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Vaccines: Who Do You Trust?

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Pediatrician Dr. Gwenn's perspective on this controversial topic of shots and autism.

Dr Gwenn says: Last week, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey led a "Green Our Vaccines" rally in Washington DC. The key issue of that rally was trust -- actually, trust between parents and physicians. It is hard to reclaim trust when emotions run so high and are fed by big media, big stars, and big fears, but it must be done if our kids are to have a healthy tomorrow.

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Just keep in mind pediatricians are bound by our oath to "do no harm." Knowing that, we are determined to use science for "prevention" and to "respect scientific gains" while recognizing that we are "members of society" and need to care for people as part of that society.

With this in mind, perhaps these facts will make more sense and reassure moms:

• We know from studies and experience that true autism can't be cured. We also know there are a group of children with autistic-like symptoms who end up not having autism in the end. That does cause some confusion because those children may "get better" but don't have true autism.

• We know from repeated studies that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism.

• We know that without vaccines, vaccine-preventable illnesses due come back, as the recent measles increase demonstrates.

• We know that the risk of possible adverse effects from vaccines is far outweighed by the amazing benefit of keeping these horrifyingly devastating diseases away from our children.

• We can only know what science allows us to know today. There's no telling what future studies will teach us but we always stay open-minded to their results and adjust as needed.

• We may learn something new tomorrow that is different from today. That's the beauty of science. That new information may prove what we know today or change what we know. Time will tell. Until then, all we can do is live by what we know today and keep our kids healthy based on that information.

Now ask yourself the same question as before: Who is more believable, well-spoken actors who can recite the issues but are speaking from their hearts and being driven by emotion, or finely-trained physicians who are speaking from science and experience and being driving by their oaths to "do no harm"?

Don't hit the Internet and do a search. Don't ask a friend. Just trust your gut. I'm not saying "doctors know best" but I am saying "doctors are the experts, not the stars." Start from there and I trust you'll come to the right conclusion about the what the facts mean.

For more from Dr. Gwenn, click here.

Moms: When it comes to vaccines, who do you trust?


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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Charles June 11, 2008, 12:04 PM

I believe in the proper administration of vaccines. I also believe that pharmaceutical companies don’t care if 1 in 1000 babies get autism because they won’t spend the money to make the vaccines safer.

Luckily, our doctor allows us to change the vaccine schedule to not overload our baby with too many vaccines too soon.

hera June 11, 2008, 2:23 PM

With respect doctor,( and I do appreciate the reasonable and kind way you wrote, which is a breath of fresh air for this topic) at the same time, some other facts that we all( should) know:

We know that the ability to handle toxins( thimerosal,aluminium, formaldehyde) depends partly on size and development of organs: ie a couple of glasses of alcohol could have a bad effect on a baby but be okay for a 200 lb adult)

We know there are some toxins and inflammatory agents in vaccines.


We know that premature babies,with low birth weight, and poor organ development, who are given vaccines at birth,have a higher rate of autism.

We know from lab studies that thimerosal (in “trace” amounts in some vaccines, in large amounts in others,ie flu, given yearly) damages mitochondria in lab studies.

We know that it crosses the blood brain barrier and is deposited in the brain in monkeys.

We know that vulnerable populations, low birth weight, damaged immune system, were left out of the “multiple studies” you quoted.

We know that current genetic studies of autism link it to an allelle that deals with glutathione pathways and heavy metal processing.

We know that soem adults need a medical exemption from vaccines due to health problems: we also know that generally no one is assessing babies for these same health problems before their first shot on the day of birth.

We know that a google scholar search of motochondria and thimerosal will be interesting.

And we know that damages to subsets of the population are not always immediately noticable, particularly when some of the damage may have happened at birth from that first shot.

We aslo know that unless you have deliberately gone back and had the extra 20 shots now mandated for babies,rather than the 10 or so mandated in the early 80’s) that you are massively under immunized by todays standards, and apparently doing just fine.

Sorsha June 11, 2008, 4:14 PM

Hmmm….My now 8 year old son developed ‘autistic-like’ symptoms and was diagnosed with autism and ADHD after his kindergarten round of shots. Strangely, three years after these shots, his Rubella titers are still through the roof. His body has still not been able to clear the vaccine strain of Rubella from his system. Strange, when you say vaccines are proven to be 100% safe. Strange that a normal 5 year old could develop ‘autistic-like’ behaviours after vaccines. Guess vaccine damage is always coincidence matter what the age. And as for those ‘scientific studies’ you quote. Rubbish. Give me a study with a clean control group of never-vaccinated individuals - like the Cal/Org survey. Guess those numbers of a 317% increase in ADHD amoung the vaccinated was just coincidence too.

Sorsha June 11, 2008, 4:35 PM

Oh, and Jenny McCarthy is not just a well-spoken,celebrity driven by emotion. She is a well-spoken, passionate mother who rescued her son. If she had blindly had faith in the ‘finely-trained’ neurologist who diagnosed her son with epilepsy…she may never have gotten her son back.

shannon June 11, 2008, 8:56 PM

All I can say, is that anyone who believes that Autism and vaccines arn’t linked somehow should come and spend time with my kids. I have a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy that are both Autistic, but they were both developing normally until they got the 1 year MMR shots. Within DAYS of that shot they both shut down and haven’t gotten any better. Tell me it’s just a coincidence, and I call you a liar.

Anonymous June 11, 2008, 9:06 PM

I chose to do my own research WITH my dr who I trust - why would I go to a dr I don’t trust? I’m not sure why parents believe people (celebrities) who are not experts (perhaps they are experts in regard to their own children, but not an expert on the subject which requires education & field study/research). Just because someone claims to be the exception to the rules, it does not negate the rule! (re: to the FACTS stated by the DR.)

tia June 12, 2008, 6:50 AM

Dr. Gwenn, if you are a practitioner who actually administers vaccines to children, how would you like to make a cool $140,000 cash in a matter of minutes? All you have to do is take advantage of Jock Doubleday’s offer to publicly consume a weight-adjusted dose of the vaccine preservatives and additives “recommended” (by the CDC) for a six year-old child. His cash offer is increased by $5,000 every month (since January 2001) and so far, NO TAKERS. Why? With all the reassurance of unquestionable safety by vaccinators, why is NOBODY willing to step up to the plate? Is this the height of hypocrisy? (you can check out Jock’s offer by googling his name…unless seeing for yourself is too “unscientific”.)

Jagannath Chatterjee June 13, 2008, 3:54 AM

Pity the babies can’t talk. I am a 46 year old autistic who, strangely, was given the MMR at 17. I felt sick from that night itself and despite the doctors’ denial went on to develop all the signs and symptoms of an autistic. I have studied vaccines in depth from whatever literature I could get my hands upon, both for and against, and have arrived at the conclusion that vaccines are tailor made to perpetuate the profits of the drug manufacturers by constantly providing them with chronic illnesses. Without vaccines we could have the horrible scenario of the drug majors going bust and the people staying healthy.

JB November 11, 2008, 10:19 AM

This is QUITE the heated & passionate topic. As someone mentioned above, if you don’t trust your doctor, get a new one. HOWEVER, know that most doctors will side with medical research. Medical research is funded by the AMA & pharmaceutical companies. It is extremely difficult to prove causation & even more difficult to research the causation when there is no funding for such research. SO, it is unlikely that we will ever see valid research to prove causation. There is TOO much money trying to disprove it. SO, all we are able to do is trust ourselves. What people need to know is that doctors give their OPINIONS based on research. A lot of research is based on someones OPINION! You can make research show what you want it to show if you have enough money. Medical doctors are also trained to provide herd immunity - what is considered best for a society. Statistically speaking, if “only” so many cases of autism happen (to which they deny causation from vaccines) then it’s a “small price to pay for the benefits that preventing these diseases brings to a society.” I am a medical professional & entered into a debate with a 3rd year medical student regarding vaccines & causation. Of course, she was all for vaccines. Hmmm, wonder who funds medical schools???? Stand up for yourselves & your children. It’s not a one side fits all fix…

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 1:23 PM

Good post. Nice and fun reading. There’s a small thing to give about funny t-shirts.


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