Professor Peter Bearman on vaccines and autism revisited

21 Apr

I’ve posted a few pieces on the work of Prof. Peter Bearman recently. I mentioned his work on vaccines and autism in one post but the lecture was not one that could be embedded and the part on vaccines is only a relatively short bit towards the end of the lecture.

So I took that section of the lecture out and put it on YouTube so I could embed it. This is discussing data from what I assume is an upcoming paper by Prof. Bearman’s group.

Prof. Bearman notes that vaccine refusal rates in California are higher in areas where autism organizations have a presence. However, vaccine refusal rates are *not* higher in areas with high autism prevalence.

In other words: autism isn’t scaring people away from vaccination. But, autism organizations are.

can be as much as 7 times higher if there are autism organizations in a given area. The baseline refusal rate in California is about 1.6% (in 2003). In other words, there are pockets of vaccine refusal of 10% or more in California, correlated with autism organization presence.

There are those who gloat about increasing fear of vaccines. It is too bad that time, money and effort didn’t go into something valuable to the autism communities. Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire on us in the form of infectious disease outbreaks blamed on the autism community.

5 Responses to “Professor Peter Bearman on vaccines and autism revisited”

  1. Maz April 27, 2010 at 06:58 #

    “Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire on us in the form of infectious disease outbreaks blamed on the autism community.”
    If vaccines are effective at what they are meant to do then there is no need for you to worry about an outbreak of a disease. Those who chose not to vaccinate are aware of both sides of the coin. Present your case without your scare tactics.

  2. Julian Frost April 27, 2010 at 11:33 #

    Maz,
    Firstly, vaccines are extremely effective (over 90%), just not 100% effective. For some children, the vaccine doesn’t take. Secondly, children with compromised immune systems (from HIV and other factors) don’t get vaccinations. If these children get an infection from an unvaccinated child, they’re dead and I mean that literally.
    Thirdly, children are not vaccinated at birth. A child that hasn’t yet received vaccinations can catch nasty illnesses like pertussis or Measles. These infections can kill, and have.
    There have been stories of unvaccinated children getting diseases while travelling and then spreading them when they get back home. The fact is that refusing a vaccination can endanger not only the unvaccinated child, but a number of other children as well.

  3. Chris April 27, 2010 at 16:32 #

    Maz, how do you propose to keep babies under a year old protected from measles? Or babies under three months old protected from pertussis?

  4. Dedj April 27, 2010 at 21:32 #

    Also, how are we all supposed to be protected against the cost of a co-worker being off because they/their child is ill? What about the cost of lost school time? What about the cost of staff shortages caused by outbreaks? What about ward closures due to outbreaks? What about disruption to public transport?

    “Those who chose not to vaccinate are aware of both sides of the coin.”

    I’m sure I’m not the only person here to have found this to often be very untrue for an unfortunetly large number on individuals. It’s certainly been unture for the majority – if not the exclusive majority – of vaccine cynical people that have commented on this website.

  5. Tony Bateson April 28, 2010 at 10:51 #

    I am certain that people who choose not to vaccinate do so because they have taken a lot of trouble to inform themselves about the pros and cons. This seems to be markedly different from many people who simply abuse blogs to screech at them.

    But I am more interested in Professor Bearman’s sources. If he knows where the highest prevalences of autism can be found in California and he can link these with other factors such as the presence or absence of autism organisations perhaps he can go one step further. I would like to know what the prevalence of autism is in unvaccinated people. There are many of these in Nevada County and many other areas of California – can he help me with some information on this matter please.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

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