Chris Shaw wasn't always skeptical about vaccines. The neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia had his teenage son vaccinated with most of the recommended shots. But then he started studying some of the ingredients commonly found in vaccines.
What he discovered caused him to go cold turkey on all shots for his six-year-old daughter. And that includes the vaccine for the H1N1 flu.
"I am not convinced H1N1 is sufficiently hazardous to most people to risk the potential downside of the vaccine," Shaw said over the phone from his office in the research pavilion at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Shaw isn't an easily dismissed vaccine conspiracy theorist. He is a leading expert on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and Parkinson's disease. While investigating unusually high rates of ALS and other neurological disorders among veterans who have Gulf War syndrome, he found evidence that the cause may have been aluminum salt, an ingredient in the cocktail of vaccines given to soldiers before deployment.