Autism and Vaccination

For decades the risk surrounding vaccinations has been in the public news spotlight. However how accurate are the risks that we are so readily warned about?

One of the most heavily reported on vaccinations is the MMR vaccination, Measles Mumps and Rubella, which supposedly has close links with autism. In 1998 the famous Wakefield Paper was released researching this phenomenon. The results showed suggested that the MMR vaccine may “predispose to behavioural regression and pervasive developmental disorder in children.”

However despite the small sample size of 12 children and relatively uncontrolled nature of the study its publication led to a rapid decline in MMR vaccination rates as many parents began to fear the development of autism in their children.

Many wholeheartedly believed the study but others noted that the availability of better health care services and the fact that autism in children is usually identifiable at the same age that the vaccination is given, In fact, now we know that it is in fact the closeness of the age which autism is identified by specialists and the age that the MMR vaccination is given that may have caused the widespread belief of a link between the two.

Furthermore, the study, held under scrutiny was found to have concealed the financial interests of Wakefield himself in what is now seen to be one of the largest ethical violations of our time. This is due to the fact that ‘Wakefield had been funded by lawyers who had been engaged by parents in lawsuits against vaccine-producing companies’. This despite the obvious notion that the findings had been inconclusive given the insufficiency of data to actually prove the link between the vaccination and autism, many parents continued to opt out of the vaccination.

In fact in February 2010, after admitting that several elements in the paper were incorrect, Wakefield and others who had contributed to the publication of the study were held guilty of ethical violations and scientific misinterpretation.

“The British Medical Journal has published a series of articles on the exposure of the fraud, which appears to have taken place for financial gain.”

Unfortunately, the Wakefield fraud led to millions of children developing Measles, Mumps and Rubella throughout the world due to not being vaccinated at a younger age. In 2008-2009 there were dozens of measles outbreaks across the globe notably in England, America and parts of Canada. The Wakefield fraud whilst being one of the biggest cases of fraud in medical history led to the deaths and illnesses of thousands of children worldwide.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136032/

http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/mmr-and-autism-our-story/

http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-paper.htm

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