U.S. Doctors Club ABC-TV Show on Autism & Vaccines

by Barbara Loe Fisher

I sighed with recognition when I learned that the leadership of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had written a letter and issued a press release on Jan. 25 calling on ABC-TV to cancel tomorrow's premiere episode of a fictional drama about a family whose child regresses into autism after vaccination. On the same day, the American Medical Association (AMA) called on ABC to "mitigate the harm this episode may do" such as re-writing the script.

The CDC-funded Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) also piled on ABC-TV, urging doctors to put pressure on the network to cancel the broadcast while seven former directors of the CDC maintained in a Jan. 29 March of Dimes press release that "The implication that vaccinations cause autism is irresponsible and counter productive."

This latest coordinated attempt by physician leaders of America's medical establishment to muzzle the media's exploration of vaccine risk issues that have been making headlines for nearly three decades is reminiscent of the coordinated denials of vaccine risks by these same physician leaders in April 1982 when NBC-TV broadcast the documentary "DPT: Vaccine Roulette." It was a landmark documentary which earned television journalist Lea Thompson an Emmy and initiated a public dialogue that would change the course of medical history.

In 1982, when the NBC-TV documentary exposed the dangers of DPT vaccine, physician leaders in the AAP, AMA, CDC and other medical organizations joined together to discredit Thompson and everyone associated with the broadcast. An article in the July 1982 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) labeled the NBC-TV documentary "biased, histrionic and inaccurate" and even "amoral and psychopathic."

William Foege, M.D., then director of the CDC and one of the seven former CDC directors who endorsed the March of Dimes press release now criticizing ABC-TV for airing a fictional episode about vaccines and autism, in 1982 declared that the NBC- TV report about DPT vaccine risks was "an unbalanced view - bias, in my view, and inaccuracies to carry its destructive message.....not an example of responsible journalism."

In 1983, a year after the documentary aired, reporter Thompson explained "The AAP put out the word the day we did our story that the story was inaccurate and not to worry. When a reporter calls a local doctor or hospital or medical center, he speaks to doctors who have been told by the AAP and AMA not to worry. To my knowledge, pediatricians in this country have heard absolutely nothing from the AAP on DPT since then." (quoted in DPT: A Shot in the Dark)

Three years later, the U.S. Congress would acknowledge the reality of DPT and other vaccine brain injury and death by passing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. This societal acknowledgement was followed by the publishing, in 1991 and 1994, of four reports by the Institute of Medicine that DPT vaccine can cause brain inflammation and permanent brain damage and that other childhood vaccines can cause varying degrees of brain and immune system dysfunction, as well as death. In 1996, after parents of vaccine injured children had lobbied industry and government for 14 years, the FDA licensed a purified DTaP vaccine for babies.

To the credit of the owners and management of ABC-TV, the network has so far refused to cancel the premiere episode of Eli Stone that features a family struggling with issues familiar to parents whose children regress into autism after vaccination. Since 1982, Americans have depended on members of the Fourth Estate to illuminate for the public the scientific, medical, economic, political, social and ethical issues involved in the vaccine safety and informed consent debate. Hopefully, ABC-TV and all print and broadcast media outlets will hold the line against this latest threat to freedom of thought and expression by a medical community determined to silence people crying out for recognition and help for their vaccine injured children.

Parents deserve more from the pediatricians and doctors, who they entrust with their children's lives, than denials, hostility and disrespect. They deserve to have their questions about vaccination answered honestly; their concerns about vaccine risks taken seriously; and their children treated with the same compassion that doctors would treat their own children. They expect that, when their children regress after vaccination into poor health, pediatricians will leave no stone unturned, including exploring the possibility that vaccine(s) played a role in their child's development of autism, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, intestinal bowel disorders and many other kinds of brain and immune system dysfunction.

Mothers and fathers expect that - whether or not mercury preservatives in vaccines have or have not been "proven" to be the cause of the autism epidemic - that pediatricians and all doctors would instinctively adhere to the "First do no harm" precautionary principle and support the immediate removal of a known neurotoxin from vaccines they inject into babies. Parents do not expect doctors to collectively stick their heads in the sand and turn away from their responsibility to find out why the biggest epidemic of chronic disease and disability among children in the history of our nation is associated with the more than doubling of the numbers of vaccines doctors give to them in the first few years of life.

In 1983, when pediatrician leaders of the AAP Redbook Committee met with co-founders of the National Vaccine Information Center to discuss DPT vaccine brain injuries, I begged them to take seriously the reports by parents that their children were regressing physically, mentally and emotionally after vaccination so that steps could be taken to minimize the risks. I warned them that "a system that will not bend will break."

In 2008, after 26 years of waiting for pediatricians to open their eyes and realize that leaders in the AAP, AMA, and CDC have betrayed their trust by denying the truth about vaccine risks, parents are taking matters into their own hands. If the mass vaccination system breaks, the blame can be put squarely at the feet of doctors who have waited too long to stand up and say "The lie stops here and now with me."


Nicole Nichols
Senior Vice President of Entertainment Communications for "Eli Stone"
Email: Nicole.Nichols@abc.com
Phone: (818) 460-5267

Charissa Gilmore
Vice President of Media Relations for "Eli Stone"
Email: Charissa.Gilmore@abc.com
Phone: (818) 460-7950

"ABC said on Monday it would include a disclaimer about the plot line of the debut episode of the drama "Eli Stone," which links childhood vaccines to autism, and direct viewers to a government Web site that discredits such a link. The decision follows a call by the American Academy of Pediatrics for ABC to cancel the opening episode of "Eli Stone," which is scheduled to be broadcast at 10 p.m. Thursday." - Edward Wyatt, New York Times (January 29, 2008)


Anonymous said...

My 4y.o. daughter was diagnosed with Autism in October 2006. Our pediatrician has been very carefull to say that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that vaccines cause Autism, however, she also says that there is no evidence to suggest that they are not the cause of the disorder.

Clearly Autism is a rapidly increasingly prevalent disorder for which the medical and scientific community are unable to identify reliably a cause.

The show in question should continue to air and until such time as the cause of Autism is proven not to be related to vaccines, the AAP and AMA should concern themselves with research not censorship!

Matthew Green

Anonymous said...

So one scientific study has shown an association with vaccines, inflammatory bowel disease, and autism. This stirred up considerable public and scientific interest, leading to further research in this area.

The follow-up studies done to confirm these risks were of higher quality methodology and enrolled more patients. They showed no association with vaccination and autism or bowel disease risk.

I don't understand how you can keep claiming such an association. There's also no scientific evidence that orange juice causes autism, but I don't see people getting passionate about banning citrus fruits from our children.

There is, however, good evidence that the diseases prevented by MMR can cause severe brain damage and learning difficulties, and that the risk of vaccine injury is much less than the risk of getting measles encephalitis as one example. By airing such shows and encouraging parents to not vaccinate, you are killing more children.

jessica said...

As a parent refusing to vaccinate my 2 young children with the 36 (!!!!!) vaccinations offered now in 2008 - I feel very alone and 'looked down apon' by our community and medical community. It feel so great to find you!! Someone that takes the time to research what 'others' say is right to inject into your child. I live in Ga. and am looking for support groups our here just for emotional strength. Do you have any idea where i should look for such a group?
Thank you for speaking out!!!!

jessica said...

As a concerned mother who has refused most of the UNGODLY amount of vaccines now recommended, it is refreshing to find you standing up for 'our rights' as parents. You have great information, and I am excited to see more of your posts.

It is hard to feel like a good parents when Dr.s are constantly telling you that not vaccinating is bad, that it does not cause autism, that vaccines are perfectly safe, etc.

Thank you for your great cause. I am looking for some sort of online support grou to be able to talk to others that 'question', want REAL answers, and have worries. Do you have any idea if something like that exists?

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

how much evidence against something will it take until some people accept that vaccination has no link to autism???

Jenn said...

Bananas have also not been shown to assuredly not cause autism. I would stay away from bananas until it can be shown they do not cause autism. Autism is more prevalent because of diagnostic criteria. The belief vaccination caused autism is predicated on the use of mercury-containing compounds in vaccines. These have not been in the recommended vaccines since 2000. Furthermore, the mercury-containing compound caused concern because of environmental/EPA studies on mercury containing compounds in the environment. They both have merucy, but are different compounds. Methanol and ethanol, for example, are similar, but different chemical compounds. A tiny bit of methanol will kill you fairly quickly. Ethanol will take a long time, and many people like it. Point being - the studies on environmental mercury and vaccine trace amounts (which have not been in vaccines for over 8 years now) are like apples and oranges. Both fruits.

Just dont go suing anyone when your insurance wont cover a child's case of polio. Or, measles leads to subacute sclerosing encephalitis.

Autism symptoms show up around 18 months. MMR vaccine is at 15 months. Association? Please. I go running everyday. There is a war in Iraq. Running causes war.

Anonymous said...

I am currently watching the ABC show "The Doctors" in which a couple has had SEVEN CHILDREN, FOUR OF THEM WITH AUTISM.

She is now pregnant with #8. Do you think it might have been smart for her to stop after she had ONE and adopted the rest???? What an incredibly selfish, self-serving couple of idiots they are.

Sorry, but I don't believe autism has a thing to do with vaccines, the moon phases, or anything else. I believe autism has everything to do with unfit breeders continuing to breed.

Let's face it, we have gotten to a point in this country when everyone is saved by the medical community, including fetuses that should never have been born and parents who should never have been given the ability to breed when Mother Nature let them know that she wasn't in favor of it. We are reaping the "medical miracles" of the last forty years.

If you want children, adopt!

Informed Mom said...

To all of you idiots who think that vaccinations have nothing to do with autism...you probably also believe that vaccinations have nothing to do with any of the other "side effects" that occur in some children. It's funny that a perfectly healthy baby can go for their shots and then suddenly experience fever, high-pitched screaming (gee, fever and screaming probably means that something is going on inside but doctors say, oh this is just a "normal" reaction!), vomiting and diarrhea, convulsions and epilepsy, loss of muscle control, inflammation and swelling of the brain, mental retardation and SIDS just to name a few! Some of these side effects occur after the first shot whereby the child recovers. However, after the 2nd 3rd, 4th,and 5th shots, the side effects become increasingly worse until what was once a happy, health infant is now a child with mental retardation - if they live. Now tell me there's no correlation!!! And who is to say how long it takes from the time of inoculation to autism. Do YOU know what is happening inside the body during this time?? Do you get cancer immediately from smoking??? Give me a break!

Now if you did an ounce of research you would know that the childhood diseases that killed many in the past are NOT the same today. Many children died of complications related to the disease such as pneumonia rather than the disease itself. This is no longer a big problem because of the discovery of antibiotics. In fact, if you look at developed countries such as Sweden and Germany who have done away with mandatory vaccinations such as pertussis (whooping cough), yes they have an increased number of whooping cough, however, the form of the disease is much more mild than it used to be, no deaths and very few severe cases. Far fewer than those who are suffering these things after the vaccination. In fact, when they stopped vaccinating for pertussis, lawsuits from vaccine injury virtually dried up. I wonder why??

This is the case with most childhood diseases for which the government requires vaccination. Today is much different from the days when many children would die from these diseases. Nutrition, sanitation and treatment are so much more improved that these are NOT deadly diseases any more.

More deaths and injury occur today from vaccinations than from any of these diseases. Do a little research and make an INFORMED decision for your child rather than being bullied into something that you could regret for the rest of your life!

Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing how many folks believe that vaccines are responsible for the autism of their children.

A better place to look would be all the chemicals that have been poured into the average person since the 1970's - lead, heavy metals, pesticides, etc.

Do you buy alot of plastics from China? Toys, knick-knacks, etc? "Green" your lawn with chemicals and poison your house with insecticides? Have you been "saved" by the miracle of modern medicine after being told that you would not live or been told that to have children you would have to undergo all sorts of procedures because Mother Nature just wasn't letting you conceive?

Yes, keep blaming vaccinations instead of what you do to yourselves, what you refuse to believe about what nature is telling you about your bodies, and keep on believing that what you do, eat, drink, drive, buy, and do has nothing to do with any of this. Pathetic.