Vaccines' benefits outweigh dangers

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Registered: 11-05-2003
Vaccines' benefits outweigh dangers
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Thu, 03-27-2008 - 1:42pm

Vaccines' benefits outweigh dangers
Autism claim shouldn't deter parents

By ANNE SCHUCHAT
Published on: 03/26/08

David Kirby's March 20 opinion column, "Give Us Answers on Vaccines," misinterpreted available information about a case before the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program and may have parents wondering what is best for their child when it comes to immunizations. That is unfortunate, given that our nation's childhood vaccines are very safe and are proven to protect and save lives.

Parents should know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the wide range of scientists and health professionals involved in the nation's immunization programs take seriously questions and concerns related to vaccine safety. Furthermore, our efforts in vaccines, developmental disabilities and the health of children go far beyond our professional interests, as many of the dedicated professionals involved are also parents and grandparents.

Kirby's column included many inaccuracies related to childhood vaccines. As such, it illustrates that when it comes to immunizations, child development and specific medical conditions, the best source of guidance is the child's health care provider. Parents should not be reluctant to ask their child's doctors or nurses about any health concerns, including immunizations. Vaccines are often given early in life in order to protect against diseases that can seriously harm infants and young children. The joint immunization recommendations of CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians do recognize there are instances when a child should not receive a recommended vaccine or when a recommended vaccination should be delayed. Those decisions, however, are best made in consultation with the child's doctor.

As the column correctly noted, vaccine injury cases are often handled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program administered by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration. This program is charged with determining whether a claimed injury meets pre-established criteria or if vaccination may have contributed to a child's serious medical or health condition. If such a determination is made, the program works to provide timely and compassionate compensation.

Since 1988, HRSA's vaccine injury program has provided compensation in about 2,100 cases, including some that have involved vaccines and encephalopathy (injury to the brain). While Kirby's column suggested otherwise, to date, this program has never determined in any case that autism was caused by a vaccine. In comparison, during this same time period, about 100 million American children received recommended childhood vaccinations, and cases of vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. have decreased to record or near-record lows.

Recently, mitochondrial disorders have become the focus of media attention with respect to vaccine injury compensation. Mitochondrial disorders, which occur very rarely in children, are believed to be genetic. Children born with these disorders often appear normal through the first years of life. When placed under severe stress from such things as infections, fever, dehydration, malnutrition or lack of sleep, children with these disorders often experience loss of some brain and nervous system functions.

Some have suggested that infants and children be screened for mitochondrial disorders before getting recommended vaccinations. Unfortunately, mitochondrial diseases are very difficult to diagnose and it is usually not possible to identify children with such disorders until there are signs of developmental decline. A definitive diagnosis often requires multiple blood tests and may also require a muscle or brain biopsy (removal of a portion for testing, usually under anesthesia). Therefore, providing routine screening tests on children who have no symptoms would bring other medical risks and raise many ethical questions.

At present, we do not know definitively if vaccines can trigger neurological or developmental declines among children with mitochondrial disorders. We do know, however, that infections can cause neurological and developmental declines among these children — and we also know that childhood vaccinations protect children against some of the same infections known to cause developmental decline among children with mitochondrial disorders. These include vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, chickenpox and influenza.

In the case of children with mitochondrial disorders, we do not yet have sufficient evidence to make general immunization recommendations. Physicians who care for children with these disorders usually recommend that these children receive their childhood vaccines, but, depending on the child's health status or medical condition, they may change when those vaccinations are provided.

We recognize that developmental disorders, whether related to mitochondrial disease, autism or other causes, are a serious challenge for many families. In the case of autism, CDC has actively supported vaccine safety research in this area. To date, the best science indicates that there is no association between vaccines and autism. As part of our efforts to foster understanding of autism, CDC is currently conducting the largest study to date designed to identify potential autism causes and risk factors.

We recognize that much of the success of our nation's immunization efforts comes from the trust of parents. We do not take that trust lightly. Rather, CDC, FDA and other HHS agencies are continually working to expand efforts in vaccine safety research and science as well as clinician and parent input and involvement. Like parents, we want the best information possible when it comes to protecting and ensuring children's health.

Our nation's high immunization rates are the reason why very few children suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases that in the past used to harm them in large numbers. These high rates show that parents realize the importance of childhood vaccinations. CDC is committed to maintaining that high level of support as well as making sure all our efforts are working to foster the health of children.

http://www.ajc.com/search/content/opinion/stories/2008/03/25/vaccinesed_0326.html

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2003
Thu, 03-27-2008 - 1:46pm

Give us answers on vaccines

By DAVID KIRBY
Published on: 03/20/08

By now, many parents in America have heard of the Hannah Poling court case. They know the government has acknowledged that vaccines contributed to autism in at least one little girl from Georgia. Understandably, they are worried, and they want answers.

But instead of frank talk from leading health officials, their concerns are being met with stonewalling, denial and misinformation.

By refusing to address what really happened to Hannah — by commanding parents to settle down and adhere to the nation's rigid immunization regime — officials will only drive people away from vaccines in anxiety-ridden droves.

But what if we could test children for underlying conditions that might increase their risk of vaccine injury and autism? And what if we allowed those at risk to slightly delay and spread out their shots?

It's a difficult, but not impossible, proposition. And I believe doing so would reduce the rate of autism, seizure disorders and even asthma in some children. And we would boost vaccination rates by restoring faith in the nation's teetering immunization program.

Why do I say this? New documents have surfaced in the Poling case that shine more light on how Hannah's vaccine injury led to autism.

A government document filed in the case last November conceded that Hannah's vaccines had aggravated an underlying disorder of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses within each cell that convert food and oxygen into energy. Government officials acknowledged that Hannah's disorder led to a condition known as low cellular energy metabolism, which was aggravated by vaccines and ultimately led to an autism diagnosis.

It was a tantalizing admission but did little to explain just how the vaccines had aggravated the disorder or caused autism.

But on Feb. 21, the U.S. government made a second, unpublicized concession in the case. In addition to triggering autism, officials now admitted, Hannah's vaccines had also led to her "seizure disorder," or epilepsy.

And there was more. The November document claimed that Hannah had a mitochondrial "disorder." But by February, this was modulated to a mere mitochondrial "dysfunction."

That's because Hannah's underlying condition was asymptomatic and most likely environmentally acquired. It was not some rare, grave, inherited disease that would have progressed to autism anyway, as many officials contend.

The November report said Hannah's vaccine reaction had "manifested" as early-onset brain disease, with "features of autism spectrum disorder."

But the February report is more blunt. It says that Hannah's vaccines "caused" her "autistic" brain disease.

But the real bombshell was this: Hannah's autism was caused by vaccine-induced fever and overstimulation of her immune system, according to court documents. Her low cellular energy and reduced metabolic reserves, due to mitochondrial dysfunction, were overstressed by the contents of nine vaccines (including mercury) at once.

The Cleveland Clinic defines low cellular energy metabolism disorder this way: "The process of converting food and oxygen (fuel) into energy requires hundreds of chemical reactions, and each chemical reaction must run almost perfectly in order to have a continuous supply of energy. When one or more components of these chemical reactions does not run perfectly, there is an energy crisis, and the cells cannot function normally. As a result, the incompletely burned food might accumulate as poison inside the body."

The cause of Hannah's mitochondrial dysfunction is up for debate, though ample evidence exists to implicate heavy metals in air, water, food and vaccines as possible suspects. But the government has acknowledged that low cellular energy can increase the risk of immune system overdrive, and regression into autism.

Now, one would think that investigating — and preventing — such vaccine-induced overstimulation in susceptible children would be a top priority of health officials. But it is not.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has vowed to "adamantly" enforce the one-size-fits-all vaccine schedule, no matter what happened to Hannah and other kids like her.

Frantic parents, desperate for answers, were admonished by Gerberding to "set aside this very isolated, unusual situation" in so-called Vaccine Court, even though "the court apparently made the decision that it is fair to say that vaccinations may have been one of the precipitators."

Gerberding was either grossly misinformed, or lying.

To begin with, this "decision" was not made by the court at all, but by medical personnel working for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Gerberding's boss.

More important, the Poling case is neither isolated nor unusual. At least 12 other autism-related claims have been paid out in Vaccine Court to date, and perhaps hundreds more cases like Hannah's are pending.

Most striking is how typical Hannah's cellular dysfunction may be among children with autism. While extremely rare in the general population, at two per 10,000 people, it seems unusually common in autism — with estimates up to 2,000 per 10,000.

Many opinion leaders are calling on the government to release all relevant documents leading to the Poling concessions. The family has waived all claims to privacy, and the public has a right to know.

For now, all we have is the CDC Web site, which says that "simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effect on the normal childhood immune system."

But did Hannah have a "normal" immune system? Are other kids out there also metabolically primed for overstimulation from too many shots at once? Should their vaccines be spread out?

Instead of answers, we get adamant silence. This is not a matter of national security. It's a national emergency. Millions of parents are anxiously waiting for their government to tell them what the hell is going on.

• David Kirby, an investigative journalist, is author of "Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy"

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/2008/03/19/autismed_0320.html

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2007
Thu, 03-27-2008 - 2:13pm

Questions to this article noted with ****


Vaccines' benefits outweigh dangers
Autism claim shouldn't deter parents


***Where's the study of the vacc'd vs. unvacc'd?*****


***Where's the study that vaccinations DIRECTLY reduced diseases?****


By ANNE SCHUCHAT
Published on: 03/26/08


David Kirby's March 20 opinion column, "Give Us Answers on Vaccines," misinterpreted available information about a case before the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program and may have parents wondering what is best for their child when it comes to immunizations. That is unfortunate, given that our nation's childhood vaccines are very safe and are proven to protect and save lives.


****What was misinterpreted?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Sun, 03-30-2008 - 5:39pm

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I beg to differ- it's called *coercion*

Coerce-

1. to compel by force or INTIMIDATION... (you must risk your child's individual health for the good of society! It is your CIVIC DUTY!)

2. To bring about through force... (or being led to believe you will be denied of a public education and other services if you don't vax)

3. To dominate or control, especially by EXPLOITING FEAR, ANXIETY, Etc. ...(insert various pro-vax fear mongering facts/opinions here)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2003
Sun, 03-30-2008 - 5:50pm

ITA - there is absolutely no such thing as "informed consent" for vaccinations.

If the Doctor actually reviewed the product insert and possible side-effects with parents a whole lot of parents would cease to vaccinate.

Coercion it is.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Sun, 03-30-2008 - 5:53pm

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EXACTLY!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2007
Sun, 03-30-2008 - 10:28pm

****What was misinterpreted?