Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Well, I'm Surprised!

On Monday, I read Parents, don't be immune to vaccine truths by Rahul Parikh in the Los Angeles Times. I sent the author an email about it and he responded to me. I was really surprised. We, of course, disagreed with each other but I’m happy that he read my email.

Dr. Parikh,

I read with interest your recent article. I appreciate your interest in this subject. I have four children, two of whom became autistic two weeks after routine vaccinations.

I hope you have interest in a parent's perspective on the link between autism and vaccines and why we no longer trust the medical profession to always have our children's best interests at heart.

It was interesting that you started your article with a heartbreaking story of a child dying from a vaccine preventable disease in a third world country. Even if every parent in the US stopped vaccinating their children, mortality rates would not be similar to those in the third world because we have access to clean water, soap, sanitation and first world medicine. But I understand that a child sick in a hospital bed in the US hooked up to antibiotics, that probably will recover, does not present as visual an image even if it is more accurate.

I read that you believe that “doctors like me haven't been very good at communicating with you.” On the contrary, you are extraordinarily good at communicating! I never considered not vaccinating. The problem is that once I started doing my own research rather that accepting everything the medical profession said; I realized the medical profession was lying to me. Fewer than 10% of vaccine adverse reactions are reported. Even as severe, in the case of my own niece, as seizures. When her parents expressed concern to their daughter’s pediatrician he told them a seizure wasn’t a serious reaction and gave her the next shot in the series. This time she seized again and stopped breathing. The risks are understated and the benefits are overstated.

You mentioned the “more than 30 studies vouching for the safety of vaccines.” The problem with the studies is that if one has the motivation to look into them they find tremendous flaws. For instance, through the Freedom of Information Act we found out that in the study the CDC did on the correlation between thimerosal and autism. Initially, they found children who received thimerosal in their vaccines were 2.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism. They added 30,000 more 1 year-olds to the study and brought the number down to 1.6. They released the later number. In the frequently mentioned Danish study, two flaws I’m most concerned with are that it was a pharmaceutical company that studied the safety and that the study did not last long enough. There were 3 cohorts in the study. The average age of diagnosis for autism in Denmark over 4 years and over 5 years for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); only the oldest cohort reached the average age of diagnosis and the youngest group was the most likely to not have been vaccinated with the MMR because of a widely viewed TV program that linked the MMR with the development of autism. Most doctors read the press releases and look no further.

The CDC has a conflict of interest. They are in charge of promoting vaccines and ensuring they are safe. I read many years ago in the Boston Globe that the AAP recommended that infants receive the Hep. B at 6 months rather than at birth unless their mother is infected. A spokeswoman for the CDC said they were not changing the schedule because they didn’t “want to undermine parental confidence in the vaccination schedule.” My children’s pediatrician was unaware of either statement and was offended when I told him.

Many parents, unfortunately, have the motivation to invest hundreds of hours of study into vaccination.

I believe that pediatricians become doctors because they love children. I understand having a natural aversion to accepting that something you did with the best intentions caused significant harm to a child. I struggled with my guilt that I let my children be vaccinated and thus have life-long disabilities. What’s done is done. Moving forward --let’s first cause no harm.

Pediatricians do make money off vaccinations. That’s ok. I don’t expect you to treat my children for free. I appreciate your education. I appreciate that I can bring my child in for treatment. An article in the Boston Globe mentioned that in the average doctor’s office, proceeds from vaccines pay for the salary of a nurse. In many states, doctors also receive money for having their patients vaccinated. There are financial incentives.

As a parent, I am no longer willing to be patted on the head and sent on my way. That didn’t work out well for me the first time and it won’t happen again. The first step is to open up intellectually honest dialogue. We’ll try to tone down the anger if the medial profession will start taking an honest and independent look at the safety of vaccines.



Thank you thank you thank you for saying this in a well-reasoned, intelligent way! We have the same feelings and have spent similarly exhaustive hours of research on this topic. I recently watched Jenny McCarthy on The Bonnie Hunt Show and surprisingly found her way of explaining the dangers to be similarly persuasive and clear. In 1983, our children received an average of 10 vaccines in the first year of life. Now they receive an average of 36. Surely this cannot be ignored for long. I look forward to the day scientists "prove" (or at the very least acknowledge) the link and come out of their collective "hole" on this issue. Until then, my kids will not be the ones studied.

Life as the mother of 4 said...

Thank you. I think eventually good studies will be done but I think it will be a while.

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