The Autism-Vaccine Debate
The autism-vaccine debate is making headlines once again. A recent article published in the British Medical Journal stated that Andrew Wakefield and his 1998 study linking vaccines to autism “was fixed” and his findings were nothing but an “elaborate fraud.”
This attack is misguided and inappropriate. Even if Wakefield’s study was completely erroneous, it does not negate or neutralize the scientific data we have gathered since that time.
The research that has emerged over the past decade clearly demonstrates links between childhood immunizations and autism. In fact, in the December 2009 issue of Health & Healing, I wrote about the many dangers of vaccines and how you can protect your health as well as the health of your loved ones. (See full story below.)
I firmly believe today, as I did when this article was published, that the association between autism and vaccines, particularly MMR, is so obvious that attempts to discredit it reek of corporate interest in the billions of dollars they earn from parents vaccinating their children. This is Big Pharma at its worst.
From the December 2009 issue of Health & Healing: The Truth About Vaccinations
I recently attended the National Vaccine Information Center’s (NVIC) fourth international conference in Reston, Virginia, where experts from around the world gathered to discuss the medical and legal ramifications of our country’s vaccine policies.
Researchers presented scientific studies on the links between childhood immunizations, inflammation, and autism. Physicians talked about the appalling lack of safety and efficacy data for the HPV and influenza vaccines. Experts compared vaccination policies in the US and abroad and pointed out that American kids get more vaccines and are worse off than those in other countries. And one of several mothers who spoke told the poignant story of her perfectly healthy son’s descent into autism after receiving seven different vaccines during his 15-month well-baby visit.
This is in stark contrast to the pro-vaccine propaganda from drug companies, government officials, medical policymakers, schools, mainstream media, and most physicians that we’re constantly bombarded with. Belief in the benefits of childhood vaccinations is so entrenched that parents who choose to selectively immunize their kids—or forego vaccines altogether—are accused of being irresponsible, unfit parents, and their children are labeled a dangerous threat to others.
It’s a heated topic that leaves many parents and grandparents confused and concerned. However, when you eliminate all the noise and focus on the core issues, it’s hard not to conclude that the dozens of legally mandated vaccinations in this country have disastrous effects on millions of children.
A Generation Lost in Autism
According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, one in 91 American children has an autism spectrum disorder. Thirty years ago, it was one in 2,500. Rates of other neurological and immunological disorders affecting children have skyrocketed as well. Today, learning disabilities affect approximately one in six kids, and asthma one in nine.
When I was young, these problems were rare to nonexistent. What’s happened? In my opinion, the major culprit in this unprecedented surge in childhood illness is the dramatic increase in federally mandated vaccinations.
You may find this hard to believe, but there is not a shred of evidence to support the safety of giving children so many vaccines, which are administered as early as a few hours after birth and as many as six or eight at a time. And any doctor who assures parents that vaccines are completely safe is flat-out lying.
To ascertain immunization safety and efficacy, large comparative studies of the health outcomes of statistically significant numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated children would have to be conducted. But this has never even been attempted. Yet one vaccine after another has been added to the already overloaded list of required immunizations.
Depending upon which vaccine is being administered, a single shot can contain a brew of adulterated bacteria, viruses, aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, and/or numerous multisyllabic chemical additives. To say that repeated exposures to such a wide range of toxins have no cumulative adverse effects on a child’s developing nervous and immune systems is more than irrational—it’s diabolical.
Too Many Unnecessary Vaccinations
American infants and children are recommended to receive 14 different vaccines, administered in a whopping 49 doses, all before age six. Forty-nine! Compare this to Japan, where children receive just six vaccines in 12 doses by age five. Or to the US just a generation ago—today’s kids get four times more vaccines than those born in the 1970s.
Many of the required vaccines are absolutely unnecessary. Hepatitis B—which is given hours after birth—is transmitted primarily by sexual contact or dirty needles. Why in the world would newborns of healthy moms need such a vaccine?
The same goes for diphtheria and tetanus, which are first administered at two months of age. Diphtheria may be a problem in developing countries, but its incidence in the United States since 1980 is one case for every 100 million people. And tetanus (lockjaw) isn’t even contagious—it’s usually contracted through deep wounds with contaminated objects. Granted, neonatal tetanus isn’t uncommon in countries with unsanitary childbirth conditions, but it is virtually nonexistent here in America.
Polio is another vaccine that is completely unwarranted. Although you may associate polio with the paralysis, iron lungs, and deaths of the mid-1900s epidemic, this disease was eradicated decades ago. Today, you’re much more likely to get it from the vaccine than to contract “wild” polio.
The annual flu vaccine, which kids are supposed to get at six months, is also terribly overrated. The Centers for Disease Control have long maintained that 36,000 Americans die of the flu and its complications every year. But that’s simply not true—it’s only their frightening “estimate.” Actually, the number is considerably lower, and most of these fatalities occur in older people with other health problems.
It is obvious that the odds of developing autism or another vaccine-induced brain or immune system disorder—and that the consequences of children and their families living with these disorders—far exceed the disease risks these vaccines are intended to prevent. Yet our vaccination policies are damaging millions of kids before their lives even get started, and for what?
Even though we have tens of thousands of documented cases of healthy children developing problems within weeks of being vaccinated, immunization proponents are loath to even consider that vaccines may be the culprit. They offer up lame, unsubstantiated arguments such as, “Unvaccinated children put others at risk of these infectious diseases.” “Preventing one death makes it well worth vaccinating all children.”
My response is that if vaccines work, why do parents worry about children who are not vaccinated? And how about the kids with autism? Aren’t they worth saving? If immunizations prevent that one death but do irreparable harm to millions, is that okay? Of course not. It’s insane!
…and the Winners
In my opinion, it’s all a scam by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars on vaccines. These companies have hoodwinked the government into requiring all these immunizations and into taking on the liability for vaccine-induced damages. These guys have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Their most avid supporters are so blinded by conflicts of interest that I’m surprised they can drive a car. This includes, without question, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which puts together the vaccine schedules.
Jennifer Margulis gives a perfect example of this in a cogent and well-documented article that appeared in a recent issue of Mothering magazine. She tells about an episode of ABC’s Private Practice in which a mother refused to have her younger two sons vaccinated because her eldest became autistic after being immunized. One of the sons gets the measles and dies, and the other is forcibly vaccinated. The story may have made for compelling television, but it was pure propaganda. The script was written with the help of the AAP, which has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies, including Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures the measles (MMR) vaccine. Go figure.
Don’t confuse TV with reality, folks. For generations, measles was a routine childhood illness with rare complications. In fact, a study published earlier this year shows that kids who’ve had the measles have a reduced risk of allergies, suggesting that exposure may actually enhance immune function.
What Should Parents Do?
All parents want the best for their children. The most important thing you can do is base your decisions regarding their well-being on accurate, unbiased information. In the current climate, though, that’s easier said than done. You simply can’t depend on your doctor, school, or government for objective guidance. In fact, should you decide to question the status quo, be prepared to face rabid opposition.
Nevertheless, you have a right to make decisions about vaccinations for your children. Take advantage of the excellent resources available at the National Vaccine Information Center’s Web site at nvic.org, which includes scientific research, legal information, and guidelines for exemptions and alternative vaccine schedules.
Do your homework and hold your ground. Freedom of informed choice, tarnished though it may be, is your right as an American and your responsibility as a parent.
- Feder L. The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations. Long Island City, NY: Hatherleigh Press; 2007.
- Kogan MD, et al. Prevalence of parent-reported diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder among children in the US, 2007. Pediatrics. 2009 Oct 5 [E-pub ahead of print].
- Margulis J. Vaccine debate. Mothering. 2009 Jul–Aug:37–53.
- Rosenlund H, et al. Allergic disease and atopic sensitization in children in relation to measles vaccination and measles infection. Pediatrics. 2009 Mar;123(3):771–778.
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For more than 30 years, Dr. Julian Whitaker has helped people regain their health with a combination of therapeutic lifestyle changes, targeted nutritional support, and other cutting-edge natural therapies. He is widely known for treating diabetes, but also routinely treats heart disease and other degenerative diseases. More About Dr. Whitaker
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