Managing Editor's Note: AAP response to the overwhelming parental concerns about the current pediatric vaccine schedule? Better science? NAH... Pay parents in focus groups to create more ads to dispel fears! "...We're currently working on a new ad to ease parental concerns over vaccines - concerns caused by misinformation spread by a small but vocal group of vaccine opponents which includes celebrities.We're looking for a cross-section of parents from many different backgrounds and communities. Please ask those you think fit this description if they'd like to participate. If so, have them contact Jill Halco directly no later than Friday, November 5. (If they do not have e-mail access, please ask them to call Jill at 847-398-4920, but e-mail is preferred.) Each parent will receive $50 as a thank-you for participating in the research."
By JB Handley
Don’t be confused by names like Judith Palfrey, David Tayloe, or Renee Jenkins, there’s only one boss at the AAP: Errol R. Alden, M.D.
While folks like Tayloe show up on Larry King Live and get their ass kicked, Dr. Alden has been running the show since 2004. Not sure who’s boss? When Tayloe was the AAP’s President for a year, they paid him $150,000 for a job poorly done. Dr. Alden? He brought home $525,000, over a half-million “non-profit” bucks.
Dr. Alden does a great job of hiding in the shadows and letting others speak for his organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics. Meanwhile, he appears to be biding his time paying his employees huge salaries and, as the most recent Form 990 HERE from the AAP reveals, losing lots of money.
In 2008, the most recent year for which we have AAP data, the organization pulled in $78 million in revenue (down from $85 million the year prior) and spent more than $82 million, for a net loss on the year of $4 million.
Meanwhile, the AAP has twelve employees in their executive suite who make more than $200k a year, 5 making more than $300k a year, and Dr. Alden north of $500k. And, in 2008, when the AAP lost $4 million, Dr. Alden made a bonus of $47k “based in part on the financial results of the organization” – give me a piece of that incentive plan!
Autism may well be the AAP’s swan song, and I think they know it. You simply can’t have 1% of your pediatric population being damaged for life and survive for very long, and I hope pediatricians start to desert the AAP in order to save our kids. In the meantime, I’m guessing Dr. Alden will hasten the ship he is charting right into the ground.
Dr. Alden’s list of unimpressive accomplishments since taking the helm could fill an Annual Report, the most obvious of which is the AAP’s response to the autism epidemic. In no particular order, Dr. Alden’s organization has:
- Done nothing to alert their membership to biomedical protocols that may improve the symptoms of autism, and shown no interest in understanding the DAN! Movement of physicians, and never acknowledged that biomedical recovery from autism is possible
- In 2009 HERE admitted that their membership of pediatricians is unprepared to deal with autism and that many wish complementary alternative medicine training for these patients
- Green-lighted every vaccine recommended by the CDC’s ACIP committee, including Gardasil and Rotavirus, contributing to a US vaccine schedule now double the average of the rest of the first world
- Wasted everyone’s time with a predictable public-relations gambit that failed miserably when they tried to guilt ABC into pulling a TV show that discussed the autism-vaccine link HERE threatening that:
“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.”
- Continually defending the vaccine program in its current construction, and never acknowledging that vaccines may harm some children. At times, this defense becomes comical, as an exchange I had with an AAP employee on Larry King Live demonstrates:
HANDLEY: The AAP doesn't listen at all, Larry. They never look at recovered children. They never look at recovered children. They rubber stamp every vaccine on the schedule. Dr. Fisher never answered why so few companies have picked up varicella flu roto virus (ph). Meantime, AAP rubber stamps every vaccine, like Gardasil (ph), which is damaging teenaged girls right now, which will likely be pulled from the market very soon. There is the AAP rubber stamp on that vaccine.
KING: Dr. Fisher?
FISHER: We hardly rubber stamp any vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics listens very closely before a vaccine is recommended for use. It goes through extensive trials. It goes through extensive information. All of that information is reviewed very quickly. It's both efficacy and safety information. There's never a rubber stamp. We work very closely before, while the vaccine is being tested to see if it works, it is safe? And only if it's been determined to be safe and effective is it recommended for use. It's not a rubber stamp.
HANDLEY: Why haven’t these other countries picked up these vaccines?
FISHER: These vaccines are costly. In addition to the number of vaccines, have you looked at what's happened to the price of vaccinating a child?
HANDLEY: We're talking about first-world countries like Germany, the UK, France, Finland who haven't taken on varicella, roto virus, flu, and those vaccines have been on the market for ten years. How can you tell me it's a cost issue? And if these vaccines are so damn important to our kids, why aren't these other countries picking up the vaccines?
FISHER: What I can tell you is the reason we recommend these vaccines in this country is --
HANDLEY: You're not answering the question.
KING: Let her answer.
FISHER: I don't know what they do in Germany or the UK or anywhere else, nor do I suspect you know how they make those decisions. (CROSS TALK) FISHER: No, it doesn't. I'm concerned about how we make the decisions here. And since I have been part of some of those decisions, I know that the information about the safety and the efficacy of those vaccines is looked at very closely.
* * *
Dr. Alden has been the man in charge during all this buffoonery. A well-publicized report from Pediatrics, released earlier in March this year, Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns, explained how poorly the AAP has failed:
“Our study indicates that a disturbingly high proportion of parents [25%] continue to believe that some vaccines cause autism in otherwise healthy children.”
The same report went on to comment on the public health’s response to this “problem” so far:
“This finding indicates that current public health education campaigns on this issue have not been effective in allaying the concerns of many parents.”
Worse for pediatricians and public health officials than the 1 in 4 people who believe vaccines can cause “autism in healthy children” is the 54% of parents and 60% of moms who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am concerned about serious adverse effects of vaccines.”
So, what’s Dr. Alden’s next step to try to stem the tide? An alert AoA’er has gotten under the hood at the AAP with the below internal letter outlining their next “plan” for how to combat parental fears, and it clearly speaks for itself. (Author’s note: Roger F. Suchyta, author of the note, was paid over $377k in compensation by the AAP in 2008):
Dear AAP Staff:
From time to time, the AAP Department of Communications develops print Public Service ads that appear free of charge in national and local magazines. These ads promote a range of pediatric topics such as obesity prevention, disaster preparedness and immunizations. We're currently working on a new ad to ease parental concerns over vaccines - concerns caused by misinformation spread by a small but vocal group of vaccine opponents which includes celebrities.
We're asking for your help to identify local parents who may be interested in joining a focus group that will evaluate several concepts and messages proposed by Springboard, our advertising agency.
A series of 30-minute focus groups will be held on Wednesday, November 17, at the office of Springboard at 15 N. Arlington Heights Road, Ste. 105, Arlington Heights, IL 60004 (downtown Arlington Heights).
AAP staff, their family and relatives may not participate in the focus groups; however, your friends or neighbors with young children below the age of 5 are welcome to participate. Please have anyone who may be interested contact Jill Halco of Springboard to schedule a session. They should e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org with a time preference. Focus group sessions will take place approximately every 30 minutes from 3:30 pm-7:30 pm on November 17.
Please note that childcare is not provided; these sessions are for adult care-givers only.
We're looking for a cross-section of parents from many different backgrounds and communities. Please ask those you think fit this description if they'd like to participate. If so, have them contact Jill Halco directly no later than Friday, November 5. (If they do not have e-mail access, please ask them to call Jill at 847-398-4920, but e-mail is preferred.) Each parent will receive $50 as a thank-you for participating in the research.
Thank you for helping with this important initiative - to help protect children from the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Roger F Suchyta, MD, FAAP
Associate Executive Director
JB Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue.
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