On behalf of scienceFebruary 4, 2019
Why should Dr Peter J Hotez be concerned when anti-vaxxers portray vaccines as the cause of autism? Why should he bother about the vampires who live in the darkest corners of the Internet, making false claims about vaccine safety with abstract statistics? Why should he keep an eye on Dr Andrew Wakefield, who promulgated the lie about vaccine link with autism?
Because he is the father of an autistic girl.
It is also because he is a paediatrician. Above all, Dr Hotez is a leading vaccine scientist battling tropical diseases, some of which is being stalled through vaccines.
In his book: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel›s Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician and Autism Dad, Dr Hotez takes us through a guided trip through his own life, his family. He shows you his daughter Rachel’s life as an autistic child.
After listening to Rachel speaking her mind about her autism and after knowing the science of vaccine from the first-hand experience of Dr Hotez, you will come to realise why anti-vaccinators are against this book. Rachel’s autism is not rooted in vaccines. There is no evidence from current science that a child is autistic as a result of vaccination.
Vaccine is a life-saving technology. Vaccines have prevented the comeback of many deadly contagions. And they still do.
In the process, they still do maim or kill some of the children. But vaccine is no way a cause of autism spectrum disorders. There is no plausible link between vaccine and autism. This is what the clinician wants to convey from his insights and the parent from his experience.
As the anti-vaccine sentiment spreads throughout the world without encountering resistance, a return of measles and other childhood infections remains a grim possibility, reversing the declining trend in child mortality rates seen over the past years, thanks to UN’s Millennium Development Goals 2000. This would be nothing less than a catastrophe, since measles is one of the most deadly childhood infections, reminds the author.
Some of the best-educated people still harbour reservations against the safety of vaccines. Thousands of parents choose to exempt their kids from vaccination, potentially contributing to outbreaks imperilling the lives of many children. What surprises the author the most is the silence of the government and authorities that allow the movement to proceed unopposed.
With the evidence of robust science, the book provides a counter-narrative against the growing anti-vaccine movement.
Dr Hotez hopes the book will prove a clarion call for scientists and clinicians “to speak out on behalf of science” and against the false claims and public statements by the modern vaccine movement which mostly go unchallenged.