FEAT DAILY ONLINE NEWSLETTER           Families for Early Autism Treatment
http://www.feat.org       M.I.N.D.: http://mindinstitute.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
Letters Editor: FEAT@feat.org   Archive: http://www.feat.org/listarchive/
          "Healing Autism: No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
ALERTS!: More Autism/Vax Breaks into Mainstream Media / Hep B Letters
Monday, August 09, 1999

     MEDIA ALERT #1 FOR TUESDAY, AUG. 10: A MAJOR, front page, cover story
article in USA Today about vaccines and autism.  This article follows on the
heels of last Tuesday's exciting cover story in USA Today about
vaccinations.  The picture for tomorrow's story will be that of identical
twin boys, both normally developing until...you guessed it...now one of the
identical twins is autistic.  Truly, this picture will be worth a thousand
     "This is the first of many articles, TV news reports, and feature
stories on the vaccine-autism epidemic story that are currently underway or
ready for airing over the next few weeks and months" reveals parent advocate
Rick Rollens.
     The Congressional hearing last week along with the ABC National News
piece plus all the hard work of many of you, has really got the attention of
the media not only in this country, but throughout the world.
     "Go out and get your own copy of tomorrow's USA Today as early as you
can," advises Rollens, "for if Merck does what it did last Tuesday at the
Washington hearing (paid people $100.00 each to hold places in line at the
hearing room to keep parents and others out), then who knows what they'll
buy up to empty newsstands."
* * *

      MEDIA ALERT #2 FOR TUESDAY MORNING:  Catch the Today Show, tomorrow
morning on NBC. Michael Belkin, whose testimony before the US Congress
titled here as "My Daughter Lyla Rose Belkin Died on September 16" will be
interviewed.  Check local listings for times.

More Exchange on Vaccine Safety

     [We continue with our presentation of arguments surrounding the issues of vaccine safety.  Below is a letter from Dawn Winkler, Vice President Concerned Parents for Vaccine Safety in response to essay letter written by J. Thomas Megerian, MD, Ph.D. of Childrens Hospital in Boston.  Dr. Megerian's response follows Winkler's.  To access previously published >letter on this subject, consult the FEAT Newsletter archives, address at masthead.]

     Dear Dr. Megerian:
     I fully realize that any information I attempt to give you will not change your mind.  You are clearly pro-vaccine and do not wish to acknowledge that there is another legitimate side to this issue.  However, I can't help but reply to your letter.     My daughter is now dead because of vaccinations.  I guess that means they worked, she can't spread disease.  I fully vaccinated her because I believed it was right and I also had the same attitude as you.  I thought I was a holier-than-thou do-gooder and that those who did not vaccinate were lazy, drunk, drug using uneducated losers.  After her death, I realized for the first time that doctors do NOT know everything.  I took matters into my own hands and researched the issue fully and continue to do so today.  My son IS NOT AND WILL NOT BE VACCINATED FOR ANYTHING EVER.  He is AT NO RISK OF HEPATITIS B.  My son is not a drug user, a healthcare worker, or having sex.  He is also not an Eskimo.  I am not HBV positive.  Explain to me then, how in the HELL is my son going to get hepatitis B and why have I never met even ONE person that has hepatitis B?  And he is healthier than any vaccinated child I know.  He is almost 3 and has never once had an ear infection, respiratory infection, or serious illness.  He has never needed antibiotics, or an "MD" for anything.  His immune system works, mine does not and I was fully vaccinated much to my dismay.
     If you can turn your head to the over 25,000 reported reactions to the hepatitis B vaccine than you have my sympathy.  The facts speak for themselves.  Hepatitis B vaccine carries far greater risk than that of actually contracting the disease and having serious complications in children.  At least if you do contract hep B you have a chance of getting over it.  Ask those with vaccine damaged children what kind of chance their children have.  No, these children are not rare.  This is occurring by the thousands.  And thanks to groups like ours, more and more people will be educated about this issue in the future.  Did you completely miss the Congressional hearing on hepatitis B?  Or the recent Congressional hearing on vaccine safety in general?  Whether you like it or not, we are winning the war.  It is not about whether or not someone ends up vaccinating.  It is about making informed choices.  We live with these choices not YOU. You can vaccinate yourself and your children to death, but don't you tell other people that they must follow you.  This issue is being blown wide open by people within your own sacred profession no less.  You might want to check out the testimony of Dr. Marcel Kinsbourne.  Watch and learn.  The tide is turning.  We will be unsuspecting victims no more.
     How on earth did we survive for millions of years WITHOUT VACCINES? Could it be that our immune systems actually worked on their own? We only started mass vaccination in the past century.  Do you have any concept of time? Where did the plague and scarlet fever go?  If anything does us in as a species,  I promise you, it will be vaccines and antibiotics.  They are overused.  As a matter of fact, how in the world does anything survive in the wild?  Do we vaccinate deer, skunks, elk, birds, insects, etc?????????????  Think about how RIDICULOUS the notion is that humans will die out if we do not interfere with Almighty allopathic medicine. We ought to be the only species alive at this point by your calculations.  Don't give medicine too much credit. Good health is a God given birthright and I will not allow ANYONE to take that away from my son.  It's too late for my daughter and for myself.

Sincerely, Dawn Winkler, Vice President Concerned Parents for Vaccine Safety

In Response, J. Thomas Megerian, MD, Ph.D.

Ms. Winkler,

     Thanks for responding to my letter.  I am sorry for your loss.  You
have a very strong opinion about vaccination that I doubt I will ever get
you to look at the other side, as you've asked me to.  I have looked at the
other side.  I have three children, one who is about to get his MMR in 3
months. I struggled personally with the issue about vaccination, but I've
come to realize that the chances that my child would get MMR, or HBV or DPT
as a disease are much greater than the chance that he would get a reaction
to his vaccine.
     If we look at the figures presented by Mr. Belkin, The reports of
20,000 adverse events from HBV alone over a period of 10 years, (a third of
which were very severe or long term) really pale in comparison to the
300,000 - 500,000 actual cases of hepatitis that occur each year.
     That number is actually after HBV vaccination programs started.
     As for the question of how your child or you would ever contract
HBV....you have been sorely misinformed if you think that you must use IV
drugs or have sexual intercourse with an infected person in order to
contract this disease.  Over  1/3 of contracted cases have NO Identifiable
risk factors. Food workers have been shown to be a potent source of
hepatitis virus, and the virus is present in mucous membrane surfaces (i.e.,
mouth, nose), so by virtue of visiting a restaurant, or kissing a friend, or
helping someone with a band-aid, you or your children can catch this
        When I think about these issues in my own life, all I need to do is
remember the last case of a child with hepatitis, or the last case of a
child with seizures due to h. flu meningitis, or the deformed, mentally
retarded, seizing children with congenital rubella syndrome, now adults,
that were unfortunate enough to be born before the advent of the Rubella
vaccine...when I think of that, the question about whether to vaccinate my
children is answered easily.
      I have seen outbreaks at schools of pertussis, because of parents
refusing to vaccinate.  With those outbreaks, I've seen little infants come
into my office, suffocating because they've contracted pertussis...all
because a few individuals took it upon themselves to make an uninformed
decision not to vaccinate.  You state that we have no right to tell people
whether they should or shouldn't vaccinate...I'll believe in personal choice
as well...but only when that choice does not harm others. The choice to
smoke is personal, as long as its done in private, away from children or
others who do not want to smoke.  The choice to drink alcohol, personal as
well, as long as the drinker doesn't get in a car and endanger other.  The
choice to vaccinate...if your child is unvaccinated, but plays with other
kids who are under-vaccinated or for whom a vaccine did not work well, are
you giving those parents and children choice?
     If your children go to any public places, they are putting others at
risk.   There's a saying that I'm sure you've heard.  Those who do not learn
from the mistakes of history, are doomed to repeat them.  Before you comment
about how well humans did before the advent of vaccines and antibiotics,
read some history about the causes of death, ages of death, infant
mortality, occurring over the last 500 years.  Do you realize that the
chances that any of your children or my children surviving into adulthood
has probably quadrupled in that time?  Why do you think that has happened?
        I do feel terrible when issues like this split me apart from the
people I am trying to care for.  But, like you, I advocate for children.
Your group advocates for your own children.  I advocate for my children and
for all children in society, regardless of what group their parents belong
to. While I know for a fact that Doctors are wrong many times in their views
and that the medical profession makes as many mistakes as any other
profession, I also know that what separates us from those other professions
is the fact that, for the overwhelming majority of us, we act only in the
best interest of our patients, not ourselves.

J. Thomas Megerian, MD, Ph.D.
Attending in Child Neurology,
Neuropharmacology and Behavioral Neurology
Childrens Hospital
300 Longwood Ave
Neurology, Fegan 11 Boston, MA 02115

Reply to Dr Megerian by Krista Thompson