By Julie Obradovic
On Sunday, Clive Thompson, a contributing writer for The New York Times and Wired Magazine posted an editorial in The Washington Post about what he believes is the worst idea of the decade: questioning vaccine safety. (Click here.)
According to Mr. Thompson, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and Wired, the lack of trust that has been perpetuated by those of us in what he calls the "anti-vaccine movement" is directly responsible for the reason the US Government didn't have enough vaccine to fight swine flu this fall.
Trying to appease us by not using adjuvant that Canada and "most of Europe" did is his explanation for the shortage. Apparently our government officials were too worried about "spooking anti-vaccine activists" when they decided to forgo using them. He went on to include a quote from Ann Schuchat of the CDC in congressional testimony last month as support.
"The public's confidence in our vaccine system and in vaccines in this country [is] very, very fragile."
This is the only part of his editorial in which we agree. Yes indeed, public confidence in the vaccine system in very, very fragile. Why that is, however, we profoundly disagree.
We also disagree about the level of influence vaccine safety advocates have. (Which is what we really are but will not be called because that makes us sound rational and educated, not the evil lunatics out to set the world aflame in infectious disease they choose to portray us as. "Anti-vaccine" does that so effectively for them, doesn't it? Yes, anyone who questions vaccine safety and those in charge of it is automatically against them, didn't you know?) According to Thompson we have become "uniquely powerful".
Uniquely powerful? I'll take that as a compliment. We have no money, no budget to fund the science our children so desperately deserve, and are probably among the most burdened group of activists out there. We operate from yahoo groups and a blog. And yet we're "uniquely powerful" enough to influence government policy? We're "uniquely powerful" enough to cause a swine flu vaccine shortage? Puh-leaze. We can't even get our own government agency, the IACC, to do what we want.
What Mr. Thompson and those like him refuse to acknowledge, however, is the real reason the public's confidence in the vaccine system in the country is so fragile: we have the most vaccinated children in the world and the sickest. If the amount of vaccines they got truly correlated with good health, they should be the healthiest people on the planet, ever, and yet, the exact opposite is true. Couple that with the lack of transparency, urgency, and integrity with which the Autism epidemic has been handled. 1 in 20 American families, if not more now, is personally affected by Autism. 1 in 20. Which means just about everyone now knows a family member, neighbor, playmate or playmate's sibling that has it. A condition that no one over the age of 30 ever remembers hearing about before St. Elsewhere or Rain Man in the late 1980's is now everywhere. And the answers for why that is are nothing short of pathetic. No wait, they're embarrassing.
Lack of Autism in the past? Misdiagnosis. Increase of Autism in the past decade? Better diagnosis. 50% increase of Autism in the past 2 years? Over diagnosis.
The same group of people that can't figure out how much Autism there was or is, is the same group that tells us they have no idea what causes it, if it's genetic, environmental or both. They don’t know what causes Autism, but they know for damn sure what doesn't: Vaccines. And how do they know this? Well, they've studied 1 ingredient of what, 80 now, and 1 injection of over what, 35? 45? I can't even keep track anymore.
Yet, they've never studied the most obvious control group: the never vaccinated. They refuse to do so in spite of congressional leadership asking, in spite of parents everywhere asking, in spite of money being allocated for the opportunity to do so. They flat out refuse to look, claiming it's unethical. Unethical to analyze 10 year olds that aren't vaccinated to look at health outcome differences? There are hundreds of thousands of them in our country, right now. There is no excuse not to. In fact, it’s unethical NOT to.
They've never studied the sub-populations of vulnerable or affected children for evidence of vaccine injury and they've never, ever, ever studied the current recommended vaccination schedule for safety. Ever.
Worse, they completely discount hundreds of thousands of parents’ testimony, first hand witnesses to what happened to their children, and dismiss it as coincidence. In fact, everything about Autism to them is a coincidence: the timing of the onset of symptoms; the eerie similarity to mercury poisoning; the ratio of boys to girls; the vast improvement via chelation therapy...the list goes on. All coincidence. One big fat coincidence. Never, ever has the almighty religion of science been allowed to be as very coincidental as it is in the case of vaccines.
Still, Mr. Thompson and those like him feel the quality, quantity, relevance, and bias of these studies that he calls "reputable" are perfectly adequate in dismissing any link between the two. I'm willing to bet everything I own he has never read them, for indeed in my experience, the only people who ever stand by them are those who haven’t. I have.
Wanna know how some mercury is different than more mercury for kids in Italy? Wanna know the difference of Autism rates for kids who got the DTP at 3 months of age versus 6 months of age in England? Wanna see what happens when kids get the Measles vaccine but not the Mumps vaccine in Japan? Wanna see how the rate of mercury uptake in Quebec affected rates of Autism in Montreal?
Yep. These are the peer reviewed prizes that "science" has given us. This is what qualifies as "reputable" now-a-days.
Moreover, he's completely accepting of the fact that those who manufacture, profit from, create policy for, publicly endorse, and defend in a court of law vaccines are qualified to objectively do these aforementioned studies on the very product which their entire life's work and reputation resides.
Here's the difference between the two of us. Drum roll, please....
I don't. And I am so sick and tired of having to defend myself for that.
If it is true that vaccines are indeed responsible for the explosion of chronic disease in our children in the last 20 years, then those who will be held accountable for it do not get the luxury of finding out if they are guilty. That's not conspiracy theory. That's not anyone "painting scientists as corrupt elitists on the take from Big Pharma, cackling sadistically as they force us to get shots", as you say. No, Clive. That's Criminal Law 101.
In fact, Gardiner Harris's most recent New York Times piece HERE investigates the ethics and conflicts of interest of those in charge of vaccine policy for that very reason.
Parents and doctors alike are finally fighting back against these vicious attacks, their intelligence and humanity being insulted for having the audacity to suggest, hey, maybe we're doing too much of a good thing here? Hey, maybe we should stop layering all of these shots on top of one another until we study them cumulatively? Hey, any chance we should change the context of the law in which the protection of pharmaceutical companies was enacted because, wow, it certainly seems like once they got that liability protection vaccines have become a never ending cash cow that needs to reigned in a little? And hey, any chance now that we've been vaccinating for decades we could take a step back and see if maybe, just maybe, there have been any unintended consequences we should be aware of? Any chance lowering infectious disease has raised chronic disease? And now that we don't live in squalor and actually practice good hygiene, any chance we need to re-evaluate the true threat of some diseases that used to plague us?
Oh, no, don't go there, people. If you ask those questions, you are a nut. A whack job. A flat earther. Dangerous. Sinful. Reckless.
Never mind that extremely prestigious doctors like Bernadine Healy disagree. Never mind that Dr. Bob Sear's book on vaccines
is among one of the most influential new parent books available. Never mind that the CDC studied and concluded that the average education level of those parents who don't vaccinate is extremely high, implicating that highly educated parents have doubts about what they are being asked to believe: That all vaccines, all the time, at any time, under any circumstances, for all children, are always safe and any problems that arise are extremely rare, untreatable coincidences.
Never mind that VAERS was created for the explicit reason that they aren't.
Never mind that over 2 billion dollars has been awarded to people who have indeed been injured by vaccines.
Never mind that Hannah Poling was found to have an underlying mitochondrial disorder that was aggravated by 9 vaccines at once that resulted in the "features" of Autism (which is only defined by it features anyway) and that we do not screen children for mitochondrial disorders before we vaccinate them, even though we know approximately 20% of children with Autism have them.
And never mind that there are actually some doctors out there who truly think parents are stupid enough to believe the vaccines actually didn't cause the Autism in Hanna Poling, the equivalent of trying to argue someone had an underlying thyroid problem that was aggravated by eating too much food resulting in the features of fat, but that the food had nothing to do with it and that the fat only looks like fat but really isn't fat. Or even better, that the thyroid condition alone would have caused the fat anyway.
I refuse to take responsibility for any assumed swine flu deaths by failure to vaccinate. First, there is no such evidence what-so-ever that is the reason for their deaths, that a vaccine would have guaranteed another fate, or that the current vaccine we have is even effective. In fact, most evidence is showing us the swine flu pandemic has been anything but.
To suggest I or any other advocate played a role in their death is inflammatory and deplorable, not to mention down right insulting. Contrary to those who are only interested in valuing the lives of those affected by infectious disease because of a lack of vaccination, I am interested in protecting them both: those who are equally, but negatively affected by infectious disease BECAUSE of vaccination. I value ALL lives on both sides of the issue and to insinuate otherwise is disingenuous and ignorant.
The current "fragile" vaccination situation was predictable and avoidable a decade ago.
Officials' behavior at Simpsonwood? Burying data? Lying to doctors who truly want to do right by their patients? Manipulating studies to generate specific outcomes? Redoing studies over and over again until they have that outcome? Refusing then and now to do the most basic, honest study comparing vaccinated to never vaccinated populations?
Lying to parents? Marginalizing them? Accusing them of conspiracy theories and fear mongering? Making them into the enemy for wanting answers to help their suffering children? Telling parents what they lived, what they witnessed with their own eyes, isn't real? Convincing them an injected neurotoxin is inconsequential to development? Telling parents it’s not in vaccines any more when it absolutely is?
Forcing them to put out the fires of that neurotoxin on their own, and then criticizing the water they use to do it, even though when they screamed for help to 911 they were told there was no fire, that they were imagining it, and that sometimes kids just spontaneously combust...let them burn it out?
Making parents choose between chronic and infectious disease? Making parents choose between what their best friend, neighbor, sister, or cousin is telling them happened versus their doctor's insistence otherwise because that doctor trusts they are being told the truth by their leadership?
Giving pharmaceutical companies the power to make a product they never get to be accountable for in a court of law, even though it is mandated by law for use in our smallest population?
Underestimating the power and dedication of a parent whose child has been poisoned for profit?
Allowing doctors who make millions from the very product under investigation to loudly and publicly proclaim its innocence, simultaneously pleading ignorance and expertise in an area of which they clearly know nothing?
Abandoning an entire generation of children?
Those are the worst ideas of the decade. Mr. Thompson. In fact, they may be the worst ideas in the history of humanity.
I can guarantee you if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be “uniquely powerful” at all.
Julie Obradovic is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.