January 16, 2017
Response to Daniel Salmon’s “The science is clear: Vaccines are safe, effective, and do not cause autism” http://hub.jhu.edu/2017/01/11/vaccines-autism-public-health-expert/
I read with interest your article: The Science is Clear: Vaccines are safe and effective. Perhaps you can straighten out my confusion.
If vaccines are as safe as you say why was legislation passed removing the drug companies from liability in 1986? What was the concern?
There have been a growing number of reports of harmful effects occurring immediately after childhood vaccinations. Are all these people mistaken? Was it just a chance association?
The scientific community is in agreement that mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde are potent toxins and neurotoxins. How could they be put into vaccines which are given some 68 times to children from birth to age 18 and not be toxic? Is there some sort of formulation that makes these substances safe for injections into infants and small children? If so, can you explain it to me?
From what I read about the incidence of infectious diseases they were already dramatically declining (some say by 90%) before all the mass vaccination programs began in the 1980s. Can you explain what the current threat is? Do other countries, which do not have compulsory vaccination programs, experience terrible epidemics of the diseases these vaccines are said to prevent?
It seems to me that a reasonable way to resolve the issue of possible vaccine toxicity is to do a controlled study in which one group receive the standard recommended vaccination program and another group which receives no vaccines and both groups are followed prospectively to see if differences emerge. Has that study been done? If not, is there a good reason why it has not been done?
It is my understanding that the revenues to the pharmaceutical industry for vaccines is huge. Is there any problem with accepting their research conclusions for vaccine safety? Is there any chance for conflict of interest with independent scientists who also get research funding for other projects from the pharmaceutical industry? What is there that prevents conflict of interest from emerging?
Finally, there is a raging epidemic of serious diseases in our children. Incidence of autoimmune diseases, allergy, asthma, attention deficit disorder, etc. is growing at a rate, which I find shocking. Further, prescription pain killers are killing more people than automobile accidents. Does the drug industry and the medical profession profit from this over use of potent pain killers? Has the industry policed itself to curb these abuses? Can we trust them?
What is the public health community doing to get at the root of all of this? Good statisticians have predicted that if the current rate of increase in autism spectrum continues that by 2032 50% of the children will be diagnosed with autism and 80% of the males? That looks like an epidemic to me.
When I was a medical student and resident at Hopkins from 1960-1967 I never even heard of autism and was certainly never taught anything about it.
This epidemic has affected my grandchildren, of which I have seven. Four of them are on drugs for behavior or learning problems and one has a very serious neural impairment where he only can process 60% of the speech he hears. He is currently repeating the first grade! Over half of them are on medication and it is 100% of the boys. I would like to know your thoughts as to the cause of this growing problem and what you are doing about it.
I always learned that it was the role of public health to prevent disease. Did this epidemic slip under your radar? As you can see I have lots of serious questions and look forward to hearing your answers. I always looked to the public health sector as doing more good for health than the practicing doctors. Now I am starting to waver.
D. Edwards Smith, MD, resident of Burlington, Vermont
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Class of 1964