The book fair this past weekend in Minneapolis was something new and different -- several Skyhorse authors, most with Age of Autism connections, putting on a joint daylong presentation and discussion. (See photo.) It was great for all of us authors, and I think for the audience as well, who had a chance to interact with so many of us in one place. It could be a template for future events that bring together what we like to call hard-line professionals -- research-oriented, fact-based advocates who are not going to mince words about what's really happening to the health of a generation (and more) of children who constitute this country's future.
In my brief talk, I noted that this event -- dedicated to answering questions and providing information to families concerned about the vaccine schedule -- very much reflects the current level of concern in the country. As I was packing to head to Minneapolis on Friday, I had CNBC on in the background when Kaiser-Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson was interviewed. Since K-P is my own HMO, I turned it up and listened. The vaccine question soon came up in the context of the measles cases emanating from Disneyland.
"Well you know," Tyson said, "we've seen in the country a decline in parents bringing their children in for immunization. We make that a big push at Kaiser -- studies show it helps and it's the right preventive step and we have outreach programs to parents.
"I think the measles and what is happening there is another sign of what can happen very quickly when something reaches epidemic proportions."
To me that's the standard pabulum you expect from an outfit like KP. But the next question and answer were interesting.
Question: "The parents who are worried about their children potentially getting autism from that? What do you tell them?"
Answer: "Well, those are legitimate concerns," he said, emphasizing the last two words. I nearly dropped my toothbrush. "I don't want to excuse away responsible parents asking very responsible questions. In some cases we don't have the answers in the health care community. I think we have the latest evidence to show that the connection is very slim it at all, but I think the questions are very important and we need to figure out how to engage in the right conversations so people are making informed decisions."
Except for his view that the autism link is very slim if at all, these comments are quite reasonable. In fact, as I said in Minneapolis after reading them, they reflect the spirit of our gathering there and also of our book, Vaccines 2.0. Parents are confused and concerned, as well they should be given the rise of chronic and developmental illnesses concurrent with the exploding and bloated vaccine schedule. Someone like KP's Tyson, who has a business to run, is probably a lot more sensitive to the pushback from parents than insulated and unaccountable vaccine zealots like Paul Offit and the crowd at the CDC.
The fact that Disneyland appears to be ground zero for a still small number of measles cases in several states is kind of ironic, given that just about every autism family I know either goes or wants to go to the Magic Kingdom. Frequently. All the time.
What exactly is the irony in that? Well, to my mind, the reason so many of those Disney-loving kids are autistic is because of the MMR shot they got at age 12 months along with so many needless needles including ones chock full of mercury that probably potentiated the combined live viruses in the MMR.
So now a whole generation of special needs kids, many of them trapped developmentally around the time of those shots -- about the time when Disney princesses and superheroes and cartoon characters were the appropriate objects of fascination -- are drawn to Fantasyland.
Meanwhile, the media is trapped there too, covering a few cases of measles as though they were Ebola, and ignoring the real threat -- all those special needs kids damaged by vaccines.
As our John Stone put it:
"Death is not a common effect of measles in the developed world. What you are seeing is the backlash of people who have witnessed the adverse effects of vaccines on their children and who are being systematically discounted, ignored and shunned by government and the mainstream media. We want to be listened to, and if there is to be a vaccine program we want more care."
It would be interesting to know when Disney started getting flooded with autistic kids, when they started offering special access, and why they decided to curtail it -- possibly because so many kids are special needs now? (There's a lawsuit by parents going on right now to get that back.)
Watching measles mania is something else, isn't it? The real issue is not mindless and reckless vaccine refusal but a vaccine schedule that is now so bloated that more and more parents opt out, which causes conniptions from the public health authorities.
Of course, the way to address the issue would be to cut back on superfluous vaccines and promote the ones that actually address serious circulating microbes, like measles, if that is deemed a real health threat; unbundle the m, the m, and the r, so the bad effects of the combined live viruses are ameliorated; get rid of the fraudulent and worse than worthless mumps vaccine altogether; get the mercury out of the flu shot; and move the measles shot later, at least till after age 3, a point before which the vaccine causes autism, as the CDC's own William Thompson recently confessed. (Our new book Vaccines 2.0 weighs these options.)
Oh, and admit the current schedule in toto causes autism, ADHD, allergies, asthma, juvenile diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, gut problems, etcetera. It's a slippery slope for the medical industrial establishment, which is why they're not going to do any of that. Instead they're going to blame Andy Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy and educated parents and us and, if need be, Mickey and Minnie and Toto, too.
Anything to distract from the public policy failure and pharma honeypot known as the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act that is the proximate cause of all this. Anything to stay one more day in Fantasyland, no matter how many more autistic kids show up.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.