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Inside Autism ~ How we litigate, legislate, medicate and experience the autism age.

Dr. Paul Offit responds

August 4th, 2008, 1:00 am · 80 Comments · posted by sammiller

The subject of a CBS News report that raised questions about his ties to the vaccine industry says he has always disclosed his possible conflicts of interests, to the public and to CBS reporters.

“Did (reporter Sharyl Attkisson) lie about whether or not we provided materials? Of course,” said Paul Offit, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

CBS stood by its piece in an email to me Friday. The story ran July 25 and detailed the financial ties Offit, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the group Every Child By Two have to the vaccine industry. None of the subjects agreed to be interviewed on camera.

Reached at his home Sunday, Offit said he gave CBS the following information, at a CBS producer’s request:

  • The sources and amounts of every grant he has received since 1980;
  • The details of his relationship, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s relationship, with pharmaceutical company Merck. Offit co-invented a Rotavirus vaccine that is manufactured by Merck. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Offit said, holds the patent.
  • The details of every talk he has given for the past three years. CBS asked for the past 28 years, but Offit said he hasn’t saved that information.

The information, he says, is part of the public record. He disclosed his possible conflicts of interest during the five years he spent on the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, he announced them before each of three meetings annually, and he states them in newspaper and journal articles he writes, he said.

So how did the so-called “Quote Machine” Offit — perhaps the most quoted supporter of vaccines for children — end up not even being interviewed for the piece?

He says after he gave CBS the information they asked for, he got a second e-mail.

“The second e-mail was mean spirited and vituperative, over the signature of (reporter) Sharyl Attkisson. She said ‘You’re clearly hiding something and you need to be straightforward, the public has a right to know who its advisers are,’” he said.

Offit ultimately declined to be interviewed on camera for the piece. “It was very clear they were writing a negative story. None of us were going to be on camera for that because their bias was clear. Their bias frankly from the day they started to cover this vaccine-autism controversy has been clear. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would have gone on that program knowing where Sharyl Attkisson’s coming from.”

“Do we ever hide information? Of course not. I have declared my potential conflicts of interest regarding my relationships with Merck on the development of the Rotavirus vaccine ever since I was on the (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) starting in 1998. Every time I’ve written an article, whether it was for the New York Times or the New England Journal of Medicine, I’ve declared that, because I’m not ashamed of it. Quite frankly, I’m proud of it. I’m the co-inventor of a vaccine that’s currently in five developing countries and clearly has already made a difference in this country.

“I don’t expect a ticker-tape parade for it, but I guess I’d like to think I’m above vilification for it.”

He says all the information CBS included about him was provided by him.

“What I learned from all this,” he said, “is a CBS investigation basically includes anything you provide them. I think they bully you into giving as much information as they can, and then they use it against you. I wonder if all of us had given them nothing if they would have had anything at all.”

Asked whether any specific facts in the story were wrong, he said it was primarily the tone he objected to. But he did say that the hospital owns the patent, not him (though he received a share of royalties from it). Also, when Attkisson noted that he had been quoted as saying children could safely take up to 10,000 vaccines at once, “what I actually have said is at least 10,000. It’s probably closer to 100,000.

“I’ve published that in several places, scientific and medical journals. It’s not me who conceived that. You can argue about the caveats … but obviously she just said it to make me sound like a wild-eyed maniac.”

I asked him whether, given how much money he made because of a vaccine, he is the best person to advocate for vaccine. Even if we assume he’s never done anything improper, does he have the credibility to convince the public?

He says yes, because he has the knowledge of how vaccines are tested and created, because he’s been behind the curtain at pharmaceutical companies — things a strictly academic scientist wouldn’t have access to. He admits his vaccine made him wealthy, but he says he spent 25 years trying to develop it because he wanted to save kids.

“You’re asking me the question I spend the most time thinking about: Should I still be doing this? I’m just going to do it until people stop listening. It’s the thing I struggle with the most, and I think it’s unfair.”

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80 Responses to “Dr. Paul Offit responds”

  1. Tanners Dad Says:

    Paul I feel it is time for you to stop talking… . Parents will love the exact quote…“what I actually have said is at least 10,000. It’s probably closer to 100,000.” Why don’t you retire and use some of your money, ties, and influence to help the parents staying up all night with their autistic children. If you created an environment of partnership with the pharma and parents maybe they would be less vocal. I know I for one could be bought if you gave me some money for my vaccine injured sons therapy, respite, education, treatment, supplements, tests, assistive devices, tracking devices, fences, locks, GFCF foods, and more. Paul thanks for playing… Time to take your ball and go home. I think at this point I feel you are doing more damage to your cause than helping it. On second thought… Keep talking!

  2. Anne Says:

    What should come up in every article by Paul Offit is how many children have died or been injured by the side effects of his vaccine. Tha’ts what I call disclosure!
    If even one child has died from a product Offitinvented, that product should not be on the market. Why are vaccines any different then any other product marketed in America? They shouldn’t be. If unsafe, they should be recalled. I know that happened with Offit’s first rotovirus vaccine - it was finally taken off the market after too many deaths and near-deaths. Now the second one is causing similar problems - yet no recall!

  3. Kev Says:

    Dr Offit, as the parent of a severely autistic child, I would like to thank you for your efforts to both promote vaccination and to battle the ridiculous myths the autism/vaccine minority continue to rant about, despite all logic, ethics or science to the contrary.

  4. sammiller Says:

    Here’s the relevant part of that link Pamela posted above:

    “At ACIP meetings from February 11, 1998, through June 17, 1999, there were eight votes related to the their approval of the rotavirus vaccine for routine use. Three of these votes were particularly notable. They include: (1) June 25, 1998 – The ACIP approved the statement recommending the rotavirus vaccine for routine use, (2) October 22, 1998 – The ACIP recommended the rotavirus vaccine be added to the Vaccines for Children Program, and (3) October 22, 1999—the ACIP rescinded its earlier decision to recommend the rotavirus vaccine.

    b. Dr. Paul Offit (Exhibits 38-41)

    Dr. Offit shares the patent on the Rotavirus vaccine in development by Merck and lists a $350,000 grant from Merck for Rotavirus vaccine development. Also, he lists that he is a consultant to Merck.

    Dr. Offit began his tenure on ACIP in October of 1998. Out of four votes pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement he voted “yes” three times, including, voting for the inclusion of the rotavirus vaccine in the VFC program.

    Dr. Offit abstained from voting on the ACIP’s rescission of the recommendation of the rotavirus vaccine for routine use. He stated at the meeting, “I’m not conflicted with Wyeth, but because I consult with Merck on the development of rotavirus vaccine, I would still prefer to abstain because it creates a perception of conflict.”[lxvii]“

  5. Kelli Ann Davis Says:

    “He says yes, because he has the knowledge of how vaccines are ****tested**** and created, because he’s been ****behind the curtain**** at pharmaceutical companies — things a strictly academic scientist wouldn’t have access to.”

    And that my friends, sums it up in a nutshell.

    Regarding the ACIP: So what if he *disclosed his conflicts* — the POINT is he shouldn’t have been sitting on that committee in the first place!!

  6. Taylor Milton Says:

    This is nothing but a spiteful hate campaign.

  7. Epi Wonk Says:

    Before readers become convinced that Dr. Offit is a medical Darth Vadar, lets get our facts straight. As Sharyl Attkisson pointed out, “He holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck, Rotateq, which has prevented thousands of hospitalizations.” Remember that name — RotaTEQ. When he sat on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), he voted 3 times to include a competitor’s rotavirus vaccine — RotaSHIELD — in the schedule. He abstained when voting to remove RotaSHIELD from the schedule after children were injured and died as a result of RotaSHIELD. He abstained because of the possibility that Rotashield might be replaced by his own invention, RotaTEQ.

    So the information provided by both Pamela and sammiller about Dr. Offitt is incorrect. I hope readers will understand that.

  8. MW Says:

    Paul and/or Lisa Randall, Are you willing to be injected, on a weight adjusted basis, with the same amount of thimerosal and aluminum, as our children? If so respond below and I’ll arrange this. We have the material right here in the lab but you need to be trained in the handling of toxic materials to get access. I bet CBS would even cover this.

  9. Kelli Ann Davis Says:

    Epi Wonk:

    Ahhhh. So your “true colors” are shown. How would you *know* the motivations behind Paul Offit’s voting unless of course, you spoke with him???

    You seem to know quite a bit — first, you were an expert on telling AoA readers that it was a *waste of time* to read/comment on CDC Chatter without having a clue on the history behind it and now this bit of advice on Offit.

    Who, exactly are you again?? Do you have a child on the spectrum??

  10. Epi Wonk Says:

    I’ve never met Dr. Offit. I know the motivations behind his abstention, because they were stated for the public record. I fact, they’re quoted by sammiller in his comment: “I’m not conflicted with Wyeth [maker of RotaShield], but because I consult with Merck on the development of rotavirus vaccine [RotaTeq], I would still prefer to abstain because it creates a perception of conflict.”

    Of course I have much more than a clue about “it.” I carefully follow the activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. I’m also a daily reader of both CDC Chatter and Age of Autism.

    I’m a retired epidemiologist. I spent most of my career doing research on perinatal epidemiology, child health, and the etiology of developmental disabilities. I’ve never been involved in any way with the vaccine industry, and I’ve certainly never taken a cent from a pharmaceutical company.

    My main concern in this ongoing blogospheric discussion is that the general public (1) get a better understanding of research on the etiology of autism and where it’s going; (2) get a better understanding of the science behind vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Incidentally, with regard to the discussion on your web site, we do agree on one thing. Like most senior epidemiologists at CDC (I retired in 2006), I have no doubt that Dr. Gerberding is the worst CDC Director in the agency’s history. That’s putting it mildly.

  11. Pamela Says:

    Epi Wonk

    I am very interested to confirm the claim that Dr. Offit did not hold patent on RotaShield. I will certainly stand correct if need be. If this is the case, why did Congress make such issue of his votes on RotaShiled? Obviously they saw some inappropriate behavior and were very critical of the appointments made to the committee by the CDC.
    Also, could you elaborate on your dissatisfaction with Julie Gerberding?

  12. a parent Says:

    And who is paying Kelli Ann Davis to do all her “advocacy” for Generation Rescue and Safe Minds, and how much money have the vaccine lawyers spent on keeping the fear of vaccines stirred up?

    Kelli, vaccines save lives. They don’t cause autism. Your transparent antics make me feel like I’m watching the queen of ambulance chaser shills.

  13. K Fuller Yuba City Says:

    Paul Offit says “he has the knowledge of how vaccines are tested and created, because he’s been” BEHIND THE CURTAIN” at pharmaceutical companies — things a strictly academic scientist wouldn’t have access to.”

    Why would an academic scientist have no access to how things are tested and created? If Paul Offit has better information than others, and really cared about all children, I would think that he would have the strength in his beliefs to participate in the CBS story whether he felt the interviewer was biased or not. By not agreeing to be interviewed for the story, it gives the appearance that he did not want his face associated with a story about conflict of interest and the millions that are made from vaccines.

    His own statement makes me think of “The Wizard of OZ”, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”

  14. Schwartz Says:

    Epi Wonk,

    Tell me, as a second producer to market, would you rather have the first vaccine go through the work of justifying efficacy, cost/benefit, at their own expense in dollars and precious patent time? Then when yours comes along and is approved for similar safety and efficacy, you get a defacto inclusion in the recommended schedule instantly receiving large orders due to mandates from governments or HMOs. No marketing required!

    Or would you rather see the first competing product fail due to safety concerns involving death? In that case, you have significantly increased scrutiny just to get your product approved. Longer trials, larger study groups, signficantly increased costs. Then once approved you have to again show efficacy, adhere to more stringent post-approval tracking and extra marketing to convince the world your product is different from the first. This of course eats up even more of your precious patent protection years (the real profit factor) than if you were the ground breaker.

    So do you really think we’re ignorant enough to believe it was in Dr. Offit’s financial interests to prevent that first competitor from making the recommended list? Do you really think it was in his best financial interest to have that first vaccine removed from the recommended list?

    Clearly he acted directly in line with his financial interests, and in one case against the interests of safety regardless of his true intentions. According to the documentation he also broke the Conflict of Interest declaration rules. This is a problem despite his intentions.

  15. Epi Wonk Says:

    Pamela,
    I don’t know why Congress made an issue of Dr. Offit’s votes on RotaShield. Perhaps they also misunderstood that his connection was with a different rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq), but I’m really not sure why there was congressional concern.

    About Dr. Gerberding: She wants the major legacy of her administration to be her reorganization of CDC, which has been a disaster. Science has consistently taken a back seat to bureaucracy, The reorganization centralized control while introducing expensive, often unworkable new management techniques. When I retired I was spending about half my time on administrative crap, when previously I only spent 5 to 10 percent of my time on that kind of stuff. In other words, her administration was burying me in red tape. Because of this, the pace of my scientific work slowed to a crawl. This was true throughout CDC.

  16. Epi Wonk Says:

    Schwartz,
    The truest words written on this page so far are those of Taylor Milton: “This is nothing but a spiteful hate campaign.” It doesn’t matter what I say about Dr. Offit, because this is a witch hunt. Why such a heavy duty ad hominem attack on Dr. Offit right now? Because in a just a few weeks his new book, “Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure,” is coming out. Why address the science in the book if you can discredit the man who wrote the book? I sincerely hope the tactic doesn’t work. I haven’t read the book, but I will when it comes out, and I hope it’s a bestseller.

  17. Schwartz Says:

    Epi Wonk,

    That is cop out response if I ever heard one. You claim that you understand the pharmaceutical industry and how the profits work. The rules of COI for ACIP are well documented and there are public documents outlining how Dr. Offit broke them.

    Despite this, you claim that he voted against his financial interests. I also have an understanding of how pharmaceutical approval and profits work, and I described quite clearly how his votes were in line with his financial interests. In fact, the scenario of the failed first vaccine (which occurred) pretty much played out exactly as I described.

    I am not attacking his motives — in fact, I don’t doubt them at all — unfortunately, when we talk about conflict of interest or perceived conflicts of interest (which are just as important in public positions of trust and safety) his motives don’t matter.

    So since you purported to be an objective person knowledgeable in these things, I would really like to hear you explain the logic of your implication that his actions were not consistent with his own financial gain?

  18. F. Rodondis Says:

    Offit should be prosecuted for crimes against our children.

  19. Sullivan Says:

    “I know that happened with Offit’s first rotovirus vaccine - it was finally taken off the market after too many deaths and near-deaths.”

    How can you “know” that, when Dr. Offit didn’t have a part in the first rotavirus vaccine?

    That’s one of the examples of how he handled a conflict of interest. As part of the vaccine advisory committee, he was present at the votes for that–competitor’s–vaccine. He voted to add it to the schedule, even though that would likely mean less royalties for Dr. Offit. He later abstained from voting on the removal of that vaccine (RotaShield), because it would financially benefit him if the vaccine were removed from the schedule.

  20. Pamela Says:

    Thank you Schwartz. I obviously stand corrected on which vaccines Offit held patent on and apologize for my error but I do think your explanation adds up quite well. Congress certainly included him in their criticism for a reason.

    And thank you Epi Wonk for your explanation regarding Julie Gerberding and correcting me on the patent issue.

    I can speak only for myself, but I am not on a witch hunt of Offit and do not believe that’s what this is. I truly want to understand these issues and there is no doubt, whether Offit’s intentions are pure or not, he is not the appropriate person to serve as the spokesperson for our vaccination program. With so many conflicts one cannot be considered beyond scrutiny.

    As for his book, I take issue with it before it even comes out because I have watched my daughter recover through biomedical treatment. As we have treated her medical issues her functional issues have disappeared. It has been a remarkable and undeniable experience and we have done nothing that could cause her harm through these treatments. I have also watched this recovery in three other children in my close inner circle. These are children who were previously disconnected from the world and people around them and wrought with sensory issues. They are now playing with other children, engaging with their loved ones and enjoying all the things that being a kid has to offer.

    I have witnessed these recoveries and I have a knee jerk reaction to anyone who wants to take that hope away from other children and other families.

    Having witness these remarkable recoveries first hand, I consider Offit on a witch hunt and his intentions are spiteful and harmful. If he truly believes that vaccines are not harming thousands of children, fine, but leave the treatment of autistic children to doctors who truly understand their condition and parents who want all that is possible for their children.

  21. Kelli Ann Davis Says:

    Epi Wonk:

    You told readers at Age of Autism that reading CDC Chatter and posting a comment was a *waste of time* and further discouraged them by stating:

    “In fact, CDC Chatter isn’t read by people in power at CDC.”

    And yet here, we’re told you retired as a “senior epidemiologist” and that, “I’m also a daily reader of both CDC Chatter and Age of Autism” – hmmm.

    “I carefully follow the activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology.”

    *Following the activities* and *INFLUENCING the activities* are two completely different scenarios and so I’ll say it again – you have no clue about any on-going discussions with the Subcommittee and so you are in no position to *know* whether my request is a *waste of time* or not. Period.

    (Just for the record, I’ve never received one cent from any advocacy organization and/or attorneys (as some have suggested here and elsewhere) and have done everything on my own dime for the last 7 years – most of it on my husband’s military retirement. And my son is way past the statue of limitations so technically, as it stands now, he would never see a dime. I do this because I don’t want another child hurt by unsafe vaccines, end of explanation.)

  22. Kelli Ann Davis Says:

    “He voted to add it to the schedule, even though that would likely mean less royalties for Dr. Offit.”

    Wow. Now how would Paul Offit lose any royalties on a product that was still in development and not even on the market?? Pretty big *assumption* for him to count his chickens before they’re hatched, no?

    Unless of course, it was pretty much a guaranteed *slam dunk* that his vaccine would be cleared for the schedule. Hmmmm….

    So according to you Sullivan, Paul pretty much had a done deal all lined up and he was abstaining from a *vote* because he didn’t want to be the recipient of royalties on a vaccine that hadn’t even been *OFFICIALLY* approved and wouldn’t be on the market for several more years?

    I don’t know what’s scarier – the fact that Offit even sat on the ACIP Committee in the first place or the fact that he obviously felt his vaccine was *in the green years before it was finished* and he was excusing himself from voting on a *conflict* (his vaccine would benefit at the expense of removing Rotashield) that didn’t even exist at the time of the vote?

  23. Epi Wonk Says:

    “You claim that you understand the pharmaceutical industry and how the profits work.”

    Schwartz,
    I never said that anywhere. I don’t know where you got that idea. I’m pretty much ignorant of these things and happy to remain that way. (I really meant it when I said, “I’ve never been involved in any way with the vaccine industry.”) Science is my thing — not capitalism.

  24. Epi Wonk Says:

    Kelli,
    Just to clarify; I was a Senior Epidemiologist at the CDC based on scientific productivitivity, number of junior epidemiologists I supervised and mentored, acting as scientific liaison to other Federal agencies, and numerous other criteria. This doesn’t mean I was a “person in power.” Like most other senior scientists outside the Office of the Director, I had about as much influence on Julie Gerberding as I do now on Kelli Ann Davis.

  25. Grace Says:

    The ultimate issue of this whole thing that seems to be getting lost in the ‘did he- didn’t he’ debate is WHY ON EARTH would we be allowing ANYONE who have even a HINT or POTENTIAL conflict of interest make these decisions?

    Maybe then Dr. Frank Engley’s recommendation back in 1982 to remove thimerosal would have been heeded & the conversation today would be very different. Certainly the people who are being berated & sneered at for their doubts wouldn’t have such a rich field of suspicion with which to work.

  26. dinah Says:

    Tanners Dad asks what Dr. Offit has done for autistic children. I think he’ll be pleasantly surprised by Dr. Offit’s upcoming book, noted later in the thread by Epi Wonk, which details some of the scams perpetuated on the families of autistic children by hucksters selling magic cures. I sure hope Tanner’s Dad hasn’t fallen for any of these nostrums, but if he has, Dr. Offit’s book will show him he can stop throwing the family’s time and money away.

    Anne wonders how many children have been injured by RotaTeq. A clinical trial involving 70,000 children turned up no association between RotaTeq and significant adverse events, and there have been no associations made in postmarketing surveillance, so I’m going to say the answer is zero.

    Pamela has already had her hiney handed to her for repeating the common but false claim that Dr. Offit was responsible for RotaShield, so I don’t have to do that. She does, however, refer to a report by Dan Burton, notorious vaccine-hater and grandparent of a vaccine litigant, as if it represented the finding of a judicial body. Not! This document even seems to share Pamela’s mistake of identifying Dr. Offit as being associated with RotaShield. At least Pamela later gets a clue and asks, “[W]hy did Congress make such an issue of his votes on RotaShiled [sic]?” The light bulb begins to glow…

    (Sam, you need to sharpen your skepticism. It looks like you accepted unquestioningly the proposition that this was some kind of proof. Here’s a hint: When something is posted on an anti-vaccine web site, you might want to evaluate it carefully.)

    Kelli Ann Davis apparently thinks that a scientist who is among the most knowledgeable people in America about rotavirus and rotavirus vaccines…should not be consulted in a decision about a rotavirus vaccine. Maybe ACIP should have recruited a dogcatcher to give them advice, huh?

    MW repeats a “challenge” which is a beloved favorite of antivaxers everywhere. In other retellings, there is a big cash prize involved. (MW, you cheapskate!) Unfortunately, every time someone tries to claim the prize, the offeror welshes.

    Schwartz really likes his theory that Dr. Offit wanted RotaShield to succeed because that would make it easier for RotaTeq to get licensed. Right, because to the FDA, rhesus and bovine? Close enough, no need to test the second one!

    Then he seems to fantasize that Dr. Offit had divine foreknowledge of the problems that would be associated with RotaShield. If he had those abilities, he’d be a stock market god, I’m pretty sure, not an academic researcher.

    Later, Schwartz insists that Dr. Offit broke conflict of interest rules, but fails to say exactly how. He can’t, because there’s nothing there.

    Pamela reappears to bless us with more of her insights and notes that “biomedical” intervention has made her autistic child better. Recall that after the secretin trials, even the parents who found out their kids had been getting the placebo insisted it really did make them better and wanted to know where they could keep getting it. Autism is not a static condition. People who have it grow and develop just like anyone else. It’s not because of some cockamamie alt-med treatment.

    Kelli Ann Davis is very impressed with her importance. Tee-hee.

  27. Dedj Says:

    So, basically, after several weeks of extensive research by several journalists and numerous activists, bloggers and other concerned parties, and despite the extensive public record (almost exclusively sourced from declarations by Offit himself) and the extensive evidence provided by Offit himself, the best piece of evidence that the Not-for-Offits (Noffits) have to offer about the supposed immoral standing of Dr Offit is that he abstained from voting in an issue that he intended to have a future issue in.

    The fact that Offit intended to get a product onto market (and would therefore profit if the market was empty) may mean that he may have been seen as having a conflict of interest (as he correctly predicted) because scientists have this amazing ability - shared with developers of products for other markets, such as toys and cars - to think about what the market is going to be like, not just how it is now.

    The fact that he didn’t have a marketable product is irrelevant, that fact that he was developing one is, as he rightly, repeatadly and openly declared.

    Are these people even trying? They’ve gone from trying to tear him down, to showing him as being so concerned about COI’s that he even included probable future ones too!

    It appears Dr Offits best support comes from the incompetance of his detractors.

  28. Epi Wonk Says:

    Wow. Very nice summary, dinah. Along these lines, I have a (naive?) question about Kelli’s “slam dunk” statement. Rotashield had to be pulled from the market in 1999 because it was causing intussusception. As I understand it, at that time the only rotavirus vaccine under development that was ready to apply for licensure in the U.S. was Merck’s RotaTeq (developed with Offit). So the ACIP had no other choice in 1999. Even then, RotaTeq had to go though several years of safety testing and clinical trials. So the ACIP votes for its one viable alternative, RotaTeq, which then goes through 7+ years of rigourous safety testing, and RotaTeq is licensed in 2006. My question: What’s so evil about this?

    Also: GSK’s Rotarix, another rotavirus vaccine, was approved by the FDA in April 2008, and was added in late June by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to its universal recommendation for infants. No preference was stated between the two vaccines by ACIP. And of course, neither Merck nor Dr. Offit interfered in the ACIP decision.

  29. Kelli Ann Davis Says:

    “Kelli Ann Davis apparently thinks that a scientist who is among the most knowledgeable people in America about rotavirus and rotavirus vaccines…should not be consulted in a decision about a rotavirus vaccine.”

    Hey dinah,

    That’s right — not when that *scientist* can make money off his decision.

    Somehow I think there are a boatload of other scientists in this country who are *knowledgeable* about vaccines besides Paul Offit — scientist who wouldn’t make money as a result of their vote — and if there isn’t, then this country is in a whole lot of hurt.

    But somehow, common sense tells me that’s not the case.

    “Kelli Ann Davis is very impressed with her importance.”

    Not my importance but definitely the importance of a Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Tee-hee.

  30. Epi Wonk Says:

    Grace,

    RotaTeq (the rotavirus vaccine that Dr. Offit helped invent) does not contain thimerosal or any other preservatives.

  31. Grace Says:

    Epi Wonk,
    You said, “RotaTeq (the rotavirus vaccine that Dr. Offit helped invent) does not contain thimerosal or any other preservatives.”

    Why cherry pick? That’s one vaccine out of how many? Of course they didn’t/ don’t all have thimerosal - I was mentioning an *example* of *one* thing that might have turned out differently if this entire issue were being handled in an ethically responsible manner. Goodness knows there are probably *many* other examples we could come up with.

    My point remains unchanged - why do we allow anyone with a potential conflict of interest to make these decisions?

    Would you like to take a case against a company to the court of a judge who had financial ties or interests with that company because he disclosed those interests & maintained an appearance of propriety therefore you could trust him?

    Take it a little further - because for so many the shoe appears to fit - would you be willing to trust the ruling of a judge in a case where he also happened to be a relative of the person who was on trial for maiming, disabling or killing your child?

    He can claim impartiality till the cows come home, but why on earth should the injured party be *forced* to trust that person’s judgment? It’s not just & thanks be that our court systems are not set up that way.

    So at the risk of sounding redundant, WHY ON EARTH would we be allowing ANYONE who have even a HINT or POTENTIAL conflict of interest make these decisions?

  32. dinah Says:

    EpiWonk, I think the “slam dunk” comment was meant to insinuate that Dr. Offit had some kind of illicit early indication that his vaccine would receive ACIP’s blessing. I myself would wonder why he would have continued working on it if he *didn’t* think it was going to be a success, but maybe I lack the incisive mind of Kelli Ann.

    I don’t think RotaTeq applied for licensure until well after the RotaShield incident. Don’t the clinical trials have to be done before that? And ACIP recommendation would only come after FDA licensure.

    Excellent point about the nefarious Dr. Offit’s inexplicable failure to stop Rotarix from becoming ACIP-recommended. Has the evil master gone soft? Or…could it be…he’s spent a career caring for children and wants to see them grow up healthy? Naw, too far-fetched.

    Sigh, Kelli Ann. All mouth, no ears. Dr. Offit was involved in no ACIP decisions that would have enriched him. I know it’s disappointing to be wrong.

    Grace: when your car needs fixing, do you take it to an auto repair shop? Even though those places tell you what’s wrong, sell the parts, AND make money fixing it? Oh, no, conflict of interest! Maybe it makes more sense to take your car to one repair shop, get an opinion there on what the car needs, and then take it to another shop to have the work done. No conflict there, right? Uh oh, you know all those car mechanics hang out together after work playing softball and drinking beer; surely there’s a tacit agreement that even if one is just doing an estimate, it should be inflated so as to help out one’s softball buddies. So here’s a solution Grace ought to like: When your car is malfunctioning, take it to a beautician and ask him to diagnose the problem; go to a cabinetmaker and get her to make whatever replacement parts the beautician recommended; and then ask an auto mechanic to install them. No conflicts! That’ll work out great!

  33. Craig Willoughby Says:

    Dinah, you said:
    “Just this morning he compassionately but firmly countered the blatherings of mercury mom Mary Holland, who tried to seize the floor at a press conference for the kickoff of the Every Child By Two “Vaccinate Your Baby” campaign. He was brilliant.”

    Really? Wow! When Mary brought up a point about Dr. Healy, all that Satan (er..Pauly prOffit, pHARMa-scum ™ MD) could defend this with was a rushed and embarrassed, “Er, well, she didn’t do her research.”

    Yeah, brilliant alright! Her research disagrees with his, so she is obviously wrong. Again we see the hypocrisy of the scientists that rule the current paradigm, and of people like you. If it doesn’t agree with your paradagm/religion, then it is wrong no matter how much proof you have. The Church of the Immaculate Vaccination and their High Priest Pauly prOffit, along with his merry band of vaccine-thugs, are going to pay for their crimes. This is the desperate gropings of a dying man as he sinks into the quagmire of $&*t he’s caused.

  34. Ginger Taylor Says:

    Epi: “Pamela,
    I don’t know why Congress made an issue of Dr. Offit’s votes on RotaShield. Perhaps they also misunderstood that his connection was with a different rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq), but I’m really not sure why there was congressional concern.”

    Because if ANY Rota Virus vaccine was on the recommended schedule when his vaccine came to market, that would mean that his vaccine would automatically be one of only two recommended for use in all children in this country.

    He helped make Rota Virus a disease that was routinely vaccinated against, knowing full well he would profit from having that virus on the schedule.

    He created a market for his own drug.

  35. Ginger Taylor Says:

    Dinah: “Grace: when your car needs fixing, do you take it to an auto repair shop? Even though those places tell you what’s wrong, sell the parts, AND make money fixing it?”

    Yes, and you understand that they are making money from any recommendation that they are giving to you.

    And if Offit was satisfied with being merely a vaccine maker, that would be fine, but he has also decided to be a vaccine recommender and not mention his patent when he does his recommending.

    You can either make moveies or you can review movies, but if you tuned into Gene Siskel and heard him rave about a movie and tell EVERYONE to go see it, only to find out after ward that he produced the movie, you would call shennegans, right? How much more upset would you be if told you the movie was a feel good romp love story and it turned out to be a snuff film and completely screwed with your head?

    That is who Paul Offit is. That is his conflict of interest.

    He poses as just a doctor who has the best interests of kids at heart, he vastly overstates benifits and minimizes the dangers to zero, all the while making bank doing it.

  36. Grace Says:

    dinah,
    FWIW, your sneering condescension & sarcastic tone are not particularly conducive to winning people over to your cause, but do as you will as no doubt you will.

    Certainly we can take my point to ridiculous extremes, but why would we want to? Shall we deduce from your response, then, that you believe there is no problem with a judge rendering a decision in a court case which involves his personal financial interests or relatives? If you want to insist that I embrace the extreme on one side, you must be willing to embrace the extreme on the other in turn.

  37. Schwartz Says:

    Epi Wonk,

    My apologies for misreading your line about your pharma experience. I was reading too quickly and zero’d in on the oft repeated misconception that Dr. Offit had nothing to gain by voting a competing product onto the recommended list.

    I hope you agree that his publically stated reasoning shows that his priority was clearly to maintain good corporate relations, and not in the spirit of the conflict of interest guidelines. His actions were right in line with his financial interests and that’s why he was called out. He does not appear to have altered his cavalier attitude toward conflicts of interest since he still feels he did nothing wrong as evidenced by this interview.

    BTW, I like your blog.

  38. Momof5 Says:

    As a mother of 5 who are not vaccinated because I decided to research them when I was pregnant with my first. I can tell you that my decision was not made because I was a wacko mother who “read too much on the internet” which is now a familiar chant used by Offit and others with a vested interest in you not believing anything that you read on the web unless the AAP approves it. I made the decision then because as a mother who only wanted to do the very best that I could for my babies, decided that there was enough sufficient evidence scientifically and too many children already suffering from the poison in vaccines. I saw it clearly then and that was way before autism was a common ailment and way before the internet! My children have never once had even one ear infection, none of them in all of these years have any chronic or limiting illnesses that we read so much about. They did not got to “well baby” check ups because I knew they were healthy and did not need to pay someone to tell me that. Trust your instincts mothers, if something is made out to be too good to be true then it probably is. Vaccines are dangerous, more dangerous than any other products for babies that have been re-called over the years. I am so grateful that I learned what I did when I did and my heart goes out to all the parents and children who are now suffering because of vaccine injury and I believe that the truth on this matter will be brought into the light and that all of these people who continue to try to profit and push vaccines on innocent children and mislead parents will pay the price. They should be ashamed but they are not. They want you to trust them but I beg you to do your homework and follow the money but most of all follow your heart and trust that your children, like mine, are perfectly made and it is not in their best interest to be vaccinated over and over again with agents that cripple on many levels. Be proactive and protect your children. Let them be well and not poisoned. I only write this with the hope that one less child will be harmed and because I can not just sit here and not speak up, it would just be wrong of me not to speak the truth to you as best as I can. Blessings!

  39. Autism : Failure to Disclose Conflicts of Interest in "Vaccinate Your Baby" Kick Off Says:

    [...] a penny off of anything relating to vaccines.”This the day after Paul Off it made a statement to Inside Autism claiming that he discloses his vaccine profits.  “Do we ever hide information? Of course not. [...]

  40. Schwartz Says:

    Dinah,

    Sorry Dinah, not theory, but simple economics which you obviously don’t grasp. The argument that it was against Dr. Offit’s financial interests to vote for a competitor’s inclusion in the schedule is based on the flawed assumption that the FDA wants to maintain vaccine monopoly for the first person past the post. In reality the opposite is true. The FDA wants to encourage more vaccine development and manufacturing capacity so they don’t make it harder for the second product to market.

    I’m not sure how you interpreted “justifying efficacy, cost/benefit, at their own expense in dollars and precious patent time” as something that happens pre-drug approval? You see, both drugs have to spend the same amount of time getting approved through safety and efficacy trials. But in order to make he recommended list, you have to do further work to justify more clinical efficacy, and overall cost/benefit (especially in the case of Rotavirus, since it’s primary justification for mass usage is based on reduced hospitalizations). That is the work and time that the second vaccine saves. The example above is quite good, it didn’t take very long for the next Rotavirus vaccine to end up on the recommended schedule once it was approved.

    As I clearly outlined, removing the first vaccine from the schedule incurred a lot more scrutiny on just the basic approval of the second vaccine, so that was clearly not in Dr. Offit’s financial interest — he recused himself from that vote. He voted consistently in line with his financial interests — regardless of his intentions. No foresight required here. His actions were in line with his financial interests regardless of the outcome. No special powers required, no conspiracy required.

    Since you are obviously unfamiliar with Dr. Offit’s history despite providing being full of colorfull commentary, you’ll find the details of his violation of COI guidelines publically available in document: “Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Policy Making by the committee of Government Reform in 2000″
    “Dr. Offit lists that he is a consultant to Merck on an attachment to his OGE 450, but does not disclose whether or not he received any remuneration for his services. (Exhibit 39)”

    Perhaps you could also update all of us as to when the last time a bi-partisan committee consisted of one representative (Dan Burton)?

  41. Grace Says:

    Ginger,
    You bring up an excellent point! We can go to another autoshop for a 2nd opinion - there are ways to protect ourselves from dishonest sellers in the capitalist system. We are not at the mercy of their decisions & sales pitches.

    Where are the checks & balances within the sytem over which Offit & a privileged few preside?

  42. Pamela Says:

    Dinah,

    Yes, I was incorrect in my understanding of which rotavirus vaccine Offit held the patent on and I apologized for the error. However, Offit was reprimanded by Congress along with the CDC for conflicts of interest. Offit is not an unbiased advocate for vaccination. Fact, plain and simple.

    Second, how dare you imply I am lacking an accurate understanding of my child and what goes on in my own home. I know there are parents out there that are in fact that clueless and neglectful but to assume that in the case of every parent who sings the praises of biomedical treatment is absurd and down right obnoxious. I have seen this attack repeatedly on parents who are doing every thing possible to help their children and it is vicious.

    Within one month of going on the GF/CF diet, the first step in biomed treatment for most kids, my daughter stopped seizing, stopped spinning endlessly without getting dizzy (stimming), her sound sensitivity diminished tremendously, she regained eye contact and started responding to her name again.

    Basically she lost all autistic symptoms within that month and stopped complaining of constant gastrointestinal pain. She was then left with broad but shallow sensory processing disorder, which she has recovered from almost completely after two years of growth, treatment and therapy.

    We immediately discontinued treatments which were not helpful and I can assure you that we would have not continued down the course of biomedical treatment if it were tremendously successful for her. It had been expensive, it has required a major lifestyle change for all of us and it has been tedious to administer but I can’t say enough for the value in it and we would do it all over again.

    I am curious which it is people like you think I imagined over a one month period… that a) my daughter ever
    had these symptoms or b) that they disappeared.

    My spouse and close circle of family and friends know that I did not imagine any of it.

    Biomedical treatment works more effectively for some children than others. My daughter was a quick responder to the diet not all are. Some children improve more slowly over time but most do make some improvements.

    My goals here have been achieved. We have had a discussion about Congresses criticism of Offit and the fact that he was ever placed on the CDC committee to begin with was completely inappropriate. And I have given testimony to my child’s experience in an effort to spread the hope of biomedical treatment. Anyone considering it can do their own research; listen to the recovery stories; read the science (which does exist), read the books; consider the view points of the opposition and decide if it makes sense for their child and their family. It’s called critical thinking and is how I decided to give biomedical treatment a try despite my own skepticism and the rest is history (family history).

    I’m going to go spend the evening with my happy healthy children now.

  43. Sullivan Says:

    “So according to you Sullivan, Paul pretty much had a done deal all lined up and he was abstaining from a *vote* because he didn’t want to be the recipient of royalties on a vaccine that hadn’t even been *OFFICIALLY* approved and wouldn’t be on the market for several more years?”

    Kelli Ann,

    I’ve seen you do some pretty amazing things demonstrating a lack of understanding of science. I always chalked it up to an education in a different area. But, this statement leads me to believe that you have difficulty handling logic on it’s own.

    Conflicts of Interests include *potential* conflicts of interest. I know you are well aware of that.

    A good example would be Hewitson’s posters at IMFAR. Her group did not list that she is a vaccine litigant on the posters.

    Now, she doesn’t have an “official” finding by the vaccine court that her family is owed damages (as an aside, unless her case is better than the test cases, it seems highly unlikely). Yet, the fact that there is the *potential* for financial benefit if her group’s research is accepted by the scientific community creates a conflict of interest.

    I hope that was a clear enough example. We could go through Dr. Wakefield’s studies as another example. Given the issues of fabrication of data, that one gets more complicated.

  44. Epi Wonk Says:

    Scott Taylor,

    Out of respect and compassion for the grieving family, I suggest that it would be a good idea to restrain one’s glee that Dr. Offit’s invention might be associated with this baby dying.

    Having said that, here is some data from an unpublished talk given at CDC recently, in order to put this baby’s death in a larger context:
    Feb 1, 2006 to March 31, 2008:
    Doses RotaTeq vaccine distributed: 14,274,551.
    Deaths: 1 (18 days post-vaccination)

  45. Epi Wonk Says:

    Just to clarify: The one death referred to in my comment is the same death referred to by Scott Taylor and in the April 2008 letter from the FDA to Merck.

  46. Joe Says:

    Epi Wonk, The statement from Scott Taylor is a statement of fact and does not have the appearance of glee as you state; he is addressing the comment made by Dinah that there is no association between RotaTeq and significant adverse events, obviously, there was.

  47. Epi Wonk Says:

    Joe (and Scott): Okay, Upon re-reading Scott’s statement, I do believe you’re correct. I apologize for suggesting that he was showing “glee.”

  48. Dyson Says:

    Jyrki,
    I looked at the first 40 reports on VAERS for “rotateq” deaths. The majority of deaths were from SIDS. Two had bowel symptoms that could be suggestive of intussusception. Several had underlying medical illness that could easily have easily explained the deaths.

    If you accept that “background” infant deaths occur all the time, as dinah has pointed out, you need to show that deaths following vaccine are occurring at a higher rate than the background level before you can attribute blame to the vaccine.

    As dinah also pointed out, intussusceptions deaths in recipients of rotateq are less than the background incidence, so you could argue it is protective.

    Put it another way - many infants get their first exposure to solid food in the first 6 months of life. Setting up a VAERS data base recording infant deaths “within a month of ingesting solid food” might produce a list of several hundred (this will include all SIDS babies, those dying from infections, from congenital problems etc). Should we necessarily conclude that each and every one of these deaths are the direct result of solid food, or not? How do you think anyone could decide?

  49. Wonks that? Says:

    This explains a lot:

    Epi Wonk (that’s me) has a Ph.D. in epidemiology. I worked for more than 30 years as a professor in medical schools and schools of public health and as a senior epidemiologist at the CDC. I have been the editor of three medical journals. I am now retired.

  50. Mary Says:

    How come the pharma employees don’t comment on the blog regarding autism and restraints. Oh, yeah, pharma doesn’t make restraints. They only comment when it involves vaccines and autism and not when it only involves autism. Very interesting and very obvious.

  51. Epi Wonk Says:

    To “Wonks that?”:

    There’s a whole discussion previously in this thread about who I am, the fact that I worked as senior epidemiologist at CDC, and that I’ve never been involved in any way with the vaccine industry. So what does this little bio blurb explain?

  52. Tsu Dho Nimh Says:

    Here’s a clue on “conflict of interest” folks. It’s inevitable.

    1 - Smart people do research. Smart people publish about their research. Smart people discover patentable things during their research. They gain practical, real-world experience.

    2 - The smart, experienced people are the ones you want to use as consultants and advisers. You don’t want eager beginners, clueless gits, or people who have never studied the subject.

    3 - As long as the connections and potential conflicts are clearly stated,

    Why not discuss Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah? His family is up to their eyeballs in “supplements”, and they profit enormously from his gutting the FDA’s power to rein in the claims of the “supplement” industry. Boyd Haley is using the loopholes opened by Hatch to market a drug against the advice of the FDA.

  53. Epi Wonk Says:

    To expand on what Dyson and dinah said:

    The FDA and CDC investigate all deaths reported to VAERS as occurring shortly after Rotateq vaccination as part of postlicensure monitoring. In the FDA’s judgment, only one of those 78 deaths was causally associated with the Rotateq vaccine.

    In addition, according to intussusception reports from VAERS (not just deaths), the intussusception rate from Rotateq vaccination is lower than the backgroound rate. (The methodology is kind of complex, but if you’re interested, see Haber et al. Postlicensure Monitoring of Intussusception After RotaTeq Vaccination in the United States. Pediatrics 2008;121:1206–1212. The paper was submitted for publication before the death we’ve been discussing.)

  54. Grace Says:

    Tsu,
    You add a whole new level of meaning to ‘publish or perish’. Only smart people get published. Only smart people discover patentable things. Everyone else is an ‘eager beginner, clueless git, or person who has never studied the subject’. I have known many with this kind of elitist attitude, but few have stated it so ball-dly.

    Seriously - is it too much to ask that they “retire” from acting in their own self interest during the time they are ostensibly working in the best interest of our children?

  55. Craig Willoughby Says:

    Someone giving the name of Dinah said this:
    “How about this, Mary: some of us confine our commenting to topics we know well. Would that others did the same.”
    Someone call the stupidity police! Dinah, we know autism. We live it, breath it, sleep it EVERY DAY. Many of us watch our sons and daughters suffer EVERY DAY. My son can barely speak; my son cannot ever take care of himself. Your implication that we don’t know what we are talking about shows everyone here what an elitist hypocrite you are.

    Oh, in response to your comment to Pamela about her child’s recovery. My son began chelation and the GF/CF diet. He spoke his 1st word in 5 years on Father’s Day (he said “Daddy”). We had to pull him off the diet while tests were done to see if he had Celiac disease. He quit speaking and again withdrew into himself. We recently started his diet and chelation again, and he has started speaking again. Oh, I know, that’s anecdotal, not “science based.” Enough people saying the same thing gives a reason to pursue a possible connection. And I personally find your belittling and antagonistic attitude toward parents who are trying to help their children extremely offensive, as I’m sure many others on this board do. Do us all a favor; go get one of those vaccines you worship and see if they have one that is a possible cure for assholes, then take it. Make sure that it has all of the Thimerosal and formaldehyde that you give to our children, weight adjusted of course. I find it funny that these poisonous chemicals are so deadly, but somehow, when they are put into vaccines, they are magically transsubstantiated into this powerful elixir that “saves lives.” The Church of the Immaculate Vaccination, indeed.

    And while you’re at it, find us one study that proves that it is safe to inject mercury into a baby. Just one! Not epidemiology, because that does not prove empirically that mercury is safe.

  56. Craig Willoughby Says:

    I know what the next statement is going to be.

    “Children have died because of Chelation.”

    2 have died in the US that I know of. How many have died because of reactions to the Holy Vaccines?

  57. Schwartz Says:

    Dinah continues to demonstrate a lack of understanding about vaccine purchasing decisions by changing her story that now Paediatricians care which brand of vaccine they apply — when was the last time your Paed ordered the MMR II from Merck by name?

    Shame she doesn’t realize that the biggest purchasers of these products are large government and health organizations who buy in bulk. I guarantee they don’t care who was first to market. They care about price and quantity available.

    Of course this argument doesn’t address the added cost to Rotateq for approval due to the removal of the Rotashield from the recommended list due to safety concerns.

    Dinah also continues to shift her arguments — as we continue to point out problems with all of them. Suddenly it’s not just Dan Burton — she must have forgotten the first time that bi-partisan commitees have multiple people on them by definition — it’s his hand picked cronies from both the republican and democrat sides. More conspiracy theories! I didn’t realize one person had so much control over members from both parties.

    The funniest part here, is that the committee documented and provided evidence for every point they made.

    No surprise that Dinah doesn’t address the facts or the evidence. She only attacks the person… no wait, the people… no wait, the whole government.

    Now that’s a classic fallacious ad-hominem argument folks.

  58. jason Says:

    “How many have died because of reactions to the Holy Vaccines?”

    Far, far, far less than would have died or been permanently disfigured or disabled, or both if the diseases those vaccines protect against were allowed to run wild through our population.

    Don’t take my word for it though. Go look at the historical rates of infection, disability, and death and try to tell me how that would be a better life for anyone.

  59. Craig Willoughby Says:

    You didn’t answer my question, Jason. Compare how many children have died from chelation and how many have died from vaccines, and tell me which is safer.

  60. jason Says:

    I did answer your question Craig. You didn’t ask if chelation is safer than vaccination.

    But if you want to go down this road, ok…vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented massive amounts of disability and disfigurement.

    How many lives has chelation saved? I don’t doubt it has saved some people who were poisoned but it’s difficult to compare chelation to vaccination because they are indicated for different conditions and one of them is preventative while the other is not.

  61. jason Says:

    Hillary-

    I’m sorry, are you saying we’d be better off with polio, tetanus, diptheria, measles, mumps, etc., running rampant through the population?

  62. Craig Willoughby Says:

    Jason,
    Then why all of the fuss over parents who chelate and help their autistic children? I’m not arguing with you because you are being fairly polite, I’m just trying to make a point.

    Chelation does save lives. Every day, autistic children are getting better through the combined efforts of biomedical treatment and chelation. And you are absolutely correct about vaccines being preventative and chelation not being preventative. However, chelation is needed to help clean up babies bodies as a result of vaccinations.

    There was indeed a point to my inquiry. We know that many vaccines save lives; few of us deny that. Vaccines, though, are a long LONG way from being safe. There are many things that can be done to make them safer. Chelation is relatively safe, but the FDA and the CDC and the vaccine-thugs blow up the 2 accidental chelation deaths as if this happens every time people are chelated. But, whenever a child is injured because of a vaccine, we get the obligatory “But they save lives!” So why are Pauly prOffit and his merry band of vaccine-thugs and the Church of the Immaculate Vaccination so opposed to chelation? Is it because, if chelation truly does work for many of these children (and it does), then it makes their entire dogma a lie? I understand that not every medical procedure is 100% safe. If this were true, then why do Pauly prOffit, pHARMa-scum ™ MD and the CDC repeatedly tell us that vaccines are 100% safe? If vaccines aren’t 100% safe (they aren’t), then why doesn’t the CDC et al remove the dangerous chemicals and make them as safe as possible? Don’t our kids deserve that?

  63. Epi Wonk Says:

    dinah,

    You are correct. I should not have said that the FDA thought the intussusception-post-RotaTeq death was causally associated. I should have said “potentially’ or “possibly causally related.” These are my words. Technically, the FDA thought the death was closely enough connected to send a letter to Merck requiring them to change their package insert. Also, I understand that CDC will include the death in their next Rotateq postlicensure monitoring report.

  64. jason Says:

    Hilary-

    I don’t know what it means to be “irrationally hoodwinked”, but I must point out that you do not know me and have yet to clearly state your position. I asked a simple question of you and you are not apparently able to answer me. So I read your link from an anti-vaccine blog, which I assume you think is an oh-so-scientific source. I walked away with the impression that the author of the blog entry felt several thousand deaths due to diphtheria each year was trivial, and that finding a perceived weakness in a couple of studies somehow destroys the argument that vaccines save lives and contribute to greater public health. It is a similar approach as creationists make towards evolution- they find one thing they believe to be weak in the theory, and use it to claim that the entire theory is unsound.

    I’m not even sure how to respond to your evidence, considering you didn’t point out what your evidence was on the page you linked me to. You literally just said, “There’s some science.” If you want to talk about being rational, then learn to present your evidence in a rational way.

    Let’s say we took one vaccine off the market. Let’s go with polio. What do you think the result would be in the United States, within one year? Within five years?

    Is it your position that overall, public health would be increased by the removal of the polio vaccine? That autism and/or other VAERS reports would decline, and that polio would not become a major health problem?

    How many polio-afflicted children each year should be considered acceptable collateral damage in this situation?

  65. AkshaysMama Says:

    I’m so glad Offit made milions on his vaccines. So he thinks a child can withstand 100,000 vaccines. Hmmmm….Dr.Offit can I please stick you with 100,000 vaccines and see how you react??? Do you have any family members we can test out your theory on, preferbly young ones?? It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

  66. Jupiter Says:

    ” I walked away with the impression that the author of the blog entry felt several thousand deaths due to diphtheria each year was trivial, and that finding a perceived weakness in a couple of studies somehow destroys the argument that vaccines save lives and contribute to greater public health. ”

    Hi!
    One of the co-authors of said blog entry here.
    I don’t feel that *any* deaths are trivial; I just don’t appreciate being lied to. Especially by such orders of magnitude. If you want to defend the NIP’s 20-something thousand a year deaths from diphtheria, then please, do so. If you want to concede that nowhere *near* that number would be dieing today, then let’s go from there.

  67. Jupiter Says:

    And for the record, InsideVaccines advocates informed choice, and a selective and/or delayed vaccination schedule. So don’t try to make it out like it’s a “antivax” blog. There are a wide variety of opinions among the authors, but they are all pro- informed choice.

  68. jason Says:

    As Offit said, if you read the quote, he didn’t come up with that number. It is a number that has been suggested by experts working in the field, based on their research.

    Personally, I would not have a problem with my children receiving a 100,000-antigen vaccine. Their immune systems are confronted with far more stimulation from environmental sources such as food, air, water, public facilities, etc., before they get their first vaccine.

  69. Schwartz Says:

    Jason,

    What experts are those? Could you point them out, or point out the science. Until you can, it’s pure speculation.

    Dr. Offit himself published his reasoning in a journal so the evidence so far points to him alone.

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