I am the author of the bestselling book, How to End the Autism Epidemic, which was released by Chelsea Green Publishing in September. I read publisher/editor Larry Gordon’s “Medical Dilemmas” article from November 30, citing an interview I gave on Coast to Coast AM, and I also read two follow-up letters from Dr. Aaron E. Glatt who took exception to Mr. Gordon’s article.
My knowledge about vaccines was hard-earned. Like many parents, my wife and I ceded decisions about vaccination to our local pediatrician. We had a singular motivation: keep our children safe and healthy. You’d think that two Stanford grads would do their own research, but my wife and I really didn’t. I had no idea that in 1986 vaccine makers were given blanket indemnity from liability by the U.S. Congress. I didn’t know the vaccine schedule in the United States had tripled since the mid-1980s. Or that the U.S. government had paid out $4 billion for vaccine injuries. Or that other developed countries give many fewer vaccines, and have much less autism. I didn’t know the hepatitis B vaccine, often given on day one of life, only provided protection for four years. Or that autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies were all skyrocketing, and that their rise corresponded to changes in the vaccine schedule. I couldn’t know that biological science would show how a vaccine can injure an infant’s brain, because it hadn’t been published yet. And I certainly had never read the many published studies showing how vaccines can result in both autoimmunity and neurological damage.
Most significantly, I believed the narratives that appealed to emotion and trust in authority we often hear about vaccines. Herd immunity, for example: Nobody wants to be the selfish parent who puts everyone else at risk. Vaccination is important, not only for our own kids but for the health of the community, especially the vulnerable, right? Well, no one really knows because we’ve never come close to achieving herd immunity through vaccines. Ever. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon, explains:
“That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply. When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness two to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50 percent or more of the population was unprotected for decades.”
“Herd immunity” is one of the many sophisticated PR strategies designed to compel parents into vaccinating their children through emotional manipulation. When we witnessed our second son decline, both physically (eczema, allergies, distended belly, poor sleep) and neurologically (loss of all words, loss of social skills, autism diagnosis), after each of his vaccine appointments, it was like our very trust in the world we thought we knew was shaken forever. We opened our eyes, and reached a simple conclusion: Yes, vaccines have reduced the incidence of certain acute illnesses, but the very real risks of vaccines are understated and suppressed.
Today, many scientists around the world believe vaccines — in a bloated, poorly tested, and very new vaccine schedule — are the primary triggers of the massive spike in neurological and autoimmunity epidemics our children are experiencing. Scientists like Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld from Israel, arguably the world’s foremost expert on autoimmunity, who wrote a textbook any parent can read: Vaccines and Autoimmunity.
Which brings me back to Dr. Glatt. He wants the Five Towns community to believe there is no debate about vaccines. He writes, “The evidence is overwhelming that vaccination is the only way to control these preventable fatal diseases.” That’s simply untrue. Since 1900, the mortality rate of Americans has declined by 74 percent. Before the massive uptick in vaccines in the late 1990s, public health officials were far more honest about why mortality rates had declined so much. According to a paper by McKinlay & McKinlay in 1977, roughly 1–3.5 percent of the mortality decline was due to medical measures, including vaccines. The other 97 percent? Clean water, less crowded conditions, hygiene, refrigeration, and better nutrition. Those are the facts. Most diseases we vaccinate for are rarely fatal. Before the measles vaccine was introduced in the late 1960s, the death rate from measles in the United States was 0.24 per 100,000 people. CDC scientists, in 1966, said the following, “for centuries the measles virus has maintained a remarkably stable ecological relationship with man. The clinical disease is a characteristic syndrome of notable constancy and only moderate severity. Complications are infrequent, and, with adequate medical care, fatality is rare.” That was more than 50 years ago! Imagine what today’s medical care would do to the already low mortality rate from measles.
We have to be honest with parents about the adverse events from the MMR vaccine and decide if they outweigh the benefits of reducing the incidence of a mild childhood illness. According to Physicians for Informed Consent, a large group of doctors in California:
“There is no evidence that the measles vaccine causes less death or permanent disability than measles. Safety studies of the measles vaccine are particularly lacking in statistical power. A review of more than 60 measles vaccine studies conducted for the Cochrane Library states, ‘The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.’ Because permanent sequalae (after effects) from measles, especially in individuals with normal levels of vitamin A, are so rare, the level of accuracy of the research studies available is insufficient to prove that the vaccine causes less death or permanent injury than measles.”
The choice to exclude students who have not been vaccinated for measles makes no sense. Doesn’t the vaccine protect all the vaccinated children? More importantly, parents must always maintain the right to decide which medical interventions they will — and won’t — give their children. The first point of the Nuremberg Code is very clear on this topic, requiring the “voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject” on any medical intervention. How can vaccines, with known risks, be an exception to this universal rule?
Dr. Glatt claims the notion that “vaccines cause autism” is simply “false.” I wrote an entire book on this topic, with hundreds of scientific studies cited, and I couldn’t disagree more vigorously. Does Dr. Glatt know that only a single vaccine (MMR) and a single ingredient (thimerosal) have been studied for their relationship to autism? What about all the new research published since 2010, through animal studies, showing exactly how a vaccine causes brain damage and triggers the same biomarkers we are finding in autism? Dr. Glatt claims that I am “making a lot of money off his anti-vaxxer position” but I guess he failed to read my book’s back cover, where it clearly states that I am donating 100 percent of my book proceeds to autism charities. I will never earn even one penny from my book.
Dr. Glatt seems outraged that Mr. Gordon’s article is “suggesting that people should not follow their physician’s advice.” No, Dr. Glatt, I believe what Mr. Gordon is saying is that parents are getting mixed advice, depending on which doctor they talk to. Take my own family’s pediatrician here in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Paul Thomas. He went to Dartmouth Medical School and is a member of the AAP. Here’s what he has to say:
“If your pediatrician has not yet done his or her own research and is just parroting the ‘vaccines are safe and effective’ marketing phrase, it is time for you to get a new pediatrician.”
Parents of the Five Towns, I couldn’t agree more. From one parent to another: do your own research. Be very skeptical of anyone who wants you to blindly follow their assertions and makes no room for an open debate. On that note: I invite Dr. Glatt to a live debate in a public forum. Dr. Glatt says about me, “this Mr. ‘expert’ has no advanced medical degree” so it should be pretty easy to put me in my place with facts and published studies (the kind my new book is filled with; I hope you take the time to read it).
J.B. Handley graduated from Stanford University with honors, majoring in Economics and East Asian Studies. He co-founded and co-ran for two decades a middle-market private equity firm, Swander Pace Capital, with more than $1.5 billion under management and retired in 2013. Today, Mr. Handley is a member of the board of directors of Great Ajax (AJX), Vigor Industrial, and WildFang. He and his wife Lisa founded Generation Rescue and are the proud parents of three children.
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