Tag Archives: vaccines

I’m so glad you asked.


If you want the less friendly, sarcastic version, click here.


Filed under #scimom, Mother, Scientist

Take action now! Stand up for science and vaccines!

In Brief:  Anti-vaccination propagandists Age of Autism are going before Congress trying to do an end run around science so they can sue vaccine manufacturers for scientifically unsupported claims that vaccines cause autism (and a laundry list of other things).  If they succeed, we may all be screwed because the frivolous lawsuits will drive vaccine manufacturers out of the business- leaving us without access to life-saving vaccines.  Contact your Representative TODAY (11/7/13) and implore him/her to stand up for science and life-saving vaccines by not letting Age of Autism parade scientifically-unfounded propaganda in front of Congress unchallenged by facts and truth.  For more info, including how to find/contact your rep, go to Moms Who Vax.

You can also help spread the word by following Moms Who Vax on Twitter, or visiting the Carnival of Evidence-Based Parenting Facebook page.


As you may have heard, Age of Autism is preparing to parade their anti-vaccine propaganda in front of Congress.  Today they are presenting at a Congressional briefing, soon, they will get an actual hearing in front of the US House of Representatives.

Why are they doing this?  They are trying to dismantle the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP, aka “Vaccine Court”) because that court looks at the decades of science and research proving the safety and efficacy of vaccines and the absence of a link between vaccines and the laundry list of issues Age of Autism claims vaccines cause (ADHD, autism, allergies, etc.)  Since the VICP relies of scientific evidence, parents who bring claims for autism are unable to be compensated by the fund.  Age of Autism is hoping that a jury of peers might be more easily duped than the VICP and agree to compensate families for conditions/reactions science has shown are not linked to vaccines.

If the anti-vaccine propagandists are successful, we could be in trouble.  Vaccine producers would be inundated with lawsuits for ‘injuries’ the VICP refuses to recognize due to lack of scientific evidence.  The VICP was created precisely to prevent this– prevent vaccine producers from leaving the vaccine market due to lawsuits, leaving our population without access to life-saving vaccines.

Let me reiterate- decades of science have shown that vaccines are safe and effective.  Adverse reactions to vaccines are real, but rare.  The risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable, life-threatening illness FAR outweighs the risk of vaccination.  Decades of study have found no credible evidence to link vaccines to autism (or the litany of other things Age of Autism claims).  

The VICP is crucial to provide compensation to those rare cases of adverse vaccine reactions while protecting our supply of life-saving vaccines.

So what can you do to stand up for science and vaccines?  Contact your Representative and tell him/her not to let Age of Autism spout propaganda in front of Congress!  Tell your Rep to learn the science, stand up for it, and keep vaccines available.

I contacted my rep, and you can see my letter below.  Feel free to use part/all of the text- even a form letter is better than nothing- when you call or email your Rep.  It’s crucial that this is done TODAY, November 7th as the Congressional briefing is today at noon.  The hearing will be held next month.

Stand up for science and for life-saving vaccines.

For more info, including how to reach your representative, go to Moms Who Vax.

Dear Congresswoman Lowey,
While we have not met personally, I have heard you speak several times. I know you are science-minded and well informed, I trust that this email will be me ‘preaching to the choir.’ 

I write to you today as a mother and a scientist.

As you may or may not know, Age of Autism, a group that dangerously misrepresents the safety and efficacy of vaccines is attempting to dismantle the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP aka Vaccine Court). Their hope is that a jury of their peers will be more easily swayed to disregard decades of science and research and award money to families that mistakenly claim their children developed autism due to vaccines.

The VICP was developed to protect vaccine manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits that in the 1980s nearly succeeded in companies ceasing to produce life-saving vaccines. The risks of vaccinations are real, hence the importance of having the VICP; however, those risks are minuscule compared to the dangers of contracting vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Please, stand up for science and life-saving vaccines. Send a staffer to the Congressional briefing being held TODAY by Age of Autism and counteract their anti-science, anti-vaccine rhetoric and propaganda. 

When Age of Autism holds its hearing in front of the House of Representatives, please, take them to task for their misrepresentation, rejection, and complete lack of scientific evidence. Protect our families and our children by sticking to the decades of scientific research that shows the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Please do not let them parade myths and untruths about vaccines in front of Congress.

I have included some useful links to additional information below.

Please reach out to be if there is anything I can add to help you or your staff combat this dangerous rhetoric.

Momma, PhD


Filed under #scimom, Mother, Scientist

As a parent and as a scientist, it’s frightening.

I recently came across this article online:
In the article they report how outbreaks of pertussis (aka whooping cough) are spreading in Australia because vaccination rates are dropping below 85%.  That rate is frightening.  They are actually suggesting that new parents keep their infants in isolation to avoid exposing them to whooping cough.

Can you imagine living, housebound, in constant fear of your child contracting a potentially deadly infection?  I can’t, but I fear it will come to that.

Many people talk about how they believe one thing or another about vaccines.  I don’t believe anything about vaccines.  I have examined primary literature.  I have attended research talks by world renowned scientists in the field of vaccine development and infectious disease.  I have studied virology and microbiology.  I am the daughter of a public health/school nurse.  The preponderance of evidence is clear.  This evidence indicates that the risks associated with vaccines (allergic reaction, etc) are minuscule compared to the very real and substantial risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable illness.

The press and anti-vaccine fanatics like to present the ‘debate’ over vaccine safety and a debate.  There is a clear concensus amongst doctors that vaccines are effective and safe.  What better measure of their confidence that how they vaccinate their own children?  A study in the peer reviewed journal Pediatrics found that, “Ninety-three percent of the surveyed physicians agree with the current official vaccination recommendations and would apply them to their own children.”  93% vs 3% does not constitute a lively debate.  93% vs 3% is a clear consensus.

Unlike the multitudes, apparently, I am comfortable with the language and mechanism of the scientific method.  Scientists and doctors will vaccinate themselves and their children- indicating the level of confidence they have in the data- yet they will never say with 100% certainty that vaccines don’t cause autism.  That’s just not how the scientific method works.

There have been dozens of studies demonstrating the efficacy and safety of vaccines.  There are centuries of data proving the danger of vaccine-preventable illnesses.  The data indicating that vaccines cause autism?  Doesn’t exist- there is none.  The only data that ever existed were fraudulent .

As a scientist who has a BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and a doctorate in Molecular Biology from Ivy League universities, who has done research at several of the world’s preeminent research institutions:, who has studies virology and microbiology,  I have received many vaccinations,  I vaccinate my daughter per the CDC and AAP guidelines, I encourage my loved ones to do the same.

I recently wrote the following to a friend who is expecting her first child:

I just posted an article about whooping cough on my FB. I’m sure you and Andy are already swamped with baby preparations, but I wanted to get in my 2 cents regarding vaccinations.

Both you and Andy should get a DTaP shot before baby comes. Andy for sure, your doc may suggest waiting until after delivery. I did get mine while I was pregnant with Mabel mostly because the DTaP is for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (aka whooping cough)- and I needed the tetanus for a lab injury.  Studies have shown that most infants that get whooping cough (since they can’t be vaccinated until 2 months and the vaccine is a series) are actually infected by their parents.

There are a lot of people nowadays opting out of vaccinating kids because they falsely believe there are links to autism. I have read the primary literature on this myself and as a molecular biologist (with a public health nurse for a mom)- I vaccinate Mabel on the standard CDC schedule.

Because of the low vaccination rates, we’re seeing a re-emergence of vaccine-preventable illnesses (like whooping cough and measles), and the CDC and other groups are considering vaccinating kids at even earlier ages as a result.

I’d be happy to help answer any questions you have from a scientific and maternal perspective. But just so you know- I get my flu shot every year, as does Mac, as does Mabel now that she’s old enough. Mac and I both got the DTaP and flu shot before Mabel was born. We vaccinate her on the standard schedule recommended by the CDC.

Sorry for the soapbox, I’ll get off now. Just had to put it out there because I think it’s so important.

I don’t tell my plumber how to fix my toilet.  I don’t think I know more about my car than my mechanic.  Why don’t people trust their medical professionals and scientists to determine the best, safest course of action when it comes to vaccines and vaccine-preventable illnesses?

Aside from that, why do parents feel they can take risks with my health and the health of my family?  There are many people who cannot be vaccinated due to allergies, compromised immune systems, age, etc.  There is a certain percentage of the population who will not acquire sufficient immunity from a vaccination.  There are members of our society who are particularly susceptible to vaccine-preventable illnesses (patients on chemotherapy, those with suppressed immune systems, the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, etc.).  Why are cavalier and irresponsible parents so willing to put their own children and so many other people at risk by refusing to vaccinate?!

I refuse to be responsible for the illness or death of another human being by refusing to vaccinate myself and my daughter and spreading a vaccine-preventable illness.  I also don’t want my daughter to suffer like this, or this.

Are you afraid that plummeting vaccination rates will put your family in jeopardy?

Note: Where possible I tried to include links to primary literature and/or reputable sources of information.


Filed under Mother, Scientist