McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?
San Diego, CA, October 27, 2008 - Parents, scientists and clinicians met this weekend in San Diego to discuss the current state of autism research. Organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of voters nationwide, are calling for Senator McCain to state his policy position on vaccine safety publicly and for Senator Obama to officially clarify comments made earlier this fall by noon October 30, 2008 so voters can make a final informed decision for their candidate of choice.
The community gratefully acknowledges the commitment by both Senator Obama and Senator McCain at the last debate to aggressively research the causes of and treatments for autism, a national health crisis affecting at least one in 150 children. However, the community remains concerned about vaccine safety reform. Reform issues include the removal of neurotoxic ingredients in vaccines and alteration of the present vaccination schedule for at risk children.
Emerging evidence in the scientific literature suggest that environmental factors including vaccines, may contribute to autism. The nation is facing a crisis of confidence in the safety of the vaccine program. More and more parents are opting out of the current vaccine schedule which has never been adequately safety tested. The Centers for Disease Control admitted last April that “simultaneous vaccination is incompletely studied at the time of licensure.” (page 33: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/00_pdf/draft_agenda_recommendations_080404.pdf)
In May, Rebecca Estepp of San Diego, who has a vaccine injured child with autism, contacted both campaigns for clarification on their positions with regard to vaccine safety reform. She made a plea for two Executive Orders to be issued within the first one hundred days of entering office including the removal all mercury from all vaccines and a moratorium on the addition of new vaccines to the recommended list for children until the current vaccine schedule can be proven safe.
On October 20th, Estepp received a detailed response from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign, stating that if elected, McCain “will work with all agencies to take all necessary steps in an expedient manner to ensure safe vaccines for every American family.” Further, McCain endorsed parental vaccination choice stating, “The key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves.”
In contrast, Senator Obama never responded to Estepp’s requests for improved vaccine safety, responding to her only with regard to his position on autism. Estepp is disappointed: “I truly wanted responses from both parties and while the concerns of vaccine safety and autism overlap, they are in fact two separate issues. I didn’t ask either candidate for their positions on autism. I asked for vaccine safety improvements on behalf of all children.”
However, earlier this fall, New Jersey parent Claudine Liss attended an Obama fundraiser with the express intent to get answers. After asking similar questions as Estepp, Liss explains, “He looked right at me and said, ‘I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.’” Liss and many others are declining to vaccinate their children using the current CDC-recommended schedule.
New Jersey parents are furious about the first-ever mandated flu shot required for day care and preschool. Seven hundred people rallied in Trenton earlier this month in support of vaccination choice.
Estepp extends a final plea to Senator Obama to clarify his position: “This is a party-neutral issue and many of our parents are waiting to make up their minds. Senator McCain believes parents have a choice in how they vaccinate their children. Senator Obama appears to disagree. I sincerely hope that Senator Obama misspoke that night in New Jersey.” (http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/10/mccain-addresse.html)
Autism Action Network, Autism United, Generation Rescue, Moms Against Mercury, No Mercury, Schafer Autism Report, Talk About Curing Autism, Unlocking Autism and U. S. Autism and Asperger’s Association
For peer reviewed research on the connection between autism and vaccine, please visit: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html
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