Firstly, there are no medical interventions without side effects and adverse consequences.
Secondly, I cannot post my (undocumented) impressions and experiences without fierce response from those who disagree.
I’d like to give a little of my space to these people with honest disagreements. This is a very important debate because it exposes the medical and pharmaceutical industries’ newest “old” problems.
Bill writes: “The peer reviewed studies find no mercury/autism link yet suggest some more study. A few anti-inoculators plus some lawyers claim there is a link. Which side does the science fall on?”
The science falls on the side of looking harder at the connection vaccines and possible harm. The benefits of vaccines are rarely questioned. With so many “vaccinable” diseases on the wane and with the advent of many vaccines against less serious illnesses, we have to look harder at risk/benefit analyses.
Peter writes: “Are you going to hold the Kennedy's and the Kirby's of the world accountable when there are outbreaks of pertussis because vaccination rates have fallen because of fear mongering? Shouldn't the anti-vaccination crowd have a little culpability for the fact that we even have to think about whooping cough?”
Pertussis is probably not a disease that can be eliminated with vaccinations in the way that smallpox was and polio will soon be. There is too large a "reservoir" for the illness in adolescents and adults and immunity wears off too quickly. But there is plenty of validity to Peter’s argument: Yes, I accept responsibility for counseling at least hesitation in giving vaccines. I think that the risk of most vaccines outweighs the risk of the illness. If this position were universally adapted we would have more pertussis. This responsibility should stop anyone from uniformly condemning vaccination. To the best of my knowledge, neither Kirby nor Kennedy is “anti-vaccine” and neither am I.
Boyd writes: “Thanks for providing me with an undreamt-of experience- check it out- here we have an allopathic trained physician publicly doing something other than arrogantly defending practices/substances that harm rather than heal.
Thought I would never see the day what with Big Pharma seeming to own the medical arts now. Please accept my compliments for restoring a little credibility to your profession, so badly needed.”
Orac writes: “Ah, Dr. Gordon is back, he who makes such blanket statements that all pharmaceutical company-sponsored trials should be disregarded and who makes insinuations against any investigator who accepts pharma funding while on the other hand denying that he has done so.”
Yes, I think I’ve done just that so let me clarify my position: Research funded by the manufacturer of the product being studied is not as valuable as research funded by an independent entity.
Orac continues: “Please, Dr. Gordon. Point out to me one or two of the "specious arguments" In these pieces or arguments based on a "desire to ignore the facts."
I suspect I'll wait a long time, though.”
Evidence can be presented on all sides of the vaccine debate. All that I ask is that the facts that support a link between vaccines and harm to children be studied and studied hard. They have not been. Very few dispute that removing mercury from vaccines was the correct thing to do. Now, let’s look harder at why it was correct.
JB, MD writes: “I used to live in an area where there are a lot of well to do white parents who wouldn't dream of feeding their children anything but organic vegetables. There was an outbreak of a preventable childhood illness in a pre-school in the area. An unvaccinated infant got the disease from her older, unvaccinated sibling. The infant died.”
No honest scientist disputes this possibility. When we stop giving certain vaccines more children might contract these dangerous diseases. But, it’s possible that to prevent the one death Dr. B cites, countless children might have suffered adverse vaccine outcomes including autism and death. No specifics from either of us, just speculation.
The comments continue for far longer than my original little post deserves.
Orac continues to dispute the fact that autism rates have risen tremendously and that autistic adults are fewer in number than they should be if this were a genetic phenomenon.
“Genetics may load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger.”
Vaccines and other environmental stimuli have triggered this epidemic of autism and other developmental diseases of childhood.
Follow Jay Gordon, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JayGordonMDFAAP