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Have We Finally Entered the Post-Vaccines/Autism Fear Mongering Era?

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com [image: White adult holding the hand of a toddler, in the wave zone of a beach.] The times, are they finally a-changing? Are we entering the era so many of us science-heeding autism-focused writers have hoped for, in which mainstream media outlets assume readers already know the autism-vaccine link is total bunk, and get to focus instead on reminding people why it’s so important to vaccinate their kids in the first place?  I’d really like to say yes, going by two recent articles about the terrible real-world consequences of the vaccine avoidance movement: Over Half Of Measles Cases In U.S. Outbreaks Are Unvaccinated — Often Intentionally by Tara Haelle, at Forbes; and Why Vaccinating Your Kid Shouldn’t Even Be a Question by Maressa Brown, at Cosmopolitan (of all places). Neither article mentions autism once. Reading vaccine articles that don’t include at least one mention of…

We aren’t your scapegoats. End of story.

Chavisory chavisory.wordpress.com I am oh so glad to see the anti-vaccination movement finally seeing some serious public blowback, and very, very sorry that it has taken a lot of sick kids to do it. And alternately thankful at writing like this (Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not the Point. Stop Being Ableist.) being all over my Facebook feed, and ambivalent about some of its logic. (It is still well worth reading.) If vaccines caused autism, even in some tiny percentage of vaccinated children, then whether the tradeoffs were worth the risk might be an ethical discussion worth having. (In which I would still give a hell of a lot of weight to “Measles encephalitis will straight up kill you, autism won’t.”) But it isn’t. Vaccines don’t cause autism, period. A hypothetical situation: If there were some form of medical treatment that carried a risk of turning me non-autistic, I…

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Voices for Vaccines: A Giving Tuesday Org to Support

We’re grateful to our friends at Voices for Vaccines for helping us bust vaccine-autism myths while supporting autistic people. We’re also grateful for their tireless work in making sure the anti-vaccine voice is not the default parent voice broadcast during conversations about immunization. Tomorrow, December 2, they are asking for our help in getting pro-vaccine voices heard by gathering 1,000 donors who are willing to put their money where their anti-disease opinion is and give to VFV as part of their Giving Tuesday drive. TPGA is happy to support Voices for Vaccines and to take these simple steps to help spread the word to 1,000 potential donors for tomorrow! Here’s how you can help: 1) Join the Facebook event and invite friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/666509686779809/ 2) Visit VFV on Giving Tuesday and donate any amount, great or small. www.voicesforvaccines.org/support 3) Share this video widely with friends, family, and colleagues: Thank you for…

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Busting Anti-Vaccine Myths While Supporting Autistic People

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.Squidalicious.com Yesterday I was given the opportunity to head a “Let’s Talk About Autism” discussion for the excellent organization Voices for Vaccines, in order to help vaccine advocates understand how anti-vaccine information can be hurtful to the autistic community, and with the hope that better understanding about autism as part of pro-vaccine messaging will help spread acceptance of autistic people like my son Leo. If you missed the discussion, which was followed by a Q&A, one option is to listen to the Voices for Vaccines “Let’s Talk About Autism” recording. Another is to read the simultaneous conversation on Twitter, which Liz Ditz kindly Storified. Or you could read the below version of the talk I gave, though the live version include some improvisation. This transcript also does not include the Q&A session, though its highlights are covered in Liz’s Storify post. —- I’ve been writing about autism…

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Vaccine Safety: A Conversation With Dr. Paul Offit

We occasionally feature posts about vaccines on this site and our Facebook page, to debunk declining but Internet-fanned beliefs about vaccines being linked to autism. Though our 2011 interview with vaccine and infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Offit addresses most questions people have about autism and vaccines, we sometimes get queries outside that interview’s scope. So I was grateful for the opportunity to have another conversation with Dr. Offit when he spoke at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center of Oakland earlier this month, and ask him some of your questions. Matt Carey from Left Brain/Right Brain joined the conversation as well. -SR TPGA: Autism rates have not declined since 2001 event though thimerosal was eliminated from most vaccines in the US by then. In some cases, those who believe in an autism-vaccine link have just shifted the goalposts to injection of foreign substances into the body and other theories.…

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The Costs of Fearing Autism

Ariane Zurcher emmashopebook.com The Tdap vaccine protects against Tetanus, Diphtheria, & Pertussis.  Photo © 2012 Rene Najera I recently spoke with my brother by phone. He was unable to travel. His voice was so raspy, his breathing slow and labored, had I not known it was my brother I was speaking to, I would not have been able to guess from the sound of his voice. He wasn’t able to complete a sentence without pausing to take a breath. It was clear listening to him that the act of talking was incredibly difficult and painful. When we said good bye to each other I was overcome with emotion. My brother was very slowly recovering from pertussis, more familiarly known as whooping cough. Because so many parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children for fear that vaccinations cause autism, whooping cough is on the rise. I’m including some links: here…

Being the Change We Want

(Or, A Good Dose of Humility Never Hurts) Kim Wombles www.kwomblescountering.blogspot.com I’ll have been involved in the online autism community for three years this March. I’d say the community has changed, but I’m thinking it’s more that I changed over the years. People still bicker about the same kinds of things (some of the people are the same ones who’ve been at it for years), and the divides seem to be more entrenched than ever before, if you go looking in those places. I try to avoid that, now. Sometimes, when I make the round of blogs, of bloggers posting their deepest feelings, only to be roundly attacked by others, I want to respond, to get into the middle of things. Most of the time, though, now, I don’t. I shrug and move on. I ask myself first what possible good could come out of my investment. It isn’t that…

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Interview: Seth Mnookin on Championing Smart, Compassionate Vaccine Information

Seth Mnookin’s book The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear is a smart, compassionate, detailed history of  vaccine misinformation and distrust. It’s being re-released in paperback tomorrow, with a new cover, a more direct subtitle, and a new afterword. TPGA editor Shannon Rosa talked with Seth last year about the motivation and goals behind The Panic Virus; she spoke with him again last week about his book’s intended audience; the critical and oft-misconstrued distinctions between vaccine court rulings and scientific proof; the frequently misunderstood role of vaccine reporting and compensation programs like VAERS and NVICP; and how pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and parents themselves can all contribute towards improved — and best — vaccine information practices. —- How are you feeling about the impact your book has had, with respect to your original goals? Are you reaching the folks you hope to reach? People who are aware of…