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IAC Express 2008
Issue number 708: January 29, 2008
Contents of this Issue
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  1. Do it now: Contact ABC and express your opinion! Join IAC and AAP in urging ABC to cancel the "Eli Stone" episode on Thursday night (Jan. 31) that provides extensive misinformation about vaccine safety
AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; AMA, American Medical Association; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NCIRD, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; NIVS, National Influenza Vaccine Summit; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
Issue 708: January 29, 2008
1.  Do it now: Contact ABC and express your opinion! Join IAC and AAP in urging ABC to cancel the "Eli Stone" episode on Thursday night (Jan. 31) that provides extensive misinformation about vaccine safety

Dear Immunization Colleagues:

Last week, IAC learned from a New York Times article (linked below) that ABC's debut episode of the legal drama "Eli Stone" features a script riddled with misinformation about the safety of routinely given childhood vaccines. In this program (scheduled to air Thursday, January 31, at 9 PM ET) lawyer Eli Stone sues a vaccine manufacturer on behalf of the mother of an autistic child. Stone argues that the mercury-containing preservative in a vaccine the child received caused the child's autism. At the end, the jury awards the mother $5.2 million.

IAC has telephoned and written a letter to ABC, urging the company's executives to cancel this episode. We encourage IAC Express readers who are concerned to do the same. To that end, talking points and contact information appear at the end of this IAC Express. In addition, we include links to letters IAC, AAP, and the American Medical Association sent to ABC, as well as links to material from other immunization organizations that will provide IAC readers with useful background information on the topic.


Deborah L. Wexler, MD
Executive Director
Immunization Action Coalition


Nicole Nichols
Senior Vice President of Entertainment Communications for "Eli Stone"
Phone: (818) 460-5267

Charissa Gilmore
Vice President of Media Relations for "Eli Stone"
Phone: (818) 460-7950


  • I urge (or my organization urges) you to cancel broadcast of this episode.
  • This episode transmits the false belief that vaccines cause autism. They do not. Numerous scientific studies have investigated a possible link between thimerosal and autism. Scientific data overwhelmingly confirm that no connection exists between vaccines and autism. The most recent study showed that autism rates in California have continued to increase, even though thimerosal has been removed from all children's vaccines except for some influenza vaccines.
  • The consequence of media dissemination of erroneous, unscientific information is a decline in childhood vaccination. This recently happened in Britain with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The result was that unvaccinated children contracted measles, which caused many children to be hospitalized and some to die.
  • This ABC broadcast will cause some parents to refuse to vaccinate their children, which can lead to serious illness, hospitalizations, and loss of lives.
  • Autism is a heart-wrenching condition. When our nation's health resources are squandered by responding to media-generated misinformation such as that presented in this program, it means we have fewer resources available to find REAL causes, treatments, and cures for autism.


To access the New York Times article "ABC Drama Takes on Science and Parents," click here.

To read the Immunization Action Coalition's letter to ABC, go to:

To read the American Academy of Pediatrics' press release about "Eli Stone," go to:

To read the American Academy of Pediatrics' letter to ABC, go to:

To read the American Medical Association's letter to ABC, go to:

To view a preview of the January 31 episode of "Eli Stone," go to:


To access Every Child By Two's January 28 press release on vaccine safety, go to:

To access CDC's information on mercury and vaccines, go to:

To access AAP's autism information, go to:

To access the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine EducationCenter's thimerosal information:

To access the National Network for Immunization Information's material on thimerosal/mercury, go to:

To access IAC's collection of thimerosal information for healthcare professionals, go to:

To access IAC's collection of information on thimerosal in vaccines for the public and healthcare professionals, go to:

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About IZ Express

IZ Express is supported in part by Grant No. 1NH23IP922654 from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Its contents are solely the responsibility of and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

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Editorial Information

  • Editor-in-Chief
    Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
  • Managing Editor
    John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
  • Associate Editor
    Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
  • Writer/Publication Coordinator
    Taryn Chapman, MS
    Courtnay Londo, MA
  • Style and Copy Editor
    Marian Deegan, JD
  • Web Edition Managers
    Arkady Shakhnovich
    Jermaine Royes
  • Contributing Writer
    Laurel H. Wood, MPA
  • Technical Reviewer
    Kayla Ohlde

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