Cleveland Clinic physician under fire for anti-vaccine column

Cleveland Clinic has vowed to discipline Daniel Neides, MD, a board-certified family physician and medical director and COO of the health system's Wellness Institute, for the controversial column on vaccines and toxins he published last Friday on Cleveland.com.

In the blog, Dr. Neides condemned the flu shot and other vaccines due to the toxins they contain and questions their link to autism — a link that has long been considered debunked among physicians.

"Does the vaccine burden — as has been debated for years — cause autism? I don't know and will not debate that here," Dr. Neides wrote. "What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES." Adjuvants are additives that help stimulate an immune response.

Dr. Neides also challenged the timing of vaccines, particularly for infants. "Some of the vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of childhood communicable diseases, like meningitis and pneumonia. That is great news. But not at the expense of neurologic diseases like autism and ADHD increasing at alarming rates," he wrote.

After receiving significant backlash from the medical community on social media — including some calls for his firing, according to Cleveland.com — Dr. Neides issued the following apology statement to Clevland.com through a hospital spokeswoman:

"I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community. I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them."

Cleveland Clinic also issued the following statement to Cleveland.com to distance itself from the physician's anti-vaccine column: "Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."

A note at the bottom of Dr. Neides column says it was "inexplicably removed" for a few hours on Sunday, but that it has now been restored. Cleveland.com reports that Dr. Neides has the ability to alter the content or remove it, though it is not clear if he did so.

Dr. Neides has been writing columns for two years for the website's South Euclid-Lyndhurst community blog, according to the Cleveland.com report. In late 2014, he posted a column with markedly different views on the flu vaccine.

Read Dr. Neides' 2014 column here and his column from Friday here.

 

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