As 2008 ended and the New Year began, evidence that the "Tipping Point" in the 27-year old vaccine safety and informed consent movement has arrived is becoming more apparent. There is the escalating rhetoric and hyperbole being spewed by the evangelistic pediatrician from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who called for doctors to be burned at the stake for the heresy of individualizing CDC and AAP vaccine use guidelines. In a brilliant letter to Pediatrics, it was a parent of a vaccine injured child, neurologist Jon Poling, M.D., who pointed out why sophomoric errors in logic and misunderstanding of the scientific method invalidated the claims of Paul Offit. Soon Dr. Poling was joined by others speaking out in defense of pediatricians like Bob Sears, M.D., who are wisely advocating that doctors and parents engage in shared vaccine decision-making for children.
Then there was the stern reminder to parents from militant New Jersey health officials that babies must get flu shots by January 2009 or face being kicked out of daycare and pre-school. Parents living in the state with the most vaccine mandates (41 doses of 13 vaccines), especially those with children already suffering with health problems, are trying to protect their children from further damage but have no recourse because New Jersey state law only allows restrictive medical and religious exemptions. Vaccine educated parents are writing letters to legislators urging them to pass a conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.
After a Dec. 14 legislative roundtable discussion at Stony Brook University with proponents for and against addition of a philosophical exemption to New York vaccine laws, vaccine educated parents are urging that letters be written to legislators (New York Assembly at http://assembly.stat e.ny.us/ and New York Senate at http://www.senate.state.ny.us/senatehom epage.nsf/senators?OpenForm ) and also to New York Governor David Paterson, Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224 in support of the exemption.
Merck rang in the New Year trying to pump up sales of the reactive Gardasil vaccine by asking the FDA to open up the young boy market, while Prevnar-maker Wyeth is making a bid to become the world's most profitable vaccine manufacturer. The Jan. 1 voluntary moratorium by drug companies on giving doctors free pens and trinkets is a token drop in the bucket compared to the big bucks Big Pharma will spend in 2009 to keep doctors convincing Americans that the only way they can stay healthy is to consume more and more drugs and vaccines.
But then came a breath of fresh air this week when the formidable M.I.N.D. Institute at UC-Davis published an epidemiological study confirming that the autism epidemic that has emerged during the past three decades is not due to genetics or "better counting" but is likely caused by environmental co-factors.
2009 is off to a contentious, challenging and promising start. Like all social movements that advocate reform of institutions stubbornly resistant to change, the way is not easy and change does not come quickly or without sacrifice. The three-decade U.S. vaccine safety and informed consent movement is approaching its final and most important stage: the fight for freedom of choice. As several hundred vaccines are being developed and tested in several thousand clinical trials around the world and drug companies are jockeying for market-share positions, doctors are trying harder to convince Americans that 69 doses of 16 vaccines given to children between birth and age 18 will keep America healthy.
The argument that more vaccination will equal better health is an argument that is getting harder to make as one in two Americans suffers from chronic disease and America plummets to 39th in infant mortality while 25 percent of all children are suffering with learning disabilities, ADHD, severe allergies, autism, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorder, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic immune and brain disorders. The question that doctors and public health officials fear most is:
WHY IS THE MOST HIGHLY VACCINATED CHILD POPULATION IN THE WORLD SO SICK AND DISABLED?
Until that question is answered by doctors and public health officials, there aren't enough daytime or evening soap operas, bogus news reports and poorly conducted studies claiming that vaccines are totally safe, or threats by vaccine patent holders and doctors shouting "coincidence" every time another child regresses into chronic poor health after vaccination to keep the tipping point from tipping.
Happy New Year!
"Sears' book, published in October 2007 as part of the Sears Parenting Library, has already sold more than40,000 copies and has moved into the top 100 on the Amazon.com bestseller list. The popularity of Sears' book centers in part on 2 schedules, called alternative and selective, that offer parents a way to avoid giving their children several vaccines at one time. Sears' book is unique. Unlike typical antivaccine books, he offers a middle ground, allowing parents to act on their fears without completely abandoning vaccines. Unfortunately, Sears sounds many antivaccine messages....At the heart of the problem with Sears' schedules is the fact that, at the very least, they will increase the time during which children are susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases. If more parents insist on Sears' vaccine schedules, then fewer children will be protected, with the inevitable consequence of continued or worsening outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. In an effort to protect children from harm, Sears' book will likely put more in harm's way." - Paul Offit, Pediatrics (December 29, 2008) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cg i/content/full/123/1/e164
"In their assault on Dr. Sears, Offit and Moser confuse scientific methodology. Even more dangerous than not having an understanding of science, is the presumption that one does "grasp the scientific method." Actually, in designing an epidemiological study, one must have a good estimate of the effect size, in order to determine the power of a study. Offit misuses the statistical term 'power' to suggest that this allows one to "reject or not to reject the null hypothesis." This is incorrect.....As physicians we took an oath to 'first do no harm' to our individual patients. Dr. Sears offers a pro-vaccine individualized approach to childhood immunization that acknowledges the risks, benefits, and uncertainties of this medical intervention. Dr. Sears should be applauded for his efforts to provide safe vaccination alternatives to his patients, given the void of randomized controlled trials to support continued growth of the current CDC/AAP schedule. Rather than personal attacks, let's turn to science to provide the answers. The enormous public benefit of vaccination cannot be used to stifle open discourse on critical vaccine safety issues. One size does not fit all." - Jon Poling, Pediatrics (January 2, 2009)
"The state's new law requiring young children attending licensed pre-school and child care centers to get flu vaccinations will be tested this week when thousands of children return to classrooms and playrooms after the long holiday break. New Jersey, the first state in the nation to require flu shots for young schoolchildren, set a Dec. 31 deadline for parents to obtain flu vaccinations for their children. It was part of a new policy requiring a total of four additional immunizations for schoolchildren over the objections of some parents who worry about possible risks from vaccinations. The requirement applies to children between 6 months and 5 years who are attending licensed day care and preschool programs." - Derrick Henry, New York Times (January 4, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/ 04/nyregion/new-jersey/04flunj.html? _r=1&ref=education
"Merck filed last month for approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the use of its drug Gardasil by males between the ages 9 to 26, CNBC has confirmed. Since 2006, Gardasil has been approved as a means of preventing cervical and other types of cancer in girls and women. Males carry and transmit the sexually-transmitted virus HPV, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV, has been a blockbuster product for Merck , but sales growth for the drug has slowed. Approval for boys and older women could help reinvigorate that...." - Mike Huckman, CNBC-TV (January 5, 2009) http://www.cnbc.com/id/28506419/
"Wyeth may become one of the world's biggest vaccine makers with the acquisition of Crucell NV, a Dutch developer of medicines against AIDS, rabies, and Ebola. The drugmaker is in talks to buy Crucell, based in Leiden, Netherlands, for $1.35 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal....Wyeth Chief Executive Officer Bernard Poussot has focused the company's research on vaccines, a dependable source of sales for drugmakers because they don't lose patent protection and are often purchased by governments. Poussot turned Wyeth's pneumonia vaccine Prevnar into its second best-selling product with $2.4 billion in 2007 revenue...." - Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg News January 8, 2009 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news? pid=20601087&sid=as4rY9TI49Yo&refer=worldwide#
"Starting Jan. 1, the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on the kind of branded goodies - Viagra pens, Zoloft soap dispensers, Lipitor mugs - that were meant to foster good will and, some would say, encourage doctors to prescribe more of the drugs. No longer will Merck furnish doctors with purplish adhesive bandages advertising Gardasil, a vaccine against the human papillomavirus....But some critics said the code did not go far enough to address the influence of drug marketing on the practice of medicine. The guidelines, for example, still permit drug makers to underwrite free lunches for doctors and their staffs or to sponsor dinners for doctors at restaurants, as long as the meals are accompanied by educational presentations....The industry code also permits drug makers to pay doctors as consultants "based on fair market value" - which critics say means that companies can continue to pay individual doctors tens of thousands of dollars or more a year. "We have arrived at a point in the history of medicine in America where doctors have deep, deep financial ties with the drug makers and marketers," said Allan Coukell, the director of policy for the Prescription Project, a nonprofit group in Boston working to promote evidence-based medicine. "Financial entanglements at all the levels have the potential to influence prescribing in a way that is not good." - Natasha Singer, New York Times (December 31, 2008) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/ 12/31/business/31drug.html? partner=rss&emc=rss
"It is time to focus on environmental causes for the rapid rise in autism, a leading researcher said Thursday, after her study concluded that such factors as earlier diagnosis and families moving to California cannot fully explain a dramatic seven- to eightfold increase in the state since the early 1990s. "With no evidence of a leveling off, the possibility of a true increase in incidence deserves serious consideration," states the study, published in the January issue of the journal Epidemiology.... Rick Rollens, the father of an autistic child and co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute, agreed. "This is a definitive study that should once and for all put the proverbial nail in the coffin of those who have been denying the existence of an autism epidemic," he said. "The sooner that people recognize the significance of this crisis, the sooner we'll be on our way in trying to address the needs of the children and families," Rollens said." - Sandy Kleffman, Contra Costa Times (January 9, 2009) http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci _11411611?source=rss
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