Because the chiropractor friend of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and father of two autistic children isn’t listening to anyone in his bid to have the state ban all vaccines that contain thimerosal.
All of them. Even those not administered to kids.
The proposal by Dr. Gary Kompothecras would be the strictest in the nation, and doctors say it would keep vaccines like the one that prevents the flu, from saving people most at risk of dying. Kompothecras’s response? He calls everyone who dares disagree with them “dirt bags.”
The argument over vaccines and autism is at an all-time fervor of late, spurred by last week’s revelation by the London Times that the “study” that started all the hubub about autism and thimerosal back in the nineties was bogus. As in fabricated. Made up. Nonsense. Then came the report from a special court here in the states that says the measles vaccine didn’t cause three children’s autism. All of that was preceded by another study, this one in Italy, that determined thimerosal itself is safe.
What’s concerned me most in the responses here on Babble to each reporting of these incidents is not that parents are concerned about autism or concerned about vaccines. That’s natural. Autism is real. Autism is terrifying. And there is still a lot about vaccinations that we don’t know.
It’s the all-consuming nature of the focus on vaccinations. It’s the refusal to home in on anything else. It’s the assumption that disagreement means another parent doesn’t care about your plight. We have written dozens of stories here on the ‘Derby about other studies that have been linked to autism. The environment. Aged parents. Prematurity.
But there are still parents like Kompothecras who are blind to any other suggestions. Dare disagree with him, and he calls you a “dirt bag.” The trouble is, they are not only doing a disservice to their own kids, but a disservice to other people. In Kompothecras’ case, his proposed ban of the flu vaccine would put the thousands of Florida residents who are at highest risk for the flu – ie. the elderly, the asthmatic – at permanent risk. People die from the flu. But he doesn’t care.
He is doing this because, as he told the Herald Tribune, “If I can do this, my son won’t go down for nothing.”
How can you argue with that? How can you argue with the parent of an autistic child who only wants an answer? Because I do believe autism is real. And I do believe that the parents of autistic children need an answer. The fact that I am pro-vaccination because I’ve seen it save lives does not mean I am unfeeling or that I refuse to see the forest for the trees. Autism diagnoses are up, and there are children in trouble. Somewhere, some scientist has to break this code.
But I don’t see how taking the flu vaccine out of the hands of people who need it, people who choose to use it, is going to help the parents of autistic children. I don’t see how ignoring existing science and accusing parents who are “pro-vax” of being “dirt bags” or “not caring,” is going to provide an answer.
Might there be something else in a vaccination that might lead to autism? Maybe. There might also be a link in the environment. In aged parents. In prematurity.
So let’s get started on those. Thimerosal is a dead horse. It doesn’t deserve another beating.
Image: Herald Tribune