Vaccinations & Autism

2 Aug

This post is going to be a fairly rambling affair for which I’ll apologise in advance. It was prompted by the upsurge in my inbox over the last month or so of news alerts surrounding vaccines and epidemics relating to parents not vaccinating their kids. On the surface not necessarily a subject directly related to autism but as the vast majority of us parents with autistic kids know, of late a lot of anti-vaccination people with an agenda have attempted to hijack autism as being the result of vaccine damage.

Here’s a selection of quotes from the Evidence of Harm email list (with thanks to Kathleen who compiled them and used them in her own post first) regarding these anti-vaxxers. These are people who are (or claim to be) parents/relatives of an autistic child:

My stance is this: for “public consumption” I am just anti-mercury. No one can argue with that. Privately, for myself and family, I feel so betrayed by our public health organizations that I don’t forsee ever getting another vaccine for myself or my family.

I am saying… “We just want safer vaccines” (for your kids)…. Meanwhile I am thinking (No way is my kid getting any more vaccines, especially not Hep B, Chicken pox, etc….)

just b/c I am very anti vaccine, does not mean I let that be the message. I always speak about the mercury and we all should.

I can say that my daughter will never be vaccinated UNLESS she is in need of a tetnus shot.

I don’t know if it’s common here or not, but I will never give my kids any vaccine again, mercury or not. They just aren’t safe.

One goal that we as a community must relentless pursue is undermining whenever possible the credibility of the fda/cdc and vaccine industry.

Please see the link to Kathleen’s piece above for all references.

Its clear to see that for a sizable proportion of the mercury = autism crowd, their mission goes far far deeper than thimerosal and touches on the eradication of vaccines totally:

Mercury seems to be getting tons of coverage. When that deal is settled and we win, we need to go after another ingredient. We’ll dismantle the vaccine industry ingredient by stupid ingredient if we have to. Who is with me?

This is pretty disturbing stuff. Firstly, we have the fact that this negativity regarding vaccines is unwarranted with no evidence _whatsoever_ indicating that thimerosal or MMR causes autism (and if anyone wants to disagree with me then remember to cite your peer reviewed science please) and yet a sizable minority not only believe it but are aggressively politicising the issue to a point where a number of us are growing alarmed about the future of autism research and, more importantly, concerned about the stigmatic consequences this will have for our kids as they grow up with people believing they are poisoned.

However, there is another incredibly disturbing outcome directly related to the actions of people on the Evidence of Harm email list, their supporters and those like them on other lists:

In the course of 10 days, officials confirmed four pertussis cases, including the hospitalization of one child to treat respiratory symptoms. All of the cases afflicted children under 5 years old, and one in an infant just a couple of days old, according to Ravalli County Public Health Nurse Judy Griffin…..There have been more than 450 cases of pertussis in Montana so far this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The infection rate is much higher than average years, when about 30 cases are reported….”Parents should check immunization records and make sure they’re up to date,” Nurse Judy Griffin said.

Ravalli Republic.

(Columbia) The state health department said yesterday that an infant has died from whooping cough. It is the first death reported in South Carolina from the disease in nearly three years….The health agency said it’s important children receive pertussis vaccinations on schedule.

WLTX News.

A whooping cough epidemic has hit Deschutes County. Health officials say that in the past six weeks, 18 cases of pertussis have been identified in the county. In all of 2004, there were only two cases of pertussis in Deschutes County.


An increase in cases of the highly contagious whooping cough is prompting state health officials to urge stricter compliance with childhood immunization schedules….Cases have increased annually from 22 statewide in 1996 to 120 last year…Oklahoma’s childhood immunization levels continue to lag behind those nationally, officials said.

RedNova News

Kids are dying again. And in some areas of the US the disease causing those deaths is at epidemic (real epidemic as oppose to autism epidemic) proportions. And thats just one disease that vaccination removed the sting from for many years. In my country (UK) we’ve recently had a Mumps epidemic due to Andrew Wakefield’s unfounded scaremongering regarding the MMR vaccine.

How can this be in any way a good situation? At a recent ‘March for Truth’ rally in the US, a small collection of parents and professionals expounded the evils of thimerosal (or thiomersal for us Brits). One of the placards they carried read:

Vaccines are weapons of mass destruction

Now, as far as I’m aware, autism isn’t fatal but as we’ve seen above, Whooping Cough is. If you don’t vaccinate you not only increase your own kids chances of getting it, you increase the chances of them passing it on as well. Thats how an _actual_ epidemic works.

During the 1970s, widespread concerns about the safety of pertussis immunization led to a rapid fall in immunization levels in the United Kingdom. Within several years, a series of pertussis epidemics occurred; greater than 100,000 cases and 36 deaths due to pertussis were reported in one epidemic in the mid-1970s.


These anti-vaccinationers (and don’t be fooled, they’ll tell you they’re not but remember – they have a ‘public consumption’ stance and a private stance) also aim to affect availability of vaccinations. One of the things that gets them all riled up was (and I’m not a US citizen so forgive my poor terminology) was an amendment to a bill stating that the vaccine making industry should be immune from citizens being able to sue them. As the US (and to a lesser extent the UK) seems to have lost its collective mind and now believes compensation to be synonymous with responsibility, this news was greeted with howls of outrage. But in reality, when you calm down and examine the reasons, it makes sense.

The cost of lawsuits and government regulations forced vaccine makers out of the business in the 1980s. Although Congress responded with a law to minimize their liability, most never returned to the marketplace. Today, only five companies make vaccines for U.S. distribution, compared to about 30 before the liability crisis. These firms live with the daily fear of being hauled into court.


In 1988, Congress created a no-fault system designed to compensate families for adverse effects of childhood vaccines. Without that protection, no manufacturer could bear the risk of the multibillion-dollar lawsuits that trial lawyers routinely threaten on behalf of their clients.


The fund has reduced (but not stopped) the lawsuits. In a pending class-action case, parents of children with autism are blaming vaccines containing mercury for damage to their children’s brains during critical stages of development. According to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., one such lawsuit seeks $30 billion in damages, even though the entire vaccine market is valued at only $5 billion. Mercury (thimerosal) is not a covered ingredient under the fund.

All quotes from The Saturday Evening Post.

So, parents of autistics in the US have the power to bring the vaccine industry crashing down and in the past, lawsuits have come close to destroying the industry. What effect on child health do we think this may have? Whats important here? A parental need to get rich or the lives of children?

“Power Of Truth” Rally And EoH Maillist PhotoBlog

Placard reading: Autism Sucks! Get Mercury Out!

Placard reading: Here's the point - autism is just another name for mercury poisoning. Hey Dubya, I got your weapons of mass destruction right here.

Bumper sticker reading: Have vaccines caused autism? Read the evidence.

Yeah, definitely not anti-vaccine at all.

51 Responses to “Vaccinations & Autism”

  1. Mishal January 16, 2006 at 22:35 #

    You are very right in saying that parents should take their children to vaccinations. And there is not rambling at all.

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