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Holly Says Amanda Peet is 'Fearmongering'

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She sounds off about Amanda Peet's pro-vaccination stance, and says, "I would just ask her to give the respect she has on her position to mine."

holly robinson peete and amanda peet

As a parent of an autistic child, Holly Robinson Peete has been a staunch advocate for children living with the disease and their parents. Now, the actress, whose 11-year-old son developed autism after receiving vaccinations when he was just two-and-a-half years old, serves as the first African-American to sit on the board of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness and prevention of the disease. The activist and mother of four shares her thoughts with ESSENCE.com about comments made by actress Amanda Peet, the spokesperson for vaccinateyourbaby.org, who recently said that vaccinations don't cause autism:

I'm really disappointed to hear people like Amanda Peet -- who have never been affected by autism -- make public allegations like vaccinations don't cause autism. It makes me angry because it's so disingenuous to have this kind of public discussion, especially when World Autism Awareness Day is coming up on April 2. But I know exactly what she is trying to do and that's to instill fear: if your child doesn't get vaccinations, you're going to make every other child sick. Believe me, I understand both sides of the argument because I have four children. Although I have total respect for what any mother feels is best for her child, you can't tell me what is right, because it's not necessarily going to work for my kid. I know because I've experienced it with my eldest son.

When my son was two-and-a-half, he was just recovering from an ear infection and had been on antibiotics, therefore his immune system was suppressed. He had already missed several appointments for his vaccination so his pediatrician wanted to catch him up on all of them in the same day. Although I asked if he'd consider waiting or breaking up the cocktail, which contains three viruses, he laughed me out of the office and belittled me. I firmly believe that it took my son to a place of no return and his body could not handle it. He had a violent reaction with convulsions and then he stopped talking and slipped into a silence. He no longer said, "Hi, Mommy," he no longer responded to his name and he no longer made eye contact. And to think that today there are more than 30 vaccines that children are required to receive is scary. I don't know why boys are five times more likely to become autism, but they are.

I respect Amanda Peet for advocating for her children by trying to keep them safe with vaccines. If I could talk to Amanda Peet, I would say that, I'm glad your child was able to tolerate that level of toxicity, but don't expect me -- after witnessing what vaccinations did to my son -- to inoculate my other children under the same circumstances. So who's to blame? Is there some pre-genetic predisposition? Do genetic and environmental factors load the proverbial gun and the vaccines pull the trigger? Since you claim all the studies and conclusions have been drawn, how do you explain the thousands of families that have received millions of dollars from the Vaccine Injury Court? So clearly, the jury is not in and the independent studies on susceptibility and genetic predisposition have not been done.

Knowing all this, do you think it's okay to make a judgment about me based on what I know about my son and the rest of my children physiologically? If your mission is to gain the public's trust, then you're not going to get parents to do it by fearmongering. Until you've experienced the physical, emotional and financial toll you simply can't make such public statements.

Despite what happened to my son, I'm not anti-vaccine. However, if the government wants to make me and other parents who have autistic children feel comfortable with vaccinations then there needs to be some independent studies done regarding these treatments. Not only would it make me feel comfortable, but it'd make me feel like I'm being listened to and heard.

Lastly, to Amanda Peet: I would never ever wish what we've gone through in our family on her and her family or anybody. I would just ask her to give the respect she has on her position to mine. It's not about reading so-called studies online; it's about living and learning. My study is my son.

Want to connect with other moms of children with autism? Check out our community.



next: Worst Nightmare: Swapped At Birth
48 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 1, 2009, 9:32 AM

I am sorry for what happened to her son but if a doctor belittled me and laughed at me over my concerns, I would FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR.

Gigohead  April 1, 2009, 9:59 AM

I feel for Holly. I really do.

If anything, it’s the Autism Groups that are fear mongering. I do understand there is dangers with any vaccine. That’s not what I’m debating, but there is not enough evidence yet to convince me that they cause autism.

Amber April 1, 2009, 12:10 PM

There is not enough evidence to say that vaccinations caused any case of autism. I am sorry her son is suffering, but there is a correlation NOT proof. If you don’t immunize your children keep them at home, don’t put mine at risk. Speak out for your cause, not against each other.

Steph April 1, 2009, 1:40 PM

I am really greatful for Holly and other celebrities out there voicing their concern and standing up for their children. It does not matter if not all the evidence is out there, for me. If there is a drop of evidence that the vaccines might hurt my child, i am going to act on it. He is only a little 1 yr old little boy..and i am his voice. So i am taking precautions with the vaccines by only allowing two separate vaccines every month or two. He is STILL getting the vaccines but just slower..and less invasive on his body. I have read enough research to move me in this direction. I suggest that all parents read the research..the escalation in Autism and other neurological disorders in children since the increase in the mandated vaccines with NO explanation from the medical researchers and No effort to spend money to further research for parents in America and NO effort to change the vaccines in any way to be safer so that consumers will resume utilizing the vaccines. It is a big controversy..but it can be fixed if the powers that be in the medical research industry in our country would act and make more of an effort to HEAR American parents that are living with children with Autism and other neurological disorders after receiving vaccinations.

life.happens April 1, 2009, 3:59 PM

TO AMBER:
The proof that it can cause autism is living and breathing in that of her son. You don’t know her, you didn’t see what it did to her son and how he was before. As Holly said ‘her study is her son’.
Their are thousands of americans who have not been vaccinated and walk around and pass near your kids on a daily basis. You don’t know who’s been vaccinated vs who hasn’t so don’t go all ‘keep your un-vaccinated children away from mine’.

Jennie McCarthy also had a similar experience to Holly’s and also believes autism in her son was caused by the vaccine.

If vaccines weren’t ever dangerous then there would NOT be a Vaccine Injury Court. This court has had to shell out millions of dollars to families of victims who had severe reactions to the vaccines.

Holly stated that she’s not anti-vaccine, neither am I. What ppl want is for there to be more independent studies done to investigate why the vaccines are causing these severe reactions in some ppl. Is it their genes, what? That’s all we want.

Rori Raye April 1, 2009, 5:07 PM

My friend’s son is autistic, and I’ve seen what she’s gone through to help him - and it’s been amazing what she’s been able to do. I’ve also seen firsthand - through trying to find alternative treatments for chronic illnesses in my friends, myself and my clients - how the “powers that be” in every organization run things. It’s the same story with HRT for us women. We were sold on them. sooner or later, the truth comes out. Studies are nearly meaningless, because data can be interpreted in many ways, and there are so many variable factors - here genetic disposition, allergies - and the obvious - an illness (no doctor anywhere is supposed to vaccinate a child who is ill - so the doctor in Holly’s case is suspect right off for not even following the rudiments of basic protocol). What is so infuriating is the aura of CERTAINTY around medical issues that NO ONE can yet be certain of. We’re in the dark ages of understanding how the human body and things outside the human body work. It’s insane to draw conclusions based on anything we know - and yet - we also know what polio and whooping cough did to children before vaccinations came along. This is a treacherous road, and 21 years ago, when we knew so much less, I’m forever grateful my daughter came through vaccinations unscathed (though we kept them to a bare minimum then, and there are so many more, now). I know that vaccinations hurt my DOG - and that many vets warn against it - so imagine what injecting some complex substance into a baby could possibly do. Right now, we are being sold the vaccination for girls for sexually transmitted cancers (my daughter didn’t and won’t get the shot - and that’s a really hard choice right now). We know nothing for certain. We have to respect everyone. We have to agree that we don’t know much of anything. That medicine is hugely a mystery. There are many pharmaceuticals out there that doctors admit are mysterious - they don’t know how or why they work. We do not know why one person heals and another does not. There are some things that society has to impose on the population - and vaccinations fit into that category - and like other things imposed - it will continue to be a battle. It’s hard to find the side of the most safety. I think Holly is taking a brilliant and high road in speaking only about what she DOES know - and that puts her head and shoulders, in my book, over anyone at all who is claiming “certainty.” My friend’s course for her son would be considered “woo woo” and anecdotal and completely unfounded by most medical standards, and yet it has worked, as it has for many, many families. Everyone needs to listen. Thank you, Rori Raye

Abbey April 1, 2009, 6:14 PM

I don’t understand why Amanda Peet is so adamant about this issue. Does she own stock in a pharmaceutical company or something? Holly has an obvious reason for her cause—her son is living with autism. And she is right. She deserves respect for all her insight into this issue. And what mom hasn’t been manipulated into doing something by a pediatrician that she wasn’t sure was right? Their authority wields a lot of power. I’m sure she changed doctors immediately after it happened. Sadly, it was too late.

deaddrift April 2, 2009, 2:38 AM

Not only is there not enough evidence to say that vaccinations caused any case of autism, there is abundant evidence that vaccines do NOT cause autism.

It is hard to control variables in a real-life setting, so Robinson’s argument has some merit; but so far, the studies that have been done show no link between the vaccines and autism. Learn the truth about the science.

leaptad April 2, 2009, 9:15 AM

I think it’s sad that people can come on here and state that their kid got autism from a vaccine, when there is ABSOLUTELY no proof that is what caused it. No one knows what causes autism. All they have are assumptions. There have been numerous studies PROVING that there is no link, and yes here we sit. I’m sorry your son has autism and I know you feel entitled to a reason “why”, but the truth is that you DO NOT have a medical degree. Being an actress and in the public eye doesn’t make your personal opinion rock-solid.

I’m glad that people like Amanda Pete are willing to stand up and advocate vaccines because, the truth is, if we stopped vaccinating these diseases would come back worse than ever.

meredith April 2, 2009, 10:04 AM

Is it possible that if the child did not have to take so much at one time, instead of a little bit throughtout the course of time and several appts or whatever, that there would not have been such a bad reaction?

Anonymous April 2, 2009, 11:28 AM

Why do all these celebrites have messed up kids? They blame it on vaccinations. May it’s from the drugs they took.

HeeHee April 2, 2009, 11:30 AM

Hey, they’re both named Peet.

KellyK April 2, 2009, 2:50 PM

They are NOT both named Peet. Jeeze. I for one do not want MY child around those who have choosen NOT to be vaccinated. I see nothing wrong with that.

Rachel April 2, 2009, 10:01 PM

Show me the actual EVIDENCE that says there is even a LINK between vaccines and autism…not only is there no evidence saying that vaccines CAUSE autism, there is NO evidence whatsoever saying that there is so much as a link between the 2. If your child has autism, they were going to get it no matter if you got them vaccinated or not. Sorry if that’s hard to grasp, but that’s what the evidence shows. And they have done NUMEROUS studies that have all come out showing the same thing: NOTHING!

Rachel Too April 3, 2009, 1:37 PM

Why do people who vaccinate their kids have such a concern about them coming into contact with unvaccinated children? If your kids are vaccinated, you don’t have to worry, do you? Stay out of other people’s choices.

Lisa April 3, 2009, 6:20 PM

Someone asked why people don’t want unvaccinated children around their children. It’s because vaccines are not 100% effective even in those who are vaccinated. An unvaccinated child could cause an epidemic like one that just happened in San Diego where a 7 month old was infected by siblings who carried the measles virus from school. I feel sympathy for Mrs. Pete, however, she is not a doctor or scientist and her opinions on vaccines if followed would be very dangerous. People don’t remember, but thousands of children died in the days before vaccines were available.

Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:22 PM

Why do people care so much about what celebrities say? What are their qualifications to speak on medical issues?

Jenni April 6, 2009, 12:33 AM

I believe both sides of the story should be heard. Holly and Amanda should be able to voice their opinions and not get slammed!! I agree with the person who said that the autism group is the fear mongrel. They scared me until I read Jenny Mcarthy’s book, then I understood what she meant. Amanda Peet should not be criticized for speaking her opinion when that is what the autism groups do.

RN and mom with a vaccine injured child April 10, 2009, 8:47 PM

I know many doctors who did not believe in a vaccine/autism connection, until it happened with their own child. Then they suddenly found it in their hearts to look outside the pharma owned AMA studies. I suggest reading the following:

http://www.nakedauthors.com/2008/03/shot-in-dark.html

My own child has made great strides with bio-med therapies. Autism parents don’t give up! There are so many things you can do to help your child recover.

Daniel O'Brien May 14, 2009, 4:27 PM

Wait, she’s saying she saw her son get autism almost immediately after he was vaccinated, but she doesn’t go into specifics as to what vaccines he received, other than “it contained three viruses.” That’s important information to have, isn’t it?


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