Brandeis U. Autism Awareness Week Update: Current Schedule
Olmsted on Autism: Michael Specter Plagiarizes Paul Offit, Massacres Facts in “Denialism”

Are We Becoming a Majority?

Diversity-Hands1-400x266 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

The pharmaceutical companies control the legal system (Vaccine Court), the media (try watching any news program without getting bombarded by prescription drug ads), and the politicians ($29 million to Congress in 2008 and $176 million since 1990).

But are they losing the people?

Last Saturday morning my attention was drawn to a small article on the bottom right side of page 11 of my local newspaper.  I'd later realize that the headline was even further downplaying the significance of the story.  The headline read "Many Californians won't get H1N1 vaccination, poll shows."

I'd read similar articles in the past so I thought I'd be getting more of the same.  I was wrong.  A threshold has been crossed in my home state.  In my opinion it should have been on the front page.

The article was taken from the Los Angeles Times (November 6, 2009) and had this as its lead paragraph.  "As concern spreads about H1N1, a new survey of California voters found that while most consider the vaccine safe, a majority had no plans to get vaccinated."

STOP!!!!  Did I just read that correctly?  "A MAJORITY HAD NO PLANS TO GET VACCINATED"????  Isn't this the pandemic that President Obama declared a "national emergency" a few weeks ago?

I couldn't help but continue reading. 

The survey questioned 1500 registered voters and was conducted as a joint effort between the Los Angeles Times and USC.  "Only 5 percent of those polled said they had already been inoculated.  Of the rest, 52 percent said they did not plan to get vaccinated."

The article became even more shocking as I continued.

"Of those polled, 70 percent said they think the H1N1 vaccine is safe for most people, while only 17 percent said there is a strong chance the vaccine is unsafe."

Okay, let's get this straight.  70 percent of the public thinks that the vaccine is safe for "most people."  But 52 percent of the public has "no plans to get vaccinated."  That means that lurking somewhere in the back of the collective mind of the majority of the public is the thought, "Hey, that vaccine might not be safe for ME!"  As my friend the Stanford economist always points out, "If you want to know what people really believe, look at what they do, not what they say."  And they're not rushing out to get vaccinated.

There was also this curious nugget of information.  "The poll also found that blacks and Latinos are far more likely than other groups to say they believed the vaccine could be unsafe."  Hmm, groups with a history of being lied to are less likely to believe people in positions of authority.  I wonder why that would be?  Maybe they're better at spotting lies?

The article reminded me of a recent exchange in the teacher lunch room of the school at which I work.  Most of the teachers are ten to fifteen years younger than me and the issue of getting a flu shot came up.  A few had gotten the shot, others hadn't, and people were going round the table with their plans. 

I remained silent.

Finally one of the teachers looked at me and said, "Kent, I heard you have a pretty strong opinion about vaccines."  I thought of the long-time friends I'd lost over this issue, the family members who have started emotional fights about our beliefs, my aged father who is still getting his yearly flu shots so that I can worry about Alzheimer's as one of the joys of his remaining years, and what has become an absolute silence from many of those I care most deeply about in regards to what has happened to my daughter.  And there was another thought running around my brain.  At my new school I was really starting to like these people.  I didn't want to lose them as I'd lost so many others.

"I do," I replied, and went back to eating my sandwich.

A few seconds later I realized that everybody at the table was still staring at me.  "Well, it's really a controversial issue," I stammered.

They kept looking.  They wanted to know.

I laid it all out for them as best I could in the remaining minutes.  The Vaccine Court, my own experience of having a daughter with seizures and autism, then watching my 18 month-old son begin the descent into autism after a pediatric visit in which the pediatrician gave him a full developmental work-up which he passed with flying colors, and my son's subsequent recovery through bio-medical intervention.  They were riveted.  A teacher gets a sense of his audience and they were looking at me as an expert, not a crack-pot.

As we were breaking up for lunch and I was giving the standard disclaimer that this was my opinion and they were entitled to their own, another teacher said it best.  "My wife and I are considering having kids and we want to be educated.  I want to know more."

I think I was hearing from a member of the new majority.

Kent Heckenlively is a Contributing Editor of Age of Autism


Jack's Dad

The H1N1 vaccine emerged as a topic of conversation yesterday over sandwiches in my monthly department meeting. Like Kent, I kept my mouth shut and just listened.

These are all college-educated folks, and I was appalled by the fact that there appeared to be little awareness that a controversy even existed about vaccines.

I was surprised, however, when one of my colleagues (a rather enlightened former journalist) stated that concerns over the H1N1 vaccine was revealing the growing mistrust of our government. Upon which one of my colleagues responded "isn't that good? that means all those folks will stay home and there will be more vaccine supply for all of us." Everyone nodded enthusiastically and went back to their sandwiches.


autism grandma,
you need to give A of A a copy of your "Did You Know?" flyer !!!!


I couldn't agree more Kent. I, too, work in a school and have found that especially the younger parents want to know more. They want to weigh the evidence and the risks. We are gaining. I suspect that we are saving more than we may ever come to realize. Keep it up my friend!!


What saddens me is the extreme pharma influence on medicine. The practice of medicine used to be an art. Unfortunately it has been reduced to a formulaic "Take this pill/vax to cure/prevent X." Unfortunately these "wonders" can create more problems for which more drugs/vax are needed (or was that the plan all along?).

I have read, many times, in mainstream news how pharma companies suppress negative data on certain drug effects. Why does anyone believe that they don't do this with vaccines? At least with bad drugs you have a reasonable ability to sue - with vaccines it is an uphill battle from the get-go.

Luckily the American people are watching. We are much more skeptical than we were in the go-go days of the 90's, and the hyper-patriotic days of the early 2000's. We now realize that the people at the "top" don't always have our best interests at heart, and that the decisions made by our lawmakers have alot more to do with money than they do with anything else.

Iraq broke me from my belief . . . hyper-vax fanaticism (fueled by $$) stomped my belief into the ground and crushed it into a thousand tiny little pieces. I'm not sure if it will ever be quite the same again.

I was a dem as a young adult, turned conservative as a wife and mom - now I don't know what I am anymore. Both sides have really let me down.

Craig Willoughby

It saddens me that we are becoming a majority. It makes me so very sad that so many people are joining our little "club" because of the fanaticism of the vaccine defenders. I want so bad to be wrong about vaccines; I want so bad to believe that all vaccines are safe and effective and that all of these reactions reported by thousands of parents are just "coincidental." I believe that vaccines are good, but they are just not safe enough. I can't unsee what happened to my son. I can't forget what happened to all of your children. And that is what the vaccine defenders are wanting us to do; forget everything we've seen happen to our children and just take our damned medicine. Forget informed consent! Do what you're told!

They deny our children. They deny them services, insurance. To them, autism isn't curable. It isn't an "acquired" condition, so insurance writes it off as "pre-existing." Doctors ignore what happened to our children, or worse; they ridicule us publicly, or tar and feather any doctor who agrees with us or says, "Maybe we should look further into this."

It saddens me that some of the smartest people in the world are so dogmatic in their belief that it seems that they would rather more children get harmed and injured by possible vaccine reactions than to do further investigation into the children that have been harmed. Or look at those that are unvaccinated to see if are autistic, have GI problems, etc. etc.

It makes me so very depressed that so many people are turning away from mainstream medicine, an organization that is supposed to be devoted to helping people, because mainstream medicine refuses to help them. Or mainstream medicine insults them, saying they confuse correlation with causation.

I predict one of two things in the next 10 years.
1. Some deadly and communicable disease will happen. The vaccine defenders will blame people who are questioning vaccines. They won't wonder why the disease is affecting those that are vaccinated too.

2. A connection to vaccines and neurological illnesses will be found. The vaccine defenders will blame people who are questioning vaccines for "getting rid of the greatest medical advance in human history."

Either way, the will ask, "How did this happen?"

Our answer will be, "We told you....many times. You didn't listen."

michael framson

The Rebel Alliance appears to be growing in this galaxy. The Empire surely is working on a Media Death Star to quell the rebellion.

The dark side will not let go so easily when their back is to the wall.

Trust the force: Truth, honesty, and humility.


I think "disease control" officials are used to having a lot of leeway, sometimes saying whatever works for vaccine PR without backing up their statements with data, sometimes even in contradiction of actual circumstances or previous positions they've taken.

I don't think we are a majority yet, but I hope more people are feeling or seeing the fallout from immune damage that is on the rise and maybe beginning to make a causal connection. Maybe seeing that not everything they are hearing regarding this "pandemic" and getting vaccinated is adding up. I'm hoping more begin to make the effort to become educated before they are more severely affected.


At a Sunday gathering the topic of flu came up frequently. One 75-year-old woman who grows her own vegetables announced firmly that she was NOT getting a flu shot -- she never gets the flu, she never gets the shot, and a lot of the people who get the shot get the flu anyway.

In the younger set were people who'd had reactions, and others who'd read compelling information that led to a search for more and hesitance in deciding.

I think that people are starting to realize that they don't have to put up with "one-size-fits-all" medical care that's expedient for the clinician rather than the patient. Next consumers need to organize and demand a true product warranty.


Autism Grandma, that was some garage sale!!!


Ugh. I wish I could agree. But I've had a bad autism week. More than a few people have told me this week that there is no aut/vax connection AND that's it's all better diagnosing. For some people, it will take them being personally affected. Even then I live in a very "educated" area and other autism families call Jenny a quack who is "hurting the message".


Two years ago when I mentioned vaccines being unsafe, most people looked at me like I was crazy. Presently when I mention that vaccines are unsafe, people reply "Yes, I have heard that." I can't wait to see what happens in two more years. I predict that in the near future, one of three things will have to happen: 1. most people stop vaccination, 2. vaccines start being safer, or 3. people are forced to get vaccines.

Autism Grandma

There will be more parents refusing these vaccines as more information is disseminated online and through email, and I have noticed more people responding to the message regarding these vaccine risks than I have ever seen before. Virtually all of the Natural Medicine proponents are coming out against the swine flu vaccine, although most naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, etc. have always been "anti-vaccine" across the board to begin with. I was surprised though when I met a Russian immigrant last week when he came over to buy a dryer I had stored in the garage. In very broken English he said to me, "Do you know about the swine flu vaccines?" And as they say in Russian "Nyet" DO NOT DO IT, he told me emphatically. Then he struggled some more with the language to tell me that most of the people that he works with are refusing these vaccines. Then he told me that he was going to move to Canada because "America isn't standing by it's own constitution anymore." So I said to him that at least here you can openly speak about government issues, whereas in Russia they arrest you and throw you in the Gulag for doing that. So he said, "Zat iz exactly vy I come to USA".

This weekend I had a garage sale which I advertised for Baby clothing etc, so I was expecting a lot of people with infants and young children. I copied an online NVIC flyer with the vaccine schedule and them condensed my last 2 years of nonstop research into a "Did You Know?" flyer about vaccines and autism. I handed out 50 copies of both and a lot of people had heard the "rumor" about the vaccines, and except for one single person they all accepted the info and even THANKED me. One woman told me she is a social worker and is going to make copies to hand out to all of her clients. Another woman made Newborn Gift Baskets so she said that she was going to make copies to include the info in every basket. Another guy owned a Re-Sell-It store and said that he was going to hand this out to all of his customers. So now I have others helping me to spread the warning.

One older man was taking a walk and dropped by, when he overhead me discussing this subject with 2 very interested women, both grandmothers my age who were also talking about how dangerous the new swine flu shots are, he interrupted us to say that "There are patients who even react to injections that only have water in them" and that "all these people who are saying that the vaccines caused their children's reactions are just deceiving themselves because it is only a co-incidence". So I said to him, "Excuse me, but if my grandson would have simply received WATER in those shots he certainly would not have developed autism and all of his other horrific reactions which occurred immediately after the vaccines. We witnessed this happening with OUR OWN TWO EYES"....Then he went off on some medical mumbo jumbo and I could see that he was not receptive so when the other two women just ignored him as if he wasn't there, I joined them and that finally got him to leave (with his tail between his legs) Then I asked the other women "Don't you think that guy must have been a doctor?" and they agreed "Oh Yeah pretty obvious!!! Those guys are like robots, just brainwashed" they said.

I had to pray for God's help before handing these flyers out that I would not allow my anger to surface because I did not want my own personal feelings to interfere with my ability to share this message with others. I was surprised at myself that I could stay on topic by focusing on the facts instead of my feelings, however when this doctor got into the act I felt myself getting angry so the solution was to simply ignore him, and not allow him to interfere with my communication with these other two grandmothers who were very receptive. Ironically enough this doctor's statements backfired on him because he only contributed to further convincing these intelligent women that the medical system has been LYING to them and everyone else. (That is a direct quote: "LYING")

"They can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but they can not fool all of the people all of the time."


I'm over caring what people think. If someone asks about my son's condition I tell them what happened and why. They can do with that information what they want. For every person that thinks I'm nuts there's another person who listens. The government and the medical establishment will never address the dangers of vaccines. The only hope is for the people to become aware.

Claudine Liss

We have been dealing with so much political corruption here in NJ for years. (Almost) EX-GOVERNOR Corzine spent 24 million dollars of his own money on his campaign. His opponent Christie spent like 8 million total. Corzine's fancy commercials could not save him. A majority of people came out and voted for his opponent (Christie). That is what it took. When a majority of Americans flat out refuse to poison their children with untested vaccines, refuse to vote for candidates who support poisoning children....things will change. The time will come.


Kent, I think we are becoming a majority. Polls still show Canadians getting the H1N1 vacc are about split. I feel kind of bad that I was maybe a little too outspoken about the issue at my last dental visit but sometimes it's hard to reign it in a bit.
I am astounded at how desperate and silly the Oracs etc. are about Desiree (the flu shot victim who has recently recovered. They insist (in the face of 2 doctors saying it WAS a vaccine reaction dystonia) the poor girl was making it all up and that secondly, it was impossible or unethical for Dr. Buttar to have helped her.
This shakes them to the core and I don't understand it. I mean it's not like all the ed assistants and teachers are screaming "no, it can't be. Our careers depend on these children being damaged." We would be happy for there to be less autistic children. But not the scientists, no. They want to keep things just the way they are. Sick.


Thank you, Kent. Your story is like the parts of movies about the civil rights movement that always make me burst into tears-- the moment when public consensus starts to turn in the favor of decency and the isolated seekers of justice aren't alone anymore.

Funny, just today-- for the very first time-- I arranged a playdate with a mom who shares our views without having the "educational supplement" of effected children. By the end of the playdate-- which went on far longer than any of the kids wanted because the moms were yakking-- we both snickered that it felt like we were starting a witches coven or something. I have a distinct feeling that there's a lot of potential "draftees" around. There's been some kind of sea change; it's in the press and in the air-- you're totally right, Kent.

Whatever will pharma go next? Strafe the Amish with measles virus? Contract with Orkin to have whole communities bombed with Flumist?

Theodore M. Van Oosbree

The dependence of the public on "expert" opinion is the great inertial force. The explosion of ASD and other childhood disorders and the inability of the "experts" to acknowledge or account for them has undermined their credibility and will continue to do so. I also think the deteriorating economic and political situations have also led people to question authority in general and created a psychological climate in which people are more willing to listen to reasonable objections to the prevailing wisdom.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

I talk to anybody , almost anywhere and give out envelopes full of papers about autism and how much mercury is in which vaccine and what happened to Matthew and Charlie (AOA warriors)
Most people listen and some even get into a long conversation and then I start learning things from them ! But one person did not . His wife did but he did not . I guess I went too far that time. Two AM in the airport waiting at length for passengers to come out of customs. Not a good time.
My younger daughter gets slightly irate. She says, " Cant you see the glazed look in their eyes?!" After that I did watch out for the glazed look.
Im happiest when I spot a Bengali family. Bengalis eat so much fish full of mercury that they all know people with autism and they will surely read my papers.
I wish I had some of those cool bumper stickers:can anyone tell me where to get them? and I wish I had a magic wand and could make some of my own.
Being thought to be crazy is simply step one of the program. Step two comes when they see something negative about vaccines and say "OMG, maybe that crazy lady was right!" I liked the idea of raindrops- Little raindrops of truth that will finally make a difference.

PJ Carroll

In every mainstream media article about the vaccine/autism controversy, the reporter inevitably states "A small but growing number of parents, doctors and scientists believe..."

I get so sick of reading that line! How do they define the number "small"? And if the number has continued to grow after years and years of reporting on this issue, who is to say that we haven't become the majority??


We are becoming a majority because the numbers are just getting too big to ignore, and people still have common sense. By refusing to adequately address safety issues, the CDC has lost credibility. People don't believe them anymore. I am having a happy day too, Kent. Look at what was in my Inbox this morning, from a pregnant friend:
"Thank you very much for sending us the article. We found it very interesting and helpful. I've sent it on to my other pregnant girlfriends. So far none of us have gotten the shots. It's funny the only pregnant woman I know that got the shot was sick as a dog for over a week right after.

The article gave us both peace of mind with our decision not to get the shots so thanks again."

The article I sent her was Dr. Blaylock's takedown of the H1N1 hype, quoting CDC's own statistics.

One shot at a time, one person at a time. And they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on. It makes up for the friendships I've lost, to know that I can help prevent someone from going through what we have. For that I am eternally grateful to you, Kent, and all the parents who wore down the path, and all the researchers and clinicians who speak up.

Kelli Ann Davis

The fact that medical personel refused the shot and even "rallied" for their right to do so....exhibit one in "when the rubber meets the road, we're bailing"....

No way to "spin" that baby...


Thanks Kent... It makes me happy to hear stories like this. We need more of that.

aunt sharon

i feel it too kent! sometimes i feel like a mad scientist carefully scanning any article, anywhere the word"vaccine" is mentioned. i smile to myself when i hear the public isn't lining up like cattle to wait for their vaccine before the world ends from this horrible flu! i too lug my soap box with me wherever i go, sometimes i even feel people may go the other way when they see me coming. other times when i'm talking to someone that i know is an educated intelligent person and they look at me like i'm the crazy one and quote what they saw on last night's 11:00 news, i feel maybe i should toss that soap box out the window. but i don't!!! i will keep it with me always and if it makes people uncomfortable, too bad! every one of us that that enlightens another person with what we know is the truth, moves us closer to having more people listen and believe!! look, it's already happening...

walter Constantine

Did anybody see the story on I believe CBS, that many children are comming down with Encephalitis after getting the H1N1 shot.

I looked up the symptoms of Encephalitis and most of then are the same ones my son had before he became autistic.

Can anybody help me find out where this was aired, So I can show it to some friends,

Thank you.


Do I understand correctly that the government provided 5 billion to the US media to promote the vaccine program ?

Casey Ohlsson

We had a similar article in Tulsa, and I know we are making an impact. We just have to keep it up and don't get discouraged.
It will be weird looking back in 10,20, or 50 years, what impact will we have made then?

Melissa McNeese

Today's NY Times reports a lack of interest in flu shots in NYC:


I am seeing the same thing. For every 10 people I told about my son's descent into autism and subsequent (and ongoing) recovery, I used to get maybe one positive response. I got a lot of "better real rise in autism prevalence", "genetics", and "greater good". Apparently, it is only the greater good when other people are affected. I'm not judging, I used to be that person. With more and more children affected every day, all it takes is connecting the dotted lines for people. Showing them how ADHD, Tourette's, stutters, juvenile diabetes and asthma are all connected to vaccination as well as autism. One of these things affects nearly every parent I talk to. Many have children who had minor (I'm sure not to them, but minor to me) speech delays or auditory processing issues. What they got from their pediatricians is much like what we get as parents of children with autism..."Sometimes this just happens", "We have no idea, but don't worry, he'll probably outgrow it". When will the medical community realize that this is not good enough for parents? If you can't give us an answer, we are going to go looking for one. That is where all of us come in...


I've seen more local stories like this, and I also wonder, why isn't this on the front page?

Tanners Dad

I pray you are right. It is sad we are so battered & Bruised we are nervous about stating facts. Great job of staying the course. Thank You.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)