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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  59 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 1st 2018 by Johns Hopkins University Press
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Margaret The classification has changed. Years ago, many more children were labeled as "mentally retarded." That has gone down. And high functioning children o…moreThe classification has changed. Years ago, many more children were labeled as "mentally retarded." That has gone down. And high functioning children on the spectrum were simply designated as different or difficult in the past. The numbers are not higher, but the diagnosis has become more specific, which gives families answers and gives kids access to appropriate intervention. A pediatric neurologist once showed me videos of her patients' first birthday parties, before the kids had their series of MMR vaccines. Parents did not recognize it, but almost all the kids would be interacting with each other and their child was repeatedly banging something. The differences were there long before the measles vaccine, and scientists know the differences are there in utero and believe they are mostly based on genetics. (less)

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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 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
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
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.
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.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autism-books
I have an adolescent son with autism, and I believe without a doubt that vaccines have nothing to do with autism. I'd been waiting for Dr Hotez' book to make an appearance at our local library and when it finally arrived, I grabbed it. His writing is a bit dry; it's obvious he's used to writing for academia, and more than once I had to Google some medical/scientific terms, but I appreciated his facts and his talking points re: the reasons people cite for believing that vaccines cause autism. Unf ...more
Kara Larson
Listened to this book of history of disease, science of vaccines, explanation and theory of autism causes and call to action for both parents making vaccine decisions, law makers debating policy and scientists researching to know the facts and speak the truth unashamedly. There were times it felt repetitive, and yet I really appreciated the personal view of a parent living the autism life.

I especially appreciated the last few chapters which simply summarize the issues and include talking points
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
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
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
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: med-lit, 2018
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really important book. It is well-written, passionate, and scientific.
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.
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.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing and well written...

Most anti vaccination supporters are flat earthers my opinion.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those frustrating books where the people who it's actually targeting won't read it, and those who do read it probably already know most of the information. That said, I did learn some new interesting information about the history and development of vaccines, and the causes of autism.

However, a lot of the book focuses on the author's own life and that of his daughter, Rachel. Obviously I knew to expect this, but I didn't realise it would make up such a large majority of the book. I
Lester Griel
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read! This is a must for parents as well as health care professionals who find themselves frequently fighting against the misinformed and misguided propaganda of the anti vaccinators.
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Peter J. Hotez is an American scientist, pediatrician, and advocate in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He serves as founding dean and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine in the Department of pediatrics and holds the Texas Children's Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics.

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