Kudos to Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, for retracting all but one of the baseless charges he made in Monday’s Huffington Post column. We understand his need to save face with the base. But there’s still work to do if Gordon is serious about reforming extremist anti-vaccine rhetoric, and this is a nice start.
Gordon, who has advised Jenny McCarthy on matters medical and scientific, is well positioned to become a change agent in the autism wars. As a physician he swore to “never do harm to anyone”, and what better place to start than debunking some of the destructive myths at the heart of the anti-vaccine movement. A few that come to mind are:
There is no anti-freeze, ether, or aborted fetal tissue in vaccines, and formaldehyde is a natural by-product of single carbon metabolism. “Green vaccines” is a deceptive marketing pitch with no practical application in the physical world.
The evidence for an autism epidemic is paper thin, and most of today’s children with ASDs would have received a different diagnosis, or no label at all, prior to 1989.
The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks of serious adverse reactions, which are rare.
The scientific method is the best way that we have to separate nonsense from fact. And though imperfectly applied, it is far more reliable than talk show wisdom or diagnosis by celebrity.