The masterful new book, Vaccine Epidemic, edited by Louise Kuo Habakus, M.A., director of the Center for Personal Rights, and Mary Holland, J.D., research scholar at the New York University School of Law may be the most important book yet published on the autism-vaccine controversy.
I say this as an attorney because of my conviction that the scientific misdeeds alleged by many in our community, and in which I strongly believe, could never have taken place without a legal framework which allowed them to happen, and subsequently, prevented them from being investigated. To put it simply the whole game is rigged. Do you play an unfair game or do you walk away?
Consider the public debate on this issue. Our community is referred to as "anti-science" because we assert that vaccines cause significant damage in some people. The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act itself defines vaccines as "unavoidably unsafe." Even though I believe the court established by this Act to be fundamentally flawed in many ways, and should be abolished, the fact remains it has paid out more than $2 billion dollars since 1988. How are we "anti-science"? It seems to me we should be referred to as "pro-science" since we are asking the medical community to come up with some sort of screening system to identify those at risk for vaccine injury.
Vaccine Epidemic is divided into three sections, the first on vaccination choice, the second regarding personal narratives of vaccine injury, and third, the topics in this debate. In making the case for vaccination choice, the various authors argue that since vaccination involves a risk of injury or death, nothing less than full and informed consent, backed up by the most comprehensive scientific research, will suffice. Given the poor state of medical research into vaccine injuries it's clear we are far from this point. The personal narratives are heart-wrenching, and the topics in debate section include pharmaceutical influence on the vaccination controversy, the issue of childhood removal for refusing vaccinations, a discussion of the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and whether the concept of herd immunity is supported by the scientific evidence.
One of the things for which I commend the editors is the number of voices in this book. There are 25 authors from the fields of law, medicine, the military, and parents who contribute chapters, demonstrating that this is a broad-based movement across many disciplines who are concerned about what is happening to this generation of children.
Here's what was said about this book by Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the current health editor for U. S. News and World Report. "There are unanswered questions about vaccine safety. We need studies on vaccinated populations based on various schedules and doses as well as individual patient susceptibilities that we are continuing to learn about. No one should be threatened by the pursuit of this knowledge. Vaccine policy should be the subject of frank and open debate, with no tolerance for bullying. There are no sides-only people concerned for the well-being of our children."
Buy this book (HERE). Buy many copies and distribute it widely. It can change the terms of the public debate on vaccines and autism. This book gives us a voice which cannot be denied.
Kent Heckenlively is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism