In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.
The Vaccine Safety Handbook” appears innocuous, a slick magazine for parents who want to raise healthy children. But tucked inside its 40 pages are false warnings that vaccines cause autism and contain cells from aborted human fetuses.
“It is our belief that there is no greater threat to public health than vaccines,” the publication concludes, contradicting the scientific consensus that vaccines are generally safe and highly effective.
The handbook, created by a group called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or Peach, is targeted at ultra-Orthodox Jews, whose expanding and insular communities are at the epicenter of one of the largest measles outbreaks in the United States in decades.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in an effort to contain the spread of measles in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods there. He said unvaccinated individuals would be required to receive the measles vaccine — or be subjected to a fine — as the city escalated its campaign to stem the outbreak.Delthia Ricks at Governing:
Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, told Newsday two weeks ago there is nothing in Jewish religion that prohibits vaccination. "The religion was in place long before vaccines were developed," said Glatt, who is also a rabbi.
He blamed the outbreaks on well-meaning parents who have been duped by rampantly spreading pseudoscience, which links the MMR vaccine to autism. Vaccine hesitancy is also common among a growing number of people who aren't Jewish, Glatt added.
"Misinformation is very, very dangerous," Glatt said, "and there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines cause autism."
A study published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine involving more than 600,000 people proved again that MMR vaccine does not cause autism. The study was the largest, but one of dozens that have found no links between vaccines and the neurodevelopmental disorder.