Managing Editor's Note: Last week we told you about a program from ABC called, "Eli Stone" in which the character questions pharmaceutical companies and vaccine safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics has sent a letter to ABC demanding that they censor this program. We got a copy of the letter (see below in red) and are sharing it you, our readers. JB Handley, Co-founder of Generation Rescue and the driving force behind Age of Autism since it's inception as Rescue Post last Spring, puts his unique voice into the story below.
I believe that pediatricians are hearing from more and more parents that there is an unease, a mistrust regarding vaccination safety. Instead of allaying our fears via true studies on the safety of dozens of vaccines for infants and toddlers, the American Academy of Pediatricians wants to censor a TV program to shut down the story.
I also want to point out the I have had several wonderful pediatricians over the years - all of whom were genuinely interested in the health of my three girls. And I know more parents than I can count who have "medical vaccine exemption" written in their kids' charts by their doctor. Individually they respect a parent's wishes. Here's the story.
By J.B. Handley
American Academy of Pediatrics, we’ve had it with you. Generation Rescue, an international autism organization, is officially declaring war on you for inexplicable complacency, complicity, and bureaucratic arrogance.
Most parents and autism organizations are extremely frustrated with the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC. They have been the target of attack ads, parent protests, and an entire website chronicling their misdeeds. Yet, at least with the CDC, we all see the conflict clearly: their #1 job, their raison d’être, is to administer vaccines.
With the AAP, the crime against our kids is actually more insidious, and in many ways more morally reprehensible. You are the people who are supposed to have our kid’s backs. And you don’t, not remotely.
Pouring salt in a growing wound is an absurd letter the AAP has written to the ABC television network protesting an upcoming TV show which they will be releasing to the press tomorrow, a complete copy of which you can read down below.
The letter, which I encourage you to forward to as many people and reporters as possible, takes the wildly predictable path of trying to guilt ABC into pulling a fictional TV show that lends credibility to the autism-vaccine link. The AAP writes:
“ABC will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents' decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode.”
The letter also has two glaring factual errors (also known as “lies”):
1. AAP writes:
“If ABC persists in airing the show, the AAP urges the network to include a disclaimer emphasizing: No mercury is used as a preservative in routinely offered childhood vaccines.”
As we all know, the flu shot is a mandated vaccine on the CDC's 2008 vaccine schedule
and the majority (about 80%) of our flu shot supply contains mercury.
2. AAP writes:
“No scientific link exists between vaccines and autism.”
As many of us know, there is a growing, compelling body of published evidence linking vaccines and autism.
Conveniently, the AAP just ignores these published studies because they do not fit the goal of the AAP of protecting from liability its dues-paying constituency: pediatricians who administer vaccines.
In the last 20 years, the AAP has stood by as the CDC has expanded the vaccine schedule for our kids from 10 vaccines to 36 before the age of 5 years old, and in that time the rates of autism have grown 6,000%.
A couple of years ago, Generation Rescue rented a booth at the AAP’s national convention. We were overwhelmed by the number of dues-paying pediatricians who came to our booth, listened to our stories of recovered children, and quietly agreed with our position on vaccines and autism. It’s like an underground railroad of pediatricians exists within the AAP who are wary of the vaccine load on our children and seek to find quiet ways to try and protect as many children as they can within their own practice by spacing out shots, educating parents, and being vigilant with higher-risk children.
Meanwhile, the AAP has become the vaccine-maker’s best friend, spending their member’s dues to lobby states to PREVENT thimerosal bans and wasting their time with ridiculous letters like the one below to try and prevent a television network from airing a TV show.
AAP, the gloves are officially off. It’s time you got your fair share of parent protests, national attack ads, and perhaps an inflatable rat or two outside your Illinois headquarters.
If you’d like to let AAP know what a poor job they are doing protecting our kids, you can let them have it here:
AAP Main Number: 847.434.4000
Renee R. Jenkins
AAP Employee Circulating the ABC News letter:
Heather M. Fitzpatrick
Manager, Practice Management
And, to thank ABC Television for airing the TV Show Eli Stone (and to explain that the AAP letter is inaccurate):
Media Relations for "Eli Stone":
(email to follow upon confirmation)
Here’s a complete copy of the letter the AAP will be releasing to the press tomorrow. I encourage you to send this to any reporters you know and point out the clear factual errors in the letter:
January 25, 2008
President, Disney-ABC Television Group
47 W. 66th St.
New York, NY 10023-6290
Dear Ms. Sweeney:
According to The New York Times, ABC plans to run an episode of "Eli Stone" in which the title character successfully argues in court that a vaccine caused a child's autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of 60,000 pediatricians, is alarmed that this program could lead to a tragic decline in immunization rates. The AAP calls on ABC to cancel the episode.
Many people trust the health information presented on fictional television shows, which influences their decisions about health care. In the United Kingdom, erroneous reports linking the measles vaccine to autism prompted a decline in vaccination and the worst outbreak of measles in two decades, including the deaths of several children.
ABC will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents' decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode. If ABC persists in airing the show, the AAP urges the network to include a disclaimer emphasizing: No mercury is used as a preservative in routinely offered childhood vaccines.
No scientific link exists between vaccines and autism. Vaccines are the single-most powerful, cost-effective public health intervention ever developed. A network as influential as ABC must consider its responsibility not to promulgate messages that undermine the years of efforts by the AAP and public health community to persuade parents to vaccinate and protect their children. The consequences of a decline in immunization rates could be devastating to the health of our nation's children.
Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP