August 11, 2008

GMA Confirms Jenkins Comments Were About Autism

Last week GMA ran a piece on vaccines and autism that included a quote by Rene Jenkins of the AAP.
 "Ninty Seven plus percent of children don't have these defects, so, when you look at what the risk and the benefits to children are, and, you really weigh the risks, then the benefits far outweigh the risks that occur."
I wrote a piece heavily criticizing AAP for throwing away three percent of the population to serious vaccine injury.

Andrea Keller called GMA to see if they would release the rest of the interview.  They said their policy is not to release unused footage, but that the context of the conversation was Autism.

Daivd Kirby called AAP and asked for comment, and they said that Jenkins 'misspoke' and she was talking about minor vaccine reactions like "localized pain and swelling, and/or fever."

I spoke with the producer of the GMA piece this morning who interviewed Jenkins.  She reiterated that they don't release unused interviews, but she was nice enough to read me the question that was asked and Jenkins full response.

The discussion was about autism and not minor vaccine reactions.  The question was a version of 'can you rule out an association between vaccines and autism', and Jenkins answer was something to the effect of 'you can never rule out an association between anything and anything else, but we don't see an association.... but in the case of Hannah Poling...', (the interviewer had not mentioned Hannah).  And that lead into her quote, "Ninty Seven plus percent of children don't have these defects, so, when you look at what the risk and the benefits to children are, and, you really weigh the risks, then the benefits far outweigh the risks that occur."

So ABC DID use the quote correctly and in context.

David Kirby reports:
"I was told [by AAP] that Dr. Jenkins misspoke when she referred to children with “defects.” What she was talking about is the subset of children who have adverse vaccine reactions such as localized pain and swelling, and/or fever."
Jenkins was NOT talking about minor reactions and autism was the subject Autism and Hanna Poling WAS Jenkins reference point.

If Jenkins was misspeaking then that was a pretty out there misstatement.  If someone was asked about about the percentage of people who get brain damage from boxing, how would one rationally include bloody noses in the answer?

I encouraged ABC to follow up on this and help us get a real statement from AAP (or CDC) on what they believe the percentage is for kids who are at risk serious vaccine reaction and autism.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Ninety Seven plus percent of children don't have these defects, so, when you look at what the risk and the benefits to children are, and, you really weigh the risks, then the benefits far outweigh the risks that occur." Dr. Jenkins of the AAP.


How does she define her “risk” and “defect” terms? How does she also quantify that “risk” in relation to “children [that] don’t have these defects?” How does she quantify that “risk” in relation to children that have the “defects?” What data is available to support her “97 plus percent” numbers for children that “don’t have these defects?” How can she “really weigh the risks” if she can’t answer these questions?

No matter what “defect” she was making reference to (either genetic predisposition to an increase in vaccine injury risk or straight out contracting Autism) the end result of her analysis is: She admits that 3% are at a higher risk and that is acceptable because “the benefits far outweigh the risks” - absolutely incredible and irresponsible.

sdtech74

Anonymous said...

Wow, great detective work!!! David Kirby needs to read this.

Anonymous said...

David Kirby was given an explanation by the AAP but Dr. Jenkins should be able to answer these questions herself.

sdtech74

Anonymous said...

Ginger,

Did you try to let David Kirby know about this? It seems that they may have been giving him a bogus explanation. Lame. Great job following up.

sdtech said...

The USEPA uses risk levels of one in a million or one in ten million and then puts in a safety factor of 10 or even 100 when it comes to long term risks of cancer from exposure to a compound. These unfounded statements of the "benefits outweigh the risks" regarding vaccine injuries keep showing up in statements by pediatricians in the press and must be challenged. Dr. Jenkins statement is a prime example.

sdtech said...

This recent newspaper article for example - “…You have to weigh the risk of getting an illness against the benefit of the vaccine. But by far the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risks of not being vaccinated,” she [Dr. Marty Allison] said.” http://www.capjournal.com/
articles/2008/07/29/
news/doc488e9f2e30ab6783990103.txt

sdtech said...

Also the following - "Allison said unreliable sources, such as television shows or the Internet, perpetuate misconceptions, but she said she understands parents’ worries."

sdtech said...

Ginger, please keep up the pressure on “…ABC to follow up on this and help us get a real statement from AAP (or CDC) on what they believe the percentage is for kids who are at risk serious vaccine reaction and autism.”

According to the USEPA Risk Characterization Handbook, EPA 100-B-00-002 December 2000, “EPA usually requires remedial action at locations where the calculated number of excess cancer risks is greater than 1 x 10-4 (one excess cancer case in a population of ten thousand people could potentially occur).” http://www.epa.gov/OSA/spc/pdfs/rchandbk.pdf at page E7.

So calculate a relative risk using the USEPA risk assessment for Superfund sites and use a risk of one excess cancer case in a population of ten thousand people. Assume 1 in 7 is the cancer rate without the offending superfund site. That gives 1428 people with the disease without the additional superfund risk and 1429 people with the disease with the additional risk. The calculated relative risk is 1429/1428 = 1.0007. So a calculated relative risk of 1.0007 or greater requires remediation of the offending site!

According to this manual, even if the calculated risk is one excess cancer in a population of one million people, the USEPA must consider whether to do a remedial action to the site. Then the calculated relative risk is as low as 1.000007!

There appears to be a vast difference in protection standards for children between the USEPA and the CDC.