Autism and What the Experts are Saying, Part One: NPR's Tom Ashbrook Interviews Geri Dawson and Max Wiznitzer
Age of Autism Science Summary: The Name Game?

$elective Myopia: Merck Researchers Do Not See Victims of Vaccine Injury

Snotty manBy Nancy Hokkanen

Here's an excerpt from The Mayo Clinic's page on the Poland & Jacobson paper, in time for the recent infant immunization week. 

Physician’s Guide for Anti-Vaccine Parents

In the limited time of an office visit, how can a primary care physician make the case to parents that their child should be vaccinated? During National Infant Immunization Week, a Mayo Clinic vaccine expert and a pediatrician offer suggestions for refuting three of the most common myths about child vaccine safety. Their article, The Clinician’s Guide to the Anti-Vaccinationists’ Galaxy, is published online this month in the journal Human Immunology.

“Thousands of children are at increased risk because of under-vaccination, and outbreaks of highly transmissible diseases have occurred” says lead author Gregory Poland, M.D., Mayo Clinic vaccinologist. “Primary care physicians have less time than most to explain the scientific case for vaccination. This article gives them the background and tools to debunk some of the major myths.”

Last year on Age of Autism I criticized Merck vaccine developers Dr. Gregory Poland and Dr. Robert Jacobson for refusing to listen to vaccine injury victims. One commenter aptly asked, “What planet are these authors living on?

Ironic, then, that Drs. Poland and Jacobson cosmologically titled their latest piece of work "The Clinician’s Guide to the Anti-Vaccinationists’ Galaxy" (Human Immunology, April 2012). Though their article ostensibly aims to assist doctors with patients’ vaccine concerns, this recycled corporate messaging also attempts to neutralize (or “Wakefield-ize”) vaccine safety advocates – including Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book.

Besides stretching the definition of “anti-vaccine” beyond the ridiculous, one of the doctors’ assertions in particular stands out for the sheer cognitive dissonance it evokes: "[I]t is still unlikely that rare [vaccine] side effects can be studied adequately owing to the very, very low numbers of cases available for study."

It’s quite clear that these doctors do not live near Planet Autism… though in Minnesota, where they work at the Mayo Clinic, 1 in 56 boys born in 1997 is on the autism spectrum. And where treatment for autism is concerned, many Minnesotans consider the Mayo a dead zone and drive or fly elsewhere.

Vaccine injury cases can be found, if one is willing to look:

  • Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System at HHS;
  • Vaccine Safety Datalink at the CDC;
  • National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, HHS: 2,893 cases, compensated, 14,000+ filed;
  • NIH’s PubMed website;
  • National Vaccine Information Center website and Memorial Wall;
  • Websites such as and;
  • Facebook groups and listservs such as “I Know My Child Was Injured By Vaccines” and “Not Born With It.”

These case reports are profoundly moving tales of devastating health problems suffered by children and adults injured by vaccines, of the anguish of families tasked 24/7 with seeking medical treatments and therapies… or making funeral arrangements.

Poland and Jacobson ask us to believe that the ailments reported as vaccine injuries to the NVICP instead simply arise spontaneously, only coincidental with vaccination – conditions such as encephalopathy, demyelination, autoimmunity, mitochondrial dysfunction, glutathione deficiency disorder, methylation disorder, chronic neuroinflammation, gastrointestinal disease, microgliosis, tics and seizure disorders, development of antibodies to myelin basic protein, and more disorders listed in peer-reviewed medical literature.

Read the doctors’ statement again: "[I]t is still unlikely that rare [vaccine] side effects can be studied adequately owing to the very, very low numbers of cases available for study."

So… just how many people must be injured by vaccines before Drs. Poland and Jacobson decide they deserve study and aid? How long should vaccine adverse events be allowed to continue unchecked? And who will care enough to investigate?

Contrast the “don’t look, don’t see” attitude with Dr. Poland’s past writings, and note the swift backpedaling:

            - His 2008 Vaccinomics paper promoted tailoring vaccines to accommodate "individual variability in disease risk immunologic response”;

            - His 2009 Adversomics paper encouraged study to predict adverse reactions to vaccines, and “design new vaccine approaches that minimize or eliminate serious vaccine-related reactions."

Vaccine consumers should be appalled that these researchers have conveniently excused themselves from the task of studying vaccine injury cases. The presumption of infallibility is shocking, and the abrogation of professional responsibility to the end users of their products is unethical.

It takes enormous gall to blame the victims of vaccine injuries and their families for suggesting closer scrutiny of vaccines and stakeholders by media, government and the public. And it’s malicious to malign good doctors who advise using the precautionary principle when a medical procedure raises questions and may be contraindicated.

Disclosure statements by vaccine researchers are revealing indeed, and vary from publication to publication. Some researchers, like Dr. Poland, have received money from dozens of businesses and agencies. With much to lose financially and professionally from admissions of culpability, vaccine developers are uniquely susceptible to denial. Among the financial disincentives preventing vaccine injury from being studied are the lifetime care costs for each neuroimmune-impaired child, which can exceed $5-$10 million.

Decode the doctors’ journal-speak and their attitude toward studying and preventing vaccine injury reads, “It’s not my job.” So while vaccine-injured children with chronic neuroimmune disorders fight for their very lives, vaccine developers fight only for their professional lives. Poland, the self-described vaccine “warrior," sees himself as one of the white knights of public health – but is unwilling to clean up after his horse.

Yet much remains unknown about the full health impact of vaccines. A 2011 study in Vaccine on a trivalent influenza vaccine states that "data on the maternal inflammatory response to vaccination is lacking and would better delineate the safety and clinical utility of immunization," that there is "considerable variability in magnitude of response," and "further research is needed to confirm that the mild inflammatory response elicited by vaccination is benign in pregnancy."

It’s obvious that treating every vaccine-injured child or adult is simply too overwhelming a task for Drs. Poland and Jacobson – hence their denial. It’s long past time to recruit and organize a well-funded independent consumer service agency to properly handle vaccine injuries, from diagnosis to treatment to prevention, and fair compensation for disabilities and financial losses.

In addition, people who’ve blocked honest dialogue about vaccine injuries should be given financial incentives compelling them to stop. People who’ve suffered adverse reactions to vaccines deserve as much funding and attention as victims of any preventable disease du jour. Field evidence abounds indicating that the pool of people unable to be safely vaccinated is far greater than public health policymakers realize.

As an altruistic chemist told me, there are none so blind as those who will not see. Before selective blindness about vaccine injuries bankrupts this country, the brightest and best stars in the vaccine research galaxy must shift from microscope to stethoscope and partner with physicians to learn how vaccines are causing adverse reactions in genetically susceptible infants, children and adults. No amount of ink, bandwidth and corporate cash can wish away that paradoxical reality.

Nancy Hokkanen is the parent of a child with autism who suffered adverse reactions to infant vaccines and has a case filed in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s Omnibus Autism Proceeding. Since 2002 she has advocated for autism groups, and co-moderates a biomedical treatment listserv.



I don't blame vaccines. I blame pediatricians for continually vaccinating infants who are antibiotics. 60% of the immune system is in the gut. A big part of that immune system is those healthy gut bugs that antibiotics kill off. On antibiotics = immunocompromised child. Don't many vaccine inserts say not to adminster when children are immunocompromised? But Pediatricians routinely vaccinate children immunocompromised by antibiotics. This is on them.



So true!

Are they all becoming that desperate to push their own causes?

They cannot be that ignorant to think that parents (like us)are unable to detect their lies and rubbish.

Wherever I go, no matter who I see, I will always mention that my son has been vaccine injured. "Big Pharma" and all those associated, would not like this, not one little bit!

Like John Stone says -

"see no evil,hear no evil,speak no evil."

Elizabeth Gillespie


Or even better,research the product monograph yourself.Know
all the ingredients,additives,side-effects;better than your doctor.The mercury is still out there in the vaccines,but they keep coming up with new ingredients: aluminum,boric acid,polysorbates etc.It is a mad,mad world.Those whose eyes
and mind are closed (not looking into things,research)will
pay the price.
I saw two girls in the database (after Gardasil vaccination)with elevated mercury and arsenic levels.Or think about peanut allergy,my suspicion is that the peanut oil in some vaccines sensitized the kids.
I think there are too many of us and they(pHARMA) just do not care.Sickness increases their business.It is up to us to
make the changes and become active participants in our own health.There will be huge problems in healthcare,a crisis is coming.We can see it,others do not.

Carolyn Kylesmom

One of the things you CAN say if you are forced to go to a peds office--ask to see the "REAL" package insert, not the cute flyer. So far every real package insert I've seen has said things like "Not tested in combo with other vaccines" and things like "ask your doctor if pregnant" or "may cause encephalitis". TO show this to a doctor who "SWEARS" there are no side effects might start a bit of an education. I have heard some admit they never even LOOKED at those inserts.

Erik Nanstiel

The entire vaccine program has to be stripped down to its foundations and reformed with only those vaccines covering the DEADLIEST of diseases. Far fewer kids will die of measles or whooping cough than the number of kids who will be saddled with life-long, debilitating autism. Fact is... there is no such thing as a non-toxic vaccine. Adjuvants WORK because they're toxic and damaging to the nervous system. How that fact so escaped those in charge of the pediatric schedule confounds me! So... if a little bit of toxicity allows for immunity to be gained against the antigen... then a LOT OF TOXICITY must be even better!!! Id-ee-yots!

As long as we allow industry such unfettered access to our health agencies...including such a short 12-month waiting period to leave public office before one can get an industry job (Julie Gerberding, you listening?) and as long as we allow for prescription drugs to be advertised in the public media... this culture of corruption will not change. Vampires will all go vegan before that happens.

Daron fails at trolling

Pay "Daron" no mind. He's just an idiot doing Gorski's bidding, and doing a very poor job at that.


'Apparently some genes are starting to show some invlovement.'

I guess I have been wrong all this time, how could anybody dispute such a cast iron statement of case?


Posts like this one from trolls like Daron, are proof positive that we are getting a little close to a very ugly truth. One that threatens to expose a lot of so called "experts", who either allowed or even facilitated this heinous crime against defenceless children.

We should expect to see more these posts as we go forward, but we should recognize them for what they are. And not allow them raise any doubt in our minds, about what we KNOW to be the truth.


Daron, your garbled letter is rife with inaccuracies and addresses no issues from the article. Thimerosal's MSDS states it is a mutagen. Had you read any recent AoA articles, you'd know that the current U.S. autism rate is for 8-year-olds born in 2000... just when Thimerosal was starting to be partially phased out of vaccines.

You fail to realize that because vaccines are mandated and manufacturers bear no financial liability, consumers have little assurance they are getting the safest possible product. When cars develop problems such as sudden acceleration, consumers can pressure automakers by threatening to switch from Toyota to Subaru. But with vaccines, choice is limited and -- as illustrated above -- researchers have no incentive to help victims of adverse events. This is not paranoia, it's reality in black and white... and green. It's mostly about saving money.

Daron White

Wow... and no mention of the harm this paranoia is doing and how much pain and suffering vaccines have caused. My daugher is autistic but there is frankly no evidence that vaccines cause this. First it was said it was the mercury... that was taken out in vast areas (countries) and no change in the autisim rate. Apparently some genes are starting to show some invlovement. I am sure however that you all will ignore this evidence as you have already jumped on the wagon and are too proud to get off. Unfortunate at best

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Clearly, we're all going to have to stay with this till the bitter end- Very bitter end. If no external force suceeds in knocking the evil out of WHO, perhaps they will rot from the inside. On one occasion in New Delhi, I chanced to give a lift to a young woman who turned out to work for WHO in Geneva. She stated, " I do admit that there should not be a double standard for giving Thimerosal in vaccines to the third world , and not to the developed world. Friends- Dont leave this battle. Get the message and the truth out as much as you can.


I posted a response to this at

I realise it is very disjointed (I didn't do a very good at putting the headings in) but it is meant to be read alongside the Poland, Jacobsen paper.


Its hard to keep track, on who is the most callous, offensive, arrogant, asshole. Just when I want to address the current officeholder of that title, the next days news provides the new highest bidder for that position. They must be competing with one another.


Great insights as always, Nancy. And what a sorry horse our knight is riding on and what a lot of **** we've all had to clean up, huh?

A neighbor just told me how a mutual acquaintance declares that her family is a "flu shot family" as though declaring traditional party support or a religious affiliation. And I think that's exactly what the Polands of the vaccine defense universe have been aiming at- confusing the credulous into conflating a medical choice with blind patriotism, borrowed faith or seasonal fashion, all of which have about the same degree of depth. There is pride in the degree of blindness, purity in credulousness, virtue in the daftness. This mutual acquaintance will even paste a wide-eyed look on her face if anyone even tries (as the friend did) to explain some of the risks: she is telegraphing herself as a true believer whose virtue cannot be shaken. It may also be that the unenlightened and therefore abstracted sense of risk is part of the deliciousness of this form of faith-- one can feel as if one is making a theoretical "sacrifice" for the good of all. Of course the truth, is, as the evidence on the ineffectiveness of the Tdap has shown, that it may be all concrete risk for only a theoretical but not actual benefit.

I suppose rule one in creating this kind of blind adherence is to say bad things about resisters so that all the faithful need do is be reactionary and stick to the list of fashion don'ts to be on the safe side. If the resisters look things up on the internet, well, the faithful must not eat of that fruit, wear white after Labor Day, scroll too far down on Google search results, etc. It's tragic.


"....In the limited time of an office visit, how can a primary care physician make the case to parents that their child should be vaccinated?..."


Yes, we must all now feel bad for those poor little doctors

So little time, to convince parents that although their previously normal child has inexplicably regressed into a completely non-verbal, oddly introverted state.... there's no need to be alarmed, since toddlers "sometimes do that".

So little time, to convince parents that its OK to inject 25 micrograms of mercury into their toddler, despite EPA guidelines which clearly show that a person would need to weigh 550 pounds to have a chance at safety metabolizing that much ingested or inhaled mercury. Even the EPA can't tell you what the safe limit is for INJECTED mercury.

So little time, to convince parents that vaccine damaged children is perfectly acceptable in the context of the greater good. Its not like all children are being "severely" maimed by vaccines. And parents of those children who do sustain debilitating injuries, should just embrace the fact that those lifelong disabilities were sustained for a vaccine that may or may not prevent the next scourge of .....chicken pox, or measles (?!?!). Which may or may not be just around the corner.

The medical establishment has blood on their hands. And their lying ways can not go on forever.

Shell Tzorfas

Hi. Take a look.

Christine Thompson

I am about to finish losing what little mind I have left. I cannot believe that the AAP & WHO want to continue to use mercury in vaccines. Talk about crimes against humanity. This not only gives new meaning to MAD -Mutually Assured Destruction- but has without a doubt confirmed my deepest suspicion that the "greater good" is no f***ing good at all.


When did hiding the truth become a mandate ? I browse the journals and it seems to have been an actual ,deliberate ,coverup after about 1996. While the earlier studies would admit to safety issues, such as this one questioning the safety of receiving several shots..

to the overused line in many MMR studies since... "No signs of suspected meningitis were reported. No serious adverse events were reported by the investigator to be related to vaccination."


Those at Merck are simply too busy with trying to secure HPV (Help Pay for Vioxx)/ Gardasil mandates to worry about vaccine injuries. (Vioxx / a 4.8 billion dollar problem)

There is no reason a "vaccine banned in India" cannot now be given to every male and female in the USA starting at age 9.

India suspends approved for boys in the USA......

in 40 years... we will know if this effort is droping the 1.5% cervical cancer rate, mostly in women 45 - 55 years old.

Any questions shoud be addresed to Dr. Julie.

Former CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, discusses the Hanna Poling Case.....

Dr. Gerberding in now President of Merck Vaccines, the corporation she once was expected to regulate.

Donna L.

Exactly who do they think comprises the "anti-vaccinationist" group, if not individuals who have experienced and/or directly witnessed vaccine injury or those who personally know individuals who've been vaccine-injured?

I don't get it. One minute, we're everywhere, driving down immunization rates, threatening public health, and necessitating the publication of articles such as Poland and Jacobson's...and the next minute, we're invisible, non-existent and nowhere to be found. I really wish these folks would get their lies straight.

Tim Kasemodel


Once again you present your case in the most astounding way. Your ability to use the most effective words in the most concise way to get your point across is inspiring.

Case in point:

"The presumption of infallibility is shocking, and the abrogation of professional responsibility to the end users of their products is unethical."

Just one example of many in your article of an idea that would have taken me many paragraphs to get across.

Another office where I work has a quote I just saw yesterday - "Never base your life decisions on advice from people who don't have to live with the results". I think this should be posted at the entrance of every pediatric clinic in the world.

I think it was Dr. Jacoboson that spoke at the 2 hour "Autism Committee" meeting at the Minnesota Legislature about 5 years ago. I asked him why there were twice as many 10 year olds recieving educational autism services as there were 17 year olds even though they had an extra 7 years of "increased awareness". His credibility shined through when he stated it just meant that half of the 17 year olds "slipped through the cracks".

It reminds me of another of my favorite oldie but goodie quotes from Upton Sinclair:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Thanks Nancy for another inspiring and thoughtful post.


Poland, the self-described vaccine “warrior," sees himself as one of the white knights of public health – but is unwilling to clean up after his horse.

Well said. And now, we're knee-deep in his muck. Isn't it amazing how all you have to do is describe a vaccine injury to be labeled an anti-vaccinationist?

I have to credit the vaccine injury deniers for their creativity. This is a new one on me:

"[I]t is still unlikely that rare [vaccine] side effects can be studied adequately owing to the very, very low numbers of cases available for study."

That doesn't quite sync up with the Supreme Court's description of vaccines as "unavoidably unsafe."


Oh please;
What this is - is just a refresher course of peds. They are taught what to say to parents in college and medical school -- and since they are so good at rote learning they really don't need this refresher course.

My son's peds were so good at it - that I swear it was almost word for word from the lecture that I had heard in my college days. Amazing. They were so fast and took up all the time that I could not get a word in edge wish. I finally had to write a letter describing the whole details of the sorrow mess and a request to not rehash old lectures from community disease courses, since they were obviously not true.

OH an Planet Autism well it still is 1 or 2 percent but what is the percentage of vaccine injury.

Canada Mom said 2 percent autism
8 percent ADHD
3 percent Intellectual disability mental retardation
6 to 8 percentLearning disability,
10 -15 percent over weight
??????? Diabetes; The CDC is unsure about the number of kids with diabetes. .025 percent with type 1 -- perhaps. Type 2 could be from 15 to 46 percent they are unsure because it is hard to - decide.
?????? Kawasakis disease the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children - I cannot find the percentage because they do not have a clue. Apparently they are thinking that many - many - many - many cases are being missed because some kawasakis are milder than others. About 1 in 5 children with the disease develops heart problems, but only a small percentage have lasting damage, an those are mostly boys. There is no mention of parent's complaints of mood disorders, and other "small mental problems" following this disease either.

How far does this rabbit hole go

Jim Thompson

Nancy, it seems true that most medical professionals lack the will to address the risk, the reality, and the consequence of vaccine injury. But our elected representatives in Washington, DC must bear as much blame because they granted the drug companies immunity from liability for vaccine injury. We must demand they change the law. Sjostrom and Nilsson had it right 40 years ago.

“It seems, in principle, self evident that no free enterprise can expect only to share the profits of their products without also taking responsibility for any damage caused by them.”

Sjostrom and Nilsson, “Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies,” (1972) p. 176.

John Stone

Three Wise Monkeys from Wiki:

"The three wise monkeys (Japanese: 三猿, san'en or sanzaru, or 三匹の猿, sanbiki no saru, literally "three monkeys"), sometimes called the three mystic apes,[1] are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil". He may be shown crossing his arms.

'There are various meanings ascribed to the monkeys and the proverb including associations with being of good mind, speech and action. In the Western world the phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it, or feigning ignorance.'

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.)