One of Texas' biggest stars in the world of vaccine research and expertise is Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Hotez has devoted himself to developing vaccines against tropical diseases that sicken hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries. He also has been a brave and outspoken expert advocate for vaccination, for which he's actually been threatened.
Hotez brings a unique personal understanding to this issue because his daughter has autism, and this father/scientist knows that vaccination has nothing to do with that diagnosis. The debunked claim from fraudulent and retracted research, that the measles vaccine is associated with autism, has done terrible harm, he has said -- not just by growing the anti-vaccine movement, but by possibly weakening the nation's resolve to get at the true causes of autism.
Now Hotez has come out with a book about vaccination, with a title that delivers a clear and personal message: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism.
He was recently interviewed by Texas Observer about his book. And he voiced particular concerns about Texas, where non-medical exemptions for vaccines required at schools have been creeping up for years.
Unfortunately, I think we’re on a collision course. We’re going to have devastating outbreaks if this continues. I’m particularly worried about measles; it’s the first one you see because it’s so easily transmissible. And it’s the most deadly.
It’s so frustrating because it’s like a train two miles down the track that I can see coming. In California it took a horrific measles outbreak to wake up the Legislature to say “no mas,” and they closed that loophole. I’m afraid that’s what we’re in for in Texas.
It's a terrific interview covering many important points. To read tit in full, go here. And stay tuned to this spot; we've ordered Hotez's book and are looking forward to reading it. We'll report more about it in a few weeks.
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