Hybrid VDC
March 6, 2024

Consequences: Unintended and Otherwise
Count Me In! Click Here to Register


As always, if you want to receive a recording of the meeting, but can't attend in real time, register to attend and select "Attending Online." That will guarantee that you receive a copy of the link the next day.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Vaccines:
A Toxic Mixture of Bad Science, Celebrity Misinformation, and Exploitation of Parental Fear

M. Daniele Fallin, PhD

James W. Curran Dean of Public Health
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University

Clubhouse Location:
Emory School of Medicine
Agenda: (all times Eastern time zone)
6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — Online members and guests login
6:35pm — Meeting convenes
7:30pm — Q & A
8:00pm — Adjourn, ready to take up the gauntlet against vaccine misinformation and exploitation

Dear Vaccineers,

Vaccines have received an undeservedly bad rap for centuries. Way back in November 1721, Rev. Cotton Mather (who, 24 years earlier had been controversially involved in the Salem Witch Trials) had a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of his house after he advocated for the use of variolation to curb a smallpox epidemic that ended up sickening 6,000 of the 11,000 total people living in Boston, Massachusetts at that time.

But that was NOTHING compared to the firestorm caused by the February 1998 publication of Wakefield et al's article "Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children" in the journal Lancet.

The effects of that five page pub, which fraudulently concluded: "We identified associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children, which was generally associated in time with possible environmental triggers," is generally credited with being the trigger for the current-day vaccine hesitency movement.

It doesn't matter that all but one of the co-authors jumped ship (after finally getting around to reading the article they had put their name on) or that the pub was retracted even BEFORE much of the "data" grounding his findings were discovered to have been made up out of whole cloth by Wakefield -- here's a quick read about that -- the damage was done and, 26 years later, "vaccination" and "autism" are still firmly linked in the minds of entirely too many people, including some who are simply famous-for-being-famous.

But vaccine hesitancy affects more than just people who are worried their kids might catch autism, it ALSO affects people who are LIVING WITH autism. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members may have to face, and face down, friends, relatives, and total strangers who are seemingly hell bent on casting a toxic brew of bad science, blame, misinformation, and fear-mongering in their path. Good times!

Interested in learning more about what it is like to live out your daily life in the eye of the anti-vaxx* hurricane?

Come -- in person or online -- to the March meeting of the Vaccine Dinner Club when Rollins School of Public Health Dean Dani Fallon walks us through life at the intersection of ASD and vaccines.

Hope to see you soon!
-- La VDC Goddess

*NOTE: People who are anti-vaxx don't like being called that. Their preferred term is "vaccine risk-aware."