movement in the United States.

But there will be no book tour for the doctor, Paul A. Offit, author of “Autism’s False Prophets.” He has had too many death threats.

Details here at the NYT

Comments

  1. #1 Lilian Nattel
    January 13, 2009

    Death threats–and threats against Dr. Poland’s children–is that how people show love for their own children? They should talk to the people in the generation before the Salk vaccine. It isn’t like the medical profession has never been wrong, or never been influenced by drug companies (don’t get me started on the hpv vaccine), or never ignored parents’ insights. But I do know that smallpox, polio, and other diseases that have been virtually eradicated by vaccines previously killed and maimed many many people. The folks who don’t vaccine their kids piggy-back on the ones who do in order for their children to be safe from death and disability that would otherwise be the case. Death threats do not further the cause of children’s health.

  2. #2 Ana
    January 14, 2009

    How sad. The subjects here (autism, vaccines, doctors, yahoos) reminded me of this story:

    http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2009/01/09/2293456-us-doctors-pay-to-hear-ore-towns-vaccine-views

    Seems we’re (the gov.) now paying these “quirky” anti-vaccination people for their insights.

  3. #3 TannersDad
    January 14, 2009

    Death threats are exaggerated and probably fabricated to sell books. There is no true “Anti-vaccine” movement. The Pro safe vaccines and informed consent movement gets vilified. Vaccines are the only one size fits all medical treatment. We have traded Acute for chronic. 1 in 6 children have problems now. Are you really OK with that? Until one has had a child go from verbal and functioning to non-verbal and low functioning and dealing with it everyday for more than six years with no help…This debate will never end as long as families are just left out in the street.
    http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad Autism Hurts

  4. #4 chancelikely
    January 14, 2009

    TannersDad: What, no Big Pharma funded by reptilians? Come on, you’ve got special pleading in there, you confuse correlation with causation, you quibble about labels, you cherry-pick, why not throw in a good conspiracy theory for the diagonal bingo?

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    January 14, 2009

    Death threats are exaggerated

    Yeah, they only want him a little dead.

    Yes, autism sucks, but if you want a target at which to direct your anger, why not try the quacks who promise they can help for a carefully calibrated cost? Why not get pissed at the people who think the entire burden should be on the family because they don’t want to pay taxes to support effective intervention? Why not place the blame for your pain where it belongs?

  6. #6 DaveJ
    January 14, 2009

    It is astounding to me the backlash that people have at parents who have actually lived through these issues. I have a 2 year old son who has never had a vaccination, and is perfectly healthy. If that makes me “quirky”, then I will gladly accept the label and my healthy son. At the time my son was born the percentage of friends who had children, had them vaccinated, and had them end up with autism or related problems was astounding. No, this is not a double blind study with a control group. But I can tell you this, many of those parents drew a direct correlation between the vaccine schedule their children were on, and the onset of these issues.
    For hundreds of years the medical establishment insisted that bleeding patients was the way to treat numerous conditions. Anybody who opposed this was considered a quack. Today, we dont see a lot of bleeding of patients. New vaccines, and bundled vaccines, are introduced at an amazing rate. Each has it’s study to show it’s safety statistics. Just ask yourself, how many studies have been done on the cummulative affect of all of these alterations to an un-developed immune system. When you add in the number of household and pesticide chemicals, childrens toys that use lead or other known toxins, what should we expect from a public health standpoint.
    You can bash those who experience the issues, and force the continued use of these vaccines through public policies, but can you live with yourself when you find out in another 20 years that you were wrong, and that you contributed to the destruction of so many lives? How about a little balanced research, like measuring the autism rates in those who have refused vaccines?

  7. #7 DaveJ
    January 14, 2009

    Just to make 1 final point, in Dr. Offit’s book he states that there are only 158 proteins combined in the children’s vaccines today, but that there were 200 in the original smallpox vaccine. Are we really expected to believe that a protein is a protein, and that the total number of unique proteins is the measure of impact on a child’s immune system? If you want to impress us with scientific evidence, dont blow off our concerns, measure what we are saying.

  8. #8 Azkyroth
    January 14, 2009

    Dave, and Tanner’s Dad,

    The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” Look up “herd immunity,” and realize that if your kid is healthy without vaccination it is a combination of luck and the fact that most other kids around him or her are vaccinated, preventing disease from taking hold in a population that can carry it to your child. Even if they were not, it was never the case that epidemics would kill or cripple every child – this is like saying that since some people lived through the 50s, where cars were made without seat belts, we therefore shouldn’t bother buckling our kids in (please tell me you don’t also refuse to do *this*). Read up on the epidemics of polio, measles, etc. before vaccines were commonplace.

    The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” Every methodologically sound study that has ever been done has failed to establish a causal connection between vaccination and autism. While the study Greg linked to in an earlier post is interesting, virtually all methodologically sound research suggests that the cause of autism is primarily genetic. An autistic child’s brain is not “damaged”; the child is not “broken” (or “defective”). Their minds are simply wired in a different way – the best way to conceptualize it, I’ve found, is that their brains are running a different operating system. These children, like mine, need help to learn to function in the world in a way their brains can grasp, not quack cures (unlicensed medical experimentation) and the rejection and dismissiveness of parents who consider them “broken.” Your and other parents’ desperation for a “bad guy” they can see to fight does not excuse undermining sound science and the search for real-world treatment nor for suckering the gullible into endangering their children, and to the extent that your scaremongering and conspiracy-theory indulgences do so, they represent a cruel and selfish betrayal of the very children you pretend to be concerned about.

  9. #9 Zensunni
    January 14, 2009

    When I think about someone’s unvaccinated child infecting my child who was vaccinated but may be one of the low percentage of ineffective vaccines I think of a parent who was extremely stupid and callous in disregarding his own and my child’s health. Dave, why should we respect your lack of information?

  10. #10 Renske
    January 14, 2009

    DaveJ, if you would have read the links (and the links from the links), or would have informed yourself a bit better, you could have known that the research that has been done *was* balanced.

    TannersDad, how the hell can you know that the deadthreats are exaggerated? Did you do some ‘balanced research’ for that, or did you do the threats yourself, and you *know* that you only threatened him with a mercury-filled vaccine? Which, as we all know now, is not deadly.
    Actually, you’re saying it in a cynical way, but yes, giving vaccines *is* the one-size-fits-all treatment. That’s what makes it so wonderful. It has saved millions and millions of lives the past centuries, thanks to caring doctors like Edward Jenner (the guy who studied the smallpox vaccine).

    Families are not left out on the street, they are doing that themselves – I’m of course not speaking about all the millions of people in the US who cannot afford healthcare, which I would say is the biggest tragedy here. But people who have the means, and the education, and the IQ to teach themselves wise choices, but don’t make them… they are, like Amanda Peet said it in one of the linked articles, ‘parasites’. DaveJ, How can we ‘measure what you are saying’ when what you are saying is simply stupid?

  11. #11 konnie.teo
    January 14, 2009

    Autism, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder are all potential pitfalls when a child doesn’t have proper child development. I think all families should be wary of this.

  12. #12 konnie.teo
    January 14, 2009

    Autism, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder are all potential pitfalls when a child doesn’t have proper child development. I think all families should be wary of this.

  13. #13 DaveJ
    January 15, 2009

    That is the classic retort. If my child is such a threat to your vaccinated child, then how effective is your vaccine? And as for Renske, your lack of humility in the face of your own ignorance is truly awe-inspiring…

    When I see an actual study of the occurrence of autism that compares vaccinated and unvaccinated children I will take that as evidence. Until then, Renske, keep up your ridiculous personal attacks, they make your position even more unsupportable than it is on it’s own merits.

  14. #14 Orac
    January 15, 2009

    There is no true “Anti-vaccine” movement. The Pro safe vaccines and informed consent movement gets vilified.

    Wrong:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/the_jenny_mccarthy_rally_tomorrow_antivaccine.php

    Be sure to check out the entire list of links at the end.

    No, there is a definite antivaccine movement in the U.S. Its celebrity face is Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, and its slogan “Green Our Vaccines” a phrase that ultimately means nothing but is useful to hide the true antivaccine agenda. So is “pro-safe vaccine.” When I ask parents who use the “pro-safe vaccine” line what, specifically, it would take for them to accept that vaccines are safe and to vaccinate their child, the can never tell me. They usually trot out some nonsense about removing “toxins” without being able to be specific about them, or they demand “100%” safety, which nothing in life is, even though by any measure vaccination is incredibly safe, with very few serious complications. When pushed, they sometimes even admit that there is no evidence that will persuade them that vaccines are sufficiently safe that they would ever vaccinate their children.

    But perhaps you could be the first to prove me wrong: What evidence, specifically, would it take to convince you that vaccines are safe and that they do not cause autism?

    In any case, the antivaccine movement is a threat. Vaccines’ efficacy at a population level depends upon herd immunity, and no vaccine is 100% efficacious (no preventative or therapeutic intervention in medicine is).

  15. #15 D. C. Sessions
    January 15, 2009

    If my child is such a threat to your vaccinated child, then how effective is your vaccine?If my child is such a threat to your vaccinated child, then how effective is your vaccine?

    Oh, 90% or so. Enough to prevent self-sustaining propagation as long as most people are immunized.

    Not, however, enough that I want to risk my (grand)childrens’ lives, brains, etc. to the chance if I can help it.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    January 15, 2009

    Sessions: How is this different than saying that you need a certain amount of money and will be willing to take it by socially unacceptable means from someone who happens to have it? The money, of course, is for grandchild’s education.

    How is this different from, say, deciding that your method of driving, which is decidedly dangerous for others, pays off for you some how (thus benefiting the grandchildren, of course) so you justify a few more traffic fatalities because some five to 15 percent of drivers do it your way?

  17. #17 D. C. Sessions
    January 15, 2009

    Greg, you don’t know me at all or you wouldn’t have misunderstood. I need to be more careful.

    To clarify:

    Not, however, enough that I want to risk my (grand)childrens’ lives, brains, etc. to the chance if I can help it.

    I.E.:

    I am not about to gamble my (grand)childrens’ health etc. on a 90% effective vaccine if I have any reasonable chance of improving the odds with herd immunity or (ideally) disease eradication. On the other hand, relying exclusively on herd immunity is insane as well as immoral [1].

    Both you and I have smallpox vaccination scars [2]. Not a nice vaccine, but well worth the chance we took. I remember taking the Sabin sugar cube when it first came out and everyone stood in line for it. I recently got an IPV booster prior to visiting India, but we don’t need the OPV in the USA any more.

    Good riddance.

    Someday soon nobody will need the OPV. Some time after that, we won’t need the IPV. That will be a great day. Maybe my great-grandchildren won’t need MMR either.

    In the meantime, keeping vaccination rates high is the best protection any of us can have — and the categorical imperative applies even if one believes (as I don’t) that parasitic reliance on others’ keeping up herd immunity is the best of both worlds.

    [1] Barring specific contraindications such as egg allergy or immunosuppression.
    [2] Wear it proudly. One of the nastier vaccinations and well worth it.

  18. #18 TannersDad
    June 19, 2009

    http://www.fourteenstudies.org http://www.ageofautism.com enough information for any nervous parent. Pro safe vaccines to me would be using the 1989 schedule and intelligent design vaccination programs rather than the dream of Herd immunity.

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