2002-08-24 / Letters

Irresponsible Medical Advice

Dear Editor;
Irresponsible Medical Advice

Irresponsible Medical Advice

Dear Editor;

I was quite shocked to read an article by Dr. Nancy Gahles in last week's edition. In the article Dr. Gahles, a chiropractor, states that the Haemophilus Influenza type b (Hib) vaccine has been "proven" to cause Diabetes Mellitus in vaccine recipients. Her conclusion is based on a study done in Utah. One study does not a conclusion make. She does not mention the hundreds if not thousands of articles and studies that were done leading up to the release and FDA approval of the vaccine and its subsequent use.

For the record, Hib is the most common cause of meningitis in children 2 months to 2 years of age. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine in 1991 there were 10,000 cases of Hib meningitis in the U.S. per year. In countries where the vaccine is not given there are 20 - 50 cases of meningitis per 100,000 children per year (again aged 6 months - 2 years).

Certainly the data from the Utah study and other studies will be used by the FDA and the CDC to assess the safety of the vaccine; however, the vaccine's effectiveness speaks for itself.

It is irresponsible for a healthcare professional to advise people in a public forum like The Wave to avoid vaccinating their children and to let the children's immune system "flex their muscles." Perhaps Dr. Gahles has some specialty training in pediatrics and immunology over and above chiropractic training. As an analogy, I am Board Certified in Internal Medicine and I specialize in adult medicine. I would no more consider writing an expert article on pediatric vaccines than I would an article about chiropractic manipulation.

I agree with Dr. Gahles' advice to a ask questions and consult the literature. Parents may use sources such as The National Immunization Information Hotline at (800)-232-2522, Internet: http://www.ashastd.org or The American Academy of pediatrics at (888)-227-1770, Internet: http://www.aap.org. I also advise parents to speak to their physician and ask questions. The New York State Health Department mandates that a Vaccine Information Statement be given to the parent or guardian for every childhood vaccine administered.

I suggest to the editors of The Wave that they more carefully screen the contents of articles submitted for publication. After all, the editors may be held responsible for the contents of such articles.

PETER GALVIN, M.D.


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