A Tennessee doctor is refusing to administer vaccines to patients because—wait for it—“they can cause autism.”
Dr. Daniel Kalb is a physician at Cool Springs Family Medicine (CSFM) in Franklin, TN, a practice that provides preventative care through “natural measures” like detoxes, colon cleanses, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and ultraviolet light treatment. They also offer Botox.
On May 31, Dr. Kalb wrote an eight-point list (that has since been removed from the CSFM website but can be found here) about why CSFM will not offer vaccines to patients, noting his 15 years of experience with upset mothers who’ve shared their “vaccine injury stories.”
“Don’t tell me that they are making it up or they are just reaching for an explanation, or that it was a coincidence or that they are just too stressed, or that they are uninformed,” he wrote. “All of those arguments are stupid.”
After writing that “we can do better,” and questioning the HPV vaccine Gardasil (“Are you kidding me? It is not safe”), he takes a moment to defend the father of the anti-vaccination movement, Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield’s infamous paper on the link between the MMR vaccine and autism was retracted by The Lancet in 2010.
Commenters on Cool Springs’ site praised Dr. Kalb for his “bravery.” “Thank you for putting the children first. You are a true hero on the war against humanity. Bravo!!!!!” one writes. “YOU ARE AN ANGEL AMONG US…Truly, you are.”
Dr. Kalb’s post came shortly after 12-year-old Marco Arturo posted a sarcastic video on Facebook, trolling anti-vaxxers. “You’re putting everyone’s children in danger because you read some forwarded email,” he tells the camera. “Please vaccinate your children.”
Spreading anti-vaccination rhetoric like Kalb’s is harmful; time and time again health professionals have emphasized the dangers of spreading false claims linking vaccines to autism spectrum disorders.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 64,000 health professionals, released a statement in September 2015. “Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature,” it says. “It is dangerous to public health to suggest otherwise.”
The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous other global health organizations support the use and safety of vaccines.
Autism Speaks, an organization that aims to “change the future for all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder,” lists CSFM on its site under Tennessee Resources. The organization’s statement on the link between autism and clearly states, “the results of the research are clear: vaccines do not cause autism.” So why is Dr. Kalb’s practice still listed as a resource for care?
C.J. Volpe, Chief of Media Strategy at Autism Speaks, told The Daily Beast that Cool Springs Family Medicine will be removed from their resource guide. It was still listed under “Health Services: Family Practitioners” at the time of publishing.
Dr. Kalb could not be reached for comment.