Monday, October 11, 2010

Dr. Bob Sears and Fox Friends

On Saturday, 2 October 2010, Dr. Bob Sears appeared on Fox Friends with Fox News Anchor, Alisyn Camerota (AC) .  Ms. Camerota begins the segment with the question:
AC:  Is there a connection between vaccines and autism?  Thousands of families with autistic kids think there is.  But the Centers for Disease Control has always maintained that no research supports a link.  Now one famous paediatrician has written a book about vaccines who charges the government's studies on vaccines is woefully inadequate.
Ms. Camerota introduces Dr. Bob Sears (BS), author of The Vaccine Book, which was published three years ago. 
AC:  The government says they have studied vaccines and they do not cause autism.  But has the government ever studied the amount of vaccines that our children get in 1 sitting?
BS:  That is what me and my colleagues at SafeMinds are a little worried about...there is a CDC report that says that usually simultaneous vaccination has not been completely studied for safety and that's what we're worried about.  Babies get as many as 6 or 7 vaccines altogether...and the CDC is admitting that they aren't always researched that way.  The prime example is the flu vaccine.  They've researched the flu vaccine in great detail when given alone, but the CDC has never researched it when given in conjunction with all the other shots...and that's what we're worried about.
Interestingly, SafeMinds is a notorious anti-vaccine organisation, also known as the 'mercury militia', that maintains that autism is caused by thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines that contains ethylmercury.  However, mercury toxicity does not resemble autism, and autism rates around the world have been increasing in spite of thimerosal removal from paediatric vaccines and immunoglobulins starting in 1999 in the U.S. and even years earlier in other countries.  SafeMinds rejects any studies that demonstrate that thimerosal does not contribute to neurological disorders, even going so far as to storm off a study team, in a huff, the day the results were announced and not to their liking.

Dr. Bob alludes to some CDC report that states that simultaneous vaccination has not been completely studied for safety yet doesn't provide any further information about this.  However, the CDC information regarding simultaneous vaccination does not support what Dr. Bob claims.  For instance, from the CDC's Vaccine Safety Page:

Is simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccinations safe? Wouldn't it be safer to separate combination vaccines and spread them out, vaccinating against just one disease at a time?

The available scientific data show that simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effect on the normal childhood immune system. A number of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines simultaneously. These studies have shown that the recommended vaccines are as effective in combination as they are individually, and that such combinations carry no greater risk for adverse side effects. Consequently, both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended simultaneous administration of all routine childhood vaccines when appropriate. Research is underway to find methods to combine more antigens in a single vaccine injection (for example, MMR and chickenpox). This will provide all the advantages of the individual vaccines, but will require fewer shots.
Another advantage is that combination vaccines result in fewer shots and less discomfort for children. In addition, spreading out the administration of separate vaccines may leave children unnecessarily vulnerable to disease.
Dr. Bob mentions that influenza vaccine has not been tested with the childhood schedule as the 'prime example', when, in fact, it's the only example.  Vaccine safety studies are addressed later.  Ms. Camerota continues:
AC:  Let me show (CDC Infant Vaccine Schedule) our viewers how many different vaccines some children can get in one sitting.  At two months they get five or six, same at four months.  At six months they get tons!  At 12 months they get up to six, at 15 months they get up to six.  Why isn't the CDC looking at these combinations?
BS:  (Nodding in agreement and not providing any corrections to these assertions.)  Well I think the CDC is just assuming that they are safe.  Because there is no real evidence that they causes [sic] any harm...But I would like to see more research on it and I think that parents want to be confident in vaccines.  And as a paediatrician, I give vaccines in my office every day.  But I want to know that these large combinations are safe.  And what I do as a paediatrician, is I spread the vaccines out.  I give no more than two vaccines at a time to any babies in my office.  It takes longer to vaccinate them that way but I think it's a safer way to go.
Here is the CDC Infant Schedule:
There are not 'tons' of vaccines at six months; actually the same at two and four months and as a matter of course, three or four at 12 months and two or three at 15-18 months.  Dr. Bob not only spreads these out but omits some as well, and not necessarily ones that can or should be omitted and not some that should be as delayed as he has them.  He also eschews combination vaccines which reduce the number of jabs and vaccine constituents, while getting infants protected more timely than his recommendations.  Here are his evidence-free justifications for his recommendations:
  • By only giving two vaccines at a time (instead of as many as 6), I decrease the chance of chemical overload from grouping so many vaccines chemicals all together at once. This allows a baby's body to better detoxify the chemicals one or two at a time.
  • I give only 1 aluminum-containing vaccine at a time (instead of the recommended 4). Overloading on this metal can be particularly toxic to the brain (See Resources, page 250 of The Vaccine Book to view the research on this).
  • I give only one live-virus vaccine component at a time to allow the body's immune system to better handle the live viruses in these vaccines.
  • Giving fewer shots at a time may decrease the side effects, in my experience.
  • Giving fewer shots at a time also makes it easier to figure out which vaccine a child is reacting to if a severe reaction occurs.
Since Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. John Snyder have already critiqued Dr. Bob's schedules, I don't feel compelled to reiterate their reviews.  However, it does bear repeating that Dr. Bob's schedules have not been tested for safety and efficacy; he merely assumes that his recommendations are better because he has set up numerous faulty assertions that the CDC schedule is bad.  He cannot say that his schedules are safer because he has never put them through the rigours of testing, namely, do they protect infants from vaccine preventable diseases that they would otherwise not have and do his schedules prevent all of the bogey-man disorders that he claims fully vaccinating do or may cause?  He has done nothing to alleviate the fears and concerns that parents have since his book is rife with dubious studies that only serve to incite parental concerns and fears about vaccinating.

Dr. Sears creates controversy surrounding vaccine excipients where there really isn't any, by either misinterpreting or omitting relevant scientific literature.  It is a shame that Dr. Bob has chosen to pander to anti-vaccine rhetoric, for the premise of his book seemed appropriately timely, however his execution was sophomoric and clearly intended to further his own agenda and biases.  Ms. Camerota continues:
AC:  It's interesting that you say that because the CDC in part says that they have combined all these vaccines because parents have clamoured for that...parents say, we don't want to have to keep bringing our kids in every two months and giving them different shots, let's just get it all over with.  So perhaps they have acquiesced to parents desires but in a dangerous way.
BS:  Right, you know 20, 30 years ago we only gave babies two vaccines at a time with a total of about eight injections throughout their childhood.  Now we give babies six or seven vaccines each time and over 50 injections spread throughout their childhood.  So I think parents would rather go the extra mile and and [sic] spread the vaccines out cause [sic] I think parents feel like their babies are being overloaded.
Thirty years ago, infants and children received five DTP, four OPV and one MMR.  The U.S. also had about 20,000 Haemophilus influenzae b (HIb) cases in children annually with about 1,000 deaths each year and approximately 16,000 cases of hepatitis b infection in children less than 10 years old each year.  Twenty years ago, infants and children received 18 vaccinations with four given at visits for two, four, and six month olds, three or four given at 12 -18 months old and three given from four to six years old.  They were DTP, Hib, Hep B, OPV and MMR.  There had also been a huge resurgence of measles during that time with more than 55,000 cases and at least 259 deaths.

Today, children are receiving about 30 vaccines by six years old and three of those are not injections, 36 if parents diligently vaccinate their children for influenza, which are actually very few,  less than 30% most years.  So it is very difficult to determine how Dr. Bob calculated 50 injections, however, his own recommendation to split MMR up into six as opposed to two injections would get children closer to that.

But onto his argument that vaccines have not been tested together.  I don't know how he can make this statement when a quick and easy review of the literature reveals quite the opposite.  There are numerous studies that examine the safety and efficacy of new vaccines with existing ones, for example:
Hexavac with Hepatitis A
Hexavalent vaccine with Rotateq
DTaP with Hib
PCV-13 with all infant vaccines
MMR and Varicella
PCV-7 with MMR, Hib and Varicella
Pediarix with Hib and Infanrix-hexa
New Hib with all infant vaccines
MMR with Varicella
MMR-V with Hib-HepB
MMR-V with all infant vaccines
Meningococcal-C with Hep B and Pentacel
Pentacel with PCV-7
This is not, by far, an exhaustive list.  Additionally, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) exist to monitor vaccine safety after licensure.   Dr. Bob promotes himself as a vaccine expert yet continues to omit relevant facts.  There are valid criticisms of vaccines and policy that are supported by the scientific literature but  Dr. Bob chooses to raise the spectre of misinformation that he has the solution for. 
AC:  Certainly if they're educated, I think you're right about that.  We asked the CDC for their response to that fact that you say their research has been woefully inadequate, here is their response to us:
 "Vaccination is the single most important step parents can take to protect their children from life threatening diseases which once killed thousands of children each year.  Scientific data from years and years of research show that vaccines are safe and effective.  Vaccines do not overload the immune system.  Vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens that babies encounter in their environment every day.  We do know that delaying vaccines puts children at known risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable diseases."
- Tom Skinner, CDC Spokesperson, 1 October 2010
BS:  Well I agree with most of that, especially you don't want to delay vaccines for very serious diseases like meningitis or whooping cough.  However I think the CDC's argument about the thousands of germs that we can tolerate every day...I think that's scientifically invalid because I think they are talking about germs that we inhale, or germs that we swallow.  Those germs are exposed to our immune system in a natural way, in our intestines and our respiratory passages, our immune system processes those germs.  But when you inject germs directly into the body you by-pass the immune system completely and internal part, the bloodstream immune system has to see the germs and attack them, it's a very unnatural type of germ exposure.
It appears as though Dr. Bob has attended the 'Jenny McCarthy School of Immunology' .  His statements regarding 'natural' versus vaccine immune responses invoke one of the most erroneous and overused canards of anti-vaccinationists.  I can't quite parse what Dr. Bob is saying because his description of immunity isn't corroborated by anything known about how the immune system works.  How could he possibly explain an immune response to antigens (or germs as he puts it) that are introduced 'directly into our bodies' via cuts or insect vectors?  Is this also 'unnatural'?  He also seems to believe that this 'natural way' is completely infallible and compartmentalised such that pathogens cannot breech this.  So how does he explain the fact that pathogens have adapted to evade our innate immune system and requiring our adaptive immunity (perhaps what he is referring to as 'bloodstream immune system') creating antibodies to rid ourselves of them?

Vaccination does by-pass some front line non-specific immune defences, but certainly don't 'by-pass the immune system completely', for if they did, we wouldn't produce antibodies and immune memory defences against pathogens when we encounter them.  The whole point of vaccination is to 'teach' our immune system how to deal with the real thing, by using parts of bacteria or inactivated or attenuated viruses.  And they work!  Which shouldn't be the case according to Dr. Bob's primer on the immune system.  It takes quite a bit of knowledge on a topic to be able to reduce complex concepts down to a few sound bites.  So Dr. Bob's conjecture about vaccine versus natural immunity is the chasmic difference between dumbing something down and just sounding dumb. 
AC:  The CDC also said that they have done lots of's interesting because they, they CDC has long cited 2 studies done by these Danish researchers that show that mercury in vaccines does not cause autism.  Well now the lead researcher is being investigated.  Why?
BS:  Right, he was kind of double-dipping so to speak.  He was taking money from the CDC to do this research, he was also under salary from the Danish Universities [sic] and that was against his contract and apparently that went against the rules and now, according to Danish newspapers, he has skipped town with 2 million dollars worth of Danish research money and that sort of calls into question the validity of his research.
Let's take a look at those publications first:
Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M. A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.

Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB. Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.

Notice the dates of publication and the order of the authors.  Ms. Camerota and Dr. Bob have referred to the lead author which is Dr. Madsen for both, well he isn't the author in question.  That would be Dr. Poul Thorsen, the sixth and fourth author, respectively.  Respectful Insolence has explained this relevance in great detail, but an author that far down on the list has not made a very significant contribution.  In fact, Dr.s Madsen and Melbye, the senior authors of the studies released a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer several months ago regarding Dr. Thorsen's involvement:
"Poul Thorsen had absolutely no influence on the conclusions regarding this paper," wrote Mads Melbye, head of the division of epidemiology at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen and senior author of the study, in response to e-mailed questions.
"Thorsen was not actively involved in the analysis and interpretation of the results of this paper," Melbye said.
The second study, published in Pediatrics in 2003, examined 956 Danish children diagnosed with autism from 1971 to 2000. It concluded the incidence of autism increased in Denmark after thimerosal was removed from vaccines.
Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen, the lead author, said Thorsen played a minor role.
"Dr. Thorsen was not in a position to change or compromise the data," Madsen wrote. "Dr. Thorsen was part of the review cycle, but never very active in giving input. Dr. Thorsen never had access to the raw data nor the analysis of the data."
As for the dates, the studies were published in 2002 and 2003 but Dr. Thorsen's resignation under dubious circumstances did not occur until March, 2009.  Furthermore, the grant money in question was not part of the 2 studies in question at all, but rather part of a cooperative between the US National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities,CDC and Odense and Aarhus Universities.  And absolutely nothing at all questionable about that; it was the discovery of forged documents by (allegedly) Dr. Thorsen that may constitute fraud.  Apparently, Dr. Thorsen held a full-time post at Emory University, Georgia, USA while still employed by Aarhus University in Copenhagen, Denmark and that is what comprised of his 'double-dipping', not a grant from the CDC as Dr. Bob stated.  Dr. Thorsen is not missing as he continues to publish studies.  We don't know what the funding irregularity was but we do know it has nothing to do with the 2002 and 2003 studies and we do know that Dr. Thorsen's involvement with those studies is being inflated to extremes for the purpose of disparaging them.  It is as though Dr. Bob read the Huffington Post and Age of Autism, didn't bother to ask himself if it made sense, didn't do a little fact-checking and merely parroted extremely questionable sources. 

But Dr. Bob acts as though these 2 studies were the lynch pins for  exonerating vaccines in the role of autism.  Even if we were to dismiss these studies, Dr. Bob completely ignores the numerous other studies by other investigators, in numerous countries that replicate Madsen et al.'s research and then some.  A hat tip to Chris (comment #63) for putting this list together (I have added some recent studies) Addendum 04.18.11 added more studies:

Lack of Association Between Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination and Autism in Children: A Case-Control Study.
Budzyn D, et al.
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
Subjects: 96 children with autism, ages 2 to 15, as well as 192 children in a control group. For children diagnosed before a diagnosis of autism, the autism risk was lower in children who received MMR vaccine than in nonvaccinated children. A similar result was achieved for the single-antigen measles vaccine.

U.S. Court of Federal Claims decision in Omnibus Autism Proceeding
On Feb. 12, 2009, the “vaccine court” ruled in three test cases on the theory that MMR vaccine and the vaccine preservative thimerosal are linked to autism. The court found the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to this theory.

Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
Hornig M et al.
PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
*Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Baird G et al.
Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
Uchiyama T et al.
J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
*Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
(Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
D’Souza Y et al.
Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
*Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
Doja A, Roberts W.
Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
*Literature review

Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
Fombonne E et al.
Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
*Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

Is There a ‘Regressive Phenotype’ of Autism Spectrum Disorder Associated with the Measles Mumps-Rubella Vaccine? ACPEA Study
Richler et al.
J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 Apr;36(3):299-316.
Subjects: A multi-site study of 351 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and 31 typically developing children used caregiver interviews to describe the children’s early acquisition and loss of social-communication milestones. No evidence that onset of autistic symptoms or of regression was related to measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.

No Effect of MMR Withdrawal on the Incidence of Autism: a Total Population Study.
Honda H, et al.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.
Subjects: Study examined incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to age 7 for children born between 1988 and 1996 in Yokohama, Japan. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination rate in Yokohama declined significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988-92, and no MMR vaccines were administered in 1993 or thereafter. In contrast, cumulative incidence of ASD up to age 7 increased significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1996 and most notably rose dramatically beginning with the birth cohort of 1993.

Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
Klein KC, Diehl EB.
Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
*Literature review of 10 studies

Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
The National Academies Press: 2004
( *Literature review

MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
Smeeth L et al.
Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
*Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
*Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

No Evidence for Links Between Autism, MMR and Measles Virus.
Chen W, et al.
Psychol Med. 2004 Apr;34(3):543-53.
Subjects: Study compared 2,407 persons with autism born between 1959 and 1993; to 4,640 Down syndrome subjects born between 1966 and 1993. No increased risk of autism was found following exposures to wild measles and vaccinations with monovalent measles, and Urabe or Jeryl-Lynn variants of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
Lingam R et al.
Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
*Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
Makela A et al.
Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
*Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
Madsen KM et al.
N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
*Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
Black C et al.
BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
*Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
Taylor B et al.
BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
*Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
Fombonne E et al.
Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
*Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
Davis RL et al.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
*Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
Dales L et al.
JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
*Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
Kaye JA et al.
BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
*Subjects: 305 children with autism

MMR and Autism: Further Evidence Against a Causal Association.
Farrington CP, et al.
Vaccine. 2001 Jun 14;19(27):3632-5.
Subjects: Data from an earlier measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine study (Taylor et al, 2000) were reanalyzed to test a second hypothesis. Results provide further evidence against a causal association between MMR vaccination and autism.

Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
Afzal MA, et al.
J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
*Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
Taylor B et al.
Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
*Subjects: 498 children with autism

Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
Afzal MA et al.
J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
*Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
Peltola H et al.
Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
*Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
Nielsen LL et al.
BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
*Subjects: 472 women with measles

Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
Liu Y et al.
Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
*Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D'Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
Baker JP
American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California's Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
Schechter R, Grether JK
Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
Goodman MJ, Nordin J
Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
Bigham M, Copes R
Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
Clements CJ
Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

The Toxicology of Mercury--Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism
Price CS, Thompson WW, Goodson B, Weintraub ES, Croen LA, Hinrichsen VL, Marcy M, Robertson A, Eriksen E, Lewis E, Bernal P, Shay D, Davis RL, DeStefano F Pediatrics, October, 2010, Vol. 126(4): 656-664

On-time Vaccine Receipt in the First Year Does Not Adversely Affect Neuropsychological Outcomes
Smith MJ and Woods CR
Pediatrics, June, 2010, Vol. 125 (6):1134-1141

This is, obviously, a lot of reading to do but considering the totality of evidence it is the responsible tact to take when advising the public about vaccine issues.  There are concerns and criticisms regarding the CDC vaccine schedule, but they are rather mundane when compared to the misleading and downright false conjectures that self-proclaimed experts would have us believe.  There seems to be an anti-intellectual movement afoot but with the taskmasters absurdly co-opting the esteem of education and credentials to propagate it.

It is encouraging to see that this interview was done by Fox News since they are renowned for their unapologetic biases and don't even bother to offer up any pretence of presenting a fair balance of issues.  An appearance on Fox News is akin to has-been and never-were celebrities breathing their last gasp on Dancing With the Stars.  It signifies the downward spiral of the anti-intellectual, anti-vaccine movement.  And that is a good thing.

Addendum (16 October 2010):  Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. has weighed in on Dr. Bob Sears' Vaccine Book and appearance on Fox News.