Why do I write, when it's futile? Well it feels better to put my thoughts in writing, and I can always post them here.
For the record, here is my unpublished letter.
Letter to Globe and Mail (October 23, 2017)
Pro-vax dogmatists want to have us believe that all critics of vaccines are either flat-earthers or discredited scientists. When I graduated from university with a degree in science I also was a firm believer in vaccines. But when I was finally challenged on my views about 20 years later, I was forced to confront the fact that I had no direct knowledge in this area, and I had just accepted the assertions of people like Timothy Caulfield (“Silencing anti-vax noise will not be easy”). Gradually I realized that there were many critics of aspects of vaccines who were highly credentialled scientists and even MDs who had changed their views when confronted with evidence.
When I finally started reviewing evidence about vaccines I was shocked to discover that some widely accepted dogmas were false. For example, for most infectious diseases death rates were declining for decades before the first vaccine was available. Vaccine dogmatists love to just show the chart starting with the year of the start of vaccination. But the decline in deaths after vaccination may well have been just a continuation of the other factors that were improving before vaccination (such as better sanitation and diet). I discovered that the well documented timeline of polio cases and vaccination in the United States did not support the belief that the polio vaccine ended the epidemic. By 1960 the Journal of the American Medical association reported that less than half the vulnerable population had been vaccinated, yet the epidemic had petered out to about 5% of the 1952 peak.
Another undeniable source of information is that the United States has paid out more than $3.6 billion in compensation for vaccine damage since the government took over payment for vaccine damage in 1988.
It is futile to argue about whether vaccines cause autism, because autism is poorly defined (although there actually are many scientific papers that do note such an association). However, sudden mental and physical regression following vaccines is well documented, whatever you want to call it. While rare, each time it occurs, the cost is massive, both to the vaccine recipient, but also to their family, who are now responsible for the care of a severely disabled person.
Let’s have an honest discussion about vaccination, recognizing that there are costs to any vaccination program, in terms of adverse effects, and that the benefits are often exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies that stand to make billions of dollars from each new vaccine added to the recommended vaccine schedule.
- David Crowe