Vaccine-autism groups jump embargo on CDC prevalence

28 Mar

The CDC will soon release new autism prevalence estimates. This much has been discussed online for some time since Disability Scoop published CDC Set To Release New Autism Numbers on March 9.

The “Canary Party” has put out a couple of press releases. One “New CDC Autism Numbers Coming Soon; Rate Increase to Over 1 in 100 Expected by The Canary Party ” and another (which appears to be submitted twice) “The Canary Party Expects CDC to Announce New Autism Rate of 1 in 88, and Believes CDC Likely to Declare “No Public Health Emergency” and “No Epidemic”” The Canary Party is an offshoot of the autism-is-caused-by vaccine organizations like SafeMinds (whose Mark Blaxill is quoted in the press releases).

Also, A-Champ sent out an email alert along similar lines.

These groups appear to be vying for media attention. By getting their press releases out before the embargo is lifted, they might be in a position to get media organizations to contact them for quotes.

It is not the most ethical way to obtain media attention. It also isn’t really that effective. One can tell this because, it didn’t work last time. Yes, multiple groups broke the embargo for the 1% prevalence estimate which came out in the journal Pediatrics in 2009. This was discussed at length here at Left Brain/Right Brain in Autism rate of 1 percent, and the embargo that wasn’t. The media discussed not the talking points of these groups, but the broken embargo. See When News Breaks On Autism, Who Gets It Out First? and Autism news raises question: When is an embargo not an embargo?

Interestingly, the Canary Party press release doesn’t mention mercury, thimerosal or vaccines. Just “The only plausible explanation for these rapid increases is a change in the environment affecting millions of American children” Which ignores a great deal of work published in the last 10 years, especially that of Prof. Peter Bearman’s group at Columbia which has quantified some of the social factors behind the increases observed.

For those who haven’t heard of the “Canary Party”, you are not alone. It is a small (under 5,000 facebook “likes”. Compare that to over 315,000 for the Democratic Party, or over 1 million likes for Autism Speaks).

Autism News Beat has also discussed the broken embargo in Embargo? What embargo?

note: I edited this article after publishing to complete an incomplete sentence in the first paragraph.

17 Responses to “Vaccine-autism groups jump embargo on CDC prevalence”

  1. Science Mom March 28, 2012 at 21:18 #

    Well well, shall we see concern troll and anti-vaxx sympathiser Harold Doherty speaking out against this?

  2. Rachael March 28, 2012 at 21:23 #

    “For those who haven’t heard of the “Canary Party”, you are not alone. It is a small (under 5,000 facebook “likes”. Compare that to over 315,000 for the Democratic Party, or over 1 million likes for Autism Speaks).

    Maybe, that’s because The Canary Party was only launched in the spring of 2011. Give it time! There are plenty of people who are very interested in why there is such an alarming increase in neurological and autoimmune illnesses in both children and adults and the reasons behind these new epidemics.

    • Sullivan March 28, 2012 at 22:23 #


      Age of Autism has been around a lot longer. About the same number of likes.

      I know who the Canary party are. Same names as in other groups, just shifted around a bit. A new wrapper on the same old story.

  3. AutismNewsBeat March 28, 2012 at 21:30 #

    The “The Rent is Too Damn High Party” has 9,036 likes on Facebook.

    • Sullivan March 28, 2012 at 22:27 #


      Coffee Party Movement, 411,000 likes.

      CDC 194,000 likes

      Gates Foundation 240,000 likes

  4. Liz Ditz March 29, 2012 at 00:10 #

    I really, really want to do a social network infographic on the anti-vax leadership but lack the skills to do so.

    Something like this:

    Only for, well, anti-vaccine instead of VCs

  5. Lawrence March 29, 2012 at 00:19 #

    I posited on RI a while back that one of the prime reasons we are seeing more chronic conditions is that many of the children that would have had these in the past, instead would die or be maimed by vaccine-preventable diseases. Because more children are living, we see a greater number of underlying diseases and disorders that always were there, just hidden behind the now vaccine-preventable illnesses.

  6. Science Mom March 29, 2012 at 00:27 #

    @ Liz, I would opine that you could actually use the same relational map and just over-write the anti-vaxx names; it looks about as intertangled.

  7. Sullivan March 29, 2012 at 00:54 #

    Oops, either I read the wrong press release or didn’t do my search correctly.

    From the Canary Party embargo ingoring press release:

    “We hold the CDC accountable for failing to warn parents about the risks of these exposures, and especially for CDC’s own bloated, one-size-fits-all vaccine schedule – which exploded in the late 80’s after vaccine makers were indemnified against litigation by Congress.”

    They also state:

    “History shows us that Polio was called epidemic when the rate was only one in 2,700. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently called trampoline injuries epidemic, even though that rate was only about one in 1,200 children for the year the those injuries were reported (1996). By these measures, The Canary Party holds the position that autism should have been declared an “epidemic” many years ago”

    “By these measures” the “Canary Party” doesn’t understand what they are talking about.

    “By these measures” intellectual disability is an epidemic. Epilepsy is an epidemic.

    They don’t understand the terminology. What else is new?

  8. Sullivan March 29, 2012 at 00:55 #

    Ah, I see, the first press release

    didn’t have discuss vaccines. It is the later one where they showed their cards.

  9. MikeMa March 29, 2012 at 13:52 #

    Implicit in this claim of epidemic is the false equivalence of the dangers. Polio was crippling and resulted in death often. Trampolines (presumably) cause broken bones and cause serious, if mostly short term injuries. Autism, with its wide spectrum, represents a range of effects from mild to severe. Using a single number to represent all of that range is ludicrous and once again makes autism and autistics a far worse diagnosis than it, in most cases, is. By comparing autism to polio parents classify their autistic children as diseased, damaged, broken and hopeless when that is far from the truth and further hobbles efforts to mainstream them. Shame on the canaries.

  10. Todd W. March 30, 2012 at 11:53 #


    By comparing autism to polio parents classify their autistic children as diseased, damaged, broken and hopeless when that is far from the truth and further hobbles efforts to mainstream them.

    What do you expect from a group that equates children with disabilities to dead birds.

  11. MikeMa March 30, 2012 at 16:26 #

    @Todd W,
    Ah, the Thanksgiving Turkey! Right. AoA: Shameless AND stupid.

  12. passionlessDrone March 30, 2012 at 18:36 #

    Liz Ditz –

    Have you seen this?

    Totally great.

    Also, you might love this site:

    Someone included in an infographic about a year ago; ‘the periodic table of antivaccination’ or something like that that got posted @ RI. I will admit to a small sense of happiness at making it into the infographic landscape, by whatever means.

    – pD

  13. Liz Ditz April 2, 2012 at 23:27 #

    Thanks PD!


  1. Autism Blog – Vaccine-autism groups jump embargo on CDC … | My Autism Site | All About Autism - March 29, 2012

    […] See the original post here: Autism Blog – Vaccine-autism groups jump embargo on CDC … […]

  2. Science-Based Medicine » Autism prevalence: Now estimated to be one in 88, and the antivaccine movement goes wild - April 2, 2012

    […] the mainstream press—has a chance to report. So it was late last week, when vaccine-autism cranks jumped the embargo on a CDC study that announced new autism prevalence numbers. This is nothing new; it’s the antivaccine […]

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