Institute of Medicine

Institute of Medicine Transcript Verbatim February 2004

DR. MCCORMICK: Good morning. As chair of this study, I would like to welcome you to this meeting of the Immunization Safety Review Committee. This project is sponsored by CDC and NIH as a means to help them address vaccine safety concerns. The official charge to the committee is included in the handouts you have received. I am joined by the committee members, who are sitting in the first two rows in the audience.

This meeting is the ninth in a series of meetings of over three-plus years that focus on the hypothesized relationship between an adverse event and a vaccine. Today’s meeting will focus on vaccines and their potential link to autism.

View/Download PDF

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) constitute a major public health problem, affecting one in every 150 children and their families. Unfortunately, there is little understanding of the causes of ASD, and, despite their broad societal impact, many people believe that the overall research program for autism is incomplete, particularly as it relates to the role of environmental factors. One reason for that may well be that there have been relatively few occasions that have brought together all the key stakeholders⎯scientists, clinicians, parents of autistic children, patient advocates, and major sponsors of autism-related research⎯to engage in a full discussion of autism causality and scientific research priorities.

Good morning. I appreciate the opportunity to address you again. I continue to be guided by a strong desire to get at the truth in these matters and I believe passionately that we need to protect the integrity of our national vaccine programs. In my clinical practice I dispensed thousands of vaccines. I know that tremendous benefits to humanity of vaccines, and the risks associated with an undermined confidence in vaccines.

However, I continue to be the focus of a great number of phone calls and inquiries from parents, scientists, autism interest groups, and more recently members of the media. All are seeking information and answers to the questions before you. I am very disturbed by the continued number of reports I receive from researchers.