A reporter’s notebook: Vaccines. Autism. Let the reader emails fly.

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Veteran health care reporter Maura Lerner of the Star Tribune writes in the paper’s “On The Beat” column in which “reporters open up their notebooks”:

“Stories about autism and vaccines often trigger indignant calls and e-mails.

Still, the reaction was surprisingly intense last week when I wrote a story about the mysterious visit of Andrew Wakefield, the British-born researcher at the heart of the vaccine safety debate.”

Read the whole column.

I like this “On the Beat” feature and wish more journalists would give views from the trenches of daily journalism more often. It might help readers understand the pressures, challenges, obstacles and hard work – something we strive to be cognizant of every day on this blog and in our HealthNewsReview.org reviews.

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Phillipa Rispin

April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I’m surprised that it’s still being called a “debate.” There is no more debate. The paper has been retracted; results of studies disproving the vaccine-autism connection are available.


April 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Yes, we need to move onto more important medical issues like…

Chris Johnson

April 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The backstory to this is the sharp rise in measles cases lately in the Twin Cities. Many of the children are Somali.

Michael Kirsch, MD

April 4, 2011 at 8:26 am

Wakefield, a discredited researcher, recently met with some Somalis in Minnesota, who are suffering from a measles outbreak. Most of the kids were unvaccinated. There is not a shred of scientific evidence that measles, or any vaccine or component, is linked to autism. There is no debate here so we shouldn’t ‘teach the controversy’.


April 8, 2011 at 5:43 am

Whether you like it or not, vaccine injuries are/have been reported about a number of different vaccines. This is why the US government requires there be a vaccine reporting agency. Every practicioner of medicine is required to evaluate the efficacy of these treatment and their innate risks. While Autism may or may not be directly linked to vaccines or vaccine injury may be debated, the fact is that many seizure disorders have been. Thus the warnings on most vaccine information that the CDC requires practicioners to give patients. While Autism and seizures are different, there is a similarity.


April 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

Being a reporter perhaps you could comment on the recent piece on “Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review” by CBS .
Noting new research published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology by researcher Helen Ratajczak who according to the piece was the first mind you the first researcher to look at as the piece notes “….. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them. “…..
Oh well that does not seem to be the story of the day .But perhaps that type of research needs to finally be conducted.

Gary Schwitzer

April 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

Journalist Seth Mnookin has analyzed CBS’ reporting.

Susie Crews

April 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

There will continue to be those who do not trust the studies that have been done so far. When my son changed overnight from a sweet laid-back child to a hyper-active tornado, I had to wonder about the MMR shot he had a few days earlier. No one can explain, to all the mothers who have had their children change this quickly after a shot, why this is happening.