Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism

Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism

My Journey as A Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad

Book - 2018
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In 1994, Peter J. Hotez's nineteen-month-old daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases affecting the world's poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their inescapable narrative around childhood vaccines and autism. The alleged link between the two was first espoused in a fraudulent scientific paper, long since retracted, but the story shows no signs of letting up. As a result, we've seen deadly and disabling outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the country, and Texas, where Hotez lives, is at particular risk.

In Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism , Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. Outlining the arguments on both sides of the debate, he examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC, and critiques the scientific community's failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public, all while sharing his very personal story of raising a now-adult daughter with autism.

A uniquely authoritative account, this important book persuasively provides evidence for the genetic basis of autism and illustrates how the neurodevelopmental pathways of autism are under way before birth. Dr. Hotez reminds readers of the many victories of vaccines over disease while warning about the growing dangers of the anti-vaccine movement, especially in the United States and Europe. A former US Science Envoy for the Department of State, he also explains what's at stake if the movement continues to gain ground. Opening with a foreword by leading medical ethicist Arthur L. Caplan, this book is a must-read for parent groups, child advocates, teachers, health-care providers, government policymakers, health and science policy experts, and anyone caring for a family member or friend with autism.

"When Peter Hotez--an erudite, highly trained scientist who is a true hero for his work in saving the world's poor and downtrodden--shares his knowledge and clinical insights along with his parental experience, when his beliefs in the value of what he does are put to the test of a life guiding his own child's challenges, then you must pay attention. You should. This book brings to an end the link between autism and vaccination."--from the foreword by Arthur L. Caplan, NYU School of Medicine

Publisher: Baltimore, Maryland :, Johns Hopkins University Press,, [2018]
ISBN: 9781421426600
Branch Call Number: 614. 47083 HOT
Characteristics: xvii, 221 pages


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Jan 20, 2019

About the book “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism”:
If Dr. Peter Hotez hoped to reassure people about vaccines and autism, his inadvertently revealing book’s silo thinking, inaccuracies and omissions achieve the opposite effect. Hotez’s slim volume contains only 2 graphics about vaccines – but indulge much name dropping, media quotes and personal speculations. Hotez hoists himself by his own petard, portraying an ambitious generalist with irons in too many fires, bedazzled by status, blind to cronies’ data fraud, and avoidant of scientific evidence inconvenient to his career.

Evidence such as emerging research on medical treatments: Hotez over-focuses on his daughter’s behaviors, rather than her biology. While the rest of the autism world runs scans and lab tests to detect co-morbid or causal disorders, he never mentions ordering medical tests to detect encephalopathies, GI inflammation, MTHFR, allergies, OATS, etc. While many autism parents avoid gluten, he still feeds his daughter bagels. Which perhaps is fine if, indeed, vaccines didn’t cause her autism – but her single case cannot negate the medical history of countless victims of vaccine-induced autism.

Hotez’s daughter Rachel is a supporting player in her own book, essentially his heroic narrative bouncing frenetically from topic to topic. Various classic autistic affects she’s displayed include loud piercing crying, late speech, scripting, low IQ, eczema, “colic,” selective eating of gluten/casein (p. 45), texture sensitivity, spitting and swearing (Tourette’s, her father wondered), hyperfocus on specific topics, and more symptoms familiar to readers of listservs and social media. All words that provide medical clues to parents more focused on the health of kids instead of their own career.

Rachel’s vaccine history (pp. 38-39): “…she received five doses of the… (DTaP) vaccine, and then boosters in 2006 for tetanus and diphtheria (Td), and later in 2011 for all three diseases (Tdap) - the adolescent/adult formulation. She also received the two scheduled measles-mumps-rubella and varicella vaccine doses, and four doses each of the polio vaccine and Hib vaccine. Rachel received three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine and also her hepatitis A vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, and HPV cervical cancer vaccine. To this day she receives annual influenza vaccines.”

The books’ references total a sparse 14 pages and their not-so-rigorous content explains much about Hotez’s grandiose utilitarian worldview. Elsewhere, awkward personal aspects of his character are revealed — as when considering the risk of autism if choosing to have another child (p. 78): “Quite honestly, it was Ann who had the intense desire to have a fourth, and she pushed her agenda hard.”

Hotez’s book confirms the public’s fear about vaccine policymakers who perpetuate the autism epidemic: that they are selectively inconsiderate of others’ experiences, entrenched in cronyism, comfortable with vaccine mediocrity, and/or paralyzed by fear. Taxpayers deserve more than another deluded lifetime bureaucrat with a white knight complex who doesn’t care what he tramples while moving toward his career’s summit. This he does at his child’s peril: If Hotez remains unwilling to investigate how other parents have healed their children, he will never heal his.

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