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The Peter Attia Drive

Apr 26, 2021

Peter Hotez is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. In this episode, they first follow up on the podcast episode (#158) with Brian Deer (the investigative journalist who exposed the complex and disturbing story behind the infamous 1998 Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield linking the MMR vaccine and autism) with a broader discussion about the origin and evolution of the anti-vaccine movement. They explore some of the specific claims being made around vaccine additives, the timing of when vaccines are given, and claims about issues with the HPV vaccine specifically. Next, Dr. Hotez shares his own journey as a parent of an autistic child and speaks of the challenges of diagnosing autism, what could account for the seeming increase in the prevalence, and whether there is any support for the notion that environmental triggers play a role. They close out with a discussion on the state of affairs with respect to COVID-19 vaccination, comparing the various vaccines as well as the challenges that emerging variants of the virus may present. This episode was originally recorded on April 2, 2021.


We discuss:

  • The stubborn persistence of anti-vaccine sentiment (3:00);
  • A closer look at claims about thimerosal and vaccine spacing causing autism (12:00);
  • The Hib vaccine: An example of the profound difference a vaccine can make (23:30);
  • The controversy surrounding the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (30:45);
  • The growing anti-science sentiment, COVID vaccine hesitance, and the basis of the anti-vaxx movement (39:00);
  • The origins of autism, and Hotez’s personal story as a parent of an autistic child (1:02:45);
  • The challenge of diagnosing autism, increasing prevalence, and a potential parallel to Alzheimer’s disease (1:14:15);
  • Comparing the various COVID-19 vaccines and the impact of emerging variants of the virus (1:30:00);
  • Global vaccination challenges and “vaccine diplomacy” (1:40:45); and
  • More.

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