FEAT DAILY NEWSLETTER      Sacramento, California       http://www.feat.org
          "Healing Autism: No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
No9vember 27, 2000

Vax Katz Slaps Back at Cracks

      Dr. Samuel Katz of Duke University is one of the country's biggest
promoters of vaccine and recently appeared on the recent 60 Minutes program
that addressed the controversy.  A FEAT Newsletter subscriber has been
forwarding to him articles from various sources that address the
vaccine-autism connection.  He writes about Dr. Katz's to him expressing a
negative response to the information.
     "I have been sending ole Dr. Sam Katz copies of FEAT Newsletter
articles, peer reviewed studies on vaccines and vaccine safety, as well as
current press coverage of the autism epidemic and the vaccine/autism debate"
explains our loyal reader, and "I have never accused him of anything. I
guess his response falls into the "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've
already made up my mind" school of thought."

In a message dated 11/27/00 8:58:55 AM Pacific Standard Time,
katz0004@mc.duke.edu writes:

      Please remove my name from your e-mail distribution list.   As you
undoubtedly know, I have been inundated with e-mail from families of
autistic children, accusing me of murder, likening me to Adolf Hitler,
accusing me of taking money from Merck, and many lesser accusations.
Although none of these is true, my secretary and I fully sympathize with the
anguish and burdens of autistic youngsters and parents.  However, we do not
need any of the references you continue to send. (Most are repetitive at
SL Katz, MD

     The following segment is from "The Vaccine Machine" by ABC News Medical
writer Nicolas Regush from his column August 19, 1999.  It may explain where
parents may have received their information.

     Dr. Samuel Katz [...] has made a great contribution to vaccination
efforts and the development of new vaccines. This week, I asked him whether
he is so much an advocate for vaccines (for example, hepatitis B) that he
can any longer see the forest for the trees when it comes to safety issues.
     Loyal, But Objective?
     Katz has served as chair of both the ACIP and the Red Book committees.
He co-chairs a group called the Vaccine Initiative, which is an information
and advocacy group that benefited from start-up funds from at least six
vaccine manufacturers. He is listed as an advisory board member to the
Immunization Action Coalition (which includes the Coalition for Hepatitis
B), an advocacy group that receives funding from several vaccine makers,
including SmithKline Beecham, Merck and Wyeth-Lederle.
     Katz, soft-spoken and friendly, said he is sensitive to the issue of
the appearance of conflict of interest and that he is determined to be
objective when it comes to his involvement with any vaccine recommendations.
Katz feels strongly that his colleagues take the same cautious approach when
it comes to vaccines. He also allows that "there is much we don't know about
vaccines, and a lot of research must be done."
     Here is a brief take from Katz's presentation on May 18 to a
congressional committee looking into vaccine safety:
     "As a parent, grandparent, and physician, I feel great sympathy for the
people who testified on the first panel. I wish we could find the true
causes for serious, complicated and often vexing medical conditions such as
multiple sclerosis and autism. But the fact is, there are no scientifically
sound studies that demonstrate current immunization recommendations are a
cause of autism, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, SIDS,
multiple sclerosis or any number of acute or chronic illnesses."
     I reminded Katz of this statement and the fact that not having evidence
for a link between vaccines and illness doesn't mean there isn't a link;
rather, in this case, it means not having enough research. He answered that
there is enough research to at least conclude that most vaccines are not
likely to be related to disease.
     Show Me the Data
     We didn't get a chance to get into the details of his claim because he
had a meeting. But since it's a claim that I reject as mysterious, given the
paucity of appropriate science on the potential link between vaccines to
disease, I am issuing Katz the following challenge: Send me abstracts of the
molecular studies that you deem sufficient to nullify concern about complex
reactions to vaccines. In other words, show me the compelling biological
science upon which your views rest.

     Dr. Katz has yet to produce the goods.