“Livid” is how Meghan May, an associate professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of New England College of Medicine, is feeling after an article on vaccines by a physician from Cleveland Clinic appeared online.
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She’s not alone.
The internet erupted Friday after a blog post appeared on cleveland.com by Dr. Daniel Neides, a family doctor as well as the director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
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He supported a claim that has long been discredited by researchers — that preservatives and other ingredients in vaccines are dangerous and are likely behind the increase in diagnosed cases of neurological diseases such as autism.
‘Some of the vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of childhood communicable diseases, like meningitis and pneumonia,” Neides wrote. ‘That is great news. But not at the expense of neurologic diseases like autism and ADHD increasing at alarming rates.”
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He went on to state that he doesn’t know if the vaccine burden causes autism. But he said he believes that “newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES.”
Officials with Cleveland Clinic quickly did what they could to distance themselves from the opinion, which was never approved by them.
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‘Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine,” the hospital said in a release on Sunday. “Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
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Neides released his own statement on Sunday: “I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community. I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them.”
Others like May, meanwhile, believe the damage has been done and are quickly working to correct what they believe are not only false but dangerous and “wildly irresponsible” comments.
‘Several of his points are demonstrably false, and this is one of my biggest sources of frustration,” May told LifeZette. ‘This man is not qualified to assert the things that he asserted, and he does not appear to recognize that. Instead, he threw a temper tantrum filled with trigger words (‘chemicals!’ ‘big business!’) that has the potential to undo a lot of progress that has been made in attempting to openly converse with those holding concerns about vaccine safety.”
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Vaccines, on a global scale, can be — and have been — life-saving. May, who has two sons, wouldn’t put her own children in harm’s way if she felt there were any risk.
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“I was trained at a center for vaccine research and further trained at an institute for emerging pathogens. This is my expertise, and I have spent decades building it,” said May. “I am also a mother of two sons. Both have been fully vaccinated with all required immunizations, including seasonal flu shots. I hope that people could recognize that I would never expose my own children to something that I had any suspicion about the safety of. So, simply put: No, I don’t have any concerns about their safety, and I have a very vivid way of proving that statement to be true.”
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