A week on the road: California & Colorado recap

March 12th, 2011 → 9:09 pm @ // No Comments

I’ve been traveling a lot over the past week, which has translated into lots of activity in the real world and very little in the virtual one. Instead of a bunch of mini-posts, I’m going to do a couple of catch-all updates; this one has links to news about some of the events I did on the road, and over here you can see some recent interviews and articles about The Panic Virus.

So without further ado: Last Monday and Tuesday, I was in San Francisco, where I visited some relatives, saw some old friends, and gave two talks each day. On Monday afternoon, Dr. Rahul Parikh, the author of Salon.com’s PopRx column, invited me to speak to some of his colleagues in the pediatrics department at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek. That night, I gave a talk at Stanford sponsored by the Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Gladstone Institute of Immunology and Virology at the University of California-San Francisco hosted a presentation — which was especially fun because it was set up by my old friend Satish Pillai, whom I last saw in 1990 when we were touring with the Dead.

That night, Kishore Hari and the folks at Bay Area Science (with help from Josh Rosenau, the author of the “Thoughts from Kansas” blog, and Brian Mossop, the tour-de-force behind the ever-growing PLoS Blogs Network) put together an absolutely incredible night at The Atlas CafĂ©.

For the 99 percent of you who missed all of those events, I also was on KQED’s The Forum with Michael Krasny; here’s the audio for that interview:

As you might imagine, that appearance generated a fair number of comments on the show’s website, especially among those who felt Krasny wasn’t being fair to “both sides” of the issue. After the show was over, Jon Brooks did a video video interview for the station’s blog.

The two days I spent in Colorado as a guest of the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition and the Colorado Adult Immunization Coalition were, if anything, even busier. On Wednesday, I gave two talks at absolutely stunning Children’s Hospital in Denver. On Thursday morning, I spoke with 9-News’s Chris Vanderveen about my testimony later that day in front of the Colorado House Health and Environment Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Here’s a video clip from that interview:

And here is the link to the accompanying story on the 9-News site.

Finally, on Thursday night, I gave a talk at Colorado University’s Boulder campus. (For anyone in town that night, the crowds were there for the state’s high school basketball tournament and not a talk about vaccines.) Phil Plait wrote up the event for his Bad Astronomy column in Discover.

Post Categories: Blog post
Tags: , , , , ,

5 Comments → “A week on the road: California & Colorado recap”

  1. Twyla

    13 years ago

    The movement advocating for safer vaccines, recognition of problems, and a more moderate schedule is not only inspired by autism. Here is a very thoughtful article by a doctor who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, who writes:

    “What’s so controversial about a doctor saying that there is a chance that an unnecessary intervention may be harming patients and that, until we know more, the intervention should be held for people at risk? The automaticity with which doctors have come to prescribe vaccines is medically incorrect. We need to look at where we are now, not where we were when we started vaccinating for Polio, Small Pox or Diphtheria. At this juncture, in my opinion, each vaccination should be thought about by a physician, in the same way prescribing a drug is. You don’t give drugs in batches to everyone. You consider each prescription carefully, for that patient, at that moment. That’s what is expected for every other prescription. Why should physicians suspend disbelief for this one therapeutic modality? A doctor is not supposed to hurt anybody, except that if he hurts somebody with a vaccination, that’s OK? Even if he already knows that this person has an immune dysfunction that hasn’t been studied with respect to vaccines? The patient has to live with the damage forever. Something is really wrong here. Doctors should think about that individual patient before ordering the shot.”

    One of the many possible benefits of better recognition and study of vaccine adverse reactions would be to understand susceptibility factors, such as family history of immune system disorders. If events reported by parents/patients are assumed to be “just a coincidence” and are not investigated, and parents/patients are basically told, “You are just an ignorant layperson who does not understand science and medicine, but the burden of proof is on you to provide scientific proof of vaccine injury or we will dismiss your/your child’s injury as coincidence and probably genetic,” that is not good science, not good medicine. That’s just prejudice, not healthy skepticism.

    As CBS News said, “Lastly, Healy [Dr. Bernardine Healy, former head of the NIH] says the government has a long way to go to even do basic research that could get at the heart of what she believes is an open question. For example: why in the past decade hasn’t the government compared the autism/ADD rate of unvaccinated children with that of vaccinated children? If the rate is the same, it tends to point away from vaccines. If the rate is markedly lower in unvaccinated children, it tends to point toward vaccines.

    “The government has a dataset of unvaccinated children available. It has published more than one survey of parents of undervaccinated and unvaccinated children (to find out why the parents are choosing not to vaccinate). It would seem simple to use those same families to measure their rate of autism/ADD. Also, why hasn’t the government used vaccine court as a resource to ask the autism/vaccine question. There, nearly 5,000 families have self-selected as believing their children’s autism was caused by vaccines. Many have expressed willingness to let their children’s medical records be released and studied; but nobody in the government has been interested.”

    Vaccine defenders constantly want to turn the question around to whether people should stop vaccinating. There is a lot more to it than that.


    • Sullivan

      13 years ago

      One thing Bernadine Healy (also former member of TASSC) asked for was a study of the “children who got sick” (or something to that effect).

      Shortly after that call, Prof. Hornig and a very large team did exactly that. They studied children who had autism and GI issues that warranted endoscopy. They showed that the MMR vaccine was not a cause of autism. This was good enough that Rick Rollens, one of the most vocal proponents of the vaccine-causation idea, agreed with the conclusions.

      This is the sort of information that would help “vaccine safety advocates” make the point that they are actually “vaccine safety advocates”. Instead they tend to ignore or deny this important piece of research.

      Dr. Healy needs to take a closer look at the surveys she mentions. These surveys are typically about 10,000 people. That means about 100 autistics. There isn’t the statistical power in those studies to do a vaccinated/unvaccinated comparison.

      A recent vaccinated/unvaccinated study out of Gerrmany shows one of the problems with these studies. They showed that many conditions are not linked to vaccines. Self-styled “vaccine-safety-advocates” are denying the conclusions of the study.

      Why should my tax dollars go towards studies that have no chance of convincing the people calling for it?


  2. Sullivan

    13 years ago

    What’s up with the question about “Hopewell Pharmacy” breaking up shots? (the second question)

    Compounding vaccines? Compounding pharmacies don’t make vaccines. Hopewell Pharmacy doesn’t have any vaccine products on their website:

    The person posing the question has probably mistaken “compounding” with “combined”. Again, hopewell doesn’t do any vaccines, combined or separate (and compounded vaccines don’t exist). There is no single vaccine for measles, mumps or rubella in the US–there was such a small market that the manufacturer stopped making the separate vaccines..


  3. Catherina

    13 years ago


    on their “autism” page http://www.hopewellrx.com/autism.php Hopewell used to sell the single M, M and R vaccines as long as Merck still made them.


  4. Twyla

    13 years ago

    Too bad you didn’t post my second comment. It is still “awaiting moderation” after a week, so I guess that means you are not going to post it? I thought it was a good, thoughtful comment — and certainly not offensive, rude, nor off-topic. Oh well, I guess that’s your perogative as blogmaster.


Leave a Reply → Catherina

%d bloggers like this: