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Letter: Australian chiropractic board has a different view

In a column entitled “Vaccines raise many questions; parents shouldn’t be bullied” (Monitor Opinion page, Aug. 13), Stephanie Foisy Mills strikes back at a writer who admonished her for not vaccinating her children, and she then fills the rest of the column with anti-vaccine rhetoric.

Interestingly, her column appeared just five days after the Chiropractic Board of Australia “ordered practitioners to remove all anti-vaccination material from their websites and clinics” (See chiropracticboard.gov.au, Aug. 8, 2013). The chairman of that board, Dr. Phillip Donato, said, “The Board takes a very strong view of any practitioner who makes unsubstantiated claims about treatment which is not supported within an evidence-based context.”

I strongly suspect that one of these unsubstantiated claims involves the alleged link between vaccines and autism (which Foisy Mills thankfully did not mention). This claim was thoroughly discredited in a special court proceeding, the Autism Omnibus Proceedings, that took place over eight years (July 2002 to August 2010) and ended when a ruling on the final of three test cases was issued. During this very thorough proceeding, all relevant scientific evidence was weighed by three judges. Their conclusion: Vaccines do not cause autism. The entire collection of rulings, updates, etc., arising from the Omnibus Autism Proceeding can be found atuscfc.uscourts.gov/node/2718.

Of particular note in the Hazlehurst ruling was the following: “Ten of 12 co-authors on Dr. (Andrew) Wakefield’s controversial 1998 article in the medical journal The Lancet subsequently retracted their support for the article’s conclusion that there is a potential causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism.” Wakefield is the person whose article really jump-started the “vaccines equal autism” fear, so it is somehow fitting that even this very first spark of “evidence” has turned out to be illusory.

PAUL FEDORCHAK

Gilford

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