Amanda Peet's Response

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Dear Concerned Parents and Friends,

I wanted to address my comment in Cookie magazine that "parents who don't vaccinate their children are parasites." I believe in my heart that my use of the word "parasites" was mean and divisive; I completely understand why it offended some parents, and in particular, parents of children with autism who feel that vaccines caused their illness. For this I am truly sorry. Since my mom has Parkinson's Disease, I know what it feels like to want a concrete cause, and a concrete cure, as soon as possible.

However, I still believe that the decision not to vaccinate our children bodes for a dangerous future. Vast reductions in immunization will lead to a resurgence of deadly viruses. This is as indisputable as global warming. I know a lot of parents who secretly use as a justification, "Well, enough other people are vaccinating, so therefore, we don't have to."

In this era of cynicism, it's hard to believe that any corporation, medical or otherwise, has our best interests at heart. But it's irresponsible to suggest that virtually the entire medical community, and the CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are behind a massive cover-up about vaccine safety. Fourteen studies have been conducted (both here in the US and abroad), and these tests are reproducible; no matter where they are administered, or who is funding them, the conclusion is the same: there is no association between autism and vaccines. How many more studies do we need to conduct on vaccines, before we start re-channeling our efforts and money towards research on autism?

The real question is why the media and journalists are still presenting vaccine safety as a controversy. There are a few fringe medical groups and parent advocacy groups who claim that vaccines cause autism, or that they have too many "toxins," or "viral challenges" for our tiny babies' bodies to handle. In fact, although there are many more vaccine doses given today, the entire vaccine schedule contains far fewer antigens—components of viruses or bacteria—than vaccines of the past. (In other words, it's more shots, but less vaccine.) Why doesn't anyone talk about this? There are still fringe scientists who claim that HIV is a government conspiracy, but these people do not get a lot of media coverage, as it's accepted that this theory has no medical/biological plausibility.

My concern is for our children and their futures. In the fifties, vaccines were recognized as life-saving. My mom had polio and was quarantined when she was 6 years old. It's so hard to appreciate vaccines now that so few children are dying from preventable diseases today, but that could all change if we're not vigilant. There are currently multiple measles outbreaks in the United States. Hopefully children do not have to die before people start to realize the cost of withholding vaccines.

My best wishes to you and your families,

Amanda (and Frankie)

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