Why We Need Vaccine Epidemic – Louise Habakus & Mary Holland, Editors

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011

Judy Converse adds a chapter in Vaccine Epidemic.

When Louise Habakus first asked me to speak at the May 2010 rally for vaccine choice in Chicago, I cringed. I am not a “stands with fist in the air” type. I am not comfortable in the spot light. I’d rather quietly do my job, working one on one with families, building effective nutrition-focused care for their children. Or writing books – another task I had never planned to do, but had happily taken on with Penguin/Perigee.  None of this work pays well, if at all. It’s hard, and isolating.  Speaking at rallies is like that too, except in addition to not getting paid, there’s the potential of making a lot of people mad at you. This was noise I didn’t need, after years of not exactly endearing myself to teachers and school officials as an advocate for my son, being top misfit in the mommy social circus, tentatively settling into mutual resignation with my in-laws, and annoying who knows how many pediatricians by encouraging my clients to ask vaccine safety questions.  Louise’s request hit a sort of a tipping point in my already overwhelmingly stressful life (unemployed spouse, no health insurance, child with some special needs). Besides, I had already dipped my toe in the vaccine safety advocacy pond years before in 1999, when I spoke before the congressional subcommittee reviewing hepatitis B vaccine.

I did that alone. I paid my own air fare. I received nothing for it but renewed anguish – because it meant recounting painful, unresolved traumas for my own family in the most public of forums. I said my piece, which now resides on youtube – an unthinkable feat of technology at the time. I’ve never watched it. I left the hearings alone, boarded my plane, and watched the lights of the eastern seaboard twinkle against the black Atlantic as I headed back to Providence, feeling a mixture of anger and grief that my son’s life was now part of the Congressional record. It didn’t feel good. Though I testified again on this topic before my state legislature in 2001, I didn’t relish it then either. Why should I speak out again in another public forum?

But Louise was persistent. And professional. And then more persistent, without being annoying or burdensome. Where does she get all this energy?  She reminds me of the energy of wood in the Chinese five element system: Pushing, thriving, growing, strong; somehow relentlessly renewed and refueled. Vaccine peddlers and CDC golden boys like Paul Offit and Seth Mnookin don’t have as snowball’s chance in hell around her.  Add her co-author Mary Holland – who truly is the yin to Louise’s yang, and every bit as brilliant – and there I found a formidable team who had a clear, calm, unwavering determination to get this rally done.

After the rally, requests for chapters for Vaccine Epidemic went to speakers. I understood this was going to be a book like no other. And I still cringed. I figured long ago that if parents want to pay attention to vaccine safety, they have ample resources to do so now that didn’t exist for me in 1996, when my son was born. Access to information about vaccine choice was limited then to say the least. Even with a master’s degree in public health, I did not know anything at all about vaccine injuries, deaths, or the right to defer. Now that this information is a click or two away, what more can I do for parents determined to believe all vaccines are safe and effective, all the time? Why did we need another book?

I found out when I received my copy this week. I was wowed. We need this book. I have hung around this issue for fourteen years. I helplessly watched as vaccines nearly shook the life out of my son. I’ve read countless books and articles, talked to hundreds of parents and many physicians and scientists, and struggled to do my best to intervene on the lasting effects of vaccine injury for my child and hundreds of others.  I’ve been around this block. And I will say this truly is a book like no other; the American public is ready for it now like they never have been before. Its chill tone lays the bare truth at your feet, from several vantage points: Vaccines are possibly causing more harm than good for our country now, because it’s profitable. Vaccines are like oil, coal, or any other lucrative commodity. They make colossal, unthinkable sums of money that spout on universities, government entities, individuals (Paul Offit, for one), shareholders, and corporations. The stakes are astronomically high. The health and well being of your baby is no longer near the top of the list of priorities for vaccine manufacturers. The belief that you think it is, is.

Buy Vaccine Epidemic. I don’t get a cent for this, none of the authors do. We all did our work pro bono. I hope you like my own books too of course – do that if your child already has a condition like autism, asthma, epilepsy, growth failure, a feeding tube, eosinophilic esophagitis, and so on. My books give evidence-based nutrition strategies to help those kids, tools that guys like Paul Offit never studied and don’t understand. But in the meantime, you might spare one more child the agonies of these conditions by exercising your right to choose how or if you vaccinate, after you read Vaccine Epidemic.


  1. “But in the meantime, you might spare one more child the agonies of these conditions by exercising your right to choose how or if you vaccinate, after you read Vaccine Epidemic.”

    The problem is that in too many states (more than half), parents don’t have the right to choose how or if they vaccinate unless they have a religious objection and in two states, not even the religious objection is available.

    • I checked with Louise Habakus, editor of Vaccine Epidemic, who says “20 states with PBE (personal belief exemption). 48 with religious exemption. some states including NYS challenge religious sincerity. NJ is about to lose ours if we don’t mount a huge protest. Go to http://www.mykidsmychoice.com and click on the youtube link at the top of the page to see exactly what I’m talking about.” Thanks to Louise and “Too Many Harmed” for pointing this out. Here’s the link the video directly: click here

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