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Anti-Vaxxer movement continues to endanger children despite evidence

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This time of year rolls around quickly. It is finally beginning to feel like fall, and as the weather cools down and sweaters and boots become our go-to look, let’s not permit our fellow Houstonians to forgo their flu shot.  

Vaccinations are needed, especially those that protect us from life-altering and sometimes deadly diseases. Over the past twenty or so years people, specifically mothers, have flocked to a movement, refusing to vaccinate their babies and school aged children.

They’re anti-vaxxers.  What they’re doing is dangerous. By refusing to vaccinate their children these parents have the potential to reap serious consequences for our communities.

Their intentions are good, and their concerns are understandable. All parents want their kids to have a “normal” life, desiring to shield them from any unnecessary pain. However, the action they refuse to take part in is risky for the health of others, and, in addition, is extremely scientifically flawed.

To give some background of this movement, in 1998 gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in British health journal, The Lancet.  His findings showed that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was the cause of increased rates of autism in children.

That was the birth of the anti-vaxxer movement.

Dr. Wakefield’s results are beyond off. Not only are they statistically unfounded, but no current scientific evidence supports his accusations. 

For one, he did not study enough children — his sample size consisted of only 12. Studies by other doctors and scientists have included easily 100 children or more as their sample size, thus giving them a sample that greater reflects the population as a whole.

Since the ’90s, there have been countless studies showing there is no causation, let alone a correlation between early-infant vaccinations, such as MMR and Varicella, and autism. A 2010 study done by Charles R. Woods, MD and Michael Smith, MD, studied 1,047 children between the ages of 7-10.  

The study compared how early children were vaccinated as infants, what vaccines they received and their performance on neuropsychological tests.

Their results showed that children who received vaccines later in life did not outperform children who were vaccinated earlier. In a nutshell, delaying vaccinations or refusing to vaccinate your child is your choice, but science doesn’t support the notion that vaccines are the root of delayed learning or autism.

In 2010, the General Medical Council stripped Wakefield of his right to practice medicine. That very year, The Lancet retracted his work. Still, his research has staunch followers.

Autism is caused by numerous factors, none of which include vaccinations. Furthermore, autism is not a death sentence, nor is the severity the same in every case. There are varying degrees of the condition. Plenty of individuals living with autism lead normal, healthy and productive lives.  

At the end of the day, vaccinations prevent painful and debilitating diseases from mushrooming into epidemics like they were in the past.  Polio, measles and mumps which were once serious problems in America have now become drastically reduced occurrences.

The sole cause for these results are vaccinations that have been continuously tested and scrutinized before they are released in order to protect the masses.  

Despite our unprecedented access to information, it is easy for parents and our generation to turn our backs on research. We are ignorant and callow to what our ancestors experienced and saw before us; in this country, we are blessed not to see these diseases affect people’s lives like they did in the past. We should not permit time to erase the truth and severity such diseases contain.

Alana N. Miller is an integrated communications junior and can be reached at [email protected].


  • To state that there is evidence that vaccines do not cause autism is a complete lie – the CDC has never done a vaccinated/unvaccinated study which is the only scientific evidence which would prove this theory. The last study done by the CDC was over 10 years ago and a senior scientist involved came out with this:
    “My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998,” Thompson stated in August 2014 on the law firm’s website. “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”

    Prior to that we have the widely quoted Denmark studies – the lead author was Poul Thorsen: He is now wanted for fraud and embezzlement of over $1million dollars of government money.

  • Sadly this journalist has not done any research and has simply repeated Chinese Whispers about Dr Andrew Wakefield.

    Dr Wakefield was not anti vaccine and in fact advocated for vaccination against measles. Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study was coauthored by 12 other scientists and b) the paper made no such conclusion whatsoever between MMR and autism. it was a case series study of a novel gastrointestinal condition. He recommended giving separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines instead of the MMR shot until conclusive studies had been undertaken on the combined MMR vaccine. Strangely right after his recommendation the UK made individual vaccines unavailable. Blaming Wakefield for a reduced uptake is ridiculous.

    He simply took the doctors referrals, treated the disease and reported the information provided by the parents which is that their children’s autistic symptoms began shortly after they were given the MMR vaccine. Also, his 19 other papers were never retracted, and the investigations into gastrointestinal disease has been replicated multiple times around the world.

    The paper was a study involving a group of children who had presented with gastric complications, the parents of whom had approached Wakefield (the top gastroenterologist in the UK at the time) and his research team to try and assist them with their children’s condition, which is exactly what they did

    It is of interest that the person that retracted the study, Sir Crispin Davis, was making a large salary in a non-executive director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. The “investigation” was funded by The Sunday Times whose owner at the time, Rupert Murdoch’s son James, was making a large salary in his director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. In the 1998 press conference Andrew Wakefield recommended using the monovalent measles vaccine option that had a safety record dating back to the late 60s, so he actually recommended vaccinating against measles. Unless you’re going to tell us that Andrew Wakefield was psychic, why isn’t the NHS for removing said option from the schedule over six months later at the request. Dr Walker Smith worked in the same capacity as Wakefield and was exonerated.

    Justice John Mitting, in Case No: CO/7039/2010 in the Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, ruled on the appeal by Walker-Smith, saying that the GMC “panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it.” He said that its conclusions were based on “inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion.”

    • I hardly think you can label documented evidence of serious professional misconduct and scientific fraud as “Chinese whispers about Andrew Wakefield”, Judith.

      This article is perfectly accurate.

  • It seems the apologists for the medical fraud – Andrew Wakefield – have shown up to lie as much as required in defense of their sleazy hero.
    Here’s a quick synopsis of what happened through 2004 when it was revealed that Wakefield was paid ~$800,000 by ambulance chasing lawyers to gin up a case against the MMR vaccine so they might sue the vaccine manufacturer in giant class action cases. After this program ran in Britain 10 of the 12 co-authors of Wakefield’s fraudulent “research paper” withdrew their names from it as they were not aware nor were told of Wakefield’s horrendous conflicts of interest:
    Brian Deer’s 2004 film on Andrew Wakefield:
    Brian Deer is an award winning British investigative journalist who was assigned the Wakefield-MMR-Autism story and the medical fraud and misconduct by Wakefield & Co. he discovered was aired in this 2004 report.
    Note @ 27:42 onward how Wakefield’s own team expert, Nick Chadwick, tasked with finding the vaccine measles virus in the kid’s bowel biopsies found… nothing.
    This was disasterous for Wakefield as his whole phony hypothesis depended on vaccine measles virus invading the child’s gut and then causing ‘leaky gut’ which somehow led to autism. Now his own research assistant was telling him there was no evidence found for that basic supposition of the Wakefield MMR-autism hypothesis.
    But that didn’t stop the dishonest fraud Andy Wakefield. There was too much at stake. He had his own single measles vaccine patented and test kits patented which he estimated would make him $30+ million per year if he could only destroy confidence in the current MMR vaccine…
    www. youtube. com/watch?v=7UbL8opM6TM

    • “On 9 November, David Lewis of the National Whistleblower’s Center in Washington DC published a letter in the BMJ ( arguing that Wakefield did not commit research fraud. Lewis told Nature that he thinks the combination of public charges and a slow, secretive investigation has left the public not knowing whom to believe and is unfair to the accused researcher. “[The system] throws people like Andy into a no-man’s-land,” Lewis says.”

      • David Lewis – Fired EPA microbiologist, sewage solids microbiologist, Wakefield supporter/associate/partner, revealer of the missing Wakefield study children’s biopsy score sheets which showed none of the children had abnormal biopsies, lunatic:

        Bigger picture:
        Just search briandeer. com for David Lewis to read the hilarious story of Mr. Lewis thinking he’s helping his partner Andy Wakefield and undermining Mr. Deer’s and the BMJ’s investigation of Wakefield only to, in reality, provide evidence that the biopsy scores of the 12 children had been falsified to show abnormalities that were not actually found.
        Mr. Lewis is in the running for the closest approximation to a Keystone Kop in this bizarre episode.

    • Just the way you went about it shows that you know you are telling lies. Now that it is clear that Dr. Wakefield was right all along, where do you put your face? So, when you tell people that MMR vaccine is safe and effective, if you have not done the test to see if it is carcinogenic, mutagenic or cause infertility, how do you know it is safe? Do really think you’re going to convince people that you haven’t done the test? Well, if you have not done the test, and you still sell the vaccine, you guys are just irresponsible and evil.

      • And how was “Dr. Wakefield right all along”, Sophia?
        He was a fraudulent quack mainstream doctor who tried to pull a fast one to enrich himself at the expense of children’s health and got caught.
        He is the sleaziest human one can imagine encountering, plus he was a mainstream doctor… You’d think the alt-med crowd would be ecstatic to have a conventional doctor to pillory and hold up as an example of the bad behaviour of conventional medicine.
        But no!
        It was the mainstream medical community who rejected him and hung him out for ridicule and invective.
        The alt-meds embraced him once he decided to start babbling anti-vax platitudes. That is how dumb they are. Wakefraud fooled the alt-med sheep by merely turning on a dime and pretending to be alt-med when he had been mainstream all through his sleazy scam.
        That is how dumb the alt-med crowd is. This huckster played you all for the rubes you are.

  • Scared of the disease get vaccinated, scared of the vaccine, get healthy. Both groups will have great survival prospects either way.

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