Atlanta: Public Health Capitol

September 18, 2008

At tonight’s Vaccine Dinner Club (c’mon, who where else can you attend such a thing?) the esteemed Bill Foege spoke this evening.  Foege was instrumental in the smallpox eradication program and has served public health in many ways through his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and at the CDC and the Carter Center.

My Vaccines professor swore that he makes you feel like a better person just being in the same room with him and he was right.  He talked about what it was like to help rid the world of smallpox, his work on polio eradication efforts and finally addressed the fiasco that is “the autism/vaccine” debate – all in a completely self-deprecating way…until the end with the autism.  He talked about dramatically changing consent forms for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.  He had some pretty radical ideas about this which I won’t go into here because it misses the point (but I will post a link to the video when it gets posted).  But I wish I’d heard just a little bit about is how to reach the increasing number of parents who are choosing to delay or forebear vaccinations in a positive way.  That one issue notwithstanding (who really does have that answer?)  he was awe-inspiring.

I’ve said it repeatedly – I completely relate to the frustration that parties on both sides of this debacle.  I’m starting to think that the only way to get to the bottom is to focus research (unbiased, scientific, collaborative research) on finding the true cause of Autism.  So in the next few weeks (among other things) I’ll be sifting through the plethora of Autism sites trying to distinguish the misleading from the misguided. Somebody has to do it…who knows, maybe I can get a point added to my Vaccines grade somehow.

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