[back] Dr. Tim Johnson
Letter from Rep. Maloney's Office to Dr. Tim Johnson, GMA
From: O'Shaughnessy, Meghan
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 5:42 PM
Subject: Autism report
Earlier this week on Good Morning America you said that studies of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children showed no difference in autism rates (transcript below). I wanted to call your attention to the fact that no such scientific study has even been done. The only thing that even came close was a phone survey conducted last year by Survey USA and commissioned by Generation Rescue, which showed that vaccinated boys were more than twice as likely to have autism than unvaccinated boys.
There have been studies comparing autism outcomes among children receiving different types of vaccines and different amounts of thimerosal, but not one scientific study of autism outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
My boss, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), has introduced
legislation that would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to
conduct a comprehensive comparative study of vaccinated and unvaccinated
populations, which may resolve the controversy about the possible link
between autism and mercury or other vaccine components:
I just wanted to call your attention to this important information. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you very much for your time,
Well, it's understandable why parents make that connection because their kids get shots and they get Autism at the same ages. But I have to tell you, Diane, every good study that looks at this has found no increased risk from vaccines. They look at kids who get vaccinated and kids who don't. There's no increase in risk for autism among those who get vaccines verses those who don't. The Institute of Medicine, which I think is an impeccably independent body, has looked at all the evidence and said there's no connection. I think that's the truth.
-Dr. Tim Johnson
Good Morning America
February 28, 2008
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
2331 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-7944 (o)
(202) 225-3703 (c)
ABC-TV Good Morning America
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Diane Sawyer interviews Dr. Timothy Johnson
DIANE SAWYER: The CDC says 22 children have already died this flu season, and a federal panel now wants every child under the age of 18 to get a flu vaccine - 60 million. But is there enough vaccine to go around? When is it supposed to begin? Joining us now from our Boston bureau is ABC's medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson. Good morning, Tim. The CDC now currently recommends a flu vaccine for kids between the age of 6 months to 5 years, but they're moving it all the way up to 18 now?
DR. TIM JOHNSON: That's right, initially it has been insistent on the age, as you say, 6 months to 5 years, because those are the age groups, the kids that are more likely to get complications, serious complications or even die from the flu. But in fact the group from 5 to 18 is more likely to get the flu even though it's not going to be as serious. It will keep them home from school, it will disrupt family life, it may spread through their parents and grandparents who may have serious chronic illness problems. So the whole idea is really to eliminate flu from the family so that it doesn't start spreading around.
DIANE SAWYER: Yes, and we've seen the ravages of the flu already this year. Now, this is supposed to start at the end of next year for the 2009 season. Why wait, though? Should you go ahead and do it now, if this is going to be the recommendation?
DR. TIM JOHNSON: Well, the reason for the wait is logistical. They've got to give the companies time to gear up to produce more flu shots. It may be available by next year in larger numbers for this age group. I would say for this year we're almost through the flu season, and the vaccine this year as you know has not been very effective. So I would advise parents personally to wait until next year, when it should be somewhat available.
DIANE SAWYER: But if you're talking about 60 million, will there be enough vaccine even by the end of next year? And how do they cover enough strains of the flu to make it worth it?
DR. TIM JOHNSON: Well, they always pick 3 strains, and this year they didn't guess very well. In previous years they've guessed better. They're gonna replace all 3 for next year's vaccine, so hopefully we'll have better luck. And the companies are being given fair warning, so I think they'll have time to gear up for next year in part at least, and certainly by the following season.
DIANE SAWYER: And I know you want to point out that there are kids at any age who should be getting the flu vaccine just automatically - kids who have asthma, for instance?
DR. TIM JOHNSON: Well, we say that people at any age, kids or adults, who have serious chronic disease like asthma or diabetes, any form of cancer, lung disease, whatever, they should absolutely get the flu shot. We recommend it routinely for people over 50, for health workers, etcetera. In fact, all the recommendations that are now in place would cover about 75% of the population. So there are a lot of people already who we think should get the flu shot.
DIANE SAWYER: And got to raise the question again, because as we know, there is the, the, always the latent fear of some association possibly between vaccines and autism. Your advice?
DR. TIM JOHNSON: Well, it's understandable why parents make that connection because their kids get shots and they get autism at the same ages. But I have to tell you again, Diane, that every good study that's looked at this has found no increased risk from vaccines. They look at kids who get vaccinated, kids who don't, there's no increase in risk for autism among those who get vaccines versus those who don't. The Institute of Medicine, which I think is an impeccably, uh, independent body, has looked at all the evidence and says there's no connection, I think that's the truth.
DIANE SAWYER: All right. Well, Tim, thanks to you, and I want everybody to know that you can log onto ABCNews.com, check out the special cold and flu center and find more of what you need to know. Tim has a great website there, so check it out for your family.