Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dr. Mercola comments on new book by Neil Miller

When mercury was removed from many vaccines (except the flu vaccine) years ago, it was under the false guise that finally vaccines were now safe. What health agencies did not want you to know is that there are many other toxic additives still in vaccines, and one of them is aluminum.

Aluminum has not received the widespread media attention that mercury has, therefore many people don’t realize it’s a health risk.

“Aluminum is not perceived, I believe, by the public as a dangerous metal. Therefore, we are in a much more comfortable wicket in terms of defending its presence in vaccines,” said Dr. John Clements, WHO vaccine advisor.

Notice he said that aluminum is “not perceived” by the public as a dangerous metal … he couldn’t say simply that aluminum is safe, because this would be a lie.

Why is Aluminum Added to Vaccines?

Every vaccine has two components, the agent that you’re seeking to elicit an immune response to, such as a measles virus, and an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury. The purpose of immune adjuvants is to boost your immune system, or to make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible.

Unlike a natural immune boost that would come from, say, eating healthy and exercising, artificial immune adjuvants can be dangerous in and of themselves. Says Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon and author:

“Studies have shown that these adjuvants, from a single vaccine, can cause immune overactivation for as long as two years. This means that the brain microglia remain active as well, continuously pouring out destructive chemicals.

In fact, one study found that a single injection of an immune activating substance could cause brain immune overactivation for over a year. This is very destructive.”

How Aluminum Can Harm Your Brain

When you or your child is injected with a vaccine, the aluminum compounds it contains accumulate not only at the site of injection but travel to your brain and accumulate there. In your brain, aluminum enters neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and microglia).

Studies have shown that aluminum can activate microglia and do so for long periods, which means that the aluminum in your vaccination is priming your microglia to overreact.

The next vaccine acts to trigger the enhanced inflammatory reaction and release of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid, Dr. Blaylock points out.

Meanwhile, if you come down with an infection, are exposed to more toxins, or have a stroke or head injury of any kind, this will magnify the inflammatory reaction occurring in your brain due to the vaccines. Research has shown that the more your immune system remains activated, the more likely it is you’ll suffer from a neurodegenerative disease.

The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, and the Pentacel cocktail for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and meningitis, has been clearly linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson's, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), and Alzheimer's.

Scientists discovered the link after injecting mice with an anthrax vaccine developed for the first Gulf War. After 20 weeks, a fifth of the mice developed a skin allergy, and memory problems increased by 41 times compared to a placebo group. Also, inside the brains of mice, 35 percent of the cells that control movement were destroyed.

There is overwhelming evidence that chronic immune activation in your brain, as discussed by Dr. Blaylock above, is a major cause of damage in numerous degenerative brain disorders, from multiple sclerosis Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and ALS, which may explain the link between aluminum-containing vaccines and these diseases.

Late last year a team of scientists also found that vaccination involving aluminum-containing adjuvants could trigger the cascade of immunological events that are associated with autoimmune conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome and macrophagic myofasciitis, a condition that causes profound weakness and multiple neurological syndromes, one of which closely resembles multiple sclerosis.

Even a study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, admitted that:

“Aluminum is now being implicated as interfering with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and in other tissues.”

This has led some experts to suggest that aluminum in vaccines may be linked to autism.

Just How Much Aluminum Could Your Child be Exposed To?

If you are a parent of a young child I highly recommend you read the entire eBook linked above, as it spells out very clearly just how much aluminum will be injected into your child if you follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccine schedule.

In short, babies who follow the recommended vaccination schedule are injected with nearly 5,000 mcg (5 mg) of aluminum by the time they are just 1.5 years old.

The FDA considers levels of aluminum up to 0.85mg to be “safe,” so you do the math on the risk involved here.

For parents, the issue of what to do about these risks can be very confusing. So please do take your time to thoroughly research the risks of vaccinations before making up your mind. Dr. Blaylock’s article, The Danger of Excessive Vaccination During Brain Development: The Case for a Link to Autism Spectrum Disorders, is an excellent starting point that I highly recommend.

If you’re looking for a more sensible, “user-friendly” vaccination schedule that may present fewer risks than the CDC’s “one-size-fits-all” schedule, Dr. Donald Miller advises the following:

1. No vaccinations until your child is 2 years old.
2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
3. No live virus vaccines.
4. The following vaccines should be given one at a time (not as a combination vaccine), every six months, beginning at age 2:
a. Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
b. Diphtheria
c. Tetanus
d. Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)

And that would be pretty much it as far as vaccinations. Your pediatrician will not like this schedule, but if you have reviewed the evidence and still feel your child should be inoculated to a certain degree, this is a far safer alternative to the standard vaccination schedule. If your pediatrician doesn’t agree, or isn’t open to discussing this issue with you, it’s high time to find a new one who will understand your concerns.

Mercury In Vaccines Was Replaced With Something Even MORE Toxic

Mercury In Vaccines Was Replaced With Something Even MORE Toxic

vaccines, aluminumThe short, eye-opening eBook linked below is titled Aluminum in Vaccines -- a Neurological Gamble, by Neil Miller, director of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute. It documents the hazards associated with aluminum-laden vaccines. Children are receiving high concentrations of aluminum in their shots. This well-documented neurotoxin may be more dangerous than mercury.

Vaccines containing high concentrations of neurotoxic aluminum were added to the child immunization schedule when several vaccines containing mercury were removed. Two-month old babies now receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum from their vaccines -- 50 times higher than safety levels! Although the FDA, CDC and World Health Organization are aware of the dangers, they expect parents to play Russian roulette with their children.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Autism: Feeding the Hungry Lie, Italian Style

Autism: Feeding the Hungry Lie, Italian Style

J.B. Handley
Age of Autism
Tue, 27 Jan 2009 20:03 UTC

Well, you won't be able to miss it because it's all over the news: another "study" published in Pediatrics proving that vaccines don't cause autism.

In case you wonder how the media feels about the whole thing, consider this opening line from the Associated Press article today:
"A new study from Italy adds to a mountain of evidence that a mercury-based preservative once used in many vaccines doesn't hurt children, offering more reassurance to parents."
Mountain of evidence?

Herewith, my guide to reading this new study:

1. Re-read my original post, Feeding the Hungry Lie HERE.

2. Open the new study from Pediatrics, titled:
Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
3. Prepare for Nausea.

4. Read the details regarding the two groups that the Italians analyzed:

"Therefore, in the first 12 months of life, the cumulative intake of ethylmercury, the mercury metabolite of thimerosal, was 137.5 mcg for the children who were assigned randomly to receive the DTaP vaccine that contained thimerosal ("higher intake group") and 62.5 mcg for those who received the thimerosal-free DTaP vaccine ("lower intake group")."

5. Realize that this study is only comparing kids who got 62.5mcgs of Thimerosal to kids who got 137.5mcgs of Thimerosal. They have all been vaccinated, and they've all been vaccinated with mercury-containing vaccines.

6. Vomit.

7. Read about their sample size of children and prevalence of autism:
"We detected, through the telephone interviews with parents and reviews of medical charts, 1 case of autism among the 856 children in the lower thimerosal intake group and no cases among the 848 children in the higher thimerosal intake group."
8. Realize that in their sample, the rate of autism of the children analyzed was 1 in 1,704, 15-20 times lower than the US average.

9. Vomit.

10. Read the acknowledgements section:

"The study was supported in part by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through contract 2002-N-00448 with the Istituto Superiore di Sanita."

11. Vomit.

12. Read the AP's headline today: "Study adds to evidence of vaccine safety"

13. Vomit.

14. Read that the Editor-In-Chief of Pediatrics, Dr. Lewis First, wrote today on his blog:
"Finally, we get to the heart of the immunization controversy with a study by Tozzi et al. on whether or not thimerosal can influence neuropsychological performance ten years after immunization in infancy (475-482). You'll be reassured that the results show essentially no differences between groups who did or did not get thimerosal in their vaccines - and you'll want to know this information when talking with parents of your patients about the safety and benefits of vaccines."
15. Realize that the Editor-In-Chief of Pediatrics is either grossly misinformed or lying because you read the Italian study and know every child considered received Thimerosal.

16. Vomit one last time.

17. Pray that this study, like many of the others that have come and gone, doesn't falsely reassure a family with a young child about how best to approach vaccines.

J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and a contributor to Age of Autism.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Anti-Coal Plant Meeting to be Held

Anti-coal plant meeting to be held

The Center for Energy Matters (CEM) will host an educational and public health meeting at 7 p.m. Friday at the Sallisaw Civic Center.

Harlan Hentges from CEM said the public meeting is designed to educate residents on the consequences of Shady Point II, a proposed coal-burning power plant in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas. The plant is 25 miles south of Sallisaw and Sallisaw is close enough that particulate matter from the new plant may drift into the area, Hentges said.

AES is seeking permits to build a 630-megawatt, coal-burning power plant, which would be the second coal plant in Panama.

Hentges said coal is considered to be the dirtiest burning of all fossil fuels because of its chemical composition.

“The plant presents a threat to the health of senior citizens, children and unborn children, wildlife, air and water quality and future economic development projects,” he said. “The plant produces methylmercury, which slowly degrades the human body, crosses the placenta and the blood brain barrier, studies have shown. It is secreted in breast milk and disrupts biological processes critical for normal brain development.”

Dr. John P. Weddle, a lifelong Sallisaw resident, said, “My concern about the coal plant is the inhaled particulates directly relating to exacerbation of asthma and chronic lung disease.”

Weddle likens it to a grass fire in the local area, when he sees an increase in the number of asthma patients.

“If you have a lot of particulates in the air – a non-stop fine emission of fine particulates – that triggers these lung conditions.

“I have concerns about ground water contamination from mercury and arsenic by fly ash, and its deposition in the local landfills and dedicated landfills,” Weddle, an emergency room physician based in Fort Smith, Ark., said.

Weddle said there is a definite tie between mercury and other neurological development defects.

Robert Huston, a long-time Fort Smith outdoor television host, said he is concerned about the impact on wildlife if the Shady Point expansion is approved.

“Whatever winds up in fish, wildlife and livestock, usually winds up in people,” Huston said.

He noted many sportsmen’s groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, blame mercury contamination to reduced hatching success and impaired growth and development in fish. Increased mercury levels affect reproduction, growth and behavior in small mammals such as river otters and mink.

In fish-eating birds like starlings, mallard ducks, red-tailed hawks and loons, mercury contamination can result in weight loss, difficulty in flying, reduced hatching success, and reduced clutch size.

“Already mercury levels in fish are at such high levels that anglers are warned by their respective state’s wildlife agencies about consumption,” Huston said.

Mercury and autism are linked, according to a University of Texas Health Science Center study last year, which showed “a statistically significant link between pounds of industrial release of mercury and increased autism rates” within a 30-mile distance.

Jeff Edwards, an attorney who lived in Poteau before moving to Roland, said, “We have to wonder if living near AES Shady Point had something to do with our child’s autism.”

At the time, Edwards’ wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child, and their Poteau house was supplied with well water. His second child, who is autistic, was born while in Muldrow, which is within 30 miles of the Shady Point plant.

Edwards is active in Developmental Wings Inc., an organization that provides services for autistic children.

“For me the biggest problems are air quality and water quality. When I practiced law in Poteau, I used to get calls from residents concerned about water pollution in the rural areas where the ground water was polluted by the coal mines,” Edwards said. “I don’t see how you can dump fly ash in those mines without continuing to pollute. I don’t see anything positive out of another coal-burning power plant here.”

CEM, located in Edmond, is a newly formed nonprofit research and education center, created to promote sound energy decisions and to improve quality of life in Oklahoma, Hentges said.

He stated, “We want the city, county and state leaders to know the consequences of their decisions. The decision to burn more Wyoming coal in Oklahoma will impact Panama, Shady Point, Sallisaw, Poteau, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, and Tulsa.”

Hentges said the goal is for residents who will bear the consequences of the facility to know all the facts and the costs of this second coal-burning power plant in Panama. He said coal-fired plants emit arsenic, mercury, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds among other harmful chemicals.

CEM is part of a coalition made up of Audubon Arkansas, Clean Air Arkansas, Sequoyah County Clean Air Coalition, Sierra Club/Oklahoma chapter and Public Citizen of Texas. They are working on this project known as “Two is Too Many: Stop AES Shady Point II.”

For more information about the meeting contact Hentges at (405) 340-6554.
© 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Great Denial of Vaccine Risks & Freedom

The Great Denial of Vaccine Risks & Freedom

A man of conscience: Will he end the Great Denial of vaccine risks?

By Barbara Loe Fisher

The Great Denial of vaccine risks for the past three decades by vaccine makers, pediatricians and government officials operating the mass vaccination system is the reason why more and more parents today question and mistrust vaccine science, policy and law. When Harris Coulter and I co-authored DPT: A Shot in the Dark in 1985 exposing flaws in the mass vaccination system that allowed the highly reactive DPT vaccine to stay on the market unimproved for more than 40 years, we never imagined then that those tragic flaws in the system would remain largely intact in 2009.

I knew then that the alliance between industry, organized medicine and government was powerful. But it is only after a quarter century of witnessing the Great Denial of vaccine risks, which has produced millions of vaccine damaged children flooding special education classrooms and doctors offices, that the magnitude of that unchecked power has been fully revealed.

To read more, click here.

Autism: triggered by infections & toxins, not genes

By Pamela Weintraub on January 18, 2009 in Emerging Diseases

This now in from the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute:

A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted - and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California's children.

"It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California," said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.

Hertz-Picciotto said that many researchers, state officials and advocacy organizations have viewed the rise in autism's incidence in California with skepticism.

The incidence of autism by age six in California has increased from fewer than nine in 10,000 for children born in 1990 to more than 44 in 10,000 for children born in 2000. Some have argued that this change could have been due to migration into California of families with autistic children, inclusion of children with milder forms of autism in the counting and earlier ages of diagnosis as consequences of improved surveillance or greater awareness.

Hertz-Picciotto and her co-author, Lora Delwiche of the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, initiated the study to address these beliefs, analyzing data collected by the state of California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) from 1990 to 2006, as well as the United States Census Bureau and state of California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records, which compiles and maintains birth statistics.

Hertz-Picciotto said that the study is a clarion call to researchers and policy makers who have focused attention and money on understanding the genetic components of autism. She said that the rise in cases of autism in California cannot be attributed to the state's increasingly diverse population because the disorder affects ethnic groups at fairly similar rates.

"We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," Hertz-Picciotto said.

The study gives credence to the suggestion, voiced more loudly in recent years, that the burgeoning epidemic of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections may be driving part of the autism increase.

Study shows California's autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis

Public release date: 8-Jan-2009
[ Print Article | E-mail Article | Close Window ]

Contact: Phyllis Brown
University of California - Davis - Health System

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California's children.

"It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California," said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.

Hertz-Picciotto said that many researchers, state officials and advocacy organizations have viewed the rise in autism's incidence in California with skepticism.

The incidence of autism by age six in California has increased from fewer than nine in 10,000 for children born in 1990 to more than 44 in 10,000 for children born in 2000. Some have argued that this change could have been due to migration into California of families with autistic children, inclusion of children with milder forms of autism in the counting and earlier ages of diagnosis as consequences of improved surveillance or greater awareness.

Hertz-Picciotto and her co-author, Lora Delwiche of the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, initiated the study to address these beliefs, analyzing data collected by the state of California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) from 1990 to 2006, as well as the United States Census Bureau and state of California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records, which compiles and maintains birth statistics.

Hertz-Picciotto and Delwiche correlated the number of cases of autism reported between 1990 and 2006 with birth records and excluded children not born in California. They used Census Bureau data to calculate the rate of incidence in the population over time and examined the age at diagnosis of all children ages two to 10 years old.

The methodology eliminated migration as a potential cause of the increase in the number of autism cases. It also revealed that no more than 56 percent of the estimated 600-to-700 percent increase, that is, less than one-tenth of the increased number of reported autism cases, could be attributed to the inclusion of milder cases of autism. Only 24 percent of the increase could be attributed to earlier age at diagnosis.

"These are fairly small percentages compared to the size of the increase that we've seen in the state," Hertz-Picciotto said.

Hertz-Picciotto said that the study is a clarion call to researchers and policy makers who have focused attention and money on understanding the genetic components of autism. She said that the rise in cases of autism in California cannot be attributed to the state's increasingly diverse population because the disorder affects ethnic groups at fairly similar rates.

"Right now, about 10 to 20 times more research dollars are spent on studies of the genetic causes of autism than on environmental ones. We need to even out the funding," Hertz-Picciotto said.

The study results are also a harbinger of things to come for public-health officials, who should prepare to offer services to the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism in the last decade who are now entering their late teen years, Hertz-Picciotto said.

"These children are now moving toward adulthood, and a sizeable percentage of them have not developed the life skills that would allow them to live independently," she said.

The question for the state of California, Hertz-Picciotto said, will become: 'What happens to them when their parents cannot take care of them?'

"These questions are not going to go away and they are only going to loom larger in the future. Until we know the causes and can eliminate them, we as a society need to provide those treatments and interventions that do seem to help these children adapt. We as scientists need to improve available therapies and create new ones," Hertz-Picciotto said.

Hertz-Picciotto and her colleagues at the M.I.N.D Institute are currently conducting two large studies aimed at discovering the causes of autism. Hertz-Picciotto is the principal investigator on the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment) and MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies-Learning Early Signs) studies.

CHARGE is the largest epidemiologic study of reliably confirmed cases of autism to date, and the first major investigation of environmental factors and gene-environment interactions in the disorder. MARBLES is a prospective investigation that follows women who already have had one child with autism, beginning early in or even before a subsequent pregnancy, to search for early markers that predict autism in the younger sibling.

"We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," Hertz-Picciotto said. "If we're going to stop the rise in autism in California, we need to keep these studies going and expand them to the extent possible."


The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and by the M.I.N.D. Institute.

In 1998, dedicated families concerned about autism helped found the UC Davis M.I.N.D. (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute. Their vision? Experts from every discipline related to the brain working together toward a common goal: curing neurodevelopmental disorders. Since that time, collaborative research teams at the M.I.N.D. Institute have turned that initial inspiration into significant contributions to the science of autism, fragile X syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders that can limit a child's lifelong potential.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead, The Witch is Dead

CDC Director Resigns, According to E-mail to Employees

An e-mail to federal employees says Dr. Julie Gerberding has resigned as director of the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Friday, January 09, 2009

ATLANTA -- The woman who led the nation's public health agency in a post-Sept. 11 world of bioterrorist fears is out, her resignation announced in a Friday night e-mail to employees.

Dr. Julie Gerberding has resigned as director of the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will be replaced on an interim basis by a deputy as of Jan. 20, the day President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated.

The e-mail obtained by The Associated Press that discloses the news was sent Friday night to employees of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the umbrella agency over CDC.

Although an HHS housecleaning has been expected with the new administration, Gerberding's fate was somewhat unclear. The first woman to head the agency, Gerberding led the CDC through a post-Sept. 11 world of bioterrorist fears and was considered an effective communicator with legislators and the public.

In a November e-mail to staff, Gerberding said she expected she might be leaving her job after the Bush administration left office. But colleagues said she quietly had held out hope she would be allowed to stay on.

Speculation that she might remain was fueled by Obama's selection of Tom Daschle to as HHS Secretary. Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, is from South Dakota -- like Gerberding. Last month, she issued a statement to the press praising Daschle and his "tradition of finding practical solutions to very tough problems."

But Friday's e-mail confirms she will indeed be leaving office, a CDC spokesman said.

"As part of the transition process, the Administration requested resignation letters from a number of senior-level officials, including Dr. Julie Gerberding. This week, the Administration accepted Dr. Gerberding's resignation, effective January 20," CDC spokesman Glen Nowak said in a prepared statement.

Nowak said Gerberding was traveling in Africa on CDC business and unavailable for comment.

The CDC investigates disease outbreaks, researches the cause and prevalence of health problems, and promotes illness prevention efforts. In a 2007 Harris Poll of U.S. adults, the CDC was rated as the government agency that does the best job.

Gerberding is head of the CDC and its sister agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The two have a budget of about $8.8 billion and more than 14,000 full-time, part-time and contract employees.

Gerberding receives a total compensation of $202,200.

The memo announcing Gerberding's resignation was signed by Rich McKeown, chief of staff for outgoing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. It said William Gimson, the CDC's chief operating officer, will step in as interim director as of the 20th.

Daschle has not announced a choice for a new CDC director.

Gerberding, 53, was named CDC Director in July 2002. She was a relative newcomer to the agency; she had been an infectious diseases specialist at the University of California at San Francisco, and had joined the CDC in 1998 to head an agency patient safety initiative.

She rose to prominence in the fall of late 2001, when she emerged as a leading spokeswoman for the agency during the anthrax crisis in which letters containing a deadly, anthrax powder were sent to some politicians and journalists and perhaps others. Five people died in a wave of attacks that panicked a nation already shaken by the 9/11 attacks.

The CDC Director at the time was Dr. Jeffrey Koplan. Koplan, appointed by President Bill Clinton, had a prickly relationship with Bush administration officials. He resigned in March 2002.

Gerberding was selected by Tommy Thompson, Bush's first U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who was impressed by her performance during the anthrax crisis. She entered office pledging to work closely with the Bush administration.

She was the agency's first female director -- a status highlighted in a profile in Vogue magazine that featured a full-page color photograph of her in a gray Chanel suit and white Marc Jacobs high-heeled shoes.

Gerberding was a highly visible spokeswoman for the government on public health matters, eclipsing officials such as the Surgeon General and the director of the National Institutes of Health in visibility.

That was due in part to the scary, urgent nature of topics her agency dealt with, including SARS, food poisoning outbreaks and the threat of a deadly new type of pandemic flu.

But her tenure also proved controversial:

-- She instituted a large, morale-damaging reorganization of the agency that triggered an exodus of admired agency scientists. Gerberding said the changes made the CDC stronger. But in 2005, five previous CDC directors wrote Gerberding a joint letter expressing their concern about what was happening to the agency.

-- A 2004 medical journal article co-authored by Gerberding said obesity was about to overtake smoking as the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, but CDC officials later reported they had overstated the increase in obesity-related deaths by about 35,000. The mistake was blamed on a computer software error.

-- After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the agency was criticized for being slow to respond to survivors' complaints about formaldehyde fumes in trailers that had been provided by the government.

-- In 2007, she was criticized for going along with the White House's editing of her Senate testimony on the impact of climate change on health, which involved deletion of key portions citing diseases that could flourish in a warmer climate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is Paul Offit's Problem?

By Anne Dachel
I had to ask myself why Dr. Paul Offit, nationally-known vaccine expert, would consider The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Robert Sears to be so dangerous that he'd put out a whole piece about it in the January 2009 issue of Pediatrics. It's especially curious, since Sears' book came out well over a year ago.

Offit's article, The Problem With Dr Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule, (HERE) led to a response from Dr. Sears (HERE) that is running on his website. I hope readers will take the time to read both pieces to understand first-hand what was said by each of the doctors. Offit's overall message is that Sears is fueling fears over vaccine safety by allowing parents to choose alternative vaccine schedules for their children. Offit wrote, "Sears' book is unique. Unlike typical antivaccine books, he offers a middle ground, allowing parents to act on their fears without completely abandoning vaccines. Unfortunately, Sears sounds many anti-vaccine messages." Offit devoted the Pediatrics article to describing the ways in which Sears' book is undermining the vaccine program and endangering children's health.

In his response, Sears stated, "I believe that Dr. Offit has misconstrued the book's overall message by selectively extracting various phrases and sentences that discuss anti-vaccine ideas and worries parents have and portraying those ideas as my own." In another place he said, "I believe that Dr. Offit has greatly misrepresented the overall message of the book as being 'anti-vaccine." I read through many of the things Sears has written and looked hard for his "anti-vaccine messages." I have to agree with him when he says he's clearly not attacking the vaccine program. Sears stated, "It is my belief that many families go unvaccinated simply because they aren't offered a more gradual option."

Sears doesn't enter the controversy siding with parents. For example, he cited the studies that debunk a link between the MMR and autism, and added that "My initial worries about the MMR and intestinal inflammation are probably unfounded." Sears has called for studies on the effects of aluminum, noting, "I've been searching and searching for human infant studies that determine what a safe level of injected aluminum is, including looking at all the studies used in the article quoted by Dr. Offit, and I can't find a single one." Sears avoids the argument over mercury in vaccines and autism by saying, "It has been removed from virtually all vaccines, so you really don't have to spend hours researching whether or not it is harmful." I couldn't find big issues of controversy in what Dr. Sears has written about vaccines. He said in his response, "If my book had been portrayed correctly , we would find very little to debate about." Sears is not criticizing the CDC or vaccines in general. He's simply asking for flexibility in dealing with parents who are worried about vaccine side effects. He's definitely pro vaccine.

According to Offit, even a little break from rigid adherence to the mandated schedule is dangerous. It gives parents the idea that there might be serious side effects that could be avoided by changing the schedule. And, judging by the tens of thousands of copies of Sears' book that have been sold, lots of parents are having second thoughts about blindly accepting the one-size-fits-all-kids vaccine schedule. Two things in Sears' response to Offit Pediatrics article got my immediate attention. Sears noted that lots of parents worry about the cozy relationship between the vaccine makers and the medical community, especially those in charge of safety. Sears wrote, "In medical school we are taught to at least briefly raise an eyebrow at research funded by a pharmaceutical company, instead of simply taking it for granted."

A bit later, Sears said, "As for the issue regarding parents' trust in the vaccine manufacturers, that trust was severely shaken when it was revealed in the Los Angeles Times on February 8, 2005, that way back in 1991 a researcher at Merck sent a memo to the president of Merck's vaccine division stating that they had just realized that the cumulative amount of mercury in vaccines given to infants by six months of age was about 87 times the safety limits set by the FDA. And that information was not revealed to the public until 8 years later."

Sears said he continues to put his faith in the vaccine makers but he added that "I find it surprising that any doctors can fault a parent for not completely trusting Merck after that, or the FDA and CDC departments that were supposed to be overseeing this type of issue." Offit doesn't worry about conflicts of interest however. In his new book, Autism False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, the fact that Eli Lilly tested thimerosal on 22 adult patients who had meningitis is noted. Offit wrote, "Lilly scientists gave thimerosal to doctors to treat the infection. It didn't work." The deaths of the patients from meningitis also prevented any possibility of studying the long term side effects and it meant there was no way to determine how safe thimerosal would be for babies and children.

The fact is that the manufacturer's testing was the only recorded study on thimerosal before it was used regularly in vaccines that I've ever heard about. Offit wrote, "Although thimerosal didn't treat meningitis, doctors found that it was safe. Adults injected with 2 million micrograms of thimerosal didn't suffer symptoms of mercury poisoning; the amount was 10,000 times greater than the FDA later found babies had received in vaccines." (p. 63 Autism's False Prophets) Simpsonwood, the meeting of scientists, federal health officials, and pharmaceutical company representatives in 2000 at the Methodist Retreat Center in Norcross, GA was also talked about in Offit's book.

The initial findings by Dr. Thomas Verstraeten showed a relationship between the increase in mercury-containing vaccines and developmental problems. Offit wrote, "With the exception of autism, children who had received mercury in vaccines were more likely to have a variety of neurological problems." (p. 91 AFP) Offit continued, "Tom Verstraeten presented his data. He started with autism, concluding that the relationship between the amount of mercury in vaccines and and the risk of developing the disorder was 'not statistically significant.' ...He showed that children who had received mercury in vaccines were more likely to have tics, attention deficit disorder, and speech and language delays. ...If Verstraeten's preliminary data were right, vaccine makers public health officials, and doctors had inadvertently poisoned a generation of children." (p. 92 AFP) Not to worry, according to Offit.

By 2003, "Verstraeten had gone back to the medical records to verify the computer diagnoses,... Verstraeten found that his preliminary data had been misleading: mercury in vaccines did not cause harm. He concluded, 'No consistent significant associations were found between thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes.' " (p. 93 AFP) Offit noted that many charges have been leveled against Verstraeten for his about-face over mercury's side effects, plus there's the fact that by 2003, Verstraeten had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKine.

It's obvious too that Offit doesn't raise an eyebrow at connections between researchers and drug companies as Sears told us he should. Other medical experts have also published their opinions of Offit's Pediatrics article on Dr. Sears. (HERE) Dr. Jon Poling, father of Hannah Poling whose case in federal vaccine court gained national attention in 2008 when it was conceded that the vaccines she received were linked to her autism, also responded: "As a physician, scientist, and father of a vaccine-injured child, I have many issues with Offit and Moser's critique of Dr. Sears vaccine book, particularly its authoritarian tone and content. Offit is certainly entitled to his opinion, but it must be recognized as that.

We must stick to the science and recognize the open questions with regards to vaccine safety." Poling gave a detailed summary of the possible errors in the claim that epidemiological studies have disproved any association between vaccines and autism. He also said, "As a Neurologist that saw his normally developing daughter regress into autism before turning 2 years old, co-incident with immunization, I obviously have an inherently different bias than Offit, the wealthy vaccine inventor and patent holder." Poling ended his letter by saying, "As physicians we took an oath to 'first do no harm' to our individual patients. Dr. Sears offers a pro-vaccine individualized approach to childhood immunization that acknowledges the risks, benefits, and uncertainties of this medical intervention.

Dr. Sears should be applauded for his efforts to provide safe vaccination alternatives to his patients, given the void of randomized controlled trials to support continued growth of the current CDC/AAP schedule. "Rather than personal attacks, let's turn to science to provide the answers. The enormous public benefit of vaccination cannot be used to stifle open discourse on critical vaccine safety issues. One size does not fit all."

Where have we heard the statement, "One size does not fit all" with regard to vaccines? It was announced on April 03, 2008 in a commentary on CNN: A view from the CDC, (HERE) "Although some may call it a "one size fits all" approach, the recommended vaccine schedule is flexible, and it does account for instances when a child should not receive a recommended vaccine or when a recommended vaccine should be delayed."

Four days later, on April 7, the phrase again appeared in an article (HERE) by Anne Schuchat MD, assistant surgeon general at the U.S. Public Health Service and director at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.It was also said by a top doctor, Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health (HERE) on CBS News.
"Healy says the argument need not be framed in those terms (vaccinate or don't vaccinate). Instead, she says, we should vaccinate, but work to do it in the safest manner possible based on what we know and what we can find out.

"That's what the parents of autistic children have told me as well. If we can screen children to see which ones might be more susceptible to vaccine side effects, and vaccinate them on a more personalized schedule that is safer for them, why wouldn't we? If it's safer for all children to have their vaccinations spread out, why wouldn't we? Healy says it's called 'personalized medicine' and is being done in virtually all areas of medicine today with the exception of vaccines. Yet the government continues to frame the conversation in all-or-nothing, 'one-size-fits-all' terms." Healy challenged the credibility of the CDC and admonished officials for refusing to investigate a susceptible subgroup of children who are unable to eliminate the toxins in vaccines.

This admission that there hasn't been enough research and that epidemiological studies are not proof is a major step toward public recognition about what's happened to our children. Healy said that officials have been too quick to dismiss a link between vaccines and autism without ever studying the group that got sick. There never have been studies done on the kids that developed symptoms of autism within a few weeks of being vaccinated. She furthermore pointed out that the Institute of Medicine which produced the cumulative study on vaccines and autism in 2004 refused to 'pursue susceptibility groups.'

In other words, they didn't want to find any evidence that linked vaccines to autism. She left us with the haunting statement: 'The question has not been answered.'In the December 11, 2008 issue of U.S. News and World Report, A Government Call for Vaccine Research, (HERE) Dr. Healy again called for more research into vaccine safety. It would seem that yet another top doctor is calling for flexibility when it comes to the vaccine schedule and for additional studies on safety. Will Paul Offit be writing a scathing critique of Bernadine Healy for her very vocal challenge to the mandated vaccine program in next month's Pediatrics?

Dr. Lawrence Rosen, another well-known physician in the vaccine debate, added his letter in response to the Offit's article. Rosen practices in northern New Jersey and consults at Hackensack University Medical Center. His remarks sounded a lot like what Bob Sears had said. Regarding parents wanting changes in the vaccine schedule, Rosen wrote, "Would it be better that they seek non pediatric primary care in support of no vaccination or would it better for me to tolerate their concerns and 'allow' them to vaccinate flexibly? What is the 'right thing' to do? This is what many of us struggle with."As I become more involved in the AAP at a leadership level, I become more and more aware of the divide between pediatricians. What I fear is that we as a profession and the AAP as an institution may be discouraging honest and open dialogue about one of the most important public health issues of our times. I find it highly unusual that a fellow AAP pediatrician is roundly criticized in Pediatrics (the flagship journal of the AAP) without a chance to address the claims. Perhaps some at the AAP find his book that threatening. Is fear of information the direction we want to support? Should we not be using this as an opportunity for discussion? "Whether we want to admit it or not, public trust in the immunization program and in pediatricians in general is eroding.

And while we can debate whether aluminum and mercury in vaccines is the same or different as what we eat/drink/breathe (my personal bias is that we should reduce all exposures when possible), we must all agree that the only way to save the U.S. vaccine program - and trust in our profession by the families who need us most - is to encourage public conversation in a non judgmental manner. And it has to start here, with us." Offit's critique was also the focus of an article in U.S. News on December 29.

In Flexible Approach to Vaccinations Comes Under Fire (HERE) reporter Deborah Kotz, who also spoke with Dr. Sears, described Offit's piece as "an attack on doctors who take a flexible approach to vaccinations." Kotz wrote, "Unfortunately, instead of allowing a pro-and-con debate about the benefits and drawbacks of pediatricians working with parents who wish to have some flexibility, the Pediatrics journal editors chose to feature just one side of this debate. The authors of the special article take a firm stand against allowing any deviation from the current vaccine schedule, arguing that in offering a middle ground, Sears is sending 'antivaccine messages.'"What's worse, the lead author, Paul Offit, who heads the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, clearly has a conflict of interest. He's one of the patent holders of RotaTeq, a vaccine against rotavirus that's on the AAP's vaccine schedule. That means he stands to lose money if parents shun RotaTeq."Kotz said Offit's piece was "a special article that quite frankly shocked me for its one-sided treatment of a very important issue with regard to vaccinations."

Kotz also wrote that Offit didn't respond to her request to be interviewed. That seems incredible to me, since Offit's name appears in articles on vaccine safety more often than any other doctor. It's hard to imagine that he'd skip an opportunity to be covered by U.S. News.There seems to be a lot of holes in Offit's claim that the science is in on vaccines and a possible link to autism. Clearly, there is a lack of safety studies and research looking into the kids who regressed following vaccinations.

Barbara Loe Fisher from the National Vaccine Information Center (HERE) has also voiced her concerns about the lack of science to back the claim of no link: "There has never been a large, prospective scientific study to scientifically evaluate the long term effect on brain and immune function of giving children in America the CDC recommended 69 doses of 16 vaccines (for girls) and 66 doses of 15 vaccines (for boys) from the day of birth to age 18, including injecting children under age six with 48 doses of 14 vaccines and administering eight or more vaccines on the same day as the CDC schedule allows. Any long term study that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of this kind of vaccination schedule should also compare the health of children, who receive all the CDC recommended vaccines on schedule, with children, who receive fewer or no vaccines at all, to evaluate the long term health differences between the children. This is the only way a true scientific comparison can be made to determine whether the recommended CDC schedule leads to better or poorer health outcomes for most children and whether there are certain groups of children, perhaps those with genetic or other biological high risk factors, for whom vaccination is much more likely to result in permanent brain and immune system dysfunction." Dr. Sears isn't a lone maverick in his call for a flexible schedule.

Another well-known pediatrician, Dr Jay Gordon, was On Larry King Live (HERE) raising serious questions about vaccine safety. On his website (HERE), he states, "I am very much opposed to the routine vaccination schedule in the U.S. There are too many vaccines given too early in a child's life and not enough information given to parents."Vaccines have side effects. There can be rare severe problems, common minor problems and constant speculation about hidden problems. Vaccine proponents who deny side effects are not being honest with you, either."My strongest recommendation to you and anyone else considering alternatives to the standard vaccine regimen is to become very well informed and discuss these issues long and hard with your doctor. A doc who won't hold these discussions is too busy and you may need to move on to another."

Offit has tried to portray parents' fears about vaccine safety as something irrational. At the beginning of his article on Sears, Offit wrote, "Many parents are hesitant about vaccinating their children. Vaccine hesitancy can be explained in part by a lack of trust in those who make vaccine recommendations; a suspicion of profit motive driven by pharmaceutical companies; misinformation on the Internet; failure to appreciate the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases, given their low rates; and constant stories in the media claiming that vaccines cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from allergies to autism.

Most recently, with the addition of several new vaccines to the infant vaccine schedule, some parents have become concerned that children receive too many vaccines too early."Offit leaves out a very important reason why parents are frightened over vaccines. There is an epidemic of autism out here in the real world that no one can reasonably explain. I don't care where you are, if you bring up autism, someone will start talking about a family member or neighbor with a child who is autistic. Stories are everywhere about normally developing children who regressed into autism following vaccinations. I've yet to hear a plausible explanation for why children suddenly lose learned skills like talking, making eye contact, and being potty-trained.

In Offit's world, there hasn't been any increase in autism, only greater awareness and an expanded spectrum of autism. Even though many parents, scientists and doctors directly link the autism explosion to the dramatic increase in the number of vaccines in the mandated schedule, Offit sees no connection. In Autism's False Prophets, Offit wrote, "Two phenomena likely account for the increase. First, the definition of autism has broadened to include children with milder, more subtle symptoms. During the time of Leo Kranner and Bruno Bettelheim, children with mild symptoms of autism may have been described as 'quirky' or 'different' or 'unusual' but not autistic.

Today, these children are more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger's Syndrome or pervasive developmental delay. Second, in the past children with severe symptoms of autism were often considered mentally retarded. Today, as the number of children with severe autism has increased, the number with mental retardation has decreased." (p. 3-4 AFP)(Strangely, Offit included statements in the book that seemed to say the opposite. On page 109, he wrote, ":Finally, in January 2008, Robert Schechter and Judy Grether from California's Department of Public Health took a closer look at the rate of autism from 1995--six years before thimerosal had been removed from vaccines--to 2007, six years after it had been removed. They found what everybody else had found: the rates of autism continued to increase." It seems that when it's convenient, the autism increase is real. When it's implicates vaccines, it isn't.)

In his book, Offit stated that, "The first clue to the cause of autism is that it's genetic." (p. 218 AFP) He talked about possible environmental triggers, but they don't include vaccines. The basis of Offit's view of autism is that children are born with the disorder and that it hasn't really increased. Everything in Offit's scenario depends on this claim, but that simply isn't what's happening in America. I don't have to go back more than a couple of days to find news stories describing the dramatic impact of autism that can't be explained with Offit's theory of an expanded spectrum.

December 31, 2008--Edmond, OK. (HERE) "Autism is a quiet epidemic growing at a rate of 10-17 percent per year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Eighty percent of these children are under the age of 14."January 2, 2009--Columbia, SC (HERE) "The number of students diagnosed with autism in South Carolina's public schools has more than doubled in the past five years, creating more challenges in programming and staffing for education officials. The state Department of Education counted 2,685 students in 2007, up from 1,283 students in 2003, with autism as their leading disorder."January 2, 2009-- Maryland, Health report gives mixed results (HERE), "The number of children diagnosed with autism in the local school system more than doubled in only four years, according to the 2008 Community Health Assessment, a report released by Calvert County charities and government agencies." January 3, 2009--Marin, CA (HERE) "The number of autistic students in Marin has doubled in the past seven years, from 76 in 2001 to 152 in 2008." This is only part of the autism crisis. Soon the focus will be on providing for the upcoming generation of adults with autism who aren't there now.

On December 16, the Chicago Tribune ran the story, Autism study: Fears for the Future (HERE) which described the dire prospects for autistic adults based on an Easter Seals study. Easter Seals looked at the situation of "adults" --individuals between 19 and 30--and found that the majority are living at home and unemployed. Parents have very real fears about what will happen when they're no longer able to care for their children. Insurance doesn't pay for the therapy these people need and the financial burden is huge. Wendy Murphy, director of therapeutic schools for Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago was quoted in the article: 'We are always talking about the need for adult services. We always say that there's a crisis, that there's nothing for our students to do when they graduate.

There just aren't any supports out there to help people with autism live independently.'The experts like Paul Offit who devote themselves to denying that autism is a crisis with very real environmental causes sound absurd when we read these stories. If autism has always been around like this, why isn't there even one study that could find the mislabeled autistic adults at rates even approaching what we see in our children? Offit claims that they're out there somewhere, but he never has to prove it. It will be the autism price tag that will finally expose the truth.

Each affected child represents an estimated cost of 3 to 5 million dollars for lifetime care and it'll be the taxpayers who are left with the massive bill for this disaster. The public is going to demand answers and there will be plenty of parents who will blame the vaccines their children received and the proof will be everywhere.Paul Offit and the AAP should understand one thing: this issue isn't going to be swept away with one damning article in Pediatrics. The autism epidemic is very real and parents will continue to be scared of what vaccines may do to their children. Good doctors will be listening to them.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MMR: It’s ALL or NOTHING! Say goodbye to choice.

MMR: It’s ALL or NOTHING! Say goodbye to choice.
By Allison Chapman
Posted Age of Autism

Your choice to work with your pediatrician on safer vaccine schedule has just received a very large blow. Merck and Co. has decided to take away your option of separating the MMR, instead of getting the whole shebang at once. Forget those who may be predisposed to not handling 3 viruses at once; you know the weak, the infant who may need a bit more time. What if they are unable to take one of the viruses due to allergy of an ingredient, but have decided to go ahead with one or both of the others? Well too bad, allergy or not you have lost your right to choose. It’s now, all or nothing. (HERE)

I’m shocked at such a move. Why on earth at a time when some Doctors are just barely beginning with work with their patient’s parents by creating a schedule per individual child, is Merck deciding to pull the plug? Is this something they believe will quiet the supposed anti-vaccine crowd? Quiet the MMR/Autism controversy? I highly doubt it. This is a mistake of monumental proportions that will likely come back to bite them as given only the choice of all or nothing, many more may choose nothing. So you can stop banging down our doors at that point because the blame will be in the mirror.

The vaccine court was set up for the purpose of when adverse reactions happen to some children, vaccines have always been known to have side effects for some, and vaccine court is there to compensate them when there is sufficient evidence. On Christmas Day I learned of a recent case in vaccine court just decided in favor of a child who developed seizure disorder and acute encephalopathy or the marked deterioration in neurologic development as a result of the MMR, his name is Ben Zeller. (HERE)Anyone watching Ben Zeller’s parents holding him, this beautiful child, without the ability to sit up or fend for himself at all, would be overwhelmed with compassion, those of us with injured children can feel the knife passing through us. Click HERE to watch video.

I remember clearly what it was like when my son CJ received the MMR. Ahead of all milestones necessary; talking, walking, imitating, pointing, smiling, etc., all early. He used to look right into my eyes as I rocked him to sleep and sang to him. His favorite song was “Take me out to the ball game”. He was walking by 10 months and not long after was trying to play every sport. He had a set of plastic golf clubs and would wake up every morning and expertly whack balls all around our small apartment as if he were Tiger Woods in training. He also used to like to sing “Who let the Dogs out, who….who….who…”

Then at 15 months we went in for the MMR. I remember him not sleeping at all that night, crying and waking up with the most toxic smelling diaper. I also remembered when 48 hours later he had a 105 degree temperature. I called the pediatrician’s office but thought that 48 hours later was too long to be a result of the MMR but asked the nurse anyway (turns out that fever up to 2 weeks later can be result of MMR per Merck). The pedi’s office said no, it’s probably not a reaction, maybe he’s just getting a virus. Well 3 days after that we still had no sleep, still had toxic diapers that didn’t seem to stop and I lifted up his shirt to see a rash all over his midsection and beyond. I called again and thought maybe it was roseola, they said maybe. Very few answers, just many coincidences. He started staring episodes which later realized were most likely absence seizures, started leveling off development and “Who let the dogs out, who…who….who...” became only “who…who….who…” As if he no longer had the energy to say the whole thing. At 18 months we discussed some of the changes but his gross motor skills were still really good so we gave him his 18month shots. He immediately stopped calling me “Mommy”, stopped wanting to be in the same room as my husband and stopped following his sister around. He had on and off days but everything was steadily leaving and by 2 he was gone completely into the world of autism.

Do I believe the MMR alone is to blame? Or do I believe it was the thimerosal containing vaccines at 18 months alone? No, but they were both triggers, both involved absolutely in the decline of my son’s health. My children all reacted to vaccines in a way they should not have. I absolutely believe in predisposition, other toxic insults, all combining in a way to wreak havoc on a little body not equipped to handle them. There are too many too soon for some. I should be anti-vaccine from what I’ve been through but I instead believe in an individual’s right to informed choice. Their right to choose their own medical procedures designed around each child. I am not a fan of the “horde”, as I’m often confronted with those who believe I should take my lumps because it’s better for the “horde” and too bad for you if your children couldn’t handle it. I happen to think each child is worth more than that. Slower, less invasive schedules may have been the best decision for some, but no longer is it an option with the MMR.

I guess Merck believes you don’t need the choice, or that you aren’t responsible enough to have the choice. I don’t know which one is worse. If you would like to call Merck and Company to demand they correct this huge error in judgment their contact info is below. It says right on their website, “Where patients come first” we should make them prove it.

Merck & Co., Inc. Global Headquarters
Merck & Co., Inc.
One Merck Drive
P.O. Box 100
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-0100 USA
Phone: 908-423-1000Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM ET

Allison Chapman is mom to three children and a member of the Autism Action Network.

Merck Focusing on Combination Vaccine

Merck Focusing on Combination Vaccine

Manufacturer Stops Sales of Monovalents for Measles, Mumps, Rubella
By David Mitchell 12/24/2008

Merck & Co. Inc. has stopped production and sales of its monovalent vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella. The manufacturer instead plans to focus on its combination vaccine, MMRII.

Merck spokeswoman Amy Rose said MMRII accounts for 98 percent of the company's volume for measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, compared to just 2 percent from monovalent vaccines Attenuvax (measles), Mumpsvax (mumps) and Meruvax (rubella)." The combination vaccine is what's recommended, and it's such a significant portion of the orders we see," said Rose. "It's in the best interest of public health to make more of that rather than dedicate manufacturing capacity to monovalents."

Rose said Merck had not decided when, or if, it might make the monovalent vaccines available for sale in the future. Doug Campos-Outcalt, M.D., M.P.A., who serves as the AAFP's liaison to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and is a former member of the AAFP Commission on Clinical Policies and Research, said Merck's decision was insignificant in terms of public health. He added, however, that some parents likely will be unhappy."

The use of the single antigen is pretty limited," he said. "There's no harm if you need one in getting all three. There are some parents out there that want a delayed vaccine schedule. They want the vaccines spread out over a longer period of time and not so many at once. That's a lot of hooey. Alternative schedules have never been proven to be superior."