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The Vaccine Myth

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Vaccines are safe

Vaccines were once said (by one person) to cause Autism. This has claim been proven false over and over again. Neither vaccines nor their ingredients cause autism.[1][2][3]

Vaccinating children is important to their health and safety, and to the health and safety of others. Many organizations urge parents to vaccinate their children.

History

The anti-vaccine movement connecting vaccines with Autism began with Andrew Wakefield. He published a now-retracted study, which was based on 12 children, claiming a link between autism and the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Wakefield had several undisclosed conflicts of interests, including his own agenda to patent new vaccines, and payoffs from attorneys who wanted proof against vaccines.[4]

Wakefield's license was revoked in 2010 as these and other ethical problems came to light.[5] Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the British medical journal BMJ, explained to CNN:

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors. But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."[6]
This did not dissuade his ardent supporters. Autism Speaks funded research into vaccines and autism, even as evidence mounted that there was no link.[7][8] It only started to review its position once disease outbreaks began and the public discourse turned against anti-vaxxers.[9][10]

Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy have championed a link[11], sometimes with the support of Autism Speaks. Others such as Canary Party founder Ginger Taylor and Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network founder Meryl Dorey also champion the link, Dorey relying on Taylor's infamous stockpile of studies that she claims confirms the link[12][13].

On April 1, 2016, Wakefield - with help from Del Bigtree - released an alleged documentary entitled Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe.[14] In spite of his reputation, he persists through this picture to push his views even though they have been thoroughly disproven. In the promotion of the film they attempt to claim that it is not anti vaccine.[15] Reviewers beg to differ.[16]

The 45th President of the United States Donald Trump also claims the link exists, and it is rumoured that he will appoint well known conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Junior to chair a committee on vaccine safety. During his campaign, Trump also met with Wakefield and Wakefield was consequently invited to Trump's inauguration ball.

Damage

The anti-vaccination movement has caused disease outbreaks[17][18] and perpetuated harmful stigma against autistic people.

Disease Outbreaks and Deaths

Preventable disease outbreaks[19][20] have caused deaths in the wake of the anti-vaccine movement.[21] Anti-Vaccine Body Count lists the number of preventable deaths from June 2007-July 2015 to be 9028, and the number of preventable illnesses to be 152,763.[22] A measles outbreak in Disneyland in California was blamed on the poor vaccination rates.

Unvaccinated children are not the only ones at risk. Parents' decisions not to vaccinate endanger infants and young children who have not yet been fully vaccinated, immunocompromised people such as cancer patients who cannot be safely vaccinated, and the rare percentage of people for whom their vaccines did not take hold.

Autism Stigma

In addition to causing disease outbreaks, some of which have cost lives, the anti-vaccine movement increases stigma against autistic people. Rhetoric often equates autism with a disaster, such as Jenny McCarthy describing her son's autism as "the soul's gone from his eyes."[23]

Autistic writer Sarah Kurchak noted that the anti-vaccination movement dehumanizes autistic people.

"We’re facing a massive public health crisis because a disturbing number of people believe that autism is worse than illness or death. My neurology is the boogeyman behind a completely preventable plague in the making."[24]
Many autistic people and their loved ones take offense at the idea that autism is worse than vaccine-preventable illness and death.[25]

Government intervention

In 2015 the state of California introduced a bill with the identifier of SB277.[26] Intended to remove the exemption for personal belief, some residents of California rose up against it and lied about the connection between vaccines and autism.[27] But the bill passed and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on June 30, 2015.[28] In 2017 Senator Richard Pan, who was behind SB277 proposed a new regulation SB18 to further the powers under the umbrella of children's rights.

In Australia, the federal government introduced the No Jab No Pay No Play law in 2015.[29]. Like California, some Australian residents countered with No Jab No Pay No Way[30] but all to no avail as the legislation became effective on January 1, 2016.[31]

Cause of Autism

It is uncertain exactly what causes autism, but genetics are believed to play a large role. Parents are encouraged to focus on the future: listening to autistic adults, finding helpful treatments, and loving their child. Scapegoating vaccines will not get rid of autism.

References

Some news articles contain pictures of needles and vaccination. You may not wish to read them if you have a phobia of needles.

  1. CDC: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism
  2. Time: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, Even in Kids at Higher Risk
  3. Massive New Study Provides The Best Proof Yet That Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism
  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/01/23/the-disneyland-measles-outbreak-and-the-disgraced-doctor-who-whipped-up-fear-about-vaccinations/ The Disneyland measles outbreak and the disgraced doctor who whipped up vaccination fear
  5. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704113504575263994195318772 UK Bans Doctor Who Linked Autism to Vaccine
  6. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/ Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds
  7. http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2010/03/12/vaccine-court/7313/ Vaccine Preservative Does Not Cause Autism, Court Finds
  8. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/13/autism-speaks-but-should-everyone-listen.html "Autism Speaks" - But Should We Listen?
  9. http://shotofprevention.com/2015/02/21/autism-speaks-too-late-on-vaccines/ Autism Speaks Too Late on Vaccines
  10. http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/02/09/autism-speaks-vaccines/20040/ Disability Scoop: Autism Speaks Alters Position on Vaccines
  11. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1888718,00.html Time: Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines
  12. https://avn.org.au/2013/08/studies-supporting-vaccineautism-causation/ AVN's support
  13. https://www.scribd.com/doc/220807175/123-Research-Papers-Supporting-the-Vaccine-Autism-Link#scribd Ginger Taylor's Scribd stockpile
  14. http://vaxxedthemovie.com/
  15. https://www.rt.com/usa/339842-not-anti-vaccine-vaxxed-filmmakers/
  16. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/andrew-wakefields-vaxxed-antivaccine-propaganda-at-its-most-pernicious/
  17. Map: Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks
  18. Time: 4 Diseases Making a Comeback, Thanks to Anti-Vaxxers
  19. Forbes: Anti-Vaccine Movement Causes The Worst Whooping Cough Epidemic In 70 Years
  20. Anti-vaccine movement is giving diseases a 2nd life (contains autoplay)
  21. From Taliban fighters to California soccer moms, those who choose not to vaccinate their children against preventable diseases are causing a public health crisis.
  22. Anti-Vaccine Body Count
  23. Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist.
  24. I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles
  25. Twisted Anti-Vaxxer Parents Choose Fatal Diseases Over Autism (some content may be unsuitable for autistic people with anxiety, depression, or self-esteem issues)
  26. http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-02-19-senate-bill-277-introduced-end-california%E2%80%99s-vaccine-exemption-loophole Senate Bill 277 Introduced
  27. http://www.sb277.org/vaccines-and-autism.html SB 277 Mandatory Vaccinations VACCINE SAFETY
  28. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/06/30/california-vaccination-bill-sb-277-signed-by-governor-becomes-law/#2715e4857a0b53c40b2da123 California Vaccination Bill SB 277 Signed By Governor
  29. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/prime-minister-tony-abbott-announces-no-jab-no-play-and-no-pay-policy-for-child-vaccination/news-story/23f4b9501af484b06bcc50d3e3f7a492 Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces ‘no jab, no play and no pay’ policy for child vaccination
  30. http://nojabnopaynoway.weebly.com/ Freedom of Choice Protests in Australia
  31. http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/subjects/immunising-your-children?gclid=CI72543ZusoCFQsjvQodzBoMhg Immunising your children

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