The Institute of Medicine Weighs in on Vaccine Debate

The Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, says there’s no published proof either way on the debate on vaccine safety.  This isn’t what you may be hearing from your doctor, by the way!

The IOM has conducted a comprehensive review of the published research on vaccine safety. Here’s how the National Vaccine Information Center, an advocacy group for vaccine opponents, summarized the findings on Aug. 25:

The Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines has published a comprehensive review of existing medical literature addressing the biological plausibility of risk associated with eight different vaccines routinely given to children and adults. While there is room for disagreement about some of their causation conclusions, the process they used to come to their conclusions is well defined and clearly stated.

The Committee was hampered by the same gaps in knowledge regarding vaccine adverse effects that hampered IOM Committees undertaking the same task in 1991 and 1994. For the majority of potential vaccine adverse effects reported to be associated with vaccines, this IOM Committee like those before, came to the conclusion that the biological mechanism and epidemiological evidence published in the medical literature is simply inadequate to accept or reject a causation finding.

I’ve talked about this before: how the vaccine proponents say it’s all been proven, vaccines are safe. But that’s the opposite of the truth. The studies done “proved” that the measles virus in the MMR vaccine does not by itself cause autism, and that the mercury component of vaccines does not cause vaccines. Mercury has been removed from most vaccines now. But these two “proofs” (I’m putting this in quotes because the science in the studies is disputed) do not prove by a long shot the general case that vaccines are safe. (It’s a logical fallacy to generalize from the particular like that.)

Perhaps subjecting tiny children to too many vaccines too soon (the too-many, too-soon argument) is what’s causing autism. Or perhaps autism’s cause is something else about vaccines. Or perhaps autism’s cause has nothing to do with vaccines, but something else that changed radically in about 1990, such as the ingredients in plastics, allowing plastics to come into much more general use.

What’s needed is a simple study comparing vaccinated children with unvaccinated. The powers that be who control the purse strings apparently are afraid to authorize such a study. Meanwhile, they keep authorizing more and more vaccines, which are for less and less deadly diseases, and the autism rate keeps going up. Coincidence?



Phyllis Wheeler

0 thoughts on “The Institute of Medicine Weighs in on Vaccine Debate

  • Let’s stop inoculating against smallpox, polio, rabies, tetanus, measles etc; after all if a child is dead it can’t be autistic, problem solved!

  • First off, the assertion that there is no “proof” that vaccines don’t
    cause autism is misleading.  Science cannot “prove” anything; it can
    only provide various degrees of evidence to support hypotheses.  The
    available evidence suggests no plausible link between vaccines and
    autism, and this is what the “vaccine court” in the U.S. has found.  In
    order to maintain the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism, there has
    to be scientific evidence to support that, and that just isn’t there.

    Second, propagating this myth is irresponsible because it puts children
    in grave danger.  The danger is that their parents will not have them
    vaccinated, and they will die of diphtheria or tetanus at age 8,
    something that happened quite frequently a century ago but fortunately
    has been virtually eliminated in the United States because of

  • “What’s needed is a simple study comparing vaccinated children with unvaccinated”

    I completely agree with this. I personally don’t know if I fully believe that vaccines cause Autism. I do think that there is definitely some sort of correlation between the two because of the increase we’re seeing in autism, ADD, ADHD, and behavioral problems at the same time as we’re seeing an increase in vaccines for babies but I also believe it’s more than just vaccines…it’s our environments as well.

  • Might it also be that our society has become more aware of many various conditions as well as going in a direction that hampers people who have them far more than in years past?  There is a solid case to be made that part of the reason those with autism stand out more than they would a generation ago has to do with our culture becoming far more fast-paced where the rapid absorb-and-dump process of new information and the heavy reliance on the ability to market (particularly market oneself) is the staple quality on which the foundations of our society now rest.  Furthermore, the over-dependence on a person having a degree (a mere slip of paper showing a person can take and afford classes) contributes.  Now I am not saying that this is all that is taking place but I do believe it is a part of it.  Those who have Autism are going to have a much harder time succeeding in the contemporary culture than they would have in days gone by.  At the very least, our culture pronounces the differences where they might have otherwise gone unnoticed.


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