Book Is Rallying Resistance to the Antivaccine Crusade

**Book Is Rallying Resistance to the Antivaccine Crusade **

A new book defending vaccines, written by a doctor infuriated at the claim that they cause autism, is galvanizing a backlash against the antivaccine movement in the United States.
But there will be no book tour for the doctor, Paul A. Offit, author of “Autism’s False Prophets.” He has had too many death threats.
“I’ll speak at a conference, say, to nurses,” he said. “But I wouldn’t go into a bookstore and sign books. It can get nasty. There are parents who really believe that vaccines hurt their children, and to them, I’m incredibly evil. They hate me.”

Dr. Offit, a pediatrician, is a mild, funny and somewhat rumpled 57-year-old. The chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he is also the co-inventor of a vaccine against rotavirus, a diarrheal disease that kills 60,000 children a year in poor countries.

“When Jonas Salk invented polio vaccine, he was a hero — and I’m a terrorist?” he jokes, referring to a placard denouncing him at a recent demonstration by antivaccine activists outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In recent years, the debate over vaccines and autism, which began in fear and confusion, has hardened into anger. As Dr. Offit’s book details, numerous studies of thimerosal, measles virus and other alleged autism triggers in vaccines have been conducted, and hundreds of children with diagnoses of autism have undergone what he considers sham treatments and been “cured.” Both sides insist that the medical evidence backs them.
As a result, “a few years ago this ceased to be a civil scientific discourse and became about crucifying individuals,” said Dr. Gregory A. Poland, chief of vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic, who says he has had threats against his children. “Paul is a lightning rod, a figure who goes charging into the fray.”

Those backing Dr. Offit say he was forced into the role. Opponents of vaccines have held rallies, appeared on talk shows like “Oprah” and “Imus in the Morning,” been the heroes of made-for-TV movies and found a celebrity spokeswoman in Jenny McCarthy, the actress and former Playboy model who has an autistic son. Meanwhile, the response from public health officials has been muted and couched in dull scientific jargon.

I’m glad someone is putting paid to these anti-vaccine kooks.

I’m with you on that - one of my supervisors finished work on a meta-analysis looking at this very issue last year, and she said the anti-vaccine crowd doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The study included over 20,000 children…what do these people have as evidence? :confused:

Offit is profiting from vaccines. I hardly think he’s an unbiased source. I think vaccines have done a lot of good, but they aren’t risk free, which is why I think it’s rediculous to vaccinate so early and so often. There is no reason to vaccinate kids against the Chicken Pox, Polio(spread fecal/oral) or newborns against hepatitis.

On the contrary, there is. Not for the average child, actually, or even for the child being vaccinated, but instead for the children who cannot be vaccinated. That’s a growing number, kids who are allergic to the vaccine and and can never be vaccinated, and for them, the development of a “herd immunity” as it is called, is absolutely essential. Otherwise, they’d be at serious risk if there was another outbreak.

My responsibility is to my child. I’m not going to pump toxins in their body to protect against diseases they are not at risk(polio and hepatitis) for or are no big deal(chicken pox).

The trick on either side of the issue is NOT to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Polio is a big deal. REALLY big. The ONLY reason it isn’t a big deal in America right now is because we are so thoroughly vaccinated. If a movement against that vaccination got traction we’d see the horrific effects of it come again.

On the other hand you really have to wonder about such things as infant vaccination of chicken pox. Even setting aside the fetal tissue issue, what is the big deal if a kid gets chicken pox? Some red itchy blotches and a lifetime of immunity from it (MOST times). On the other hand, nobody is really sure if the vaccine will be permanent or if we will need boosters down the road. There are an awful lot of adults who don’t keep up with boosters. We may find out that we had a better ‘herd’ immunity for chicken pox when it was a childhood rite of passage.

And then there is the HPV vaccine. Again is it worth the risk of injecting ALL of our little girls with this stuff when virtually none of them will need it until at least puberty (putting aside the issue of whether it is appropriate then either)? Every drug has side effects, often not well understood for a while. When there is no immediate benefit for my kids, I’m in favor of letting those who ‘need’ it be the guinea pigs.

Vaccines aren’t toxins, so I’m not clear what you meant by that. And sadly diseases like polio which were thought to be eradicated have seen some recent breakouts in some areas of India, Pakistan, etc., where vaccination programs aren’t widely available.

You’re right, chicken pox isn’t a big deal for most people, but it can be for high risk populations like pregnant women or people taking steroids for autoimmune diseases (assuming they haven’t been infected before). I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.

No, they are not toxins (thought they could conceivably contain some). But they are a form of drug. They are a foreign substance directly injected into the body. That inherently contains risks and has the potential for side effects. Pro-vaccine people (which I am generally one) do not do their cause well to pretend otherwise.

Do people pretend? Vaccines are usually made with an attenuated or completely dead virus so that our immune system can make cells specific to that viral pattern and have a faster response when we come in contact with it in the future. It’s true, sometimes our body can react as though we have actually been infected, but that has always been known. However, since the immune system will be able to clear the dead virus without any trouble, any side-effects will be temporary. I suppose I have the benefit of having studied immunology for several years, but I still don’t see what people are so concerned about. All of this info is freely available.

Polio is spread fecal/oral. With proper sanitation there is no need for vaccination. As for chicken pox, those who should not catch it should do what they can to avoid it. I’m not going to inject my healthy child with a vaccine to possibly prevent a small percentage of the population from getting it. Like most normal people, I have a natural immunity from chicken pox. I want the same for my child.

Not sure what the pretend comment is about.

As for the viruses, you are correct. But you don’t build viruses like you build Chevies. The techniques and methods for growing the virus crop to be used in the vaccine can and do result in side effects on vaccine patients. And the rule about side effects is that you never REALLY know what they will be until you put it out there…

Oh no it’s just in your last post you mentioned that it’s best not to pretend that there are no side-effects - and you’re right about that, I hope people who support vaccines don’t pretend.

I’d say side effects are more of a concern with drugs (think of things like thalidomide where just the wrong form of the drug ended up being given to pregnant women). You’re right, they can’t foresee every side effect until the thing makes it out into the public, but from what I can tell, severe vaccine reactions tend to be quite rare (not to mention that the autism thing is now thoroughly debunked).

I was appalled when I found out they wanted to vaccinate my newborn at less than 48 hrs old with the Hep B vaccine. I was even more appalled when it was conceded by the doctor, that my infant was not at risk for contracting the disease.
ThenI was even MORE appalled when I found out that the reason that newborns are vaccinated because the drug addicts and sexually at risk people are too irresponsible to come in and get it done.

So, I am obligated to inject my less than 24 hr old baby, with a vaccine to protect drug addicts, sexually active people and hospital workers? I don’t think so.:cool:

My oldest son has a chronic disease. Certain illnesses that may not be so severe on a healthy child can have devastating consequences fro my son. I don’t expect other parents to vaccinate their children to protect my son. It is MY responsibility to protect my son. There are extra precautions I can try to take to protect my son, and help him have access to the same opportunities healthier children have. BUT I do not expect other parents to place my child’s best interest above their own, or to go against their conscience fro the sake of MY child. That would be sinful and against God’s order of priorities. Love God through family and on out the front door. IN THAT ORDER.

I read that some vaccines involve aborted fetuses. Wouldn’t it be a mortal sin to use any type of drug that requires the use of aborted human fetuses for its production and to inject aborted fetus material into our bodies?

Yeah we stopped vaccinating once we heard about the aborted fetuses in some live vaccines. Oh and BTW my daughter had the chicken pox vaccine but ended up getting chicken pox last week actually:) Guess it doesn’t work so well after all. If we end up having any more children we will not be vaccinating them at all.

I agree that that’s a bit soon, but the latest research by Dr. Mackie’s team at McMaster University shows that a full third of chronic Hep B patients contracted the disease in infancy or childhood.

And as an aside, since this doesn’t apply to Canada and the US, Hep B is primarily spread between children in Eastern Europe and Japan.

So what I’m trying to say is, young children aren’t completely taken out of the ‘at-risk’ population, but it does seem odd that they want to do it before a newborn has even left the hospital!

No, a recent Vatican document (Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions) stated that use of such vaccines is permissable:

Of course, within this general picture there exist differing degrees of responsibility. Grave reasons may be morally proportionate to justify the use of such “biological material”. Thus, for example, danger to the health of children could permit parents to use a vaccine which was developed using cell lines of illicit origin, while keeping in mind that everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available.

In addition to the Vatican statement above, I think it’s important to clarify what you said. Let me start of by saying that I don’t think the use of fetal cell lines to create vaccines can ever be justified, but the vaccines don’t contain fetal tissues. It’s a disgusting practice, but let’s not make it sound worse than it is (if that’s possible).

I’m not sure if chicken pox meets the restriction for there to be a “danger to the health of children,” but I’m no expert. Although I would say that the MMR vaccines are pretty important.

"Two different strains of human diploid cell cultures made from fetuses have been used extensively for vaccine production for decades. One was developed in the United States in 1961 (called WI-38) and the other in the United Kingdom in 1966 (called MRC-5).

WI-38 came from lung cells from a female fetus of 3-months gestation and MRC-5 was developed from lung cells from a 14-week-old male fetus. Both fetuses were intentionally aborted, but neither was aborted for the purpose of obtaining diploid cells. (6-8). The fetal tissues that eventually became WI-38 and the MRC-5 cell cultures were removed from fetuses that were dead. The cellular biologists who made the cell cultures did not induce the abortions."

Exactly, they used those cells to create cell lines that are used to produce vaccines. The original cells are probably long gone and aren’t actually a part of the vaccine. You’re being vaccinated against a virus, not human cells.

Again, a disgusting practice, but one that has a tendency to be misrepresented or misunderstood.

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