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A Pertussis Vaccine Myth Dies

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(8):860-861. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150320022018.
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In the March 23/30, 1990, issue of JAMA, there is an article by Griffin et al1 concerning the risk of seizures and encephalopathy after immunization with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Accompanying that article is an editorial by James Cherry, MD,2 professor of pediatrics at UCLA and a former member of the AJDC editorial board. Dr Cherry argues persuasively that permanent neurologic damage after pertussis vaccine is a myth and that it is time for that myth to end. I urge all interested readers to seek out the editorial and the article it highlights.

Over the years, I have been persuaded by a growing body of evidence that the so-called pertussis vaccine encephalopathy does not exist. Many years ago, I believed, as did most vaccine investigators at the time, that a certain number of children were permanently damaged by the toxic influence of pertussis vaccine on the


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