Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The War over Immunization continues

A couple of weeks ago, on January 31st, ABC aired the pilot episode of Eli Stone – a fictional show featuring an attorney who helps a family fight (and win) a case against a pharmaceutical company, convincing the jury that a mercury-based preservative in a vaccine caused the child's autism. Since that time, the war over vaccines has rekindled its flames.


Many people in mainstream media and medicine dismiss the immunization link out of hand, as if anybody who still believes there's a link in this day and age is either uneducated, anti-establishment, or a parent looking for someone to blame for their problems. Here's an article published yesterday in the Great Falls Tribune (Montana), written by the medical director of a medical center. It's a very typical response from a medical director.

Personally, I don't buy Mr. Mainstream's position. There are too many factors in play which lay seeds of doubt..

Money. The amount of money at stake is almost unfathomable. Not only hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, but billions of dollars in potential liability. Any change to the status quo could be devastating.

Politics. Big Pharma. Health Insurance. Physicians. The Center for Disease Control. Congress. Any change will have winners and losers, and nobody wants to lose, so they all lobby for the status quo. Not to mention the political gridlock.. Remember how hard it was just to get Casual Dress Friday approved at work?

Control. The CDC wants the general population to be immunized for major diseases – no doubt a good idea. The one time in everybody's life when they are most likely to see a doctor at regularly scheduled intervals is when they are babies. The existing guidelines work very well in this regard.

Perfect Effectiveness? Everyday we read about misreported clinical trial results, or deadly side effects, or ineffective drugs. Yet we're supposed to believe that giving an infant/toddler dozens of vaccines is 100% safe, 100% of the time, for 100% of the children, with no possible side effects or connection to autism?

Timing. Shortly after the vaccinations started containing multiple vaccines in each shot (along with a preservative), the cases of autism began their meteoric rise. Yes, I'm sure there are lots of other things that have changed along the way. But is there anything else that is given to every child, and with such a close correlation in time?

Personal Anecdotes. How is it possible that there are so many people who never knew anything about autism, and were raising a perfectly happy and healthy toddler who regressed significantly, and was ultimately diagnosed with autism, the week after receiving a vaccination? I can't believe that these people all banded together and decided to tell the same lie.

This country's legal system is based entirely on "burden of proof" – if a jury has any doubt whatsoever, the accused is set free. Here is a case where there is LOTS of doubt; why can't we agree that it's not 100% safe, and that it needs to continue to be studied?

Kim Stagliano, managing editor of ageofautism.com, wrote the best article I've seen so far offering the opposite opinion of our Montana medical director. I recommend reading her post What if Autism Were Contagious? It's a great question – how do you think the CDC would react, and how aggressively, to a new epidemic which was as debilitating and wide-spread as autism? (if you have any doubt, think about what happened when HIV hit the US in the late 1980's...)

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