Did you hear the one about Vaccinations?
So a lawyer walks into a Doctors office and offers the Doctor large amounts of money if he can come up with a link between the MMR vaccine and some other problem. Not a very good start to a joke, I know, and if you are looking for a punch line there isn’t one.
Unfortunately this isn’t a joke, it is exactly how the vaccination controversy got started. The only punch line here is children catching preventable diseases and I don’t think anyone is laughing.
Just how did one man single handedly cause so many problems?
Well it all started with a lawyer who specialized in medical malpractice. He wanted to find a link between the MMR vaccine and some illness to bring a class action lawsuit against vaccine companies.
In return the Doctor was paid large sums of money and again, unfortunately in this story, he did horrible tests on children that are not sanctioned to be done to children in the name of science without prior review and approval.
Despite all this, in 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor, published his research in the medical journal called The Lancet. He stated he had found a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Autism of course to this day is still not very well understood, which made it the perfect scapegoat.
Dr. Wakefield received tones of sensationalized press for his report, did not state in his study that he had been paid [which was for lack of a better term unethical] and had applied for a patent for a ‘different’ vaccine for measles that would not ’cause autism’ before his study was to be published.
So on that fateful day in 1998 The Lancet published his paper and he was hailed for his breakthrough, just like any major scientific discovery should be.
After 4 years of not being able to reproduce the results, questions started coming up about the study. Once that happened, certain facts came to light, for example, just how much he was paid [which was near $200,000 for the time put toward the study alone] along with the conflicting interests of the people who commissioned the study.
By the time the paper had finally been pulled and the Doctor completely discredited it was too late, the damage was done. Worse, conspiracy theorists saw the discreditation as a plot to cover up the truth. Leaving very confused parents to figure out what was and wasn’t the truth.
With certain celebrities backing the anti vaccination groups most people err on the cautious side thinking better safe than sorry.
The truth is that vaccines work, they work almost too well. We have forgotten the horrors of our grandfathers illnesses thanks to vaccines. We don’t worry about polio anymore and you would be hard pressed to find a person who actually knew someone who even had polio these days.
With the recent outbreaks of the once eradicated disease measles, we are stuck in a time where one man chose money over saving children’s lives and parents or rather their children are paying for his greed.
Vaccines do not cause autism, in fact new research, actual research, is finally shedding light on what causes autism and they think it starts well before birth, you can read about that here: Autism ‘begins long before birth’.
So when it comes time to vaccinate your children, please do it, not because some random person on the internet told you to do it, but because you looked at peer reviewed research and came to the same conclusions the scientific community has, that vaccines are safe and save lives.
If you want to read peer reviewed research and don’t know where to start [don’t feel bad most people don’t] I suggest Google Scholar, here are the results from a simple vaccine autism search to help get you started. The language may be a little dry but you can find the conclusions in the abstract if you scroll through it.
As a parent I know you just want what is best for your children, so just spend a few minutes reading actual MD published work on the matter, it may not be as fun to read as say… my blog, but at least you will be able to trust the source.