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Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad
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Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In 1994, Peter J. Hotez's nineteen-month-old daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases affecting the world's poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their inescapable narrative around childhood vaccines and autism. The ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Johns Hopkins University Press
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4.18  · 
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 ·  115 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'm glad Dr. Peter Hotez is pushing back on the anti-vaxxers. There aren't a lot of qualified people doing so.

The book covers his training as a physician and scientist, the rise and risk of the anti-vaccine movement, and personal stories about his beloved Rachel.

The writing could be smoother. The real strength is in the information: the complete lack of evidence to support the claim that vaccinations as a cause of autism, brain changes in ASD children begin before birth, the risk of an unvacci
Matt Fitz
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book is incredibly apt to the discussion. Direct. To the point. Unequivocal. And based on facts and science. This is an absolute must-read for people who want to engage in thoughtful, reasoned discussion regarding vaccines and (Autism Spectrum Disorder). This is NOT for people who want their information distilled to a meme or bumpersticker or social media post.

Dr. Hotez, an intellectually and scientifically curious person from an early age, earned not only a medical degree, bu
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It's good to finally have a work that shows someone who has a family member with autism AND deals with vaccines.

Vaccines do not cause autism.

I would have appreciated hearing more from Ann about raising Rachel, especially since the burden of childcare and dealing with Rachel's autism fell on her. It would have been good to hear from Rachel too, but then she may have opted out of putting her point of view in the book and that's okay.

It was helpful showing how Rachel progressed and how she behave
I 100% agree with the author’s conclusions and I appreciate the fact that this is written from the perspective of a vaccine scientist who also has an autistic daughter but man, this is an awful book. (And frankly, once I understood that his daughter was autistic and got the gist of what that looks like for her and how hard it is to parent her, I skimmed everything else about her. It’s too much information.)

It reads like a very long term paper; many of the sections actually sound like (and possi
Katy W.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a MUST read for so many people (scientists, medical health professionals, public and global health workers, parents, etc etc). Dr. Hotez very clearly outlines the history of the anti-vaccine movement, along with the most current research proving unequivocally there is NO link between vaccines and autism. It is such a good read because he goes into detail about his own daughter, Rachel, who has autism along with many other mental health diagnoses. The book ends with talking points, great ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone to be very honest, message needs to be spread
Recommended to Timothy by: Joe Rogan's Podcast
I really enjoyed reading this book. Peter Hotez found a great balance between personal experience and hard scientific facts. It is amazing how extremely polarised this topic is and to be honest I understand why parents are so scared to give their children vaccines. If I would not understand much about science and would constantly be confronted by apparent negative outcomes of vaccines I would also be hesitant to inject this "poison" into my own child. I also got that impression from him whilst r ...more
Carrie Zinck
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise, and well-written, from the perspective of a highly trained scientist AND the father of a child with autism.
Harriet Huestis
The best chapter was the one on the scientific findings of what does cause autism (not vaccines) and how the structure of autistic brains develop.
I was less interested in the biographical details.
Feb 04, 2019 added it
This is an important book, and I commend Dr. Hotez for his courage in sharing his family’s struggles with a disabled child (now an adult) to spread the word that vaccines are safe. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines do not cause autism. The latest measles outbreak in WA shows how dangerous the anti-vaccine movement is, how pervasive, and we need more strong, credible voices filling the silent void where anti-vaccination people make a lot of noise. What’s made abundantly clear in Dr. Hotez’s book is h ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I really wanted to like this book because Dr. Hotez is a really great scientist and speaker, and it’s important for this subject to be discussed. This book unfortunately does not do that effectively. It is incredibly rambling, name drops abound (both people and places), and poor Rachel is made to seem like this horrible chore that her brilliant parents were saddled with. Maybe it improves later in the book, since I only made it halfway before giving up, but the first half is a very big disappoin ...more
Sierra Morlock
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought the book was very good but I got it on audible and the narrator was HORRIBLE. It was extremely difficult to listen to but I persisted because I really wanted the information. Now that I’m finished though, I’m not sure I could carry out an educated conversation about vaccines and autism. It was dense with information and I’m not sure if I didn’t retain it well because of the horrible voice or if it was too science-y for me. Overall I understood everything he said and I think he more tha ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lots of great information. I did not know most of the concerns and arguments against vaccinations until reading this book juxtaposed with the scientific evidence that refuted each concern.
When we know definitively the cause and cure of autism, this book will seem really ridiculously.
Aside from the book itself, narration by PJ Ochlan was hard to get through. Robot reading is bad and I’d say that Ochlan reads a bit better than that.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book has cemented my want to be child free. It's frustrating and depressing to hear how Peter has to struggle with Rachel.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Just finished reading “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism” and I highly recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in the vaccine-autism connection. Written by a MD PhD who develops vaccines and has a daughter with autism, he writes of his personal experiences raising his daughter and the scientific causes of autism. It is written in a simple way anyone can read and enjoy.

“I find it terribly frustrating that we have massive data showing the genetic or epigenetic basis of autism, togeth
Bonnie Sheeren
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I have met Dr. Hotez, had him sign my copy of his book and have attended as many of his lectures here in Houston as possible.

While I found his book echoes many of the points he makes in his talks---the sections about his daughter, Rachel, were heart-wrenching. Those anecdotes should be enough to convince skeptics that Dr. Hotez would never lightly dismiss their own struggles with children with special needs. A loving father such as Dr. Hotez would never pursue medical research t
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was clearly written and explained a lot. I already believe that children should be vaccinated against diseases, but perhaps this will help undecided parents or guardians decide that not vaccinating their children endangers the children's health and the health of those around them. The facts are there, in this book and elsewhere.

This was also an interesting look at a sort of autism that is said to be more common in girls than boys. And, when the girls grow up, women. Dr. Hotez' daughter Rach
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has three main themes - Dr. Hotez's and his wife's struggles raising an autistic child, Hotez's career in fighting pediatric infectious diseases and the science refuting an autism-vaccine connection.

His account of his daughter's upbringing is what brings the book to life, along with the reminder that physicians and researchers working with vaccines often have parental concerns of their own and a personal stake in assuring that their children are healthy and protected from dangerous inf
Lisa Eirene
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was not meant for me, because I believe in vaccines and science. This book is good for the people who are on the fence, or questioning.

I heard the author on a podcast and he was eloquent and interesting and I immediately ordered his book. The book goes into the details of vaccines (without going too over your head), the travesty of the Wakefield faux-science that started this whole debacle and how vaccines do not cause autism according to all the scientific research.

Why this book is
Dale Heinemann
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing and well written...

Most anti vaccination supporters are flat earthers my opinion.
Mariam Khambaty
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book, must read for anyone interested in the current state of vaccine-preventable illness worldwide, and the history of the current anti-vaccine movement. Very interesting, well-researched, and very readable.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, med-lit
As Dr. Hotez says at the beginning, this book is very different than books by Mnookin or Offit. For sure a personal take - although some personal details and thoughts seem disconnected -- with science sprinkled throughout.

An important addition to Mnookin and Offit, as it seems the personal stories on the anti-vaccine side are lacking compared to those on the pro-vaccine side. That said, readers looking for a more academic evaluation of the topic will probably be disappointed (as this doesn't app
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
This book is very well written with plentiful sources and addresses why the author, a scientist (who develops vaccines) and a pediatrician, belives that vaccines (especially MMR) do not cause autism. Part of what makes his writing worthwhile is that not only does he develop vaccines but his daughter is autistic. It is brief and to the point and gives you a good detailed explanation why autism is not caused by vaccines.
kate mcgrail
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great easy to read informative book. It explains the argument for vaccination well and why there is no link between vaccines and autism, but also gives good information on the causes of autism as well.
A persuasive book by a truly committed doctor with a personal interest.
It has given me a good place to start to reason with my patients who are anti-vax.
I wish Dr Hires and his incredible family all the best.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has important information: Anti-vaccine beliefs (and they are beliefs -- not science) are damaging families. Autism is an important problem, too, but it is unrelated.
Now, we should start talking about how to help people build creative, fulfilling and safe lives for everyone, including people for whom it will never be easy.
Lara Lacombe
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Very nice recap for a lay audience of the relevant literature showing there is no link between vaccines and autism. I appreciated learning about his personal experiences as a father of a child with autism. Will be using this book as a teaching tool in my college microbiology classes.
Amy Arnold
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative

I hope that expecting parents and parents of young children will read this book and make an informative decision about whether or not to vaccinate their children.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really important book. It is well-written, passionate, and scientific.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave a very clear picture of the way the movement against vaccines started. It was very informative with a lot of good evidence behind it.
Kaylin Worthington
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: slp-related
This book was less convincing than I hoped it would be. Only 2 chapters have valuable information (chapter 9 and the last one), and the rest of it relates back to those chapters just saying “anti vax is bad because of what I will say/have said” but didn’t get to the meat of the issue until later. It was pretty repetitive, mostly chastising everyone for the movement but less evidence itself. I recommend those 2 chapters to skeptics, but that’s it. Pick it up at the library, and definitely don’t l ...more
Hmmm... I wish the book had more information about vaccines and a bit less about Rachel. The author has a great opportunity to explain the science and benefit behind vaccines but at the same time he is a father of an autistic daughter. Maybe I am biased as I am a pharmacist and therefore wanted a bit more science - but without having to read scientific articles. I am a bit disappointed about having to give this book only 3 stars :/
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