Note: Meet the New Jan Brady, I mean Paul Offit. Seems Dr. Peter Hotez has taken over the pit bull tactics founded by the Broad Street Bully himself, Offit. His tactic is to use his daughter to protect the vaccination program. For the record, if true, we are delighted that Ms. Hotez was not vaccine injured into her autism. It's a terrible feeling to know that something you did for your child to protect her, could have gone so badly. Isn't Dr. Hotez lucky he doesn't have to deal with that pain.
By Cathy Jameson
Last week, The Hill featured a piece from Sharyl Attkisson’s latest Full Measure news story. In it, we learned that
“Pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman originally served as the expert medical witness for the government, which defends vaccines in federal vaccine court. He had testified that vaccines do not cause autism in specific patients.
Dr. Zimmerman now has signed a bombshell sworn affidavit. He says that, during a group of 5,000 vaccine-autism cases being heard in court on June 15, 2007, he took aside the Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers he worked for defending vaccines and told them he’d discovered “exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.”
“I explained that in a subset of children, vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation did cause regressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Dr. Zimmerman now states. He said his opinion was based on “scientific advances” as well as his own experience with patients.”
Two days later, The Hill published another piece on vaccines. It was not another bombshell discovery in favor of parents of children with liability-free vaccine induced autism but a rebuttal from Dr. Hotez. If you recall, Hotez is a pharmaceutical-industry spokesperson, author, and father to an adult daughter with autism. He’s frequently seen on TV defending vaccines when they cycle through mainstream news’ media stories. Besides a staunch defender, he is also of the belief that vaccines do not and cannot cause autism.
In his latest opinion piece, Hotez once again adamantly defends liability-free vaccines making the following statement:
“Vaccines do not cause autism
There is no link between vaccines and autism. I trace the modern anti-vaccine movement alleging vaccine-autism links back to 1998 when a paper was published in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, claiming that the live measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine (especially the measles component) might lead to pervasive developmental disorder, a term then used to refer to autism.”
First, a correction.
The paper referenced offered a possibility, not a claim:
“We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.
…We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.”
Now, a response.
As he has before, Hotez repeated his claim that his daughter’s autism was in no way a direct result of any vaccination she received. That’s great! Truly! I wish I could say the same. For my son, and for so many other children, including cases Zimmerman saw, the autism they experience is a result of a liability-free vaccine. How do I know that? Because I was there. I saw my son go from healthy and developing to listless and declining. Had I known more prior to my child’s vaccinations, I probably would have become vaccine hesitant much sooner than I did. Unfortunately, I can’t turn back time, but I can tell our story and hope that it helps others. That’s what is so great about the autism community I’m part of – we strive to help each other, not put each other down.
In that piece, Hotez did not insult parents of children who’ve been injured from liability-free vaccines as tastelessly as he did last year. But, instead of building a bridge with other parents whose children’s vaccines did result in autism, he began with negativity and continued an attempt to pit parents against each other. In a world where we need more positivity, especially when it comes to autism, it’s terribly sad to see a public figure demean others who are in the same boat.
Over the last decade, I’ve had countless young parents – both moms and dads, seek me and my husband out. Tell us more, they beg – so we do. How did you not see the signs? they inquire – to which we admit our lack of knowledge at the time. When did you finally connect the dots? they wonder – to which we share a timeline that shows what going from healthy to diagnosed with autism looks like. With how many voices are out there talking about vaccines, both for and against, it’s no wonder they’re asking us questions. They faithfully listen to what the news and pharma reps are saying but quickly turn to parents, like us, for clarification. New parents need to be empowered with truth, not distracted by spokespeople backed by the vaccine industry. The industry’s goal is to make a profit. Truth is the only thing they’ll get from parents like me.
To Dr. Hotez and to others who wish to belittle parents instead of believing them, I have a few things to say.
You may want to believe that vaccines cannot and do not cause autism. But in our case, you weren’t there, Dr. Hotez. You didn’t know my son before he received liability-free vaccines. You weren’t there afterward to see what happened to him post-vaccination. I was there. I saw what happened, and I know what happened to him. I saw my son change. I saw him lose his speech, lose already-developed skills, have seizures, and tumble onto the autism spectrum. To deny and to protect the vaccine industry as you do makes my work as a parent of a child with autism harder. I don’t need or rely on your opinion to get what Ronan needs though. Those who directly work with my son also don’t need or rely on it either. They believe us because they, too, know what happened. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.
They know what is fact – my son was healthy. Oh, he was so healthy! Then, he got vaccines. Then, he got sick. As a doctor and supposed vaccine expert, to deny the truth I know to be true is so disappointing. Thankfully, other medical professionals have correctly made the connection that my son’s health suffered greatly post vaccination. With them, I’ve got an army of helpers ready and willing to make Ronan’s life a tad bit better. In doing so, they’re making mine a bit more manageable, too. Autism is hard. We can probably both agree on that. On everything else, especially about the vaccines not causing autism? Well, you weren’t there, Dr. Hotez. You didn’t see that beautiful baby boy of mine go from typical to losing acquired skills. You weren’t there when we got the diagnosis. You weren’t there anytime we’ve had to fight for our son’s rights over the years either.
Vaccines do cause autism for some. They really do. For us, they did. They did for a lot of kids, too. Our community here knows that and respects that. We and you, Dr. Hotez, have some similarities, but not enough yet. You still aren’t ready to support parents like me in this autism community. I wish you could, but you’d have to change your tune just a bit. If you ever do, let us know. Our doors – and hearts – are open to all parents of children with autism, no matter how it was acquired.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.