Any serious critique of the “vaccines cause autism” position – a position that I certainly hold – henceforth needs to take account of William Thompson.
Vaccine injury deniers who trot out the “study after study show no link” gambit, the “discredited doctor” shibboleth, the “Playboy bunny “ ploy and the “correlation is not causation” canard really can’t get by on just that any more. Those were simpler times.
But of course, they’ll try. They’ll try to ignore Thompson, the CDC Senior Scientist who blew the whistle on the study that found no link between the timing of the MMR shot and the risk of autism. Oh yes they did, Thompson said; they hid the finding that black males are at much higher risk if they get the MMR before 36 months.
So when, this week, on Huffington Post, Jeff Schweitzer, “scientist and former White House Senior Policy Analyst, PH.D. in marine biology/neurophysiology," writes this –
“There is no evidence none, zero, absolutely nothing to link vaccinations with autism. It is a myth, a fallacy, factually incorrect. Yet tens of thousands of parents risk their children's health by withholding critical vaccinations. Like [Rob] Schneider, many parents still to this day insist that vaccines cause autism, even in the complete absence of any evidence to support the claim with the withdrawal of the original paper. You might as well claim that vaccines cause baldness; no, no, I've got the perfect claim: Vaccines are ineffective but cause global warming! In that we combine belief in something for which there is no evidence and disbelief in another other for which there is indisputable proof. Perfect.”
-- When someone writes this, I can’t help thinking that an advanced degree in marine biology slash neurophysiology and a White House gig can't keep the true dilettante in someone from emerging.
But of course, ignoring or nullifying the Thompson disclosure is not just pathetic and evidence of a lack of moral seriousness; it perpetuates the tragic autism epidemic. When you’ve got 4 million babies born every year in the U.S., and a 1 in 68 autism rate, that’s an appreciable number of kids at risk every single day this goes on.
The CDC, in trying to brush Thompson aside and issue bland bromides about its concern for autism, continues its abysmal pattern. This, in turn, breeds complacency in the medical industry at the expense of the parents and few medical professionals trying to sound the alarm. Isabella Thomas, mother of two of the Lancet 12 children in Andy Wakefield’s landmark (not discredited!) MMR study, sent a letter to the equivalent of the FDA in England:
“CDC Whistleblower William Thompson has released a formal statement confirming the original study found a link between MMR and Autism, especially in African American and that the CDC hid the results.
“I would like to know if you have investigated this report and your comments please.”
“We are aware that the CDC has issued a statement standing by the findings of its original study. . We are also aware that the analysis by Dr Hooker has since been retracted by the journal in which it appeared. . "
How condescending. Shouldn’t health authorities take some immediate action in response to Thompson’s disclosure, moving the MMR to age 3 for black males today – not tomorrow, today?
And shouldn’t pediatricians and pharmacies demand answers to Thompson’s statement that he’d never let his own pregnant wife get a mercury-containing flu shot – because they cause tics in children, and tics are four times more common in autism, and, therefore, it’s biologically plausible to say right now that vaccine can cause autism?
Of course this is hardly the first harsh truth to confront the powers that be – see Verstraeten, Unanswered Questions, Simpsonwood, et al. It's just one more piece of evidence that points to a pattern and practice of deceit, delay and denial.
I hear things are in an uproar down in Atlanta. As I said a few months ago, Freddy Krueger is coming for the CDC.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.