December 3rd, 2008
10:50 AM ET

U.S. Troops sickened by vaccinations – does it help explain autism?

David Kirby

It looks like the CDC may have missed a memo to itself on vaccine safety.

One very contentious issue in the vaccine-autism debate has been whether a certain subset of genetically susceptible children is unequipped to handle the early and intensive US immunization schedule – including kids like Hannah Poling, who developed autism after receiving nine vaccines at once.

The theory is that some people with abnormal immune or metabolic systems might become overtaxed by the fever, inflammation and/or other stresses sometimes caused by multiple vaccines.

Many doctors and scientists scoff at the notion that someone could be injured by getting too many shots at once. They say that people of all ages, including babies, can handle multiple exposures at any given moment.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Autism • Keeping Them Honest • Military
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. joe harris

    This is on the insert of Tripedia notice autism as a possible side effect
    It doe's appear dir CDC gerberding needs to get caught up.

    Drowsiness (29%); irritability (25%); anorexia (10%); fussiness (6%); autism, convulsion, encephalopathy, grand mal convulsion, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence (postmarketing) .

    December 4, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  2. Kara

    I would like to direct this to Travis and Les. Of course Vaccines are doing good, protecting us from harmful and debilitating diseases but I don't think that is the issue. I think you are missing the point. Vaccines are good, needed, and a medical break through. I don't know who is arguing against that?? I think the point is, Vaccines for one reason or another are causing a certain subset of children neurological harm because of the unneccessary toxins they contain. We as a country, as medical professionals, and as parents need to get a handle on what is injected into our children. In the early 1900's Eli Lilly found that Themerisol was very toxic, why then would it be approved for Vaccines some 50 years later? A lot of people missed the boat and now they better pay up. The children and families of Autistic and Vaccine Injured Children need compensation. Therapy is NOT cheap, and in most cases not covered. We need to heal the injured and stop wasting time. Time is not in our injured children's favor.

    December 4, 2008 at 3:13 am |
  3. Paul

    You make it seem like scientists do not consider the risks. This is patently false. Scientists, especially medical scientists, consider the risks at a much greater level than anyone else. They also have put a lot more thought into this than anyone else has and there is a reason why they support vaccination. Just because "9 shots at once" sounds bad doesn't mean that there isn't strong scientific evidence in support of it.

    And about the NVICP case, the government "has not conceded that vaccines cause autism,"

    also about the mitochondrial condition being more common, that was the conclusion of 1 study... let that sink in... 1 study.

    December 4, 2008 at 3:10 am |
  4. Cherri Cary

    Thanks for taking a look at this...it's more important than many people understand. The Knee-jerk reactions that folks on both sides of the vaccine-autism issue have are more dangerous than any investigation could ever be.

    Yes, vaccines may be an important part of a public health strategy, if they are safe and developed and tested in an ethically and scientifically sound manner. AND yes, they can be extremely dangerous to some people...given a vaccination program that is coercive and without genuine informed consent, those individuals ( infants and adults) who are vulnerable will continue to be harmed and their numbers will continue to grow. The ultimate problem will be the public's well-justified loss of trust .

    December 4, 2008 at 12:44 am |
  5. Therese Brosnan

    Mr. Anderson: Kudos to you for lending your name to this. Increasing numbers of intelligent, credentialed Americans of integrity and personal experience that constitutes science on this issue have pummeled the truth across many years now, to your doorstep – if you linger long enough to really understand the issues, it may be an easy choice to decide that your sustained interest could unburden some weight on this truth, on its inevitable rise. Or, what the heck, liven it up and elect for hero-dom – be proactive in lending a larger venue for discussion, or investigation. My beautiful, poisoned, very ill 16 year old daughter deserves another hero (consider it complimentary to be invited to join the ranks of heroes such as David Kirby)....as do countless others.....the kids I teach....relatives on both sides of the Atlantic....friends....autism, illnesses everywhere and on the rise....

    December 4, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  6. Maria

    Your hypothesis is based on strong rationale, but unfortunate there are no prove and the way to prove if your hypothesis is true, scientists have first to experiment it on animal models. There is a point I couldn’t understand, is the strategy of administering up to 9 vaccines at a time cause the problem, in which child can’t tolerate the immunization dose, or the vaccine substances itself, probably one of the viruses or bacteria might cause such immunization intolerance and trigger the immune system destruction, or in another word, autoimmune disease. I lean for the fact that the immunization mix and substance, not the dose, cause the problem. After receiving the immunized dose, the child body starts to activate specific immune cells. Probably, for small percentage of children with specific genetic background abnormality, the immune system fails to differentiate between self body cells and foreign invaders and that what initiate the autoimmune disease. I think in this case, all vaccines substances need to be re-evaluated in auto-immune disease animal models to identify a real link for the disease. Thanks for the post.

    December 3, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  7. ConcernedFather

    For those of you saying that there is no link between vaccines and autism; there was a recent concession by the NVICP that said that a little girl did develop autism from a vaccine. This was due to a mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent studies are showing that Mitochondrial dysfunction is actually fairly common in autistic children. The science is getting there. Hannah Poling's case is not a "unique" case.

    December 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Martin

    We have a nine month old son who approximately two months ago received 4 vaccines including the flu vaccine. Within 5 days he developed jerks and the symptoms appeared as a forward and back movement of the head and dropping of the hands. We were directed to see neurologist, who directed us to children emergency room. Intial speculation and worst case scenario is that these were epileptic seizures. After 3 EEGs the brainwave pattern did not show any abnormalities and the diagnosis is myoclonic jerks and not seizures. He has not received vaccines since then as we were told to hold until the jerks reqduce in frequency. The jerks have disappeared altogether. We will resume vaccines with an alternative schedule and one vaccine at a time.

    My background and carreer has been in a scientific field. I have a PhD in Engineering and 99% of the time require scientific evidence to support observed phenomenon. But when it comes to being a paretn those rules go out the window. The scientific evidence linking vaccines and autism might not yet be conclusive nevertheless think how limited is our understading related to human mind????

    We are not taking any chances.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  9. DCannon

    Vaccines suppose to save lives, but when the system aggressively promotes them in a way that it looks too commercially oriented, putting the income and interests of pharmaceuticals and doctors before the health and safety of little children is completely wrong. Going from 10 shots to more than 30 shots for children under 2 years old in the last 10 years is crazy.
    The way an overload of vaccines can cause damage is breaking the immune system of these kids, allowing viruses (coming from the vaccines itself) to attack them. First line of defense is their digestive system, these break them, now the viruses and toxins are free to go wherever they want. Now we add the metabolic disturbances, the chemical unbalance as a consequence, then you have it. Neurological damage.
    This schedule and number of vaccines is extremely dangerous, what is more dangerous is that we cannot trust anymore in the medical community neither in the authorities in charge of our health and protection.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Katie Wright

    I had a normal, talkative, affectionate sweet 2 year old who disappeared after receiving 7 vaccines at once. This is not 'supersitution' and until you have lived this do not judge. Parents like me believe in vaccination, it is not either/or. But our kids are recieving too vaccines at once. I recived 12 vaccines before age 2, my son, 36 and his health has been completely destroyed. He no longer speaks and is incapable performing many of the tasks that came easily to him at age 2.

    One size is not ftting all- look at Hannah Polings. The conflict of interests within the CDC is horrific. They are paid to promote these vaccines and hold many lucrative patents. If there is nothing to hide why not make the VAERS public record, why not put equal money into vaccine safety testing as vaccine promotion. Now as it stands that ratio is about 100 to 1. Why is the CDC still trying to save a few cents rather than use single use vials instead of the multiple use fileld with ammonia, formaledhyde and anti-freeze? Why does the CDC push for gag orders in their settlements to vaccine injured families? The whole situation disgusts me.

    Our children's health comes last in their list of priorties.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  11. Maggy

    Thank you for blogging about this. Please keep your eye on this issue – many parents and military members have been saying this for a long time. Vaccines cause autism and vaccines are causing numerous other injuries to children and military personnel. Look at your local school and see all the disabled children – what an awful mess these pharma companies have made.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  12. candace

    i recieved maybe 6 vaccinations in the 1980's...spread out..for the deadliest disease...why did my baby need 36 vaccinations in 1998 recommended by dr. and cdc starting at day 1..with hep b..given to baby in case the dad strayed during pregnancy...my son has autism not born with aquired...we do not forget polio ect...our kids were the vaccinated ones...too many ,to soon...oh and mercury and other heavy metals are pouring out of these children and when they do they start to get better...wake up...this target profit for pharma and health org. profit ties NEEDS to stop..no more collateral damage for pharma profits we are done..hear our voices..because most of our kids stopped talking around18mos..candace

    December 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Kathleen

    "This belief that if something goes wrong after a vaccine is administered that it MUST be due to the vaccine is simply illogical."

    It is also illogical to assume taht all problems following vaccines have nothing to do with them.
    Yes, vaccines have done a lot of good. It looks like we are dealing with genetic predisposition. If mitochondrial dysfunction is a possible trigger, and studies are showing up to 30% of children with autism have mitochondrial dysfunction, then the ratio of benefit outweighing the risk has shifted substantially.
    There has never been a study on the current vaccine schedule that says it is safe. We, all of us having our children vaccinated, deserve to have that safety study done. We deserve a safer schedule, if need be. Hepatitis B could easily have post-poned without any real tangible difference. No catching that on the playground.
    The parents fighting this fight are not unreasonable. They are educated, and they witnessed what happened to their children.
    This can not ALWAYS be passed off as coincidence.


    December 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  14. Wes

    Oh that's it polio what a scare. The disease was well on the way out prior to vaccines, vaccines may have helped but who says we still need it now. Diseases run their course that is why we are not worried about bubonic plague now. I'm a hell of a lot more afraid of autism than polio and measles.

    Can we at least start by admitting chicken pox vaccine was a stupid idea? All of a sudden all these talking heads are saying “until you’ve seen a child die from chicken pox”… Are you kidding me!?!? How about until you see a child that was happy and healthy become a detached mess, stop eating, and pee out their but for months on end following that “coincidental” timing of the vaccine administration.

    5th’s disease is a common mild childhood disease. You don’t hear much about it because there is no vaccine. The day that one is submitted for approval, it will be “until you’ve seen a child die from 5th’s disease”.

    STOP THE MADNESS. Asthma, allergies, type-2 diabetes, autism, chron’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and more ALL on the rise. We are frying our immune systems. Is like putting too much fertilizer on the lawn.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  15. warrenvt

    In 1974 children in the U.S. received one combination vaccine (DTP) plus the oral polio vaccine at 2 months of age. Today they receive 8 vaccines at the same age, some in combination, some as singles.

    The obvious question is: were children dying by the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. in 1974? No, they were not.

    It isn't an debate between zero vaccines or all possible vaccines. It is an argument as to whether a huge increase in the number of vaccines given is causing problems. There is some solid evidence that indeed the increase is causing problems.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  16. Kim Stagliano

    Hi, I'm Kim Stagliano, mom to three girls with autism and Managing Editor of Age of Autism, where David wrote that post. His work on behalf of all kids has been nothing short of heroic. It's not easy to be a pariah and go against the pharmaceutical/public health juggernaut that screams from the rooftops that vaccines are safe in any number for every child, even as drugs are constantly pulled from the market, studies are exposed for fraud and payment by pharma and drug company ties between "non profit" organizations are exposed. Whether you believe in a link to autism and vaccines or not, you can't deny that the pharma industry has ridden roughshod over the American consumer – don't kid yourself into thinking vaccines are the only "safe" exemption to the norm.

    Anderson, thanks for picking up this piece. I enjoy your work.


    December 3, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Ginger Taylor


    Combining vaccines has never been proven safe. Because we don't test combinations of vaccines. When we do, we find that the combo shots cause more damage than single vaccine shots.

    The new shot that has MMR and chicken pox in one, for example, DOUBLED the number of seizures that kids had when they were getting the MMR and Chicken pox shots separately. Yet we still give the four in one, and the CDC won't even state a preference that kids get them separated. That is just stupid. There is no reason for it.

    For Travis and people like him, there is a middle ground between going back to the days of Polio and giving children 66 shots in childhood.

    We seem to have struck a balance in the 1970' and early 1980's when kids got about 10 shots. No deadly epidemics – no epidemics of neurological and autoimmune disorders like autism/add/asthema/diabetes.

    90% of children gain immunity the FIRST time the get a vaccine, but we give them two more doses because it is cheaper than just testing them to see if they are covered.

    Which means that by definition, almost ALL children are over vaccinated and get double and triple the shots that they actually need. That is not just stupid, that is malpractice.

    We have gone WAY past the point of balance on vaccinating and it is time for vaccine reform.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  18. Heidi

    Thanks to David for writing and for Anderson Cooper for including on his blog. I know the people who don't have autism in their lives find it really hard to open their minds to the autism-vaccine connection. PLEASE, consider how outrageous it must have sounded back in the time when the first humans started saying that the Earth was round and those that said Cigarettes were harmful. There is lots of evidence that vaccines are harming our population. And there are tons and tons of financial interest conflicts. Just read the adverse events reports and decide for yourself. I know David has lots more to write about this issue so stay tuned for more information that will convince you to be cautious about vaccines.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  19. Teresa

    WOW. When will pediatricians and the CDC start thinking about safety!

    There are many "Hannah Polings" out here–and more coming until we can stop this process of vaccinating.

    Thanks David Kirby and Anderson Cooper for posting on this very significant issue!!

    December 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Steve D

    Cindy –
    Dose variation between medicine and vaccines is not comparable in any way. Vaccine's active ingredients are antigens, and are not weight-calibrated like medicines are.
    Julie –
    There is no transmission oil in vaccines – that is a totally ludicrous canard pushed by anti-vaxxers. Mercury has been reduced to trace amounts (almost immeasurable) in the few vaccines that it has ever been present in to begin with. The number of autism diagnoses has increased while mercury uptake has decreased. There is no connection.
    Cheryl –
    Vaccines are not "poisons". And the vaccine schedule is specifically designed to offer early protection from disease.
    Tina –
    Combination vaccines (such as MMR, DTaP) are given routinely. Vaccine combos undergo rigorous safety testing prior to inlcuding them in the schedule, and extremely sensitive adverse-event "alarm" systems further ensure safety.

    Bottom line is that childhood vaccines are over 99.9% safe, and there is no data that indicates any correlation or causation between childhood vaccines and autism.

    December 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  21. Julie San Diego, CA

    England and other countries spread the vaccines out over a period of several years so as not to be such an assault on children's immune systems.

    Consider the suggested schedule for baby vaccinations. My HMO recommends the following schedule for the FIRST shot (each vaccine is often given in a series of shots).

    Birth: Hepatitis B

    2 months: Diphteria – Tetanus – Pertussis (DTaP), Rotavirus, Polio, Pneumoococcal, Hib Flu

    12 months: Measels-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), Chickenpox, Hepatitis A

    That's a minimum of 9 shots before the child has left infancy. In England, these shots would be spread out over a period of several years.

    Autism can often be managed by a gluten-free/casein-free diet (no wheat or milk) because the proteins in these foods irritate the brain much the same way the vaccines are theorized to do. I believe there's a genetic link between those who can't digest wheat/milk and those who are susceptible to vaccines.

    Gluten (wheat) intolerance can be diagnosed with a simple cheek-swab DNA test.

    In the future, we may be able to identify children who are genetically at-risk for vaccine-induced autism by checking to see if they have a gene that signifies they can't digest wheat.

    December 3, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  22. Tina

    I was pondering over these questions of why do physician's develop seperate vaccines rather than have one shot mixed with all of the needed vaccinations? If it's important enough to separate each vaccine then why administer these injections at the same time? If there is a hazard in mixing two or more immunizations, then why consider it safe to blend these medications once they have entered our complex bodies?

    Warner Robins, GA

    December 3, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  23. Cheryl - Fonthill, Ontarioi CA

    Another very interesting find regarding the connection between vaccines & autism.
    I chose to wait till my children were well over one year of age before I had them vaccinated. For me and my husband, injecting my babies with small amounts of a potentially horrific diseases was absurd.
    They were new little beings, barely out of the comfort of the womb and doctors wanted me to put poisons into them? Not likely.

    "the CDC’s website says that simultaneous multiple immunizations are safe for children with “normal” immune systems" It is suggested that babies have their first "shots" at 2 months of age – how does anyone know at such an early age that their may be underlying abnormalities that could cause an adverse reaction within the child?

    I'm not against vaccinations – I did have my children vaccinated. But we waited until they were a little older, when their bodies were bigger, stronger and hopefully better able to cope with the diseases being injecting into them.

    December 3, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  24. Jeffrey

    Since we don't actually know what causes autism, putting together a correlation between vaccines (or anything - oatmeal, floor wax, what have you) is irresponsible. It's basically superstition in the absence of scientific evidence.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  25. Les Brown

    Vaccines have saved the lives of literally millions of children. It's easy to forget the devastating effects of a polio epidemic for example because we simply haven't had anything like that in so long in the U.S. Why? Because of vaccinations that are readily available for every child in this country. Go spend some time in the Third World where thousands of sweet kids die every year to childhood diseases that could easily be prevented with a vaccination and then make a choice about this.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  26. Travis

    I read the article and there was nothing linking autism to vaccines. If "those shots are killing these children" then imagine what the diseases they protect against would do! Remember polio folks? Ask someone who spent time in an iron lung machine if they would have accepted a vaccine.

    This belief that if something goes wrong after a vaccine is administered that it MUST be due to the vaccine is simply illogical. I can argue that the rooster crowing causes the sun to rise. I don't need evidence I just need to point out that the sun ALWAYS rises after the crowing.

    I had my kids vaccinated and those of you who didn't should thank me. After all, these vaccinated children are no doubt providing "herd immunity" to your unvaccinated children against some very nasty diseases.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:56 am |
  27. Julie Beckner

    I have read about the mercury and transmission oil among other horrible thngs in the vaccines so it is no wonder those shots ae not killing these children. In reality they are killing the life and spirit out of these children.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:36 am |
  28. Cindy

    I do think that vaccines can lead to autism and other things in certain people. No two people are alike so why do doctors think that giving everyone the exact same amount of vaccines is a good thing? They wouldn't give a baby the same amount of medicine as a 4 or 5 yr old so why do they think that they can do that with vaccines and have no consequences!?


    December 3, 2008 at 11:25 am |