Sunday, March 13, 2011
St. Paul Pioneer Press
As usual, Minnesota is above the national average in the proportions of children who are vaccinated against infectious diseases, according to a news item this week. Unfortunately, those proportions are declining, and we are not so far above the average as we used to be.
Is this a problem? What, if anything, should we want government to do about it? This is an issue where considerations of individual liberty clash particularly strongly with the health of society as a whole.
We live in an era in which there is greater emphasis on human liberty and personal responsibility than was true for many years. Many people oppose intrusive government. Few things are more intrusive than government telling people that they must have their children injected with various vaccines. Moreover, there always have been members of some religious groups that find vaccination against their faith. So we don't have a federal law per se that requires vaccinations. There are, however, laws in some states that do require vaccinations and a federal law that requires them before attending educational institutions.
Those suspicious of government coercion ask why government should be involved at all. Why are vaccinations any different than getting a tumor removed, a hernia fixed or a pill prescribed to reduce blood pressure? If people think childhood vaccinations have greater benefits than costs, let them go ahead and get their kids vaccinated. If they don't think so, let them do without and run the risks of getting sick.
The problem is that vaccinations against infectious diseases are different from medical care for noninfectious maladies. Vaccinations have what economists call "spillover benefits." That is, they do good things for society that go beyond the protection afforded to the person getting the shots.
This is because of a phenomenon called "population immunity." Higher rates of vaccination reduce the risks of epidemics. They also reduce the risk of even nonvaccinated people getting the disease, epidemic or not. The reason is that as the fraction of the population that could get the disease shrinks, the harder it is for the pathogen to spread from one person to another. The risks of an unvaccinated person getting a disease fall extremely low well before vaccination rates approach 100 percent.
This introduces perverse incentives. It benefits society as a whole for people to get vaccinated. But if most people are getting vaccinated, any single individual can avoid the discomfort, risk and expense of being vaccinated and still benefit from the reduced risk of getting sick that spills over from others taking the precaution.
This leads to what logic professors call a fallacy of composition, of assuming that what is true for an individual is necessarily true for a group. Any one individual may be better off by "free-riding" and not getting vaccinated. But if everyone avoids vaccination, society as a whole will be much worse off because dangerous diseases will spread throughout the population.
Economists agree that when all the costs and benefits of some product or service are borne by the person deciding to consume it or not, there is no need for government to act. If no one else is affected by my eating a muffin or reading a magazine, there is no reason for government to either promote or retard muffin eating or magazine reading.
But when others are affected, society is worse off if government does not act.
Both history and economic theory demonstrate that there are some goods or services, such as national defense or fire protection, that have large spillover benefits and that will not be produced in optimal quantities in free, private markets. Society gets fewer of its needs and wants met than if government "intervenes" to use resources to provide such "public goods."
A muffin or a magazine is a purely private good. A police cruiser is largely a public good. But many other things, including education and vaccinations, fall somewhere in between, with some benefits accruing solely to the individual getting educated or vaccinated and other benefits spilling over to the rest of society.
Educating everyone in basic literacy and numeracy has enormous spillover benefits for society in the form of economic productivity. Getting a Ph.D. in economics or archeology may benefit the student, but it does little extra for society. So we subsidize and mandate education through age 16 but let public support taper off after high school, with government paying nearly all of the cost of education through the secondary level, but proportionally less for college and graduate school.
We indirectly coerce people to get vaccinated against the most dangerous infectious diseases. We also provide some subsidies, but we expect households or their insurers to pick up much of the cost. Some of the decline in vaccination rates is attributed to declining levels of reimbursement by private insurers and Medicaid. I think this is a mistake.
Private demand for vaccinations and public support for government subsidies of vaccination are driven by perceived risk. I was one of more than 60 kids home with the measles out of a school of 110 students when I was in the third grade. My cousin lived with a hand withered by polio. I knew people scarred by smallpox when I worked in Brazil and Peru. That is why I think government should both subsidize vaccination and "encourage" it, subject to exemptions for legitimate religious beliefs.
But I am getting to be an old geezer. Younger generations that have never seen the scourge of such diseases evidently don't feel the same urgency.
St. Paul economist and writer Edward Lotterman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the United Nations, the European Commission, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluate the health and environmental risks associated with mercury, a known neurotoxin, carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, and immune-system disruptor, new research continues to fuel concerns about Thimerosal (THIM), a mercury-based compound used as a preservative in inactivated flu vaccines.
Publicizing the recent international studies that caution against the use of mercury in medicine has been left to doctors and citizens belonging to independent groups such as the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD), a Maryland-based, non-profit organization. This is because much of the American public is unaware that Thimerosal continues to be present in most U.S. flu shots, in spite of a 1999 call by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service to remove it from vaccines "as soon as possible."
Dr. Paul G. King, PhD, Science Advisor to CoMeD, cites the urgent need to stop this use of mercury in flu shots: "We have scientific studies clearly demonstrating that mercury causes neurological damage, and we have a cost-effective alternate that has already been used to replace Thimerosal as the preservative in vaccines."
One recent example of these studies was published in Folia Neuropathologica in December 2010. That study's scientific data led the authors to conclude, "On the whole, the results of this study argue for urgent removal of THIM from all vaccines for children and pregnant women, as well as from other medicinal products and cosmetics."
The second new study, published this year in the journal of Middle East Current Psychiatry, also supports claims that mercury could be the culprit behind autism. Noting that mercury-based compounds are used as preservatives in several vaccines, the investigators stressed, "Mercury poisoning and autism have nearly identical symptoms."
In a third study, published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology in early February 2011, the causal connection between Thimerosal and autism is explained: "Thimerosal has been implicated as a cause of autism. Not only is every major symptom of autism documented in cases of mercury poisoning but also biological abnormalities in autism are very similar to side effects of mercury poisoning itself."
The 1999 statement made by the PHS and AAP about the urgency of removing Thimerosal from vaccines is still posted on the website of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over a decade later. Yet, Thimerosal is now added to most of the flu shots given to pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
Rev. Lisa Sykes, President of CoMeD, ordained United Methodist Minister, parent of an autistic child, and an outspoken critic of the use of Thimerosal, warns, "Research continues to prove that mercury is hazardous to human health, and Thimerosal is still in flu shots. What are we waiting for when so many people are at risk?"
SOURCE Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD)
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031678_mercury_autism.html#ixzz1GW75XBcc
(NaturalNews) Despite recommendations made by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1999 that Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, be removed from vaccines, the toxic chemical is still added to the majority of flu vaccines administered to women, children, and the elderly, according to the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD), a Maryland-based non-profit organization. And according to three recent studies, the symptoms of mercury poisoning are nearly identical to those of autism symptoms, which strongly suggests that mercury in vaccines is responsible for causing autism.
Mercury is already a known neurotoxin that causes cancer (carcinogen), damages DNA (mutagen), alters proper embryonic development (teratogen), and disrupts the immune system. It is exactly the type of harmful chemical that you would never want to put in your body, and yet it is still added in the form of Thimerosal to millions of flu vaccines administered to the public.
"We have scientific studies clearly demonstrating that mercury causes neurological damage, and we have a cost-effective alternate that has already been used to replace Thimerosal as the preservative in vaccines," said Dr. Paul G. King, PhD, science advisor to CoMeD.
One such study published in the December 2010 issue of the journal Folia Neuropathologica explains that the mercury used in vaccines appears to directly cause neurodevelopmental disorders like autism (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...).
Another study published in the journal Middle East Current Psychiatry states that "[m]ercury poisoning and autism have nearly identical symptoms" (http://journals.lww.com/mecpsychiat...).
And a study recently published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology directly states that "[n]ot only is every major symptom of autism documented in cases of mercury poisoning but also biological abnormalities in autism are very similar to side effects of mercury poisoning itself" (http://informahealthcare.com/doi/ab...).
It remains unclear why the toxic preservative is still used in vaccines -- especially when there are safer alternatives available -- and why mainstream science continues to deny the obvious and scientifically-verifiable link between mercury and autism. The issue is not even one of opposition to vaccinations as much as it is one of opposition to neurotoxic poisons like Thimerosal that continue to deliberately be added to them.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031678_mercury_autism.html#ixzz1GW6XRsgq
Published : Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011, 2:45 PM CST
by Scott Wasserman / Shelby Capacio / FOX 9 News
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A national immunization survey shows Minnesota has become less vigilant about vaccinating its children.
The federal National Immunization Survey shows Minnesota has dropped 13 spots in two years -- from seventh in 2007 to 20th in 2009 for the primary series of shots given children age 19 months to 35 months.
Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota says the survey found Minnesota's childhood immunization rate dropped to about 77 percent in 2009 from 80 percent in 2007.
The director of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital, Patsy Stinchfield, said the cause is complacency because people don’t fear diseases like the measles anymore. Stinchfield also said that myths and misinformation -- such as vaccines causing autism -- have lead to a decline, along with the economy.
“There are increasing numbers of people who have lost their job. If you lose your job, you lose your health insurance,” Stinchfield said. “You may have partial job that doesn't allow you to go on the vaccine for children's program that gives you free vaccines, so economic times -- we know historically that people in poverty don't access health care -- could be a part of this.”
The Star Tribune reported that for every percentage point decline in the immunization rate, more than 4,200 children are exposed to diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations. That is the equivalent of 150 classrooms.
Still, not everyone is on board. Sydney and Dorothy Moehrl are 5 and 3 years old, and their parents are choosing not to vaccinate them and said they won’t immunize the baby on the way either.
According to Melissa Moehrl, her children are just like everyone else. They’ve never missed a doctor’s visit and, as parents, are concerned about their children getting sick but said they made the personal decision not to get the shots.
“I believe the risks for irreversible injury or chronic illness are higher than the risk of them actually contracting the disease and dying from it,” Moehrl said.
Hodan Hassan said she once felt the same way after her daughter, Jeni, was diagnosed with autism four years ago. After reading anti-vaccine articles, Hassan said she felt she would hurt her children by continuing the vaccines.
A year ago, however, a doctor encouraged her to think for herself. After doing a bit more research, Hassan said she now supports vaccination.
“I used to call radio shows, send emails (saying), ‘Vaccines cause autism,’ but I didn't have any science behind that,” she said. “It was just because someone else told me.”
Hassan now said she feels so strongly about vaccines that she started Choose to Immunize, a non-profit organization that works to educate parents about the positive aspects of vaccines.
“I think vaccines are greatest thing that happened to mankind,” Hassan said.
Copyright AP Modified, Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Published March 11, 2011
A report Tuesday based upon federal data cited a notable decline recently in Minnesota’s childhood immunization rate.
The Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota report said that the childhood immunization rate in Minnesota dropped 3.6 percent in 2009 to 76.9 percent, compared to 80.5 percent in 2007.
According to experts, a 1 percent drop in immunization in Minnesota equates to 4,000 children. Thus, the latest immunization drop equals more than 14,000 children or more than 540 classrooms of children sitting in school without adequate vaccinations.
Those are significant statistics.
Parents are passing on immunizations for various reasons.
- Declining health care coverage due to lack of health insurance.
- A growing skepticism by some parents about the value of immunizations.
- A growing concern by some parents about the dangers of immunizations, such as the false linking of autism to immunization shots.
- A declining awareness among today’s parents of the dangers and threat of childhood diseases. Many parents today may not have ever seen a measles, mumps or chickenpox victim.
The key vaccinations for children under 3 include immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, flu, hepatitis and chickenpox
Health officials urge all parents to take the threat of these classic childhood diseases seriously and keep their children in a vaccination program.
This is sound advice, which every family should heed.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Within a few months, Yates stopped speaking—in words, anyway—and instead became obsessed with numbers and letters. He also stopped looking people in the eye. And he developed physical ailments, including severe stomach problems and recurrent infections. He also became so rambunctious that his family started restraining him with a harness.
The changes alarmed Yates’ mother, though his father initially took it all in stride. “I thought, ‘Boys will be boys; he’s fine,’” recalls Rolf Hazlehurst, an assistant district attorney in Jackson, Tenn.
Eventually, however, when Yates started hitting his head against the wall, Rolf couldn’t deny something was wrong. “He had become a wild, uncontrollable maniac,” he says.
Yates now requires intensive therapy. He talks only in one-word commands. Yates’ mother, Angela, quit her job as a sales rep for GlaxoSmithKline to take care of him. The Hazlehursts recently sold their house, downsizing from 4,400 square feet to 2,000 to pay the growing medical bills.
Out-of-pocket expenses for Yates’ treatment, including speech therapy and behavioral therapy, have totaled $250,000, his father estimates. Only four people can calm Yates when he has an outburst: Rolf, Angela, her mother and one baby sitter.
When Yates was still younger than 2, the family sought medical help from a battery of doctors, including a neurologist, Dr. Jean-Ronel Corbier of Concord, N.C. He diagnosed Yates as suffering from “regressive autism”—a form of autism that doesn’t manifest itself until after a child’s first birthday.
Corbier also proposed a controversial theory about what caused Yates’ condition: the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. A battery of tests had ruled out known genetic causes or structural defects that can cause autism. He said that the measles virus was present in Yates’ gut.
Yates, Corbier would later testify, would not have developed autism had he not received the MMR vaccine.
His family filed a claim in 2003 with the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, known as the “vaccine court,” which compensates families whose children have been injured by vaccines.
A report in the late 1990s suggested a link between autism and vaccines. The Hazlehursts were among more than 5,000 parents of autistic children to bring cases in the vaccine court since 1999 alleging that their children developed autism as a result of vaccines. An additional 350 cases are believed to be pending in civil courts throughout the country.
They began to see vaccines as the potential next big toxic-tort battleground, on the order of Vioxx or asbestos. The cases drew the attention of toxic-tort lawyers from around the country, including the likes of Kevin Conway —one of the plaintiffs lawyers depicted in the movie A Civil Action.
But the vaccine court rejected the plaintiffs’ medical theories and threw out all of the omnibus cases in six separate rulings issued in February 2009 and this past March. The Hazlehursts and a second family, the Cedillos of Yuma, Ariz., appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which rejected both of their claims this year. The families are now considering going to civil court.
Standing in the way, however, is the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide a case this term on whether the 1986 federal National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which created the special vaccine court, pre-empts their claims. Argument in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth is scheduled for Oct. 12.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against drugmaker Wyeth by the family of Hannah Bruesewitz, who experienced seizures after receiving a DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) shot at age 6 months in April 1992. Hannah’s doctors said she had residual seizure disorder and developmental delay.
The Bruesewitz family brought a claim in vaccine court in April 1995, alleging that Hannah had suffered residual seizure disorder and encephalopathy after receiving the DPT vaccine. When the vaccine court was first launched, residual seizure disorder was considered a “table injury”—meaning it was on the table of injuries listed as caused by the DPT vaccine.
But the injury was deleted from the table by regulations effective March 10, 1995—one month before the family’s petition.
The vaccine court ruled that the Bruesewitzes hadn’t proved the shot caused Hannah’s injuries and dismissed the petition. The family then refiled in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in October 2005, alleging several theories, including negligent failure to design a safer vaccine. The suit was later moved to federal court.
Eventually the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit said the federal law creating the vaccine court pre-empted all civil actions alleging design defects—including those that resulted from negligence.
The Bruesewitz family argues that the statute itself only discusses pre-emption of unavoidable design defects, not negligent ones. The statute says that vaccine manufacturers shall not be liable in civil actions “if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”
Wyeth also sought Supreme Court review and, in its petition, specifically warned that a wave of autism claims could hit the courts unless the 3rd Circuit opinion is upheld. “Today, a new litigation threat to the nation’s vaccine supply exists,” Wyeth wrote, referencing not only the 5,000 autism cases in vaccine court but also the 350-plus civil actions in various federal and state courts.
click here to read entire article.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: August 9, 2009
to view comments posted on newsok.com website, please click here.
If mandating “extras” in health care coverage doesn't affect premium costs much, as some claim, then why are “extras” cut out when times are tough?
The answer, of course, is that mandates do cause premium inflation and cuts must be made during economic downturns. That's exactly what a number of state governments are doing now.
Stateline.org reports that 14 states actually increased taxpayer-funded coverage for children using federal funds that may or may not continue. If those funds are cut off, the services will be cut as well.
Other states are slashing health care benefits to help balance their budgets. A Stateline roundup notes that New York has eliminated free cancer screenings for the uninsured and underinsured. Hawaii cut $3 million from a program that combats child abuse in at-risk families and California may eliminate poison control programs.
Few would argue that cancer screening, child abuse prevention and poison control are luxuries. But they are extras. When states mandate coverage for, say, autism behavioral treatments, they turn an extra into an entitlement. Problems arise when too many extras join the basics. One of the arguments against the autism mandate in Oklahoma is the cost it would add to insuring state employees, whose coverage is mostly paid by taxpayers.
Turning extras into entitlements is a recipe for a fiscal meltdown. Mandates have their place in society — preventative treatments, for example, may lower costs in the long run — but taxpayers should be wary when a mandate is imposed upon most citizens.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Q & A: OU Physicians pediatrician Dr. Casey Hester
Published: July 27, 2009
Click here to read the article and comments on NewsOK.com
Many parents have questions about their child’s vaccinations. Dr. Casey Hester, a pediatrician with OU Physicians, answers some of the most common questions.
Q: Measles? Whooping cough? Haven’t we gotten rid of most of these diseases in this country?
Dr. Hester: Thanks to vaccines, most diseases prevented by vaccines are no longer common in this country. However, previously rare vaccine-preventable diseases like whooping cough, Hib (a bacteria that causes meningitis), and measles are all on the rise due to fewer children getting immunized. The only way to protect your child against these potentially devastating diseases is to vaccinate him or her.
Q: I heard that some vaccines can cause autism. Is this true?
Dr. Hester: No. Scientific studies and reviews have found no relationship between vaccines and autism. Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that vaccines are not responsible for the number of children now recognized to have autism. In fact, in 2004 a long-disputed 1998 study that suggested a possible link between autism and the MMR vaccine was retracted. Autism is also not caused by combining certain vaccines, so there is no benefit to separating out individual vaccines. Separating out vaccines only causes your child to have more needle sticks, and potentially delays immunizations. Unfortunately, anecdotal (and occasionally frightening) stories of untoward vaccine effects persist on the Internet. Parents should be advised to share any concerns with their child’s pediatrician, who can then provide credible, scientific sources of information so that parents may make fully informed decisions about vaccinations.
Q: It seems like a lot of shots for my tiny baby! Is this safe? Can’t I just wait until my child goes to school to catch up on immunizations?
Dr. Hester: Numerous studies (and decades of effective vaccinations) have shown it is safe for even newborns to get immunized. In fact, many of the diseases vaccines protect against can be very dangerous to infants, and infants are more susceptible to many of these diseases than older children. Even if your child is not in day care, babies and toddlers can all be exposed to diseases from other individuals out in the general community (at restaurants or even at the grocery store), so it is best to stay on schedule.
Q: Why do kids who are healthy, active and eating well need to be immunized?
Dr. Hester: Vaccinations are intended to keep well children from getting sick. If you wait until your child gets sick with a particular illness, it will be too late for the vaccine against that illness to work.
Therefore, the best time to immunize kids is when they’re healthy. That being said, children can also be safely immunized when they have a common cold or other mild illnesses. If the pediatrician says it is okay, your child can still get vaccinated.
From Staff Reports
Published: July 24, 2009
Click here to see comments on NewsOK.com
Some Oklahoma children will get a swine flu vaccine before it is available to the public. If clinical trials go well, the vaccine could be available in limited supplies by mid to late fall, experts said.
Apr 27 Dr. Kristy Bradley, state epidemiologist, talks about how swine flu is spread and what symptoms are associated with it.
But some officials fear the already fast-tracked studies may not be swift enough to curb the disease’s quick spread.
IPS Research in Oklahoma City is the first Oklahoma company to conduct the vaccination trials and will begin enrolling study patients Aug. 17, said IPS Research medical director Dr. Louise Thurman.
The trials will test the vaccine’s effectiveness and whether or not it has negative side effects in patients.
She anticipates about 200 children ages 3 to 8 will be able to enroll.
Patients accepted for the study will be administered a vaccine or placebo and are monitored through office visits and by phone. The study lasts 42 days and follow-up calls continue after that period.
Nationwide, 12,000 children will be given the vaccine for the trial, she said. The company should know today whether it will conduct adult trials, too.
"From a science standpoint, it should work,” Thurman said.
A race for a vaccine
"There is likelihood that we could have widespread disease in Oklahoma before we have a vaccine,” said Don Blose, chief of immunization services for the state Health Department.
He said the H1N1 strain spreads more quickly than other influenzas and more than half of the reported cases have been in children. Also, some antiviral drugs don’t work against the swine flu, he said.
This is why the studies are being allowed to progress more quickly than usual by the federal government.
According to Blose, the vaccine could be released in October or November. Those doses likely will go to at-risk and priority patients. He said federal health officials are working out those details and should have more information available in the coming weeks.
Blose said mass availability could come weeks or months later and as late as the first of the year if there are any delays.
Peak flu season is usually late fall, winter and early spring.
The vaccine probably will be administered in a two-dose series and will not supplant a seasonal flu vaccine, Blose said.
Likewise, a seasonal flu vaccine will not cover swine flu.
If the vaccines are not effective or if any problems are encountered in the production process, Blose said health officials will have to rely on backup plans: Washing hands, covering up coughs, avoiding crowds and ill persons staying at home.
But the best way, Blose said, is the vaccine.
The H1N1 virus has sickened about 200 people in Oklahoma and more than 40,000 nationwide.
It has resulted in 263 deaths, according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The World Health Organization in June designated H1N1 as a level six pandemic, meaning the infection is widespread in the population.
According to the CDC, children and most adults don’t have any existing resistance to the disease and this has allowed it to spread more quickly.
However, some people older than 60 appear to have some antibodies, or immune resistance, to the strain.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Posted on Sat, Apr. 04, 2009
By RICHARD DYMOND
MANATEE — A bill proposed by FL State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, would allow parents the option to choose a vaccination schedule for their children as long as all shots required by the health department are completed before entering school.
The bill’s genesis is the concern that infants could be susceptible to autism from the compound effects of vaccinations bunched together shortly after birth. Physicians don’t always offer the option to space the shots out over years, preferring to give them in bunches, Bennett said.
Bennett and his staff have researched the vaccine issue and he claims that in 1983, when babies got 10 shots at birth, the incidence of autism was one in 10,000 infants. In 2008, Bennett said, the health departments now require 36 shots and the rate of autism is one in 150.
“It’s mind-boggling, yet doctors want to fight this,” Bennett said. “I think drug manufacturers are afraid of the real facts coming out because of potential lawsuits from parents of autistic children.”
If passed, the bill would require doctors to explain to parents that they have an option, Bennett said.
“The real strength of the bill is the fact that a parent should have the right to use an alternative vaccination schedule rather than what the health department says and what doctors follow,” Bennett said. “There are hundreds of studies on each side of the vaccination issue and they go both ways so as a parent, they should have the right to exercise on the side of caution.”
A spokesman with the Florida Department of Health declined comment. The department doesn’t comment on pending legislation, he said.
Many of the parents of the 90 children enrolled at Pinnacle Academy in Lakewood Ranch believe their children’s development has been negatively affected by vaccinations, said school director Dr. Kirstina Ordetx.
One out of 10 families she sees in her private practice say their children’s development was impacted by vaccinations, Ordetx said.
“I have families that tell a common story,” Ordetx said. “It is a rather common story for parents to say their children may have or demonstrated a regression of development after a vaccine. I would say maybe one in 10 families that I see.”
With her own children, Ordetx has chosen a middle ground regarding vaccinations.
“As a parent, my husband and I have expressed our concerns to our pediatrician about what is in vaccines, and we appreciate that our pediatrician did not discredit our concerns,” Ordetx said. “I understand both sides. Pediatricians feel kids need to be vaccinated to keep them from harm. There are two sides and I think you have to meet in the middle.”
Bennett’s bill, which passed out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this week, also would ban mercury in all vaccines.
Some studies claim the tiny amounts of mercury used as a preservative in vaccines becomes harmful when infants get multiple shots, Bennett said.
“These shots all have a tiny bit of mercury in it and when you add them together the amount of mercury would be dangerous for a person weighing 275 pounds,” Bennett said.
Bennett said his bill was fueled by his friendship with Sarasota’s Gary Kompothecras, a chiropractor and passionate opponent of childhood vaccinations.
Kompothecras owns “1-800-Ask Gary,” a medical and lawyer referral service, and he said he also owns 50 medical clinics in Florida. Kompothecras has two autistic children.
“I know Dr. Gary and I know his wife and his two autistic children,” Bennett said. “He is the one who pushed me to propose the bill.”
Kompothecras was in Tallahassee this week lobbying for Bennett’s bill.
“It takes a toxin out of the vaccine and gives parents the option to choose what shots at what times as long as they get them before school,” Kompothecras said. “We are not anti-vaccine. We are for safe vaccine.”
Kompothecras said he believes children should be given vaccines starting when they start talking, around age 2, and have them staggered, right up until they are 6. And none should include mercury, Kompothecras said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESSPublished March 04, 2009 12:55 pm - The Oklahoma House turned back HB 1312 on the second day of its session this year. The bill, known as Nick’s Law, would have provided insurance coverage for the early diagnosis testing of autism and medications until the child becomes 21 years of age.
March 4, 2009 March 04, 2009 12:55 pm
— The Oklahoma House turned back HB 1312 on the second day of its session this year. The bill, known as Nick’s Law, would have provided insurance coverage for the early diagnosis testing of autism and medications until the child becomes 21 years of age.
A financial cap would have covered $50,000 of behavioral therapy per year without lifetime caps in the House plan.
According to legislative rules any similar bill cannot be introduced for two years.
Legislators may be unaware of a recent announcement by Generation Rescue, a non-profit autism organization related to the cause of autism by vaccines.
Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's Los Angeles-based non-profit autism organization, today announced that the United States Government has once again conceded that vaccines cause autism. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently unsealed court case of Bailey Banks vs. HHS.
The ruling states, “The Court found that Bailey would not have suffered this delay but for the administration of the MMR vaccine...a proximate sequence of cause and effect leading inexorably from vaccination to PDD [Autism].”
In a curious and hypocritical method of operation, the mysterious Vaccine Court not only protects vaccine makers from liability but supports a policy that has tripled the number of vaccines given to U.S. children — all after being made aware of the fact that these vaccines do, in fact, cause autism and repeatedly ruling in favor of families with children hurt by their vaccines.
“It was heartbreaking to hear about Bailey’s story, but through this ruling we are gaining the proof we need to open the eyes of the world to the fact that vaccines do, in fact, cause autism,” said Jenny McCarthy, Hollywood actress, autism activist, best-selling author and Generation Rescue board member. “Bailey Banks’ regression into autism after vaccination is the same story I went through with my own son and the same story I have heard from thousands of mothers and fathers around the country. Our hope is that this ruling will influence decision and policy-makers to help the hundreds of thousands of children and families affected by this terrible condition.”
Banks vs. HHS is the second known case where the Vaccine Court could not deny the overwhelming evidence showing vaccines caused a child's autism. The first was the case of Hannah Poling in March of 2008, where the court found in her favor and awarded her family compensation.
Jim Carrey, Hollywood legend and Generation Rescue board member, reacted to the news, “It seems the U.S. government is sending mixed messages by telling the world that vaccines don't cause autism, while, at the same time, they are quietly managing a separate 'vaccine court' that is ruling in favor of affected families and finding that vaccines, in fact, were the cause.
For most of the autism community the question is no longer whether vaccines caused of their child's autism. The question is why is their government only promoting the rulings that are in favor of the vaccine companies.”
Why is a secret court, which no one knows about or understands, quietly paying these families for vaccine injuries and autism?
Deirdre Imus, Generation Rescue board member and founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology says, “Over the past 20 years, the vaccine court has dispensed close to $2 billion in compensation to families whose children were injured or killed by a vaccine. I am not against vaccines and my own child has been vaccinated. But, I share the growing concerns of many parents questioning the number of vaccines given to children today, some of the toxic ingredients in vaccines, and whether we know enough about the combination risks associated with the multiple vaccines given to children during critical developmental windows.”
To help spread the word of the Banks ruling, Generation Rescue also bought a full-page ads that ran in the USA Today on Feb. 25, 2009, which has a daily circulation of 2,272,815.
Generation Rescue seeks to answer these questions and many more on a daily basis as they fight for the truth and to recover children with autism around the world. To learn more please visit www.generationrescue.org write to email@example.com.
Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's Los Angeles-based non-profit autism organization, today announced that the United States Government has once again conceded that vaccines cause autism. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently unsealed court case of Bailey Banks vs. HHS. The ruling states, "The Court found that Bailey would not have suffered this delay but for the administration of the MMR vaccine...a proximate sequence of cause and effect leading inexorably from vaccination to PDD [Autism]."
In a curious and hypocritical method of operation, the mysterious Vaccine Court not only protects vaccine makers from liability but supports a policy that has tripled the number of vaccines given to U.S. children - all after being made aware of the fact that these vaccines do, in fact, cause autism and repeatedly ruling in favor of families with children hurt by their vaccines.
"It was heartbreaking to hear about Bailey's story, but through this ruling we are gaining the proof we need to open the eyes of the world to the fact that vaccines do, in fact, cause autism," said Jenny McCarthy, Hollywood actress, autism activist, best-selling author and Generation Rescue board member. "Bailey Banks' regression into autism after vaccination is the same story I went through with my own son and the same story I have heard from thousands of mothers and fathers around the country. Our hope is that this ruling will influence decision and policy-makers to help the hundreds of thousands of children and families affected by this terrible condition."
Banks vs. HHS is the second known case where the Vaccine Court could not deny the overwhelming evidence showing vaccines caused a child's autism. The first was the case of Hannah Poling in March of 2008, where the court found in her favor and awarded her family compensation.
Jim Carrey, Hollywood legend and Generation Rescue board member, reacted to the news, "It seems the U.S. government is sending mixed messages by telling the world that vaccines don't cause autism, while, at the same time, they are quietly managing a separate 'vaccine court' that is ruling in favor of affected families and finding that vaccines, in fact, were the cause. For most of the autism community the question is no longer whether vaccines caused of their child's autism. The question is why is their government only promoting the rulings that are in favor of the vaccine companies."
Why is a secret court, which no one knows about or understands, quietly paying these families for vaccine injuries and autism? Deirdre Imus, Generation Rescue board member and founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology says, "Over the past 20 years, the vaccine court has dispensed close to $2 billion in compensation to families whose children were injured or killed by a vaccine. I am not against vaccines and my own child has been vaccinated. But, I share the growing concerns of many parents questioning the number of vaccines given to children today, some of the toxic ingredients in vaccines, and whether we know enough about the combination risks associated with the multiple vaccines given to children during critical developmental windows."
To help spread the word of the Banks ruling, Generation Rescue also bought a full-page ad that will run in the USA Today on 02/25/2009, which has a daily circulation of 2,272,815.
Generation Rescue seeks to answer these questions and many more on a daily basis as they fight for the truth and to recover children with autism around the world. To learn more please visit www.generationrescue.org, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Generation Rescue
Generation Rescue is an international movement of scientists, physicians and parent-volunteers researching the causes and treatments for autism and helping thousands of children begin biomedical treatment.
Posted February 25, 2009
NIH Agency Head: Vaccine-Autism Research is "Legitimate"
A major health official within the United States Government today endorsed more research into possible links between vaccination and autism, saying that such studies are "legitimate."
The official, Dr. Duane Alexander, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), an NIH agency, said scientists must investigate susceptible subpopulations of children, including kids with mitochondrial disorders and those who have trouble metabolizing mercury.
Even as the mainstream media, most pediatricians, and vaccine inventors like Dr. Paul Offit try to shut down the vaccine-autism discussion (and its attendant research), thoughtful scientists who are actually in real positions of power are speaking up to support the important work that still remains to be done.
"One question (is) whether there is a subgroup in the population that, on a genetic basis, is more susceptible to some vaccine characteristic or component than most of the population, and may develop an ASD in response to something about vaccination. We know that genetic variations exist that cause adverse reactions to specific foods, medications, or anesthetic agents. It is legitimate to ask whether a similar situation may exist for vaccines," Dr. Alexander said in a remarkable Q&A with Autism Speaks Scientific Director, Geraldine Dawson, PhD, posted today at the group's website.
"No clear evidence yet exists to implicate a specific relationship, but questions persist about whether there may be subpopulations unable to remove mercury from the body as fast as others, some adverse or cross-reacting response to a vaccine component, a mitochondrial disorder increasing the adverse response to vaccine-associated fever, or other as-yet-unknown responses," he added.
The point about mitochondrial disorders and vaccine-associated fever was a clear reference to Hannah Poling, the little girl with full-blown autism who won her Vaccine Court case last year when HHS conceded that a "vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves" had triggered her descent into autism.
At a January meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a staff representative from NICHD was the only federal panel member to abstain from removing previously approved vaccine-related studies from the Strategic Plan for Autism Research.
As it turns out, research into environmental triggers of developmental disorders like autism "is a major component of our research program," Dr. Alexander said of the NICHD. This includes studying "gene-environment factor interactions," he added.
And, he suggested that epidemiological studies conducted to date (and showing no link to vaccines) may have missed small, vulnerable subgroups of children. "These are difficult to detect," he said, "especially if only a few people have this genetic variant that makes them susceptible. [Instead], large numbers of individuals need to be studied to find enough people with the rare variant."
Fortunately, the Federal government has embarked on the massive National Children's Study (NCS), which is currently recruiting some 100,000 children. Alexander said that researchers expect to find that 600 to 700 of these kids will be diagnosed with ASD by age three.
"We will be able to study the genetic constitution of the children with autism in relation to many environmental exposures (illness, home chemicals, medications, vaccines, and many others)," he said, "and compare them to a control group in the sample without ASD on this whole range of exposures. If there are genetic variations linked to autism related to any of these exposures, this study should identify them if they are not too rare."
Dr. Alexander's words are sure to be warmly received within many quarters of the autism community. He said that vaccine and environmental studies into autism may help science break down subgroups of ASD children into categories that are, "based on cause or response to different treatment approaches." Diagnosis, therefore, could become a wonderful tool in determining "different prevention/intervention/ treatment approaches that could personalize care and markedly improve outcomes."
Dr. Alexander also seems quite determined that conflicts of interest and barriers to full transparency in the research process should not be tolerated, (as they are today, in my opinion), but instead be eliminated. He said that parents, (and pesky, inquisitive journalists) play a critical role as autism research watchdogs.
"The research process at its best is open and constantly questioning. It even reevaluates things that have been accepted for a long time, and is honest enough to be self-correcting when new information develops," Dr. Alexander said. "What is important is that the scientific inquiry moves ahead unfettered but free of conflict of interest so that the public can have confidence in the results. When there is evidence that research may not be free of bias, it is the role of the research community and the public to raise questions and concerns, assure that corrective measures are taken to be sure that results are valid and untainted, and provide assurance to the public that their trust is earned and deserved."
"It is important that there be agreement on the message that no clear causative link has yet been established (between vaccines and autism), although research continues on the question, just as it does for other questions related to vaccines," Dr. Alexander concluded. "There are still legitimate questions to ask about possible vaccine-associated events, and such questions need to be pursued in the interest of both public safety and maintaining public trust."
It all sounds reasonable to me.
But I still predict we will hear howls of protests from people who think they know better than the chief of an NIH agency.
Thoughtful House Center for Children on Court Ruling: MMR Causes Autistic Disorder
Thoughtful house 2 Court Rules MMR Vaccine Causes Autistic Disorder
Decision Contradicts Findings in Controversial Cedillo Case
To read the article at Age of Autism, click here
(Austin, Texas) – The controversial Feb. 12 decision by the US vaccine court that there was no link between MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccines and autism contradicts a ruling issued by the same court in June of 2007. In addition, just days after its announcement denying the vaccine-autism link in the Cedillo case, the court awarded an estimated $3 million dollars to the family of 10 year-old Bailey Banks on Friday, February 20, 2009, and confirmed that the child’s acute brain damage was a result of the MMR vaccine, which led to his autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Although the US vaccine court continues official denials to the public of any connection between the MMR shots and autism, it quietly settled the case with the Banks family. Special Master Richard Abell wrote that the family had successfully demonstrated “the MMR vaccine at issue actually caused the conditions from which Bailey suffered and continues to suffer.”
Awards have been granted to three families because the vaccine court has decided there was in fact a causative connection between the MMR 3-in-1 shot and brain damage in these children. That damage resulted in an autism spectrum disorder. Vaccines have also been found to be causally related to autism spectrum disorders in seven other known cases by the same court. In the Banks decision, the court relied on a report based on a complete neurological investigation, including an MRI scan sixteen days after his MMR shot. He was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which is known to follow immunization.
“I am personally aware of many, many parents who report these exact symptoms in their children following MMR immunization,” said Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House, an autism treatment center in Austin, Texas. “Very few children with autistic regression receive the proper work-up that Bailey had during the early stage of the disease, so a possible ADEM diagnosis may well have been missed in the other children. The MRI findings often disappear after the damage has been done.”
Signs of ADEM usually appear within a few days or a few weeks after immunization or infection, often beginning with gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms. The disease progresses to neurological deterioration including loss of eye contact, ataxia (poor coordination), changes in mental status, delirium, lethargy, and seizures.
“The contradictory rulings from the vaccine court regarding vaccines and autism demonstrate that we still don’t have a definitive answer,” said Dr. Bryan Jepson, an autism specialist at Thoughtful House. “We need to realize that the question of the MMR’s possible contribution to autism remains a matter of scientific debate. Ultimately, the correct answer will come through honest, transparent, and rigorous scientific study, not from a court bench.”
About Thoughtful House: Thoughtful House takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating autism and supports a ‘safety-first’ vaccination policy that gives parents the option of choosing a stand-alone measles vaccine for their children. The research program at Thoughtful House is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders. www.thoughtfulhouse.org
Monday, February 23, 2009
By Bettina Levecke
Feb 23, 2009, 2:08 GMT
To link to the complete article, click here.
Berlin/Marburg - A little prick of a needle provides a lot of protection. Vaccines have greatly reduced outbreaks of dangerous diseases worldwide, but experts warn that an increasing number of children today are inadequately immunized.
The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention, recommends that children be inoculated against 12 diseases - including tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio during the first 24 months of their lives.
On February 15, 2000, the Federal Court of Justice, Germany's highest court in civil and criminal cases, ruled the 12 vaccinations to be the country's medical standard.
However, parents alone decide whether their child receives all 12 vaccines.
'Many parents are wary,' remarked Sigrid Ley-Koellstadt, a physician for the Marburg-based German Green Cross (DGK). They wonder which vaccinations are important and what is good for their child.
'In their search for answers, many parents use the internet and come across a lot of inaccurate information,' Ley-Koellstadt said. She urgently advised parents to consult a paediatrician or at least make sure that the informational pages they consult on the internet are certified.
'Vaccinations save lives,' she pointed out, adding that the need to immunize children should not be a matter of debate anymore. But, as the saying goes, 'Out of sight, out of mind.'
As many diseases have disappeared, a lot of people seemed inclined to think the threat they posed had passed, she noted.
This assumption is false, Ley-Koellstadt stressed. 'If a society isn't systematically immunized, these diseases return,' she said.
Take measles, for instance. To 'wipe out' this viral disease within a population, 95 per cent of the people have to be vaccinated against it. This percentage has not yet been reached in Germany. Consequently, measles epidemics repeatedly break out in various German states.
More than 30 cases of measles have been reported in the city-state of Hamburg since the start of 2009, and the RKI has registered isolated cases this year in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, several schools were temporarily closed after students there came down with measles.
Measles is not an innocuous childhood illness; it carries the risk of serious complications.
'Measles encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) occurs in one in 1,000 cases of measles, and about every third infected child suffers permanent damage,' according to Martina Lenzen-Schulte, an author from the German city of Freiburg who specializes in medical topics.
In fact, the risk of serious or even fatal consequences from a measles infection is many times greater than possible side effects from a vaccination.
'Of course complications arise after vaccinations in certain cases, but they are far outweighed by the risk of not vaccinating,' Lenzen-Schulte said.
Parents should also be aware of their own vaccination status. In a survey by the Quarks and Co. science programme of the Cologne-based West German Broadcasting Corporation, about 25 per cent of adults who responded did not know whether they had been adequately vaccinated against smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella. Only 30 per cent were certain they had been vaccinated against pertussis.
'Especially given these circumstances, an infant's surroundings should be sheltered because the smallest ones are at the highest risk before they can be vaccinated,' Lenzen-Schulte said.
Physicians consequently recommend that parents not only check and update their children's vaccination calendar regularly, but their own as well.
Immunization also lowers the risk of infection in a society as a whole.
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