Vaccines on the Hill part 2

25 Sep

We recently discussed the Malony briefing where she hosted David Kirby and Mark Blaxill in a discussion of autism and vaccines. As part of that post, I included a letter from Amy Pasani of Every Child By Two.

On a hunch, I checked with another organization, Voices For Vaccines, to see if they had contacted legislators. Lo and behold, they did:

Dear Senator or Representative:

The organizers of a briefing being held later today have listed your office as one from which a staff member will be in attendance. I would like to supply some information which may place the content of the briefing in context.

Today’s event, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, will feature Mr. David Kirby and Mr. Mark Blaxill speaking on the claim that vaccines cause autism. This is a notion which is not supported by scientific evidence. It is also one that has been recognized by the mainstream medical community as posing a threat to the health of Americans.

I am attaching an Open Letter to Congress, issued last June, in which 84 national, state, and local organizations emphasized their support for immunization as a cornerstone of United States public health, and made clear their desire for Congress to follow a sound, evidence-based course in evaluating legislation related to vaccines. As you are undoubtedly aware, this year brought a sharp upswing in cases of measles, most of which were associated with importation of the virus by unvaccinated individuals. These outbreaks reflect vaccine reluctance borne of misplaced fears. The agenda for today’s briefing indicates that it will fan, rather than quell, those fears.

While the presenters will no doubt couch their claims in scientific-sounding language and the rhetoric of impending doom, you can rest assured that no new information has emerged to lead credible scientists to raise concerns about vaccine safety. The popular concept of an “autism epidemic” is largely, if not wholly, an artifact of diagnostic shifts and a broadened definition of autism. There has been no government concession that vaccines cause autism, only that they might have hastened the appearance of autistic-like features in one Vaccine Injury Compensation Program claimant. What autistic people need and deserve is funding for legitimate research and programs that will improve their quality of life — not distractions that squander resources and promote panic.

For further information on these topics, I recommend the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Autism http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Immunization http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines

American Academy of Pediatrics – Autism http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/autism.cfm

American Academy of Pediatrics – Immunization http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/immunizations.cfm

Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia http://vaccine.chop.edu

Best regards,

Lisa H. Randall, J.D.
Interim Executive Director
Voices For Vaccines
325 Swanton Way
Decatur, GA 30030
http://www.voicesforvaccines.org

If the reaction to Ms. Pisani’s letter is any guide, one sentence in the letter above will be particularly targeted by some vaccine-autism advocacy groups:

What autistic people need and deserve is funding for legitimate research and programs that will improve their quality of life — not distractions that squander resources and promote panic.

Some may complain about that, but not me.

Keeping the theme used for the previous post, I’ll close with this statement:

Why reproduce the Lisa Randall’s letter here? Because many in the greater autism community agree with Ms. Randall. This blogger certainly does. I hope that legislators know that members of the autism community side with Voices for Vaccines on this subject.

2 Responses to “Vaccines on the Hill part 2”

  1. abfh September 25, 2008 at 20:03 #

    one sentence in the letter above will be particularly targeted by some vaccine-autism advocacy groups

    And particularly applauded by some autistic people. Thanks for reprinting it.

  2. isles September 26, 2008 at 08:29 #

    She could have said more. Like that autistic people *don’t* need the implication that they’re walking Superfund sites. They don’t need to be painted as a societal disaster. They don’t need to be test subjects for every whacked-out new “therapy” to come down the pike.

    I’m really not sure autism awareness has been such a good thing, if what it’s brought to autistic people is notoriety rather than offers of cooperation.

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