October 30, 2018
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Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism

My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad

In 1994, Peter J. Hotez's nineteen-month-old daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases affecting the world's poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their inescapable narrative around childhood vaccines and autism. The alleged link between the two was first espoused in a fraudulent scientific paper, long since retracted, but the story shows no signs of letting up. As a result, we've seen deadly and disabling outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the country, and Texas, where Hotez lives, is at particular risk.

In Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism, Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. Outlining the arguments on both sides of the debate, he examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC, and critiques the scientific community's failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public, all while sharing his very personal story of raising a now-adult daughter with autism.

A uniquely authoritative account, this important book persuasively provides evidence for the genetic basis of autism and illustrates how the neurodevelopmental pathways of autism are under way before birth. Dr. Hotez reminds readers of the many victories of vaccines over disease while warning about the growing dangers of the anti-vaccine movement, especially in the United States and Europe. A former US Science Envoy for the Department of State, he also explains what's at stake if the movement continues to gain ground. Opening with a foreword by leading medical ethicist Arthur L. Caplan, this book is a must-read for parent groups, child advocates, teachers, health-care providers, government policymakers, health and science policy experts, and anyone caring for a family member or friend with autism.

"When Peter Hotez—an erudite, highly trained scientist who is a true hero for his work in saving the world's poor and downtrodden—shares his knowledge and clinical insights along with his parental experience, when his beliefs in the value of what he does are put to the test of a life guiding his own child's challenges, then you must pay attention. You should. This book brings to an end the link between autism and vaccination."—from the foreword by Arthur L. Caplan, NYU School of Medicine

About the Authors

Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, is the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics and the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine. He is the author of Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth.


"... Hotez isn't pulling any punches."

- Foreword Reviews

"Recommended for popular science readers looking to refute the antivaccination debate as well as readers interested in children's public health."

- Library Journal


"Drawing on his substantial professional experience with vaccine development and evaluation, as well as his personal experiences with his autistic child and his commitment to applying the principles of 'Science Tikkun' to improve public knowledge about complex medical issues, Dr. Hotez speaks effectively and simultaneously to parents, medical and public health authorities, and proponents of the anti-vaccine movement."

- Rodney Hoff, University of Washington School of Public Health

"Compelling! Fascinating! Engaging! A must-read! This courageous book, by one of the world’s leading physician-scientists, is about vaccines, autism, and the very personal impact of having an autistic child on the author, his family, and his career."

- Eugene D. Shapiro, MD, Yale University

"A truly marvelous book—Peter Hotez deftly intertwines his dual perspectives as a father and a researcher to focus on vaccinations and autism. Despite the general scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism, many parents unwisely opt out of vaccinations, raising long-term risks for their children and others. This book comes at a critically important time and addresses the issues in a personal and engaging way."

- Fred R. Volkmar, MD, Yale University School of Medicine

"Dr. Hotez weaves together a compelling, touching, sometimes funny personal story, a fascinating tale of a career devoted to helping the vulnerable and saving lives, and a clear, accessible explanation of how science shows that vaccines don't cause autism. It is a powerful combination on a crucially important topic."

- Dorit R. Reiss, UC Hastings College of the Law

"Peter Hotez has written a timely book showing the science community how to overcome decades of avoidance and truly engage the public—in the process minimizing the impact of anti-science groups—to help ensure that science can continue its dedication to finding the solutions to what ails us."

- Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America

"A uniquely authoritative account... This book is a must-read for parent groups, child advocates, teachers, health-care providers, government policymakers, health and science policy experts, and anyone caring for a family member or friend with autism."

- Precision Vaccinations

"Peter Hotez has 2 words for his fellow scientists: Speak up... [Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism] seeks to clear some people's muddied perspectives on autism and vaccines while also sharing his journey with his daughter Rachel."

- Global Health NOW

"A tour de force in the field. I have read many book on vaccines and vaccine policies and this one stands out among all of them. Perhaps it is the way Dr. Hotez seamlessly weaves in his and his family's experiences with Rachel's autism. He covers the diagnosis, the daily trials and tribulations, the frustrations, and the successes... I can't recommend this book enough and hope it has a wide audience of physicians, parents, students, and policy makers."

- Dr. Amesh Adalja - Tracking Zebra

"Dr. Hotez's third published book combines the deeply personal story of his experiences as the father of a child with autism and his equally intimate and detailed knowledge of both vaccine science and what's now known about what does (and does not) cause autism. As a scientist whose research focuses on developing vaccines against an array of devastating tropical diseases that overwhelmingly effect the world's poor, and as one both capable and willing to inform others in terms understandable to the general public, his viewpoint is by equal degrees credible and vitally important... This is a well-reasoned and reasonable book; a well-structured and convincing defense of true science in the age of fake news and rampant pseudoscience."


"In the era of 'fake news', we need to encourage Hotez's kind of scientific engagement... Scientists are not part of our national discourse on many issues, even on issues directly relating to their expertise. That needs to change. Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism is Hotez's shot across the bow, directly aimed at the non-scientific public. Hopefully, it's a shot that will be heard around the world."

- Rabbi David Shabtai, MD - Spectator USA

9781421426600 : vaccines-did-not-cause-rachels-autism-hotez-caplan
240 Pages
$22.95 USD

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