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Posted by Margaret. on September 10, 2000 at 02:46:40:

Fears Aired Over Safety Of Vaccines [Some experts suspect a link between vaccinations and rise in childhood
chronic illness. By John Hanchette, Gannett News Service, September 9, 2000.]

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Vaccine safety advocates meeting here Friday decried the almost universal lack of testing
infant immune systems, before babies receive their shots, to see if they've been compromised by infection or
genetic weakness. Scientists, academics and doctors attending opening sessions of the three-day International
Public Conference on Vaccination 2000 expressed particular concern about a possible connection between
childhood vaccinations and increasing rates of childhood chronic illness, especially autistic behavior.
Pediatricians are routinely giving infants and toddlers inoculations even if they have colds, the flu, or other
sicknesses, potentially increasing the chances of adverse reactions, said the experts. "Right on the
manufacturer's information sheet packed with the dosage vial is a warning that says do not give the vaccine to
immune-compromised or immune-suppressed individuals," said Utah State biologist Vijendra Singh, a leading
researcher on autism. "Yet the vaccines are now given without any testing or thought of it. We should be doing
immune system testing before all vaccinations. It would only cost a few million dollars, and we could identify the
individuals who should not be given shots." Autism is a severe developmental disability characterized by
withdrawal from social relations, diminution of motor skills, refusal or inability to communicate, detachment from
others and a shutdown of language skills Autism is increasing throughout the nation at a staggering pace. Some
studies show a seven-fold increase nationally in the past decade, and 27 states report more than 300 percent
increases in diagnosed cases between 1992 and 1997. In some well-publicized clusters, the incidence of
autism in the '90s has grown from the national average of about three in 10,000 children to one in 150 children
(Brick Township, N.J.) or one in 132 children (Granite Bay, Calif.) California's legislature -- concerned with an
increase in autism far outpacing other childhood disabilities like epilepsy, cerebral palsy and mental retardation
-- recently appropriated $1 million for a study of environmental or biological factors, including vaccine use that
could have triggered the autism growth. Some researchers suspect a connection between autism onset and the
measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot given at 12 to 15 months of age. One is Paul Shattuck, director of
autism research at the University of Sunderland in Great Britain, who told the conference here that England is
experiencing the same increase and autism clusters, including one where an average one in 138 children have
been afflicted. "It's scary and something is happening," said Shattuck. British health officials have denied any
link between the MMR inoculation and autism. But Shattuck said, "There's a huge amount of smoke that should
be checked out thoroughly. The British government on this is like Lord Nelson putting his telescope up to his
blind eye and saying, 'I see no signals.' That's because they don't want to." He said studies in his country have
shown autism "is four times as common in vaccinated children as in unvaccinated children, yet the government
still says there is no relation." Shattuck called upon both British and United States governments to "make sure
the child is completely healthy and well before vaccination -- it is stupid and extreme to give a child shots when
the immune system is compromised." Dr. Mary Megson, a Richmond pediatrician who specializes in treating
developmentally delayed children, told the 500 parents, academics, scientists and physicians attending the
conference that genetic predisposition might play a big part in autism. She added that parents with a history of
diabetes, arthritis, thyroid disease, night blindness, or HIV infection might find their children at increased risk of
autism. "I find those patterns again and again," she said, adding that such immune system afflictions "are
absolute contraindications for the measles vaccines." Megson said she has had some success treating autistic
children with natural vitamin A like that found in cod liver oil, as opposed to powdered synthetic vitamin A and
that such doses have often led to restoration of eye contact -- something frequently missing once the child is
afflicted. Vaccine safety is more and more the subject of serious medical discussion. In 1999, the average
American child received 39 doses of 12 vaccines before age 6, and the National Institutes of Health reports
more than 200 new vaccines in various stages of research.

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