Earlier this year, I read another article written by him and sent him an email about that article as well. He wrote me back – twice. The difference in tone between the two articles is, for me, a little sad. The Dr. Parikh I briefly corresponded with was respectful. (Perhaps I like him because he called me “smart and civil.”) But he seems to have moved in a different direction.
And apparently, I have as well. I noticed that on I Speak of Dreams Blog I am listed as an anti-vaccine writer. I giggled at first, and then I wondered if I should send an email thanking the author for including me. But it also caused to reflect on whether I truly am anti-vaccine; because, after all, if I call on others to reflect on their position I should do the same.
I started motherhood firmly in a pro-vaccine, anti “anti-vacciner” position. I actually had the gall (to my embarrassment) to call people out for not vaccinating their children. But after a long painful period of questioning and study, I realized that something I had done had permanently damaged my children.
I believe that vaccines have and do benefit mankind. I never had to have the smallpox shot because it was eradicated before I was old enough to get it. I’m grateful my children aren’t at risk from polio. But I believe that the benefits of vaccines tend to be overstated. Rates of disease drop dramatically once people have consistent access to clean water, soap and good sanitation! As for the “herd immunity” argument – I address that here. I live in a first world. Therefore, my risk factors are different than they would be in a third world country. It convinces no one to use fear based reasoning when they have an understanding of actual risks.
Vaccines are size-one-fits-all medicine. There is no allowance for genetic factors, immune problems, etc. Cancer treatment is based on a patient’s symptoms and needs. Why are vaccines so different from how medicine is generally practiced? Answer: money, both because of the cost of testing individual children and the profits made by the pharmaceutical industry and the profits the doctors themselves make from vaccinations. Pharmaceutical companies are for profit. It’s dangerous and foolish to assign more morality to this industry than you would the banking industry.
So, am I anti-vaccine? Well, my youngest child received a vaccine in October. Thus, I cannot be opposed. Calling someone who questions the safety of vaccines anti-vaccine is a "straw man" argument.
I’m careful about which vaccines my children get. I no longer let anyone bully me about vaccines. I tend to know more about vaccines than your average person and probably even more than your average doctor. Doctors rely on the CDC and NIH to tell them if vaccines are safe. Pediatricians are generalists. That’s their job. We need them to know enough about a lot of things to know if there is a problem. The weakness with a generalist is that there are holes in knowledge. If they are getting questionable information from government agencies and pharmaceutical companies they probably won’t know it.
For someone not in my position it’s hard to understand the enormity of the betrayal of governmental entities charged to protect us. The CDC investigated thimerosal in 2000. The CDC published a study in late 2003, repudiating any possible link between thimerosal and autism. However, though the Freedom of Information Act the American public found out that they had “massaged” the data. Their original data “showed a 2.48% increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children who had received the mercury laced vaccines.” But after adding younger children and eliminating children born prematurely, the CDC was able to release a lower percentage.
One of the doctors, Dr. Johnson actually said (pg 198), “My gut feeling? It worries me enough. Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by C-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation, and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until we know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meantime I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines."
Dr. Johnson didn’t want his grandson to receive a vaccine with thimerosal but my son received a thimerosal containing vaccine the day after he was born. He didn’t get the same chance Dr. Johnson’s grandson did. He didn’t warn me.
There’s not enough space to go through the flaws in the studies commonly cited to prove vaccines don’t cause autism or to read the studies supporting vaccines triggering autism. Check here, here, here and here (if you're interested in more Martha Herbert here is her website). Start reading the Schafer Autism Report, a collection of articles, studies, etc. dealing with autism. It is an unbelievable collection of information that goes back years!
Frankly, I don’t think anyone could write any article that would prove to anyone else that vaccines trigger autism. It requires a lot of time and energy to even delve into the subject. I'm still waiting for a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study. The closest we have now is a phone survey from California.