Monday, February 18, 2008

Detour: The AAP Mythbusters want You!

"I have no doubt. There's no way they'll convince me that all these kids were not damaged by vaccines."

It is difficult to challenge a mother's knowledge of her own child. And also to fight off the staying power of the vaccines-cause-autism theory and other such notions that verge on the irrational.
From: True Believers - Why there's no dispelling the myth that vaccines cause autism. By Arthur Allen

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in an effort to promote science in autism and stamp out the pseudo-science and quackery being presented to the public by the likes of (real) people like Jenny McCarthy and (fictional) people like Eli Stone, is requesting the assistance of parents. Jenny McCarthy and William's mother need not apply.

"When new parents start to think about vaccines, they are likely to hear primarily the voices of those who fear vaccines. They are less likely to hear the voices of parents who have lost children as a result of such diseases as polio, meningitis, and hepatitis, or who have watched their children suffer with illness and lifelong complications such as paralysis, deafness or liver cancer." say Dr. Benjamin Kruskal and Dr. Carole Allen, director of infection control and director of pediatrics at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

The AAP is attempting to address this. Please read the letter below and if you are one of the parents the AAP is looking for, and are willing to participate, please either contact Susan Stevens Martin directly at or leave your name and email address in the comment section of this post.


As part of our ongoing response to media stories regarding autism and vaccines, the AAP communications department is compiling a list of parents who support the AAP and are available for interviews. We are looking for two types of parents who could serve as spokespersons:

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders who support immunization and who do not believe there is any link between their child's vaccines and his or her autism.

Parents of children who suffered a vaccine-preventable illness. This could be a parent who declined immunization, whose child became ill before a vaccine was available, or whose child was ineligible for immunization.

We are asking for your help identifying parents who would be good spokespersons. They do not need to be expert public speakers. They just need to be open with their story and interested in speaking out on the issue. We will contact candidates in advance to conduct pre-interviews, to offer guidance on talking to reporters and to obtain a signed waiver giving us permission to release their name.

If a parent were placed on our list, we would offer their name and contact information to select media. We hope to build a list of parents from a wide range of geographical areas.

As the Jenny McCarthy and "Eli Stone" stories illustrate, this issue is likely to recur in the national and local media. The AAP is committed to doing all we can to counter such erroneous reports with factual information supported by scientific evidence and AAP recommendations.

The anti-vaccine groups often have emotional family stories on their side. The ability to offer a reporter an interview with a similarly compelling parent who is sympathetic to the AAP's goals is a powerful tool for our media relations program.

Please contact me if you have any questions or to suggest a parent to interview.

Thank you,

Susan Stevens Martin
Director, Division of Media Relations
American Academy of Pediatrics

Autistics deserve the highest standards of science and ethics. We don't deserve what Jenny, Eli and other mythmakers are offering.

This is also being blogged on:

the Marla Baltes blog
on One Dads Opinion
on Telstra
on Grey Matter/White Matter by Sullivan and
on Grey Matter/White Matter by Ms. Clark
on Mom Not Otherwise Specified
on Whiterer on Autism
on Club166
on Autism News Beat
on Respectful Insolence
on AutismVox
on Maternal Instincts…flying by the seat of my pants
on LeftBrain/RightBrain

"No Quack Zone" image by The Autism Diva


Judith U. said...

Thanks for posting this. :)

Matt said...

Thank you very much for this!

It is time for the AAP to get this message out.