By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD, an online supplement retailer for patients with special needs.
Feb 11, 2015, TIME Magazine: Unvaccinated Families' Addresses Should Be Made Public
Feb 11, 2015, WI State Journal: Push for measles vaccine is about money -- Michael Wagnitz
Feb 10, 2015, CBS News: Doctor blames discredited autism-vaccine link research for measles outbreak
Every single exemption request should be reviewed in a public meeting and approved by a public body (like a city council or school board). And if the exemption is approved, basic information-the parent's name, address, and the vaccinations declined-should be available on the Internet via a publicly maintained registry.
The virtues of disclosure are clear. Having your family's name published as a potential hazard to public health would be a strong disincentive to obtaining an exemption for all but the most committed (i.e., delusional) anti-vaxxers. And the rest of us would be able to identify our unvaccinated neighbors, and our children's unvaccinated schoolmates. This would be especially helpful to pregnant women and the parents and caregivers of children who are either too young to be vaccinated (the first measles mumps rubella vaccine isn't given until after a baby's first birthday) or have serious diseases like cancer (as in the case of the Marin County six year old recovering from leukemia) that compromise immune systems and preclude vaccination.
In effect, the question of how to handle unvaccinated children and their parents would move from the realm of school administrators to the community at large. And the community level is where the question is best addressed, since we encounter the unvaccinated not only at school but also in parks, churches, and stores.
Actually I have a suggestion for Joe Matthews at TIME: How about requiring every exempted child to wear an arm band with a big capital "U" on it for "unvaccinated." Then we could ban them from entering public places.
It's been done before to identify those that society deems objectionable.
Jailing parents, revoking doctors' medical licenses, banning unvaxxed kids from public (and private) schools, and a federal law that eliminates all personal or religious exemptions--the media madness over measles has proposed all of these things in the last couple of weeks. When will the insanity end?
Parental choice is being seen as a threat on a par with terrorism. Vaccination must be done for the good of the nation.
WI State Journal
I found the multiple opinion pieces about the measles and the pushing of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to be quite hysterical (in both senses of the word). As a measles survivor, I'd like to share my experience with this childhood disease.
In 1962 my entire elementary school got the measles. I had to stay in the house for four whole days! Not one kid with measles had to go to the hospital. Not one kid even had to see a doctor. Everyone survived just fine and came out of it with a healthier immune system.
When I returned to school, it was just me and the teacher. In fact, not one teacher even missed a minute of class time since they all had immunity to measles after getting it as a kid.
I have an idea: How about publishing an opinion piece about a child losing his or her ability to walk after receiving the MMR vaccine. How about a story about a child losing all brain function after receiving this vaccine.
This entire media blitz comes down to one thing: Vaccine refusal is affecting someone's bottom line.
-- Michael Wagnitz, Madison
My posted comment:
Thank you, Michael for pointing out what should be obvious to all: Vaccines, like any medical product, carry risks. What parents are not told is that no one has any liability when it comes to vaccine injuries. Federal law protects both the vaccine makers and the doctor from lawsuits over vaccine side effects. Instead parents of a vaccine injured child have to appeal to a federal program where they're up against government lawyers defending a government program using government money. Few parents ever get their day in court, and those who have report that it took between seven and fourteen years to receive a settlement.
Mainstream medicine and health officials and the media all pretend that the science is in on vaccines: Vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives, all the studies say so. The problem is it's not THE SCIENCE, it's THEIR SCIENCE--INDUSTRY FUNDED. Each one of the 14 studies used by health officials to prove vaccine safety has been shown to have industry ties. The go-to agency on vaccine safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is not independent. They're the people that approve the vaccine schedule. The CDC is also the place where hundreds of individuals have conflict of interest waivers because of their direct financial ties to the vaccine industry. The last head of the head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, a long-time denier of any link between vaccines and autism, is now head of the vaccine division at Merck.
Unless and until health officials call for a simple study of fully vaccinated and never vaccinated children to compare their health outcomes, the debate over vaccines will not go away. We have the most vaccinated children on the planet and some of the sickest. Our children have soaring rates of diabetes, seizure disorder, bowel disease, life-threatening allergies, asthma, not to mention a two percent autism rate that no one can rationally explain.
Are never vaccinated kids just as chronically ill and disabled as the rest of America's children? With so many parents now too afraid to vaccinate, the study group is out there and officials conduct retrospective studies like this all the time, yet they refuse to call for this one. We all should be asking why.
Parents need to educate themselves. They need to have informed consent before they vaccinate. They're the ones taking the all the risks.
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia denies a connection with vaccination and autism. "Absolutely no doubt," he said. "MMR vaccine does not cause autism. It never made biological sense that it would and now we have all the epidemiological studies showing that it clearly didn't."
Offit says since Wakefield's article, there have been 14 studies looking at hundreds of thousands of children on three continents that show no linkage. But why did Dr. Wakefield's hypothesis get any traction at all? "Because we don't know what the cause or causes of autism was," said Offit. "Now he's got a reason, right? He's got a boogeyman." Only in the view of science now, his boogeyman has been widely discredited. "It was just wrong."
I wrote this comment for the CBS story, but despite several attempts, I was unable to do so.:
Jim Axelrod has the same talking points as everyone else in the media: Vaccines are safe, the controversy is Andrew Wakefield's fault, and we should all listen to Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who says there's no link to autism.
Last fall a Gallup poll found that only about 40 percent of Americans trust what the media tells them. Here's why.
Axelrod omitted anything that would cast doubt on media's message: VACCINES ARE SAFE; EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE VACCINATED.
There was no attempt to be fair and balanced.
At the beginning of the story, Axelrod dismisses an example of regressive autism following the MMR vaccine as coincidental. Axelrod cites Dr. Paul Offit as an expert without any mention of his bias-he was the co-inventor of a vaccine for rota virus for which he personally made millions of dollars. He's an industry insider. What else would he do but defend vaccines as safe?
Offit cites 14 studies showing vaccines are safe. Axelrod never asked who funded the studies or what the conflicts of the researchers were. If he had looked into the science, he'd see the each one of those 14 studies has been shown to have ties to the vaccine industry. The research that Offit is talking about is not "the science" on vaccines. It's "their science"-industry funded.
Axelrod didn't bother to look at any of the more than 150 studies by well-credentialed, independent experts from leading universities whose work raises serious concerns about vaccine safety claims.
Parents in the real world remember the years of outstanding coverage by former CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson actually interviewed Dr. Wakefield. She also reported on the Hannah Poling story in 2008. Hannah was the young Georgia girl whose claim of vaccine-induced autism was conceded by medical experts at HHS.
Attkisson talked with experts like Dr. Boyd Haley, former head of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky and a leading expert on mercury. Dr. Haley criticized the government's use of ethylmercury in vaccines, calling it a deadly neurotoxin with no safety record. (And mercury is still allowed in the multi-dose flu vaccine given to pregnant women and children as young as six months.)
Axelrod should look up her work in the archives at CBS. He'd find story after story.
If Attkisson were still at CBS she'd have never given us this biased, hackneyed coverage. However last year she left the network, claiming that they wouldn't allow her honest reporting on certain controversial topics. We can understand why.
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD. Lee Silsby is one of the most respected compounding pharmacies in the country and is committed to serving the needs of the Autism community. OurkidsASD is an online retailer for nutritional supplements for patients with special needs. OurkidsASD carries thousands of products from more than 60 brands and offers free ground shipping on all orders.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.