A Touch of Alyricism

Dedicated to the equally fascinating topics of autistic advocacy and the 'sisterly sophistries' of radical gender feminism. Other topics may occasionally crop up. Contactable at alyric@gmail.com


Polemicist since Grade 8

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Collaring Anti-Vaxxers

In a rather rare event, a letter was sent from the AAP's NY Immunize Group to Representative Carolyn Maloney of the US Congress concerning the Kirby/Blaxill 'briefing' at Rep. Maloney's meeting. It is not a sweet missive, no indeedy. The rarity is the inclusion of terms such as 'junk science', misinformation and irrational among others. It's a wonderful letter, well naturally I would think so, being a polemicist and all. However, it really is about time the actual meaning of the anti-vax agenda was stated clearly, in effect not allowing someone like Maloney to retreat behind the irrational as a means of being representative.

The letter to be found here also has a recommendation to read Paul Offit's Autism's False Prophets. I would hazard a guess that when AoA get round to the rebuttal, Offit will feature prominently. The other effect of the straight shootimg nature of this letter is that the folks at AoA are dealing with very definite accusation and that's harder to answer than if the missive had been politeness as usual, so conspiracy theorising of collusion between Offit and the AAP seems to be quite likely.

The text of the letter:

"Congrezsperson Carolyn Maloney
1651 3 Avenue, Suite 31 1
New York, NY 101 28-3679
Dear Congressperson Maloney,
We are concerned about misinformation you may have heard at a
recent briefing presenting the non-scientific, irrational proposals
espoused by David Kirby, and the Age of Autism with regard to a
supposed link between autism and vaccines. Vaccines save lives.
Study after study has shown absolutely no link between vaccines
and autism.
As pediatricians, teachers, nurses, cl-~ildc are providers and parents
across New York State and in your District, we are very aware of
the struggles that the families of children with autism face and the
challenges that test the children themselves. In your position as a
political leader, it is important that you have the information you
need to support 'the science, the research and the continued work
toward identifyirlg the causes, triggers and evidence based
treatment for children with autism and autism spectrum disorders.
All of the research, including the most recent and exhaustive study
done by the Columbia University School of Public Health, has
proven no link between vaccines and autism. And yet a few
people, some of whom are making a great deal of money from the
suffering and false hope of frightened parents, continue to beat the
drum for this discredited position. Many others offer dangerous and
unscientific approaches to "cures."
We urge you to stand with us against the forces working to bring
irrational fears and "junk science" into the world of children's health.
As you know, imm~~nizationasre one of our greatest public health
victories along with clean water.
Childhood diseases that can kill and maim our children are just a plane ride
away, and yet the anti-immunization groups continue to push for less and less
protection for our children. Just this year the Centers for Disease Control
reported the largest outbreak of measles in decades. New York was one of the
states that experienced a significant outbreak of serious disease. You might also
be interested in knowing that the measles that was imported into the US came,
not from the third world, but from Europe and from Israel: Developed areas that
are experiencing significant outbreaks of disease due to weak public health
We highly recommend that you read Dr. Paul Offit's recent, very well reviewed
book, Autism's False Prophets. We have included a review from The Wall Street
Journal and an editorial from the New York Times.
We will be contacting your local District Office to schedule a time to come in and
talk with you about this very important issue. We know you want to work with us
to help protect the children of New York and the children across the country.
Elie Ward, MSW
Co-Chair, NYS Immunization Coalition
Enclosures ("

Update: Kirby wrote to the AAP. This line seemed irresistable to me:

"I also respectfully ask that the AAP please provide me with specific instances of “nonscientific” or “irrational proposals” that I put forth at the briefing, so that I may respond accordingly."

So I sent them a helpful link. 10:1 it doesn't make it though the censorship, though I was quite respectful.


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