Note: Oh how quickly the busy pharmedia bees have been buzzing about in a frenzy after Bill Maher made a NEW RULE and allowed a conversation (that was rather tame overall) about autism, vaccines, and safety on Real Time last Friday night. There mere mention of "maybe it's true.... we don't know for sure.... Pharma has made some egregious errors....." causes meltdowns we only WISH we could witness in editorial rooms across the country. And the phone lines to politicians were burning, I'm sure. Forbes, never one to turn down an opportunity to VaxShame a woman or man, jumped in with both feet.
Bill Maher, I've seen you in person. I adored Howard Stern on your program a few weeks ago. I am a fan. STAY STRONG. Do not let them tar and feather you because you voiced dissent. Fight back. Please.
The writer - a Nina Shapiro - is like Paul Offit. An MD who wrote a book to "dispel myths." Ha ha - as if we haven't heard that often enough. Sure, when a medical disaster that's as plain as the nose on your face enters the conversation, shut it down by calling it a "myth" that needs to be debunked or dispelled. From her bio:
I wrote a book dispelling health myths called HYPE: A Doctor's Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice-- How to Tell What's Real and What's Not, to stop our heads from spinning from overwhelming rapid-fire health information.I'm the Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology and Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. I've been in academic medicine for over two decades, setting the record straight about the latest health fads and misconceptions. As someone who's had their feet firmly planted in both clinical and academic work, I help patients and families make decisions every day about their health. Living in times filled with suspicion, I find myself dispelling a lot of myths in response to swarms of information triggering fear or unnecessarily pushing us to change our habits overnight.
On the November 1, 2019 episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” he had a conversation with pediatrician Jay Gordon, MD, known for providing troves of high-profile families with personal belief exemptions and medical exemptions to postpone or forego vaccinations for their children. As the tony pockets of Los Angeles county have seen some of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, coupled with increasingly frequent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses such as measles, pertussis (whooping cough), and flu, many have raised concerns about the validity of such exemptions.
Bill Maher, known for having his share of skepticism of health care recommendations and physicians (”the people in the white coats,” as he refers to them with a pejorative tone), brings up the point that vaccines may play a role in causing autism. Within hours, the Twitterverse, physicians, and mainstream media outlets dug in their heels on this seemingly endless debate. The idea that it should even be a debate is, well, debatable.
Check out minutes 6:30 to 20:00 to hear the discussion of vaccines and autism, if you must.
The host and guest had a mutually supportive banter about how we must not trust pharmaceutical companies, most physicians, and certainly not the laws in place to protect our children. Mr. Maher even made a jab at dentists, who “put mercury in my teeth.” The notion that mercury-containing fillings from nearly six decades ago can cause neurologic disorders in grown adults has led to countless baby boomers getting their fillings removed and replaced. No study, nor any mainstream dental association, recommends removal of mercury fillings purely for the sake of reducing mercury toxicity. Even if you have up to 15 mercury fillings, the amount of mercury vapor is too low to cause any damage. And if, indeed, you do have 15 fillings, did you ever brush as a kid? Read more HERE.