In May, Rebecca Estepp of San Diego, who has a vaccine-injured child with autism, contacted both presidential campaigns for clarification on their positions with regard to vaccine-safety reform. She made a plea for two Executive Orders to be issued within the first one hundred days of entering office: the removal of all mercury from all vaccines, and a moratorium on the addition of new vaccines to the recommended list for children, until the current vaccine schedule can be proven safe.
On October 20th, Estepp received a detailed response from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign, stating that if elected, McCain "will work with all agencies to take all necessary steps in an expedient manner to ensure safe vaccines for every American family." Further, McCain endorsed parental vaccination choice stating, "The key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves."
"In contrast, Senator Obama never responded to Estepp's requests for improved vaccine safety, responding to her only with regard to his position on autism. Estepp is disappointed: "I truly wanted responses from both parties, and while the concerns of vaccine safety and autism overlap, they are in fact separate issues. I didn't ask either candidate for his position on autism. I asked for vaccine safety improvements on behalf of all children."
Earlier this fall, New Jersey parent Claudine Liss attended an Obama fundraiser with the express intent to get answers similar to those sought by Estepp. Liss explains, "He looked right at me and said, 'I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.'"
Estepp extends a final plea to Senator Obama to clarify his position: "This is a party-neutral issue, and many of our parents are waiting to make up their minds on whom to elect. Senator McCain believes parents have a choice in how they vaccinate their children. I sincerely hope that Senator Obama misspoke that night in New Jersey."