As your SysOp, I endeavour to offer comprehensive and open coverage of topics related to vision health and function. Bias and dogma are generally eschewed, and professional ego and hubris are neither encouraged nor easily tolerated. If guilty of bias at all, it is in that the fact that I believe the impact of vision – children’s vision in particular – is grossly underestimated in education, medicine, and psychology: This is evidenced in most of what I write.
With that premise, let’s engage in at least some discussion around vaccines. There is an air of unease around this topic, but it should be openly and fairly discussed for a number of reasons:
- The anti-vax movement, i.e. the new ‘McCarthyism’, is potentially very dangerous. It represents a polarized and alarmist trend towards non-science and non-scientific thinking in critical areas.
- The anti-anti-vax movement, is potentially equally as dangerous. This force has also polarized thinking and assisted in erasing much of the needed nuance in the discussion. Parents are left feeling as though they are insane or outright abusive if they even ask about safety and rationale of individual vaccines.
- There is a body of evidence that supports links between vaccines and child developmental disorders. This growing collection of expert opinion is as valid as any other and should be read.
- Autism, as one example of a childhood developmental disorder possibly linked to vaccines, has a very strong visual component that can and should be addressed by VTOD’s where feasible and the potential outcome warrants intervention.
All science should come under scrutiny, the pros and the cons, all domains. We must all work to keep open minds, if for no other reason than the simple fact that we, humans, simply do not understand the many complexities of human health and development, or how our own interventions may be impacting upon these – in either the short or long terms.
Consider the following blog which presents multiple articles relating to child developmental disorders and possible links to vaccines:
It’s a fascinating read, even if you feel you do have to suspend disbelief to scan the abstracts. These are not written by Neo-McCarthy-ites, but rather by some of the world’s best minds in a variety of biological specialties.
As for that study by Dr. Wakefield that was pilloried following Jenny McCarthy’s gross oversimplification and media tour, I have read it and have included it here. Strictly speaking, I have found that most people on the anti-anti-vax train have not read the paper and cannot explain why it and its authors had been so swiftly and publicly shamed – they will simply say ‘it’s bad science’ or that it was a fraud. Clearly GOOD science requires that we first observe the evidence, so here it is: Wakefield et al. – The ‘bad’ paper.
PS – While I am a strong advocate for what I would call ‘core’ vaccines (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox), it is in my mind foolish to blindly vaccinate with all vaccines and in all forms (i.e. polyvalent vs. monovalent, vehicle composition). Blind faith is blind faith, whether in religion, science, Jenny McCarthy, or luck: We can only blame ourselves when we walk blindly over the precipice. We’re better off with eyes wide open, looking at everything we can see.
John Walker-Smith wins appeal:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20137807/ (note the lack of authors)
… and a ‘small’ correction: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1679
More on Brian Deer: http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/08/fresh-fraud-brian-deers-vanishing-writing.html
Wakefield Response to the Retraction:
Wakefield in his own words:
All’s well that ends well:
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