By Dan Olmsted
A monumental catastrophe is unfolding in doctor's offices and public health clinics across this country every day, and it is called the Childhood Immunization Schedule. It is responsible for the autism epidemic, and much else that is unhealthy for our children, our country, and our world. A greatly reduced and more selective and safety-focused vaccine schedule could put the brakes on that epidemic -- today, family by family and child by child, while we also work for reform and recognition of vaccine injury on political, legal, and journalism fronts.
Our mission at Age of Autism is to end the Age of Autism -- meaning, the autism epidemic -- not to end vaccination as a medical practice. I've never said otherwise, and if people find this a disqualifying point of view, I'm truly sorry to lose their confidence but I have to be straightforward and consistent. Other groups and some of our valued writers and readers do have that mission, and we respect and interact with them all the time, publish their posts, and put their perspectives in our book (Vaccines 2.0, out next month, co-written with Mark Blaxill). There is room for different but allied approaches and tactics to attacking this catastrophe, and it is much better to collaborate and affirm each other than to splinter our small activist coalition over issues where we have far -- far! -- more in common that anything mainstream public health is asserting.
Let's remember first principles, as put forward by the late great Bernie Rimland, who I feel privileged to call a personal hero: "The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause. ... There are many consistent lines of evidence implicating vaccines, and no even marginally plausible alternative hypotheses."
Note that phrase: Excessive vaccinations.
To argue that the excessive, bloated vaccine schedule caused the post-1988 autism epidemic, as I do, you are basically stipulating that the much less aggressive vaccine schedule pre-1988 was not causing it, as problematic as it may still have been in the particulars. Hence, promoting a lesser, later, lighter vaccine schedule -- and the right to choose it, without resistance -- is one reasonable way to try to end the epidemic, among many other necessary steps. One reason the Amish have little to no autism is not because they never ever vaccinate -- although many do not -- but because they are light years from the metronomic well-baby shot schedule that is causing mayhem for the rest of us (most don't have health insurance, for one thing). How many home-birthed, midwife-attended Amish babies do you really think get the hep B shot within hours of coming into the world? Precious few, I'd say.
Mercury in vaccines has caused autism since the 1930s, as I think we have shown conclusively (thank you, Teresa Conrick!), and bad vaccines like the DPT have done damage as well, but the epidemic rate of autism today, now, this minute, is directly due to the post-1986 vaccine act feeding frenzy by the pharmaceutical companies and complicit captured regulators and pediatric practices. It needs to be stopped.
At least, that is my opinion, based on my own research, experience, and professional training. This may seem like stating the obvious to all of us -- that the current schedule is causing the current epidemic, but it is still a minority and beleaguered point of view that we fight every day to demonstrate.
I respectfully disagree with what is often part and parcel of the no-vaccines-ever argument -- that the polio and smallpox vaccines didn't really end those epidemics. I base this again on research of my own and with my colleague Mark Blaxill on these topics -- particularly polio (although the epidemic was man-made -- another story). So because I think these statements are simply incorrect, and that it is a historical fact that these vaccines did end serious diseases, I don't see these as winning arguments to make to concerned parents. To my mind it is therefore hard to convince new parents that there simply is no case for any vaccination, ever, and never will be, end of story, thanks for listening, go and sin no more. Those who want to make the case that smallpox and polio vaccines were worthless need to hold themselves to a higher standard of rigor than just the received wisdom that polio was "reclassified" out of existence or that the determined and well-documented vaccine onslaught on smallpox really had nothing to do with wiping it out. This does not make me pro- (or anti-) vaccine, just someone trying to assess facts objectively.
So on the polio vaccine, as I mentioned in my last column, I would say, yes, it worked. But also that you as a new parent should think about whether your child really needs it in this day and age, and if you are looking to cut back, consider putting your red pencil through that one, at least for now. This is why we have to stick to our journalistic guns -- if we are convinced that the polio vaccine did work, we can't simply say otherwise or keep quiet . But we can still help parents reassess the need for mass polio vaccination in the United States in 2014.
This is where I have put my efforts for more than a decade -- discovering and demonstrating that the bloated and largely untested vaccine program we have today, including ingredients like thimerosal and blunders like combined live virus vaccines at age 1, is the driving force behind the autism epidemic and its many, many attendant health problems. So, it logically follows, at least to me, that anything that dials back on the cumulative hit and the worst and most demonstrably dangerous and useless offenders in the current schedule, and empowers parental concern and choice, including the choice not to vaccinate at all -- as our book does -- furthers our mission.
A widespread revolt against current vaccination policy, including an unchallenged right not to vaccinate at all, and the development of a safer and saner vaccine schedule, is simply a more attainable and sustainable goal (it's already happening!) than a revolt against vaccination as a public health tool under any circumstances, ever, buttressed by claims that vaccines have never, ever worked. Again, there is room for people pushing on all these fronts, and we welcome and work with them as allies.
A final point: Neither in our upcoming book nor anywhere else are we "recommending" vaccines. Parents don't need us to "recommend." They need a context for looking at safer vaccine choices -- including no vaccines -- that only they can make.
I look forward to continuing the conversation and can't wait for our book to be part of it!
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.