McCain Supports Parental Vaccine Choice. McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety. Obama Silent.
By Rebecca Estepp
I'm a registered independent voter.
Since autism blew into my life with the diagnosis of my son, Eric, I no longer subscribe to either party. Autism affects the children of Democrats and Republicans equally. Autism affects Americans.
My party affiliation is now autism/vaccine safety. While there are many other issues facing our country today - our economy, global warming, alternative energy and fighting two wars among them- autism/vaccine safety is my issue. For the 2008 election, I am a one-issue voter, and I am not alone. Many voters are concerned about vaccine safety. (HERE)
As the wife of a Marine who has served three war-time deployments overseas over the last five years, you would think the war would be the most important issue to me, but it's not.
This war will be over at some point, but the effects of vaccine damage will last for generations. I am extremely concerned about babies that are being injected on a daily basis with neurotoxins that are causing countless medical conditions and stealing their potential for a full life. It weighs heavily on my heart.
This is the precise reason I took it upon myself to challenge the Presidential Candidates to issue two executive orders that, if implemented, would begin to address vaccine safety.
After months of hard work, I am pleased to report that, on Monday night, I received an e-mail response to my questions from Douglas Holtz -Eakin, a senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign.
The McCain campaign directly responded to my request with the following two key points:
1) Vaccine safety is a concern. He "will work with all agencies to take all necessary steps in an expedient manner to ensure safe vaccines for every American family." This will include continuing work to reduce and eliminate thimerosal (containing the known neurotoxin mercury) from vaccines.
2) Parental choice is paramount. "The key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves."
The entire email is available HERE.
To-date, Senator Obama has not directly responded to my request. This is what we know about Senator Obama's position regarding vaccine safety:
1) Senator Obama does not appear to support parental choice. On September 5, 2008, Senator Obama told a concerned parent, "I do not support selective vaccination."
2) The words "vaccine safety" are not found in any of Senator Obama's campaign materials or speeches. In response to my video about vaccine safety, the Obama campaign sent me a general autism position letter which did not even include the word "vaccine".
Senator Obama's aide and friend, Michael Strautmanis has a child with autism. He recently wrote an excellent Op-ed piece outlining Senator Obama's intentions to help people with disabilities. While the disability community needs the help Mr. Strautmanis describes, the piece does not mention vaccine safety, which may prevent children from becoming chronically ill or disabled in the first place. (HERE)
Many families are concerned that children are getting too many vaccines, too soon. Whether parents choose to delay or to skip some of the vaccinations our children receive, the risk and the choice must be ours. Many families with children on the autism spectrum vaccinate their subsequent children "selectively."
Parental concerns about vaccine safety are valid. The CDC admits that "simultaneous vaccination is incompletely studied at time of licensure". (4/4/2008)
Whoever is elected as President will appoint 1,100 people to executive branch positions over the next few months. Our President oversees the agencies that approve vaccine efficacy and safety.
It is time for strong and courageous leadership from the Commander-In-Chief. Vaccine Safety needs to be a top priority for those who are appointed by the next President to lead the CDC and the NIH.
Senator McCain says parents should have the final say in how they vaccinate their own children. Senator Obama appears to disagree. I sincerely hope Senator Obama misspoke that night in New Jersey. If so, I hope he clarifies soon.
If either campaign believes the above statements are in error, please say so in public before November 4th.
Rebecca Estepp is Parent Support and Media Relations Manager for Talk About Curing Autism. Becky did the additional presidential video, correspondence and questionnaires as a volunteer, outside the time she works for TACA.