Home > Expert Insights, Vaccine Myths > Dr. Ari Brown Comments As Panelist on Dr. Oz Show

Dr. Ari Brown Comments As Panelist on Dr. Oz Show

The following post  has been contributed by Dr. Ari Brown.  The post appeared on Dr. Oz’s blog in response to her experience as a panelist on his show entitled “What Causes Autism?”.

I am thankful, Dr Oz, for the opportunity to participate in your autism show. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and I hoped the show would help educate the public and move the conversation forward.

As a pediatrician who talks with families everyday in my office, I know parents want to know more about both vaccine safety and about autism. I’m also a mom. Like you, I need accurate information to protect my kids as best as I can.

I am concerned that viewers took away a very inaccurate view of vaccines. The most vocal audience members represent a small minority. Most parents of children with autism agree with the scientific evidence and do not believe that vaccines cause autism.

And, an overwhelming number of healthcare providers worldwide do not believe vaccines and autism are linked. What viewers witnessed on the show was far from the norm.

Also, most parents in this country support vaccinations. In fact, 99.4% of American children under 3 years of age are vaccinated.

I base vaccination decisions for my patients and my own children on science, not anecdotes or conspiracy theories. I’m passionate about vaccinations because I watched a child die from chickenpox—a vaccine-preventable illness. I refuse to let another child become a statistic because of hearsay. I’m compassionate towards families whose children have autism, because I have personally walked that road with several patients.

These are the messages that resonate with me, as a parent and a doctor. I hope they will resonate with you.

  1. Multiple studies conducted by academic institutions worldwide—which are not funded by pharmaceutical companies—have shown that vaccines do not play a role in autism. Here are the studies. Vaccine safety concerns have not been ignored. In fact, they have been addressed appropriately.
  2. Delaying or selectively choosing some vaccinations has absolutely no benefit and only risk. It does not prevent autism, but leaves the youngest children vulnerable to serious infections. The diseases that vaccines protect against can cause disabling health problems or death—and they are often the most severe in younger children. They are not minor illnesses. Here are the diseases preventable by vaccination.
  3. The vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control has been studied extensively by the most respected group of experts in their field. The time frame provides the safest, most effective way to give certain vaccines together.
  4. Dr Bob Sears, a panelist on the show who supports a delayed vaccination schedule, has said, “My schedule doesn’t have any research behind it. No one has ever studied a big group of kids using my schedule to determine if it’s safe or if it has any benefits.” (“The Truth about Vaccines and Autism.” iVillage, September 2009). Since that statement, a 2010 study showed that children whose shots were delayed were just as likely to develop autism as those who were vaccinated on time. As one father on the show said so eloquently, the point of delaying shots seems to be just to make parents feel like they are doing something, when in reality, the decision puts their child at risk.
  5. While it was not addressed on the show, the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and its association to autism have been debunked. The scare began with a report in a British medical journal in 1998 that was recently retracted. Over the past decade, researchers dutifully tried to duplicate the findings of that report and no one ever could. The question was asked, and it was answered.
  6. It’s true—today’s children get more shots than we did as kids. Modern medicine now provides protection against twice as many deadly, disabling diseases. That’s a good thing! For instance, there is now protection against three different forms of bacterial meningitis. Infectious diseases are everywhere. No one can predict when a child will be exposed. And, even in the era of modern medicine—when someone becomes infected with a vaccine-preventable disease, it is usually too late or there is nothing to treat the infection. Prevention is key.
  7. Parents, healthcare providers, and researchers all seek answers for autism spectrum disorders. We will be most successful by working together with the same goal–to discover the true causes of autism.

My advice to parents is to examine the scientific evidence for themselves. Your child’s health is too important to base decisions on inaccurate information. Seek reliable sources for medical information. Go to the AAP website and talk to your child’s doctor. As pediatricians, many of whom are parents too, we vaccinate our own children to protect them. We wouldn’t do anything differently for your child.

For more information on autism see this link.

Ari Brown M.D., FAAP

Shot of Prevention would like to thank Dr. Ari Brown for allowing us to share this post. Not only is Dr. Brown an award-winning pediatrician who works full-time in private practice in Austin, Texas, she is a mother to two boys, an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, an expert contributor to WebMD and author of two best-selling parenting books, Baby 411 and Toddler 411.  Her newest book, Expecting 411 is her latest accomplishment in a comprehensive series of great resources for expectant parents. We are grateful for her participation as a panelist on the Dr. Oz show and for all she has done in support of childhood immunizations.

  1. Snoozie
    February 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I would hope that Dr. Oz would invite Dr. Brown and Alison Singer back to discuss vaccine safety. His sensationalism will only serve to line his pockets and put more children at risk of contracting infectious diseases.

    Like

  2. February 20, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I hope Dr. Oz will do the right thing and devote an ENTIRE show to the subject of autism in which Dr. Brown and Alison Singer can return to further discuss vaccines and their role in public health. I was quite disappointed in the first show and found it to be quite lacking in dialogue and substance.

    Like

  3. Steve Michaels
    February 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    “I am concerned that viewers took away a very inaccurate view of vaccines. The most vocal audience members represent a small minority. Most parents of children with autism agree with the scientific evidence and do not believe that vaccines cause autism.” An interesting comment given that the previous blog entry specifically states the most parents don’t blame vaccines for autism. Something doesn’t ring true here. Add to that this comment:

    “Also, most parents in this country support vaccinations. In fact, 99.4% of American children under 3 years of age are vaccinated.
    I base vaccination decisions for my patients and my own children on science, not anecdotes or conspiracy theories. I’m passionate about vaccinations because I watched a child die from chickenpox—a vaccine-preventable illness. I refuse to let another child become a statistic because of hearsay.”

    Dr. Ari must be on REALLY unlucky doctor. Anyone bother to see how many deaths result from chick pox? I did. Up to 100 per year. And how many of those are children? 50. The other 50 are adults. That is in view of the fact that only 5% of chicken pox cases are in adults yet 50% of deaths are in adults. That is out of an estimated 800,000 total cases. So roughly 760,000 cases of chicken pox in children an 50 deaths or 0.062 deaths per 1000 cases and Dr. Ari finds one. Wow!

    Maybe the vaccine works, in fact, in this case it probably does. But the question is, at what cost?’

    “Adverse reactions in recipients of the chickenpox vaccine occurred at a rate of 67.5 reports per 100,000 doses sold. Approximately four percent of reports described “serious” adverse reactions.”
    http://www.thinktwice.com/cpox.htm

    We could prevent ALL road deaths by banning driving but this is not considered a reasonable trade off. So why do we accept adverse reaction rates that are 10 times the actual risk rate of the disease itself? Especially when the source, VAERS openly admits that adverse reaction rates are under-reported by up to 90%, meaning the adverse reaction rates may be as much as 100 times the actual risk of the disease itself.

    Another quick question… Why does everyone on here get so defensive and aggressive when someone like me disagrees with them if Dr. Ari’s assertion that 99.4% of children are vaccinated? If the rates really are that high, then the pro-vaccine battle is won. But nobody on here seems to look at it that way… Things that make you go ‘hmmm’.

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  4. Ross Coe
    February 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    These Doctors are slick. Don’t buy a used car from them. They love to monopolize the debate and ignore all that opposes them. They are Bernie Maddox clones who are heartless, greedy and sociopathic. The show made sure it put another fork in the Wakefield crucifixion and they forgot to tell viewers about the digestive issues these children have that support what Wakefiels found. They circled the wagons and went into damage control. They lied their butts off as usual.

    Like

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  1. February 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

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