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CBS Evening News: Vaccines and Autism

I’ve been following this story with interest and concern. A little birdie told me that Katie Couric has prepared a special report about the potential link between vaccines and autism for the CBS news tonight (May 12th). Sharyl Attkisson will be interviewing Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, about her perspective. The CBS website has a 5 minute video clip now available on their site.

While I certainly agree with Dr. Healy that science must not be stifled, and that it’s fair game to research any environmental factor that could plausbily be related to autism, I am deeply concerned that the potential harm induced by vaccines (on kids with rare genetic disorders) will be generalized inappropriately and parents will refrain from vaccinating their children. We are already beginning to see Measles make a comeback (a disease with that can be fatal or cause irreversible brain damage) due to lower vaccination rates, and this trend may continue. Unvaccinated kids are not just a threat to themselves (because they’re at much higher risk for developing preventable diseases) but a threat to vaccinated kids as well, since vaccines are not 100% effective.

What do you think about the CBS segment? Watch it with me and we can discuss it here on my blog. Robin Morris, mother of a child with autism and a patient advocate at Revolution Health, will weigh in as well.

*Update: the full script is here*This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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5 Responses to “CBS Evening News: Vaccines and Autism”

  1. resilientmom says:


    Your insight is always a voice of reason. I watched the CBS report with apprehension, as a parent of a 20 year old with autism I want to know what I missed or how times have changed and what does all of this mean for the public.

    My practical self blogged on this subject and believe that vaccines are good and essential. The alternative is very scary.

    My mantra remains firm. Research is key, knowledge is power. We need them both in concert to learn about this subject.

    Thanks for your continued up to the minute support on these vital medical issues.


  2. gfmomof2 says:

    My son had an autistic regression at 18 months following an antibiotic injection. He received a number of vaccinations at 12 months after which he was never well enough to recieve any vaccinations. I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroidosis which is also correlated with autism. In addition, my son, who is much better, has to remain on a gluten free, casein free, soy free diet that is organic and homemade or his autistic symptoms return. Appearantly, he can’t handle any environmental toxins. Mother’s instinct tells me if he can’t handle chemicals in the environment, he can’t handle them being injected into his system. My daughter, who is six, received all her vaccines, including 3 flu shots. My son received all his vaccinations until he was too sick to receive any more. The CDC continual reiteration “vaccines are safe” might not apply to my son, who can’t even touch playdough (which contains gluten) without blowing up like a balloon and developing a hacking cough for days. WE NEED MORE RESEARCH. Not just on vaccines, but on who is at risk for autism and who should wait for the vaccines until they are 2 years and language is developed. Without more research the entire vaccination program is at risk. I applaud Dr. Healy for speaking out about this issue. Also, have you read “Evidence of Harm” IT IS FASCINATING.


    New York, NY

  3. aenea says:

    I find it a bit naive of her to think that “people are smart”…even though so far there has been no good evidence at all that autism has anything to do with vaccines, fewer people are vaccinating due to scare-mongering, and all of a sudden we now have measles outbreaks again. We’ve got 38 cases in our mid-sized city in Canada alone right now, and that’s not even close to the worst outbreaks that have been happening.  There seems to be some kind of odd reaction in the anti-vaccine community that “measles really aren’t as bad as autism”, which is sad as well as scary.

    I’ve got 3 autistic children and have followed the research and debate for years- I find it difficult to believe that she doesn’t think that any of the studies that have been done so far are sufficient.  On the other hand, it’s difficult to prove a negative, and some parents who are devastated by their children’s diagnosis of autism will grasp at any straw.  When people like Jenny McCarthy (“Google PhD”) are on TV non-stop promoting their nonsense, it’s not surprising that some parents latch on to it.  It’s a shame, as it would be nice if half of the energy, time, and money that’s going to this ridiculous debate was going to actually help improve the lives of autistic people. 

    I do think that both the NIH and CDC in the U.S. have dropped the ball on this issue from the beginning- their refusal to come forward and actually debunk the junkscience claims of anti-vacationists for years have not only given those agencies a public relations nightmare, but a potential public health crisis as well. 

    I don’t think that there’s any doubt at all that there are communities who should be investigated further, and children who do have reactions (sometimes devastating) after they have vaccines.  It’s too bad that the question of which communities should be investigated and have further research done on them is now getting caught up in the whole autism/vaccine question. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Over here ( UK ) , each child has the MMR vaccine ; which doesn`t always work . Each child is an individual , which doesn`t go with ” one size fits all ” .


  5. resilientmom says:

    Thank you Dr. Jones,

    I have been thinking a lot about Dr.Healy’s faith in people and their intelligence. However, when human beings feel threatened, it’s like mass running when someone yells “fire!” I believe that our practical selves retreat. We have a problem that is not going away too soon.


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