Somehow I never thought there would be a “Vaccines on the Hill II”, much less III. That said, a question from Lisa (from about.autism.com) got me thinking and, well, I’d rather do this a post than a response.
I admit, this isn’t directly related to her comment, who commented on how David Kirby makes a point of stating he is not “anti-vaccine”.
Instead this is about frustrations with Mr. Kirby. As an example, let’s discuss how Mr. Kirby “quoted” a response that the CDC made to an NEIHS report in his congressional briefing. Yes, “quoted” is in quotes for a good reason.
On his presentation, page six, Mr. Kirby “quotes” (there’s those quotation marks again!) the NIEHS report:
NIH: “We identified several areas of weakness that were judged to reduce the usefulness of the VSD for addressing the potential association between exposure to thimerosal and risk of ASD.”
With the response from Dr. Gerberding at CDC of:
Gerberding General Response: CDC CONCURS
What was the real quote?
The panel identified several serious problems that were judged to reduce the usefulness of an ecologic study design using the VSD to address the potential association between thimerosal and the risk of AD/ASD.
Yep. Mr. Kirby left out the fact that the NIEHS was specifically talking about ecological studies.
Makes a BIG difference in how that phrase is interpreted. This was a major part of two epiwonk blog posts, here and here. Mr. Kirby’s original blog post on this was retracted, so Mr. Kirby is well aware of the importance of the fact that the NIEHS limited the statement to ecological studies.
By the way, the real CDC response?
CDC Response: CDC concurs with this conclusion and does not plan to use VSD for ecological studies.
They did most certainly not concur with the statement that Mr Kirby “quoted”. Instead, they see the limitation for ecological studies. There is strength in using the VSD. They don’t see it as valuable for discussing the thimerosal/autism question, as we’ve discussed before.
Mr. Kirby’s “quote” of the NIH was incorrect. This isn’t incorrect in the way Dan Olmsted thinks that “has” vs. “have” is an important difference. No, the quote by Mr. Kirby completely changed the very meaning of the statement that NIEHS made and implied the CDC concurred with.
It sounds like Mr Kirby was caught red-handed trying it too, by a staffer who obviously came in very well informed. The bright side is that the legislature got an idea of Mr. Kirby’s tactics. The down side, they may not realize that the entire autism community is not represented by Mr. Kirby and his tactics.
This misinformation effort has already had an effect. Mr. Kirby’s original treatment of the CDC response made people think that the CDC position is that the Verstraten study was flawed. As epiwonk makes very clear, the opposite is true. The NIEHS panel suggested expanding the Verstraten study (which was not ecological) with additional years.
And people wonder why I get frustrated with Mr. Kirby.