Steven L. Salzberg's response to Margaret Dunkle's vaccination op-ed is itself a study in fear-mongering and ignorance ("Sun prints dangerous anti-vaccination op-ed," July 14). It is precisely because of the condescending and uninformed views of Dr. Salzberg that parents are losing confidence in the CDC mandated vaccination program.

Salzberg is "deeply concerned" that the op-ed piece will lead to decreased uptake of vaccination and increased morbidity due to vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. Fair enough, but how about a comment from him on the following points:

The co-author of the 2002 epidemiological study from the Journal of Pediatrics cited by Dr. Salzberg is currently under federal indictment for stealing money from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His credibility is in doubt, as is that of the entire study.

Further, how does Dr. Salzberg justify the use of epidemiology to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a medical intervention given to millions of children? This amounts to nothing less than human experimentation.

Most vaccine safety studies are funded by vaccine manufacturers. The CDC, National Institutes of Health and the vaccine manufacturers maintain a revolving-door relationship.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, while head of NIH, approved three doses of Merck's Rotateq for the immunization schedule; one year after leaving NIH (the statutory minimum) she was hired to head Merck's vaccine division.

Dr. Salzberg's claim that "hundreds of studies" have disproven a link between vaccines and autism is false. He needs to get in touch with his colleague at Hopkins, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman testified in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program hearing Poling v.HHS.

Hannah Poling's father, Dr. Jon Poling, was a neurologist on staff at Hopkins when his daughter descended into irreversible brain damage and autism after receiving multiple shots in one doctor visit. The decision says that the vaccines "resulted in but did not cause" Hannah's autism.

Dr. Salzberg also should address why the U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent 5-4 decision, held that vaccine manufacturers are completely exempt from any liability for damage caused by the shots, and that, in the words of the court, vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe."

Vaccines are a multi-billion dollar gravy train for big pharma, and they are the only area of medicine invulnerable to the plaintiff's bar.

Dr. Salzberg does not disclose his own personal conflicts of interest, if any. Before I consider his opinion on vaccine safety, I would like to know how much money he has received, directly or indirectly, from vaccine manufacturers.

He should consider the position of parents who are presented with the option of giving their child shots that are known to cause acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or not giving the kids the shots, and risking infectious diseases.

That's a tough choice for a parent to have to make. Dr. Salzberg does not advance the issue by regurgitating CDC talking points without an ounce of critical analysis on his part to understand why some parents are frightened of the current 60-plus shot schedule.

Josh Mazer, Annapolis