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Dan Burton on Vaccines and Autism

Dan Burton, a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana (1983-2013), has been described as being “antivaccine through and through” and “organized quackery’s best friend in Congress.”

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Burton said:

My grandson got nine shots in one day, seven of which had mercury in them, and he became autistic in a very short period of time.

The problem with that statement, in addition to all of the studies that have shown that vaccines don’t cause autism, is that we never had seven vaccines with mercury.

The only vaccines routinely given to children with mercury, or thimerosal to be precise, were:

  • seasonal flu
  • hepatitis B
  • DTaP
  • Hib

It wasn’t 25 to 30 vaccines as Dan Burton has said. In fact, there are only 25 to 30 vaccines all together, and most never, ever had thimerosal, even before thimerosal began being phased out of vaccines in 1999.

And the vaccines that Burton’s grandson received were DTaP, MMR, OPV, and Comvax (Hib-HepB). Of those, MMR, OPV, and Comvax were always thimerosal free. So he only received one shot, DTaP, that could have contained thimerosal – not seven, as he continues to claim. That’s not even taking into account that there have always been some thimerosal free versions of DTaP available too.

Dan Burton held over 20 Congressional hearings trying to prove that there was a link between vaccines and autism. More than a dozen were held between 2000 and 2002.

Arthur Allen, in his book Vaccine The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver, describes Burton’s hearings as:

carefully choreographed to generate as much negative feeling toward the vaccination system as possible.

Dan Burton is also featured extensively in Paul Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets, where we learn that:

The American media loved Dan Burton’s hearings.

That helped give Andrew Wakefield, who appeared at his hearings, and others who were pushing anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories a “very high profile platform.”

Fortunately, Burton’s last hearing was in 2012. That was well after the IOM reports and many other studies had found that there was no connection between vaccines and autism. So not surprisingly, he didn’t find a link…

He has since become a lobbyist for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group co-founded by the Church of Scientology, and which is against conventional psychiatric treatments, stating that “psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases,” and that psychiatry is “an industry of death.”

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