Autism Speaks Flip-Flops on Vaccines and Autism, Walks Away From Prevention
WATCHUNG, N.J., July 10, 2014 -- There was a time when the world's largest autism charity strongly urged the U.S. government to examine the possibility of a vaccine-autism link. "We believe that the question of whether immunization is associated with an increased risk for ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] is of extremely high priority" wrote Dr. Geraldine Dawson, former Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, in a 3000-word letter to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) of Health and Human Services. She also warned: "Recent studies point to a key role of the immune system in the biology of ASD, raising questions about the effects of the significant immune challenges associated with vaccinations, particularly when delivered in combination and early in life." That same year (2009), Autism Speaks advocated for federal dollars to be spent on vaccine safety research.
That was then. This is now. Autism Speaks has flip-flopped on vaccines, disregarding studies that show a link to autism, and even recommending children with autism be vaccinated with the flu shot (with no warning that most flu shots contain 25 mcgs. of mercury). Over 100 studies show a link between the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal and neurological harm including autism, yet Autism Speaks actively promotes the Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s denial of thimerosal's risks.
The Focus Autism Foundation has sent letters to Autism Speaks' top donors including Toys "R" Us on the subject of Autism Speaks' stance on vaccine safety research. Barry Segal, founder of Focus Autism, quoted a leading scientist who met with Autism Speaks' Co-founder Suzanne Wright several years ago. Wright told the researcher, "Of course vaccines cause autism. It's obvious, but if you tell people that, you'll have rioting in the streets."
Autism Speaks has shifted focus, aligning with the for-profit sector seeking to develop treatments for autism, including drug giant Roche. Dr. Dawson was replaced by Dr. Rob Ring, formerly of Pfizer and Wyeth – manufacturers of vaccines implicated in the autism epidemic. "There's a real opportunity landscape out there," said Ring of the epidemic now affecting one in 42 boys. So far, Autism Speaks' efforts have not resulted in a drug to treat autism, and many of its studies areduplicative. Even Katie Wright, mother of the boy in whose honor Autism Speaks was founded, has been critical of the organization and its avoidance of vaccine-autism research. She has reported that her son developed normally until a round of vaccines caused a severe and immediate reaction. He then regressed into autism, losing skills and language.
Autism Speaks president Liz Feld maintains "there is no known cause of autism," despite dozens of studies that demonstrate the link to vaccines. The charity does not publicize research such as State University of New York's study of infants who received the Hepatitis B shot on the day of birth. The study concluded that boys who received the shot were three times more likely to become autistic than boys who did not receive it.
On July 1, Autism Speaks posted on its website: "Newest Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Affirms No Link to Autism." In the ensuing article, Autism Speaks states "the researchers reviewed all vaccine-safety research published since the 2011 IOM." However, according to vaccine industry watchdog Dr. Brian Hooker, "The authors of this study looked at only 67 titles in the open literature out of 20,478 found on vaccine adverse events. So, essentially, they cherry-picked the articles that would paint a rosy picture regarding vaccine safety." He added, "Autism Speaks is not focused on preventing autism or providing the complete autism-vaccine story to the public, and as a result is endangering countless children."
A paper just published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal BioMed Research International reveals how the CDC reworked data in the six studies it relies upon to exonerate the vaccine preservative thimerosal in causing autism. The CDC purchases $4 billion worth of vaccines per year. Autism Speaks reports $50 million in annual revenues, yet its financial rating from the leading charity evaluator is just two stars out of four.
The Focus Autism Foundation is dedicated to providing information to the public that exposes the cause or causes of the autism epidemic and the rise of chronic illnesses – focusing on the role of vaccinations. A Shot of Truth is an educational campaign sponsored by Focus Autism.
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