Houston scientist on personal mission to prove vaccines as safe

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston doctor said he's standing up for science while in the pursuit of saving lives through the power of vaccines.

Dr. Peter Hotez said his message on World Autism Awareness Day is simple: Vaccines don't cause autism.

"It's impossible to believe that a vaccine is going to cause a rewiring of the brain at 1 year of age to cause autism," said Hotez. "Sure enough, the science bares that."

During an interview with ABC13 Eyewitness News, Hotez said he understands his public stance might be considered controversial among a select group.

He calls himself "public enemy number one" of the people who decide not to vaccinate their children.

"I think it's important for scientists to speak up, because one of the reasons that we have this whole anti-vaccine movement is because of the silence from the scientific community," said Hotez.

Hotez said he now receives daily threatening messages from those opposed to his position.

He recently published a book entitled "Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism," which is inspired by his daughter.

"We now have at least 99 genes that have been linked to autism," he said. "They're involved in early fetal brain development, which absolutely makes a lot of sense. Autism is already well in place, well before kids ever see vaccines. That's one of the things I highlight in the book."

Hotez and his wife Ann take care of their adult daughter with autism.

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