Dr. Peter J. Hotez is known as a prescient voice on the issue of tropical diseases, after he predicted the arrival of Zika virus well before it wrought so much havoc last year.
Hotez, head of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, works on developing vaccines for diseases that afflict hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries, such as human hookworm and schistosomiasis.
He also is an unflagging advocate for familiar vaccinations, dispelling myths about the vaccines that have been protecting hundreds of millions of children in this country and worldwide, especially the debunked notion that the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella causes autism. He brings an especially effective and personal voice to the topic because his daughter is autistic; as a father, he worries that the myths about vaccine might weaken our resolve to find the real causes of autism-spectrum disorders. In fact, he is coming out with a new book on the subject, titled "Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism."
In other words, Hotez might well be Texas’ most prominent vaccine hero. So it’s distressing to hear that his hard work to protect children and public health have led to attacks against him.
A report last week by KHOU outlines how Hotez has been targeted for abuse and even threats by vaccine opponents – and that even worse, some of these have been aimed at his daughter.
"The anti-vaccine lobby has really stepped it up, both the frequency of their attacks against me and the tenor of the comments," said Hotez.
The attacks are coming via Twitter, email and phone calls.
"They're more personal, more mean spirited," said Hotez.
You can read the full story here.
Keep up the great work, Dr. Hotez! You have many admirers and supporters in your home state and across the nation.
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