Wednesday, June 30, 2010
For a number of years now, scientific studies have confirmed that vaccines are not causally linked to autism. That is the good news. Despite this evidence, however, those in the anti-vaccination community continue to suggest otherwise, much to the detriment of parents of children with autism who are not trained to interpret and be guided by scientific data. It is refreshing to see that the recent Frontline program "The Vaccine War" addresses these issues head-on. While the NYT should be applauded for publicizing this program, the reviewer, Mr. Neil Genzlinger, seems to have the missed the major point of it.
Mr. Genzlinger writes that the show "has only a few moments that might be illuminating to those who have been following this now familiar controversy." But how many lay people actually do follow the controversy? Given the number of individuals on autism web forums who express uncertainty about the safety of vaccines, and the thousands of parents who opt not to vaccinate, it is clear that many people have not. From the program’s content, it seems that the intent of "The Vaccine Wars" was more to "illuminate" those who have not been following the controversy—-those individuals who have the most to gain from the scientific evidence presented in the program.
Rather than praising Frontline for the very pertinent information presented in the program regarding the lack of causation between vaccines and autism, Mr. Genzlinger wishes "for a little less of what you already knew." Instead, he finds a discussion between a physician in the program and mothers who have chosen to not vaccinate their children more intriguing. While this subplot in the program is interesting, Mr. Genzlinger misses an opportunity to promote an accessible program that depicts the scientific evidence regarding vaccines and autism in a fair and accurate manner. Those families who are affected by autism, and those families who will be in the future, are the targeted audiences for this program. Not those who see its content as something they "already knew."
Sharon A. Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Advisory Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Read More at http://tv.nytimes.com/.../27vaccine.html?_r=2