- In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control recommended
a total of 10 vaccines for our children. In 2007, the CDC recommends 36,
an increase of 260%. Yet, no studies have ever been done to compare neurological
disorder ("ND") rates of unvaccinated children to vaccinated
children. We commissioned a national market research firm to survey more
than 13,000 children in California and Oregon. Read the results here.
- Cal-Oregon Unvaccinated Survey
- "We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon
and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological
disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys." -Generation
Rescue, June 26, 2007
- Generation Rescue commissioned an independent opinion
research firm, SurveyUSA of Verona NJ, to conduct a telephone survey in
nine counties in California and Oregon. Counties were selected by Generation
- Interviews were successfully completed in 11,817 households
with one or more children age 4 to 17. From those 11,817 households, data
on 17,674 children was gathered. Of the 17,674 children inventoried, 991
were described as being completely unvaccinated. For each unvaccinated
child, a health battery was administered.
- Generation Rescue chose to use telephone interviews with
parents to gather data on children, so as to closely mirror the methodology
the CDC uses to establish national prevalence for NDs such as ADHD and
autism through their national phone survey of parent responses. Generation
Rescue chose to focus on children ages 4-17 to match the age range used
by CDC. Are parent responses a reliable indicator of a child's diagnostic
- According to Dr. Laura Schieve, co-author of the CDC's
national phone survey study, in discussing the CDC's two phone surveys
on autism prevalence, "the consistency of prevalence estimates across
the two surveys supports high reliability or reproducibility of parental
report of autism and reliability is one important component of validity."
- SurveyUSA is a well-known national opinion research firm
with unique expertise in canvassing local communities. SurveyUSA has no
vested interest in any outcome this or any survey might produce. You can
see a copy of the questionnaire used in the survey here. The data the survey
intended to capture included:
- - Households with a child or children aged 4-17
- - Whether or not that child had been vaccinated
- - Whether or not that child had any one (or more) of
- diagnosis: ADD, ADHD, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, Autism, Asthma,
or Juvenile Diabetes (the final two of which were added to consider other
- The results of the survey allowed us to compare the prevalence
(what percentage of children have a particular diagnosis) to see if there
was any meaningful difference between unvaccinated and vaccinated children.
- The most common way to measure prevalence differences
is through a calculation known as relative risk or the Risk Ratio, where
we compared prevalence amongst unvaccinated children to prevalence amongst
vaccinated children. So, if 5% of unvaccinated children have asthma, and
10% of vaccinated children have asthma, that represents an "RR"
of 2.0 (10%/5%), or a difference of 100%. We were also able to look at
the data by gender, age, and county.
- SurveyUSA gathered data on 9,175 boys and 8,499 girls.
Counties surveyed in California included:
- San Diego
- Counties surveyed in Oregon included:
- The results of the survey can be accessed as a pdf file
here. This is the primary data we received from SurveyUSA and it can be
used for anyone to independently analyze our results.
- Generation Rescue analyzed the data provided by SurveyUSA,
and a copy of our analysis can be found here. The most notable results
of our survey are with the boys, which is not surprising considering boys
represent approximately 80% of total cases of NDs. Namely:
- All vaccinated boys, compared to unvaccinated boys:
- - Vaccinated boys were 155% more likely to have a neurological
disorder (RR 2.55)
- - Vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have ADHD
- - Vaccinated boys were 61% more likely to have autism
(RR 1.61) Older vaccinated boys, ages 11-17 (about half the boys surveyed),
compared to older unvaccinated boys:
- - Vaccinated boys were 158% more likely to have a neurological
disorder (RR 2.58)
- - Vaccinated boys were 317% more likely to have ADHD
- - Vaccinated boys were 112% more likely to have autism
- (Note: older children may be a more reliable indicator
because many children are not diagnosed until they are 6-8 years old, and
we captured data beginning at age 4.) All vaccinated boys, removing one
county with unusual results (Multnomah, OR), compared to unvaccinated boys:
- - Vaccinated boys were 185% more likely to have a neurological
disorder (RR 2.85)
- - Vaccinated boys were 279% more likely to have ADHD
- - Vaccinated boys were 146% more likely to have autism
- All vaccinated boys and girls, compared to unvaccinated
boys and girls: - Vaccinated boys and girls were 120% more likely to have
asthma (RR 2.20) - No correlation established for juvenile diabetes
- All vaccinated girls, compared to unvaccinated girls:
- - No meaningful differences in prevalence were noted
for NDs (which may be due to the smaller sample size of the study because
girls represent about 20% of cases.)
- Generation Rescue is not representing that our study
proves that the U.S.
- vaccine schedule has caused an epidemic in neurological
disorders amongst our children. We are a small non-profit organization.
For less than $200,000, we were able to complete a study that the CDC,
with an $8 billion a year budget, has been unable or unwilling to do. We
think the results of our survey lend credibility to the urgent need to
do a larger scale study to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children
for neurodevelopmental outcomes.
- It is also the opinion of Generation Rescue that we are
over-vaccinating our children, and we encourage parents to use caution
in how they choose to vaccinate their children, particularly boys. In the
vaccine section of our website, we provide additional detail on vaccines
and vaccinating safely and provide three alternative vaccine schedules
parents may want to consider for their children.
- In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control ("CDC")
recommended a total of 10 vaccines for our children up to the age of 5.
In 2007, the CDC recommends 36, an increase of 260%, or 3.6x. (See a comparison
- During this time period, we have witnessed an epidemic
of childhood neurological disorders ("NDs"). Today, the CDC estimates
that 1 in 13 U.S.
- children has been diagnosed with ADHD and 1 in 150 has
been diagnosed with autism. In the 1980s, ADHD was almost unheard of and
autism was estimated to affect 1 in 10,000 children. Boys are significantly
more affected by NDs, accounting for approximately 80% of all cases.
- Unfortunately, the mainstream media still misreports
that the explosive growth in NDs is the results of "better diagnosis"
despite the considerable published scientific research to refute this position.
As one example, Department of Developmental Services in California, known
for keeping the best autism data in the country, issued this report regarding
the growth of autism rates in California where they stated:
- "There is no evidence that a loosening in the diagnostic
criteria has contributed to increased number of autism clients...we conclude
that some, if not all, of the observed increase represents a true increase
in cases of autism in California...a purely genetic basis for autism does
not fully explain the increasing autism prevalence. Other theories that
attempt to better explain the observed increase in autism cases include
environmental exposures to substances such as mercury; viral exposures;
autoimmune disorders; and childhood vaccinations."
- Many parents blame vaccines for their children's ND,
and many published biological studies seem to support this position, because
vaccines contain ingredients capable of causing neurological damage. Yet,
no studies have ever been done to compare ND rates of unvaccinated children
to vaccinated children. Until now.
- (Note: Neurolological disorders include ADD, ADHD, Asperger's,
PDD-NOS, and Autism.) Brief commentary:
- There is a lot of misreporting that would lead parents
to believe that vaccines have already been scientifically proven to be
unrelated to the epidemic of NDs. This is simply not true.
- - U.S. children have been analyzed to compare those who
received some mercury in their vaccines with those who received more mercury
in their vaccines for the outcome of autism (not ADHD). The conclusion
of the study was neutral, meaning a link could neither be confirmed nor
denied. This study, conducted by the CDC, is the only study ever done using
data of U.S. Children.
- - Children in several European countries have been analyzed
to compare those who received mercury in their shots with those who received
no mercury in their shots for the outcome of autism. The conclusions of
these studies was that no association was found, although these studies
have been disputed. See <http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/>www.putchildrenfirst.org
for more details.
- - Further, in 2006 the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences, at the request of Senator Joseph Lieberman, issued this
report which effectively conceded that both the CDC study of U.S. children
and the "Danish Studies" were of poor study design and not reliable
in determining whether or not Thimerosal causes autism. As this article
from UPI reporter Dan Olmsted noted following the report's release: "For
three years, the CDC has used a study conducted on its own Vaccine Safety
Datalink to reassure parents that mercury in vaccines does not cause autism.
Now a panel of government-appointed experts says there are "serious
problems" with exactly the approach the CDC took." Olmsted interviewed
the Chairperson of the NIEHS Committee who was quoted as
- "It's an 'open question' whether anything about
vaccines -- timing, dose, preservative -- is related to the rise in diagnoses
- Some studies are stronger than others. The Verstraeten
[Pediatrics] study was an improvement on other studies including the two
in Denmark, both of which had serious weaknesses in their designs that
limit what we can learn from them."
- - No studies have ever been done to compare ND rates
of children who received vaccines with those who received no vaccines,
which is what our survey accomplished. Moreover, no studies have ever explored
a link between vaccines and ADHD, despite the fact that 1 in 13 U.S. children
have this diagnosis (versus 1 in 150 for autism).
- - Even the Institute of Medicine, which is often cited
in the media for issuing a 2004 report refuting the relationship between
mercury and autism, held a 2007 workshop on "autism and the environment"
that featured "presentations and discussions on strategies for research
focusing on the potential relationship between autism and an array of environmental
- The glaring absence of a study to compare vaccinated
and unvaccinated children for ND rates caused Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
(D-NY) to introduce this bill to compel the National Institutes of Health
to do such a study.
- Potential Criticisms
- The question of whether or not vaccines have played and
role in the epidemic of neurological disorders is an explosive topic with
many passionate voices on both sides of the debate. Our survey results
will most assuredly be challenged and criticized. Some of the more likely
challenges (and our responses) include:
- Criticism: Parents who do not vaccinate their children
are less likely to seek an ND diagnosis, which explains the difference
in prevalence you found.
- Response: We think the data disproves this, because
we found no meaningful difference in prevalence for NDs between vaccinated
and unvaccinated girls. If this was simply an issue of parent behavior,
the girls would have shown wide discrepancies in prevalence, too, and they
- It's also interesting to consider a study completed
by the CDC and published in Pediatrics, Children Who Have Received No Vaccines:
Who Are They and Where Do They Live? The study noted:
- "Unvaccinated children tended to be white, to have
a mother who was married and had a college degree, to live in a household
with an annual income exceeding $75,000, and to have parents who expressed
concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and indicated that medical doctors
have little influence over vaccination decisions for their children."
- And, it continues:
- "Why do some parents avoid vaccinating their children?
Our results indicate that parents of unvaccinated children are much more
concerned about vaccine safety than are parents whose children receive
Your browser may not support display of this image.1 vaccine dose. In a
survey of parent's beliefs and practices regarding vaccinations and autism,
siblings in families in which there was an autistic child were 3 times
more likely to be unvaccinated, compared with siblings in families in which
there was a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In response
to concerns about the perceived risk of autism resulting from vaccinations,
parents might have avoided having their sons vaccinated at a higher rate
than their daughters, as a result of knowing that they have risk factors
for autism and knowing that the rate of autism is 4 times greater for boys
than for girls."
- Criticism: The ratio of diagnosed to undiagnosed children
in this survey may be too high, indicating a potential response bias.
- Response: The survey does not attempt to newly establish
the prevalence of autism in the general population. The survey attempts
only to shed preliminary light on any relationship between vaccination
status and diagnosis. It is not surprising and not unexpected that parents
with children who have received a diagnosis may have been more willing
to complete the health battery included in this survey than parents of
children who have not been diagnosed. However, that does not make the parents
who did participate in this study likely to lie about, or forget about,
the vaccination status of their children.
- The only way a possible "response bias" in
favor of those households with a diagnosed child would invalidate the results
of this research is if asking about vaccination status of a child independently
produced a bias and that bias interacted with the bias caused by asking
about NDs. For the concern to be valid: somehow, the main group of vaccinated
families would have to be more likely to respond if there was an ND in
the family, without also affecting the response of unvaccinated families
in the same way. While such an interaction is possible, this criticism
can be addressed by further, more elaborate research. Such a potential
interaction does not invalidate this research.
- It's also worth considering that if there was response
bias, we should have received a disproportionate share of our responses
from parents of boys, who represent 80% of NDs, and we did not. Boys were
51.9% of responses and girls were 48.1%. (We hope there was some response
bias, because our numbers show a prevalence of autism of 1 in 43, far higher
than the CDC's reported number of 1 in 150.)
- Criticism: Parent responses is not a reliable way to
gauge either a child's diagnosis or whether or not a child has been vaccinated.
- Response: We would point to our "Methodology"
section above and cite the CDC, who also uses a parent phone survey to
gauge prevalence of NDs in children. We generally mimicked their approach.
- Final Thought
- Why hasn't a larger scale study comparing ND rates of
vaccinated and unvaccinated children already taken place? We don't know.
We credit Dan Olmsted, a reporter for United Press International, with
giving us the idea to do this study. At a press conference in the summer
of 2005, Mr.
- Olmsted had a chance to ask Julie Gerberding, the Director
of the CDC, a simple question. Mr. Olmsted asked:
- "Has the government ever looked at the autism rate
in an unvaccinated U.S.
- population, and if not, why not?"
- Ms. Gerberding's answer:
- "In this country, we have very high levels of vaccination
as you probably know, and I think this year we have record immunization
levels among all of our children, so to (select an unvaccinated group)
that on a population basis would be representative to look at incidence
in that population compared to the other population would be something
that could be done.
- But as we're learning, just trying to look at autism
in a community the size of Atlanta, it's very, very difficult to get an
effective numerator and denominator to get a reliable diagnosis.
- I think those kind of studies could be done and should
be done. You'd have to adjust for the strong genetic component that also
distinguishes, for example, people in Amish communities who may elect not
to be immunized
- (and) also have genetic connectivity that would make
them different from populations that are in other sectors of the United
States. So drawing some conclusions from them would be very difficult.
- I think with reference to the timing of all of this,
good science does take time, and it's part of one of the messages I feel
like I've learned from the feedback that we've gotten from parents groups
this summer (in) struggling with developing a more robust and a faster
research agenda, is let's speed this up. Let's look for the early studies
that could give us at least some hypotheses to test and evaluate and get
information flowing through the research pipeline as quickly as we can.
- So we are committed to doing that, and as I mentioned,
in terms of just measuring the frequency of autism in the population some
pretty big steps have been taken. We're careful not to jump ahead of our
data, but we think we will be able to provide more accurate information
in the next year or so than we've been able to do up to this point. And
I know that is our responsibility.
- We've also benefited from some increased investments
in these areas that have allowed us to do this, and so we thank Congress
and we thank the administration for supporting those investments, not just
at CDC but also at NIH and FDA."
- Is Ms. Gerberding genuinely interested in getting an
answer? We will let the reader decide.
- © GENERATION RESCUE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.