Tag: CDC whistleblower

Who is Julie Gerberding?

Dr, Julie Gerberding was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2002 to 2009, when she was replaced by Tom Frieden.

Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH

A medical doctor with a Masters in Public Health, who had done a fellowship in clinical pharmacology and infectious diseases, she was well trained for the notable issues she faced during her tenure include anthrax bioterrorism, avian flu, SARS, natural disasters, and concerns about autism and vaccines.

Gerberding's CDC did a lot of work to get autistic kids diagnosed early including the 'Learn the Signs, Act Early' campaign.
Gerberding’s CDC did a lot of work to get autistic kids diagnosed early, including starting the ‘Learn the Signs, Act Early’ campaign.

One thing in particular that anti-vaccine folks continue to bring up is the mistaken idea that Dr. Gerberding actually said that vaccines cause autism on CNN following the Hannah Polling case.

GUPTA: And one of those 4,900 cases was the case of nine-year-old Hannah Polling, which has been making a lot of news lately. Luckily, we have the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Julie Gerberding here.

We’re talking a lot about autism, as you know. I should remind people that the — my understanding is the federal government conceded that vaccines caused her autism like symptoms. First of all, is there a difference? I mean, does she have autism or autism like symptoms? What’s the difference?

JULIE GERBERDING, DR., CDC DIRECTOR: Well, you know, I don’t have all the facts because I still haven’t been able to review the case files myself. But my understanding is that the child has a — what we think is a rare mitochondrial disorder. And children that have this disease, anything that stresses them creates a situation where their cells just can’t make enough energy to keep their brains functioning normally. Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

GUPTA: Yes, I have a two-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old as you know. And you know, you know, you think about this all the time. Are we ready to say right now as things stand that childhood vaccines do not cause autism?

GERBERDING: What we can say absolutely for sure is that we don’t really understand the causes of autism. We’ve got a long way to go before we get to the bottom of this. But there have been at least 15 very good scientific studies on the Institute of Medicine who have searched this out. And they have concluded that there really is no association between vaccines and autism.

As many people are aware, Hannah Polling was awarded compensated for a table injury in Vaccine Court. She was not awarded compensated because vaccines caused her to be autistic.

And Dr. Gerberding certainly did not admit or say that vaccines cause autism. You can read that into her statements during the CNN interview if you like, but that isn’t what she said.

She also did not resign “in shame from her post under the Obama regime as director of the CDC in 2009 to return to Merck’s vaccine division.”

As often happens when a new president is elected, President Obama simply brought in a new team to the CDC and many other agencies after he was inaugurated on January 2009.

Dr. Gerberding was appointed by President George Bush.

And while she did become the president of Merck’s vaccine division, it wasn’t a return. She had been at the CDC since 1998 and before that, she directed the Prevention Epicenter at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

Dr. Gerberding is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy, and Population Health at Merck, where she also has responsibility for the Merck for Mothers program and the Merck Foundation.

What To Know About Julie Gerberding

The first woman to lead the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding is an infectious disease expert with a Masters in Public Health who is now the the Executive Vice President at Merck. She never said that vaccines could trigger autism while on CNN or anywhere else.

More Information About Julie Gerberding