A Shot In The Arm

April 2, 2007

National Vaccine Information Center
A young boy on the beach was throwing the washed-up starfish back into
the ocean. A stranger passing by told him not to bother, because it would
not make any difference, there were thousands of beaches and millions of
starfish, and it would not be possible to save all of them. The boy reached
down, picked up a starfish, threw it back into the ocean and said, smiling
softly, “ I made a difference for that one!”

“We have one of the most highly vaccinated child populations in the world
and yet we have children who are increasingly chronically ill and
disabled,” Founder of the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Loe
Fisher said at the rally. “One in 150 children in America is autistic, one
in six is learning- disabled.” Fisher, author of “A Shot in the Dark,” is
one of many Americans who think there’s a connection even though the
medical establishment says no. “What we have to do is not discount the
reports of parents that they are taking healthy, bright children in to
their pediatricians to be vaccinated, with now, by age 6, 48 doses of 14
vaccines that the government recommends, and many of them are taking home
children that then they watch regress,” Fisher said. Fisher says her son,
Christian, suffered brain damage within hours of getting his fourth DPT —
diphtheria, pertussus and tetanus — vaccination. Thanks in large part to
her pressure, the manufacturer of the DPT vaccine made it safer and
Congress was forced to pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which
included money for compensation — proof to Fisher that parents should be
wary. “The idea that some can be sacrificed in service to the rest is very
dangerous,” Fisher said.” – CBS Sunday Morning News, April 1, 2007

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

This past Sunday, April 1, on CBS Sunday Morning News veteran CBS
correspondent Martha Teichner produced a 10 minute segment entitled “A Shot
in the Arm,” which featured interviews with a vaccine researcher from
University of Tennessee, a World Health Organization official, the author
of a new book that contains vitriolic attacks on modern day vaccine safety
critics, a mother and father of with an MMR vaccine injured autistic boy
seeking vaccine injury compensation, and me. Martha Teichner, who has won
four Emmy Awards and other journalism awards during her distinguished 30
year career at CBS, and her producer, Jason Sacca, took great care to
examine all sides of the vaccine benefit and risk controversy and place it
in an historic context. Although some parents may feel that there was too
much time devoted to extolling the benefits of vaccines, others were left
wanting more to be said about the risks of vaccines.

Shortly after the segment aired at 9 a.m. EST, the CBS message boards
began to receive comments from parents expressing strong opinions. One
viewer wrote ” The truth is autism is a genetic defect and parents cannot
accept that they themselves are the cause of their child’s autism…so much
easier to blame everyone else…when you decide to create a child your
defective genes are to blame and no one else.”

Another viewer complained “We are disappointed that CBS implicitly
legitimized the claims that vaccines are associated with autism. Although
there are some known, proven risks to vaccines, autism is not among these
risks. Several recent studies have shown that children who receive vaccines
are at no higher risk for developing autism than those that do not.”

But then there were viewers who saw it another way. One parent wrote ” We
have two kids in our extended family (one on my side and one on husband’s
side) that became severely autistic within days after their vaccinations.
Both were healthy up to the day of vaccination. Both are boys. Should I be
weighing out pro’s and con’s of having my child vaccinated? Should I be
bullied by the doctors ? Should I play Russian Roulettte with my child’s
life? I think not! I don’t need science, literature, statistics, an
article, medical journal, the government, a doctor or anyone else to tell
me what I can see with my own two eyes ! As a medical professional myself,
I think every parent should spend a day with an autistic child (God knows
they are not hard to find these days) before they consider a vaccination
for their own child.”

And another parent wrote ” It is all very well for some in an ivory tower
living on a grant from drug pharma to blather on and on, but real Americans
have to deal with a Merck vaccine that deafens children. How does that
intellectual advise explaining to a 7 year-old why he is suddenly totally
and irreversibly deaf as a result of state required, Merck-pushed MMR
vaccine? How does one communicate practically within several weeks from
regular voice to absolutely nothing?

The segment was even viewed differently by those who were interviewed for
the story. I thanked Martha Teichner and her producer for treating everyone
featured on the segment with respect and producing an intelligent and
thoughtful analysis of a multi-faceted debate. However, the author whose
book attacking vaccine critics was featured prominently in the segment was
unhappy with the fact they “presented the claims of the parents of the
autistic boy and of Barbara Loe Fisher without giving anyone a chance to
rebut them.” On his blog he states that he wrote a letter to CBS
complaining that “neither I nor any of the doctors or scientists were given
a chance to refute the autism theory. You say that the “medical
establishment” doesn’t believe it, but that’s a distortion. It is the
SCIENCE that doesn’t support the theory. I realize you probably didn’t have
time to do the research to understand this yourselves, but you should have
allowed a scientist, or me, to say it.”

Those, whose mission in life is to act as a kind of vaccine thought patrol,
cannot stand it when a journalist honestly examines the benefits and risks
of vaccines and does not tell the reader or viewer what to think and what
to do. These bully boys prefer to have vaccine casualties kept in a dark
closet away from the eyes of the public, where they don’t make people
confront difficult scientific, political, economic and moral issues.

CBS Sunday Morning News will be taking comments on this story for the next
48 hours. For those who would like to go on the record about what you
think, go to http://www.cbsnews.com/sto
ries/2007/04/

01/sunday/main2635032.shtml and post your comments.

BC

Barbara Loe Fisher with her son Chris soon after his 4th DPT shot

———-
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/01/sunday/main2635032.shtml

Vaccinations Not Immune From Critics

Despite Societal Benefits, Vaccines Are Stirring Concern About Alleged
Side Effects

CBS NEWS
NEW YORK, April 1, 2007

CBS) Eleanor and Mark Tremblay have trouble looking at their son, Oliver,
who is eight years old and severely autistic, without saying to themselves,
“if only….”

As they play the videos showing how Ollie was before, they think, if only
they could just rewind their lives; if only they could skip that shot: the
measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations they believe caused their son’s
autism, although there is no conclusive evidence.

Dr. James Dale, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee’s
health science center in Memphis, has spent more than 30 years working to
perfect a vaccine to prevent streptococcus, the infection that causes strep
throat and, in its more virulent forms, so-called flesh-eating disease and
rheumatic fever.

“There is risk with vaccines, but the benefits far, far outweigh the
risks,” Dr. Dale told Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner. “If we
can reduce the incidence of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart
disease by half in the world, that’s where the real personal payoff would
come.”

On one side you have Dr. Dale, determined to save millions of children —
and on the other, the Tremblays, heartbroken over the fate of one boy.
Between them you have the story of vaccines: The greater good versus the
risk, no matter how small, to the individual.

It’s a debate that began in this country nearly three hundred years ago
over smallpox.

“It was a disease that would sweep through cities and infect, you know,
tens of thousands of people at a time, and it would kill 20, 30, 50 percent
of them,” said journalist Arthur Allen, the author of “Vaccine, the
Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver.”

“The first form of smallpox vaccine came from China and India where it was
used for centuries and it entered the U.S. in 1721. Cotton Mather actually
brought it to the United States.”

Mather was a hellfire and brimstone Puritan preacher from Boston. His house
was firebombed when he urged Bostonians to try scratching live smallpox
infection into their skin.

In 1796, British country doctor Edward Jenner confirmed that milkmaids,
exposed to a much milder cowpox virus, were immune to smallpox. Millions of
people finally dared to be vaccinated with Jenner’s cowpox serum. The term
vaccinate comes from the Latin word for cow, vacca.

“Confidence in vaccines and mistrust in vaccines goes in waves,” Allen
said. “And also, another element is really the seriousness of the disease.
I mean, when the polio vaccine came out in 1955, it came into a country
that was petrified of polio.”

The conquest of polio became a national crusade.

“Millions of Americans participated in the March of Dimes,” Allen said.
“They literally sent their dimes to the White House.”

In 1955, the announcement was made that Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine worked.
The fact that 200 people were paralyzed after getting the shot and ten
died, was overlooked.

“Jonas Salk, you know, was a god,” Allen said. “Church bells were ringing
around the country. People were embracing in the street. It was a moment of
unmitigated jubilation around the country.”

Now they’re protesting. Last month, there was a rally in Washington against
the new human papilloma virus vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

“We have one of the most highly vaccinated child populations in the world
and yet we have children who are increasingly chronically ill and
disabled,” Founder of the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Loe
Fisher said at the rally. “One in 150 children in America is autistic, one
in six is learning-disabled.”

Fisher, author of “A Shot in the Dark,” is one of many Americans who think
there’s a connection even though the medical establishment says no.

“What we have to do is not discount the reports of parents that they are
taking healthy, bright children in to their pediatricians to be vaccinated,
with now, by age 6, 48 doses of 14 vaccines that the government recommends,
and many of them are taking home children that then they watch regress,”
Fisher said.

Fisher says her son, Christopher, suffered brain damage within hours of
getting his fourth DPT — diphtheria, pertussus and tetanus — vaccination.
Thanks in large part to her pressure, the manufacturer of the DPT vaccine
made it safer and Congress was forced to pass the National Childhood
Vaccine Injury Act which included money for compensation — proof to Fisher
that parents should be wary.

“The idea that some can be sacrificed in service to the rest is very
dangerous,” Fisher said.

Nobody actually knows how many vaccine injuries occur but 17,000 were
voluntarily reported in the U.S. last year. The true number is believed to
be much higher — but how to weigh that against the benefit of vaccination?

“We forget about the paralysis that plagued our towns years ago,” Dr. Jon
Andrus said. “We forget that our mothers said, “Don’t go to the pool for
more than two hours, because you’ll get polio. We forget about what measles
have done. We forget that children in Africa die of diarrhea and pneumonia.”

Dr. Andrus has spent nearly 15 years running immunization programs around
the globe for the World Health Organization. One of his proudest moments
was his involvement in India’s polio eradication campaign — 125 million
children were vaccinated in one day.

“We live in a global community,” Andrus said. “We would not want our
children left unprotected as long as virus is circulating throughout the
world. Polio is a very good example; the last three outbreaks of polio in
the U.S. were all due to importations.”

Even though Mark and Eleanor Tremblay blame vaccines for their son, Ollie’s
autism, they said they are not against vaccines. They just wish they’d
known what to ask about the risk.

“Well, we just did, you know, what parents are supposed to do, what the
pediatrician tells you to do,” Eleanor Tremblay said.

The Tremblays are among more than 4,700 families who are suing the federal
government claiming that the mercury preservative in certain vaccines
caused their children’s autism. The trial, set to begin in June, is likely
to have enormous implications, no matter what the outcome.

“We’re definitely the unlucky ones,” Eleanor Tremblay said. “Without a
doubt.”

“We’re not alone, though,” Mark Tremblay said.

Not alone in the search for an answer to the question, if children are
soldiers in the war against infectious diseases, was their child a
casualty? A victim of friendly fire?

*************************************************************

National Vaccine Information Center

———-
email: news@nvic.org
voice: 703-938-dpt3
web: http://www.nvic.org

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