No announcement yet.

Paul Offit M.D. on the Dangers of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Paul Offit M.D. on the Dangers of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

    Eli Y. Adashi, MD: Hello. I am Eli Adashi, Professor of Medical Science at Brown University and host of Medscape One-on-One. Joining me today is Dr. Paul Offit to discuss his latest book, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Welcome.

    Paul A. Offit, MD: Thank you.

    Dr. Adashi: It's great to have you. What led you to undertake this significant project?

    Dr. Offit: I think we're at a tipping point and it worries me. The tipping point is evidenced by outbreaks, the likes of which we haven't seen recently. For example, we have a whooping cough outbreak in California that's bigger than anything we've seen since 1947. We've had mumps epidemics in the Midwest in 2006. Again, in the Northeast this past year the most recent [mumps outbreak] involved 1500 people, leaving several people deaf. We've had outbreaks of bacterial meningitis, the preventable kind (Haemophilus influenzae type B), because parents chose not to vaccinate their children. We had a measles epidemic in 2008 and continue to have sporadic measles epidemics, most recently in Minnesota, because people are choosing not to vaccinate their children. You're starting to see these vaccine-preventable diseases come back; these once historic diseases come back. It's hard to watch. I'm trying to sound a warning bell.


  • #2
    Re: Paul Offit M.D. on the Dangers of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

    Some disclosures here that seem relevant.

    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

    i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed

    (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
    Never forget Excalibur.


    • #3
      Re: Paul Offit M.D. on the Dangers of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

      more from the link by tetano . . . Bolding added.

      Dr. Adashi: What was it that triggered the anti-vaccine movement in the first place? Was there a seminal event, a point in time that launched this new effort?
      Dr. Offit: I think there was. I think the birth of the modern American anti-vaccine movement occurred on April 19, 1982. That date was associated with a 1-hour documentary. It appeared on a local NBC affiliate in Washington, DC. It was called "DPT: Vaccine Roulette," and it was made by Lea Thompson who went on to have sort of a meteoric career at NBC.
      Her contention was as follows: She showed a series of parents whose children were fine. Then they get the whooping cough vaccine (the DPT vaccine), and then they weren't fine anymore. You saw these children with withered arms and legs, with spastic limbs, who were seizing. They were staring vacantly up at the sky and had bicycle helmets on and were drooling. I think anybody who was human who watched that show couldn't help but be moved by it.
      But it was wrong. The whooping cough vaccine didn't cause permanent brain damage, but it had tremendous fallout. It really gave birth to the notion in this country that vaccines might be doing more harm than good.

      moderator's added background information
      . . . .
      The vaccine against whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is given along with vaccines against diphtheria and tetanus. The combination vaccine, known as D.P.T., is normally administered three times in the first two years of life. The seizures and other problems had been attributed to the pertussis portion of the vaccine. . . . But in the new study, being reported today [1990] in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers who examined the records of more than 38,000 children found no evidence that the vaccine caused problems. The children had received a total of more than 100,000 doses of the vaccine. Earlier studies also found no evidence that the vaccine was dangerous.

      Time for 'the Myth' to End

      Dr. James D. Cherry of the University of California in Los Angeles School of Medicine, said in an editorial that the combined data from this and other studies refuted the widespread belief that the vaccine caused permanent brain damage. Dr. Cherry wrote, ''It is time for the myth of pertussis vaccine encephalopathy to end.''
      Dr. Allen Mitchell, a pediatrician and professor of public health at Boston University School of Medicine and author of a newsletter, Pediatric Alert, that goes to pediatricians throughout the country, said he agreed with Dr. Cherry's assessment.
      link to the JAMA article: 'Pertussis Vaccine Encephalopathy': It Is Time to Recognize It as the Myth That It Is

      and more from the Offit interview . . .

      Dr. Adashi:
      So we're talking about a debate that is now about 30 years old. Should we be thinking about the anti-vaccine movement as a purely grassroots effort or is it more than that today?
      Dr. Offit: It's much more than that. I think certainly there are dedicated groups like the National Vaccine Information Center, which used to be called Dissatisfied Parents Together, and others such as Moms Against Mercury, Safe Minds, and Generation Rescue. These are the professional anti-vaccine groups, but I think the bigger group, frankly, is made of parents who become scared. They're not sure who to trust. They're not sure what to believe. They have this vague sense that maybe pharmaceutical companies have too much influence and maybe doctors aren't to be trusted, and they're choosing to delay or withhold one or more vaccines at their children's risk.