Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony:  Paul Offit | April 6, 2000

Dr. Paul Offit, fair-skin man with graying short hair and wearing a dark suit, blue shirt and tie.

See testimony here >>

Read full testimony here >>

Dr. Offit. First, I would like to recognize the courage of 
the parents who have testified her today, as well as the two 
grandparents on the committee, including you, Mr. Chairman. As 
I share my testimony, I also deeply share their feelings and 
    My name is Paul Offit. I am pediatrician, and I am also the 
chief of infectious diseases and the Henle professor of 
immunologic and infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital 
of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of 
Medicine. In addition, I am a member of the Advisory Committee 
on Immunization Practices to the CDC. I have 20 years of 
experience in the areas of virology and immunology.
    My role in these proceedings is to explore the theories 
that have arisen due to concerns by the public that autism 
might be caused by the combination of measles, mumps, and 
rubella vaccines known as MMR.
    No evidence exists which proves this association. However, 
three theories have been used to explain it. In the time that I 
have been given, I would like to explain why I think that these 
theories are not valid.
    The first theory is that children who get the measles 
vaccine make an immune response not only to the vaccine, but 
also to their own nervous system. This kind of reaction is 
called autoimmunity. To understand why this theory is invalid, 
we must first understand differences between natural measles 
infection and measles vaccination.
    During natural measles infection, the measles virus 
reproduces itself many times in the body and causes disease. In 
contrast, following measles vaccination, the vaccine virus 
reproduces itself much less and does not cause disease. Because 
more measles proteins are made during natural infection than 
after immunization, the immune response to natural infection is 
greater than the immune response to immunization. If the immune 
response is greater after natural infection, then the 
autoimmune response would also be greater. If this were the 
case, then autoimmunity should occur more frequently after 
natural infection than after vaccination. Or, said another way, 
if measles virus caused autism, then measles vaccination would 
lower, not raise, the incidence of autism.
    The second theory is that the child's immune system is 
simply overwhelmed by seeing three viruses in a vaccine at the 
same time. Some have gone so far as to suggest that it may be 
of benefit to divide the MMR vaccine into three separate 
vaccines. The rationale behind this theory is that children do 
not normally encounter such an assault on their immune system.
    From the birth canal and beyond, infants are confronted by 
a host of different challenges to their immune system. Their 
intestines encounter foreign proteins in milk and formula. 
Their lungs encounter bacteria inhaled on the surface of dust 
in the air. And literally thousands of different bacteria 
immediately start to live on the skin as well as on the lining 
of the nose, throat, and intestines.
    Here is how infants deal with this immediate confrontation 
to their immune system. Babies have a tremendous capacity to 
respond to their environment from the minute they are born. The 
newborn has billions of immunologic cells which are capable of 
responding to millions of different microorganisms. By quickly 
making an immune response to bacteria that live on the surface 
of their intestines, babies keep these bacteria from invading 
their bloodstream and causing serious disease.
    Therefore, the combination of the three vaccines contained 
in MMR, or even the 10 vaccines given in the first 2 years of 
life, is literally a raindrop in the ocean of what infants 
successfully encounter in their environment every day.
    The third theory is that the MMR vaccine is given by an 
unnatural route. The rationale behind this theory is that 
children do not normally encounter viruses or bacteria under 
their skin or in their muscles. But infants and children 
frequently encounter viruses and bacteria in many places 
throughout the body. Our species survives because from the 
minute we are born, we are capable of meeting challenges at all 
    To review, here are the medical facts. First, if autism is 
a consequence of autoimmunity, the incidence of autism would 
have decreased, not increased, after vaccination.
    Second, children from birth are confronted with and manage 
an enormous array of different challenges to their immune 
system at the same time.
    Third, challenges to their immune system occur by a variety 
of routes.
    The parents we have heard testify here today are asking a 
scientific question: Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? 
Questions of science are best answered by scientific studies, 
and the answer to this question is already available. Dr. Brent 
Taylor and his coworkers in London have conducted a large, 
meticulously designed, well-controlled study that disproves an 
association between MMR vaccine and autism. I believe other 
studies will confirm Dr. Taylor's results, because it is 
important to have confirmatory studies.
    What is really at stake here? In the early 1990's, our 
immunization rates against measles dropped only about 10 
percent. Measles outbreaks swept across the country. About 
11,000 people were hospitalized, and 123 died from measles--
died from a disease which is easily and safely prevented by a 
    My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that parents listening to or 
reading about this hearing might incorrectly conclude that 
vaccines cause autism. This is not the case. Vaccines are 
extremely safe and highly effective. I encourage this committee 
to make that fact clear to every parent in America.
    If, as a result of reading about this hearing, some parents 
choose to withhold or delay vaccines for their children, their 
tragedy could be profound. If many parents choose to withhold 
vaccines, the tragedy all across America could be devastating.
    Let us proceed cautiously, carefully, and scientifically.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Burton. Thank you.


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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