Gregory A. Poland on Vaccines

Gregory Poland, MD is well known for many things that he has done in his long career as a pediatric infectious disease specialist and vaccinologist, including receiving the Charles Merieux Lifetime Achievement Award in Vaccinology from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases in May 2006.

He has published over 350 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and chapters in books and he is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Vaccine.

As Director of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, Dr. Poland has a focus on “vaccinomics,” or the “development of personalized vaccines based on the increased understanding of immune response phenotype-genotype information,” working “to explain how vaccine-induced immune responses and vaccine-related adverse events may be genetically determined — and therefore predictable.”

He is sometimes known for being misquoted by anti-vaccine groups, who use his words out of context, sometimes even in testimony against state vaccine laws, because of his article highlighting some of the limitations of the measles vaccine.

Some pediatricians and vaccine hesitant parents may also know Dr. Poland for these quotes:

The way forward is clear. Because no credible evidence during the past 13 years supports the hypothesized connection between the MMR vaccine and autism disorders, it is bereft of credible evidence and must be discarded.

To continue pouring money into futile attempts to prove a connection to the MMR vaccine when multiple high-quality scientific studies across multiple countries and across many years have failed to show any hint of a connection, and in the face of biologic nonplausibility, is dangerous and reckless of lives, public funding, and ultimately public health.

At some point, a point I believe we have well passed, the small group of people who claim such connections, who have no new or credible data, and for which their assumptions and hypotheses have been discredited must simply be ignored by scientists and the public and, most importantly, by the media, no matter how passionate their beliefs to the contrary.

At this point, the antivaccine groups and conspiracy proponents promoting such an association should be ignored, much as thinking people simply ignore those who continue to insist that the earth is flat or that the US moon landing in 1969 did not really occur.

There is no law against being foolish, nor any vaccine against ignorance; however, in the meantime the health of millions of children in the United States and worldwide is being placed at unnecessary and real risk through continued deliberate misinformation and discredited unscientific beliefs, and that should be a crime.

Having given us all clear advice on how to deal with “antivaccine groups and conspiracy proponents,” hopefully he can now focus on vaccinology and vaccinomics.

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