["NYT" = "The New York Times]
Lies My NYT Told Me
(Or Why Trust a Doctor Who Says 10,000 Shots Are Safe?)
The following letter was delivered to Mr. David Shipley, OpEd Page Editor of
the New York Time, in regards to the essay by Dr. Paul Offit In today's paper:
Dear Mr. Shipley,
There are many inaccuracies in the OpEd today by Dr. Paul Offit.
For example, this statement: "The answer is wrapped up in the nature of the
unusual court where the Poling case was heard."
This case was never heard in any court at all. The Poling case was conceded
by US Department of Health and Human Services medical personnel, well before
it could become a publicly accessible and publicly heard "test" case. It was
a medical concession, not a legal decision. Dr. Offit and the New York Times
Next is this statement: "An expert who testified in court on the Polings'
behalf claimed that the five vaccines had stressed Hannah's already weakened
cells, worsening her disorder. Without holding a hearing on the matter, the
court conceded that the claim was biologically plausible.
Again, no one "testified in court" in this case, as confusingly stated by
Dr. Offit, who also writes that, "Without holding a hearing... the court
And again, the court did not concede anything. The concession was made by
doctors at HHS, represented by attorneys at the Department of Justice.
This statement, too, is misleading: "Even five vaccines at once would not
place an unusually high burden on a child's immune system."
To begin with, Hannah received five shots, but nine vaccines - two of the
injections were three vaccines in one. She was vaccinated against measles,
mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertusis, polio, HiB, and chicken pox.
More importantly, Dr. Offit's statement contradicts the second HHS
concession (for epilepsy) in the Poling case, to wit:
The cause for autistic encephalopathy in Hannah "was underlying
mitochondrial dysfunction, exacerbated by vaccine-induced fever and immune
stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves."
In addition, Dr. Offit's contention that vaccines cannot cause autism is
inconsistent with what Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, said this
weekend on CNN:
SANJAY GUPTA: Are we ready to say right now as things stand that childhood
vaccines do not cause autism?
DR. GERBERDING: What we can say absolutely for sure is that we don't really
understand the causes of autism. We've got a long way to go before we get to
the bottom of this
It surprises me, and saddens me, that the OpEd page could allow so many
false and misleading statements to appear in its ranks.
Finally, I think you should ask Dr. Offit if this quote of his is
attributable to all children, including those with known mitochondrial
dysfunction, such as Hannah Poling and the many other kids just like her:
"Our analysis shows that infants have the theoretical capacity to respond to
about 10,000 vaccines at once." (Please see press release below).
We will soon learn that there are probably thousands of children just like
Hannah Poling out there. Chances are, you know one of them personally.
Many thanks for your attention to this matter. I would appreciate a reply,
if at all possible.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 7, 2002 Contact: Rebecca Baumgold P: 215-590-4172
Email: [log in to unmask] INFANT IMMUNE SYSTEM IS STRONGER THAN MANY
New Report by National Vaccine Experts shows that multiple vaccines don't
weaken or overwhelm the immune system
Philadelphia, Pa. -- From the moment of birth, infants are capable of
responding to numerous challenges to the immune system, including multiple
vaccines, according to a new report published in the January issue of
Pediatrics. The report, authored by Paul A. Offit, M.D., chief of Infectious
Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia and colleagues, reviews current research on the
effects of vaccines on the immune system and the capacity of the infant
immune system to respond safely to multiple simultaneous immunizations.
"The number of recommended childhood vaccines has increased substantially
over the past several decades. Twenty years ago, children received 7
vaccines routinely and up to 5 shots by 2 years of age. Today, children
receive 11 vaccines routinely and as many as 20 shots by age two," explains
Dr. Offit. As a possible consequence of these trends, recent national
surveys have found that an increasing number of parents are concerned that
infants receive too many vaccines. Implicit in this concern is the idea that
an infant's immune system is inadequately developed to handle vaccines
safely or that multiple vaccines may weaken, overwhelm or deplete the immune
"The infant immune system has an enormous capacity to respond safely and
effectively to immune system challenges from vaccines," says Dr. Offit. "Our
report offers reassurance to parents that far from weakening an infant's
immune system, vaccines actually strengthen an infant's defenses against
serious and potentially fatal infections."
The report, entitled "Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines
Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant Immune System?" highlights the following
Newborns commonly encounter a host of challenges to their immune system at
the same time
Newborns are capable of generating protective immune responses to bacteria
and viruses, as well as vaccines, from the moment of birth. This capability
is necessary for them to meet the tremendous number of environmental
challenges they will encounter in the first few hours and days of life.
"Babies emerge from the relatively sterile environment of the womb into a
world teeming with bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, and their
immune systems are designed to stand up to these challenges from the start,"
explains Dr. Offit. "Newborns have billions of immunologic cells that are
capable of responding to millions of different microorganisms. By quickly
making an immune response to bacteria that live on the surface of their
intestines, for example, babies are able to keep those bacteria from
invading their bloodstream and causing serious disease."
Current research shows that young infants are fully capable of generating
protective immune responses to multiple vaccines given simultaneously. "Our
analysis shows that infants have the theoretical capacity to respond to
about 10,000 vaccines at once. Currently, the most vaccines that children
receive at one time is five," says Dr. Offit. "Using this estimate, we could
predict that even if all 11 of the routinely recommended vaccinations were
given to infants at one time, only about .01 percent of the immune system
would be used."