On Friday afternoon, Dr. Daniel Neides, the Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, posted an op-ed at Cleveland.com questioning the efficacy of vaccinations and urging readers to remove the “toxins” in their bodies, as if that’s an actual problem we need to address.
Here’s what Neides wrote:
I, like everyone else, took the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — the government — and received a flu shot. I chose to receive the preservative free vaccine, thinking I did not want any thimerasol (i.e. mercury) that the “regular” flu vaccine contains.
Makes sense, right? Why would any of us want to be injected with mercury if it can potentially cause harm? However, what I did not realize is that the preservative-free vaccine contains formaldehyde.
WHAT? How can you call it preservative-free, yet still put a preservative in it? And worse yet, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Yet, here we are, being lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product. Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.
We must wake up and really, truly realize that we are the masters of our domain. If we don’t look out for ourselves and each other, we can expect to hear about more cancers, more autism, and more auto-immune diseases. As a doctor, I should be thinking — great, this is perfect for business. I am a primary care doctor with a three month wait to get in. That is unacceptable. So YOU have to help yourself if you want me to help you.
Slight detour. Why do I mention autism now twice in this article. Because we have to wake up out of our trance and stop following bad advice. Does the vaccine burden — as has been debated for years — cause autism? I don’t know and will not debate that here. What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES.
The amount of thimerasol in flu shots is negligible and not the kind of mercury that harms people. The amount of formaldehyde is also tiny to the point where even infants naturally have several times more of it in their bodies without incident. So everything Neides is saying here is bullshit. You should get a flu shot just like your kids should get vaccinated on a proper schedule. (Tara Haelle at Forbes does an excellent job explaining why these scary-sounding words aren’t scary at all.)But the bigger concern is how Neides ignores the fact that there’s no evidence at all of a link between vaccines and autism. His op-ed does what anti-vaxxers have long been pilloried for: It questions whether there is a link, planting the idea in parents’ minds that one might be out there. If their baby so much as coughs after getting a shot, the parents are immediately going to assume the vaccine is to blame. Neides’ irresponsible message is enough to convince more gullible parents that they should avoid or delay vaccinations for their kids, something more credible doctors have said is dangerous for children (not to mention the rest of society).
Neides has since apologized, saying that he “fully supports vaccination.” He was just trying to raise questions about their safety, he said, not dissuade people from getting them. And if that sounds like a contradiction, that’s because it is.
But the damage is already done. The anti-vaxxer crowd will inevitably take the Jill Stein everything’s-a-conspiracy approach and say the article was taken down because “they” don’t want you to know The Truth.
The Cleveland Clinic, on its end, issued a statement yesterday saying it was “fully committed to evidence-based medicine,” adding that they disciplined Neides. No further details were offered.
Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
What’s “appropriate disciplinary action” when a quack doctor is actively involved in educating medical students? Who knows.
But I’m going to follow the advice of this Cleveland Clinic employee:
I realize that controversy exists around the idea of annual flu vaccination. It is important for all of us to be informed patients… Having survived the nightmare of the 2009 flu epidemic, you can bet I am the first in line with my sleeve rolled up. I hope many of you will take advantage of the many flu vaccine clinics that Cleveland Clinic has to offer. With a nod to Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
You know who said that?
Daniel Neides, more than two years ago. (Also at Cleveland.com.)
I guess his continuing education over the past couple of years involved reading Jenny McCarthy‘s books.
(Screenshot via Cleveland Clinic)