Note: We invite our African American readers to contact Anne Dachel as she pursues this story. You can reach her at [email protected].
By Anne Dachel
It seems that the future of the vaccine researcher/whistleblower Dr. William Thompson is in limbo right now. He appears willing to talk about what he was ordered to do with study data that showed a 240 percent greater risk of autism for African American boys who got the MMR vaccine before 36 months.
Rep Bill Posey of Florida took to the floor of the House of Representatives and begged Congress to investigate this, but so far, no one seems interested.
There’s clearly a racial issue involved here. Could protecting the reputation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the vaccine program matter more than the lives of black children?
Where are groups like the NAACP? Where are black parents? Where are black legislators?
Actually this is something that NBC News asked back on Feb 6, 2015 in “Where Are the Black Anti-Vaxxers in the Measles Debate?”
NBC’s Jason Johnson was careful not to acknowledge that real life scientists have done lots studies linking vaccines to autism, instead he blames the controversy on Jenny McCarthy, Bill Maher, and Jim Carrey.
Johnson did bring up the CDC whistleblower and the black community.
"African Americans have a well-earned skepticism towards the medical community " says Dr. Carlton Haywood Jr. of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at the John's Hopkins School of Medicine. "Anytime somebody in a white coat and a mask comes around telling me what to do I'm going to be suspicious, based on our history and interactions."
. . . So why aren't black celebrities, pastors and the NAACP screaming about this issue? Because, according to Haywood, a lot of this anti-vaccination movement is about class and choice, as much as it's about race.
Johnson explanation was that this is a white issue because a lot of blacks “don't have the option to 'refuse' immunizations that may not be offered to begin with.”
According to NBC, African Americans aren’t involved in this controversy because they haven’t seen a difference in autism rates in the black community; it’s just more proof nothing is wrong.
The other explanation for the lack of black anti-vaxxers however is even more basic. If the MMR vaccine increased the chance of autism by over 300 percent in black boys only the results would be stark and overwhelmingly apparent, similar to the rise of HIV in the '90s or syphilis in the '50s. But that hasn't happened. So whether people know that the autism MMR immunization connection has been debunked, or whether they have never heard about it, it ultimately doesn't matter.
As usual NBC was more concerned with making the issue go away than reporting the facts. If Jason Johnson had spent even a few minutes on his computer, he’d have found that exactly the opposite is true when it comes to autism in African Americans.
May 6, 2014, Autism Speaks ran the story, Regressive Autism Reported Twice as Often among African American Children.
Reports of regressive autism – in which young children lose early language and social skills – are twice as common for African American children as for white children, according to new research. The same study found reports of regression 50 percent higher for Hispanic children than for whites.
“This is the first indication of racial differences in reported regression,” says researcher Adiaha Spinks Franklin. “It raises extremely important questions about why we’re seeing these differences.” Dr. Franklin is a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the AS-ATN Center of Excellence at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston. She presented her findings today at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
It’s also possible that ethnic groups truly differ in regression rates because of differences in unknown genetic or environmental risk factors for autism. However, research has never indicated any particular risk factor for regressive forms of autism.
“We don’t yet understand why children regress in the first place,” Dr. Franklin says. “We certainly need more research to understand why there might be ethnic differences.”
Dr. Adiaha Franklin was the researcher who found this stunning difference between white children and black/Hispanic children. She couldn't explain why these children were more susceptible. I found one interview (below) where she said that the increased rate of autism in the U.S. was because of awareness and better diagnosing. Somehow it's hard to believe that minority children have a higher incidence of autism because their doctors are better at recognizing autism than doctors treating white children. (We're also told that black/Hispanic are diagnosed later.)
Shouldn't she have looked for possible triggers for regressive autism in black children? She sounds like she's sure there aren't any. Regressive autism just happens---MORE OF THE MYSTERY.
May 6, 2014, Science Daily: AAP says Black, Hispanic children with autism more likely to regress than whites
April 23, 2014, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Get Well Wednesday: Dr. Adiaha Franklin Wants Your Children to Be Healthy Mentally and Physically
Question for Dr. Franklin:
I would like to know where I can see this research she mentioned proving autism is not a product of vaccines. I have infallible research proving her absolutely wrong.
There are hundreds of valid, rigorous studies that can be easily accessed from PubMed, Google Scholar, and many other reputable sources. Also go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site www.cdc.gov. The connection between autism and vaccines is a myth dating back to the late 90s and has been disproven many times. There are numerous children with autism worldwide who have never even had vaccines. Symptoms of autism are evident before a child starts to receive vaccines. Autism is a very complex neurodevelopmental disability and we do not yet know exactly what causes it. However, we are certain it isNOT vaccines.
So Dr. Franklin who’s done the research that found that black children had more autism than whites can’t explain it, but she is sure that vaccines are not a factor.
And Franklin is not alone. There are several African American women out there endorsing vaccines, while totally unconcerned with a CDC whistleblower who alleges that officials ordered a cover up of data showing vaccines carry greater risks for black children.
One of them is actually at the CDC.
Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD is a medical epidemiologist and Chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch at the CDC. She’s been at the CDC since 1981, so she’s observed the explosion in autism. Her expertise is in pediatric medicine. She’s also someone who explains the explosion in autism as merely “more definitive data.”
I wrote about her in 2007.
Last August, Natural News published the story, CDC whistleblower exposes massive autism cover-up perpetrated by government agency, by Ethan A. Huff. Huff named names at the CDC including Dr. Coleen Boyle, Dr. Frank DeStefano, and Yeargin-Allsopp.
[Coleen] Boyle, who co-authored the CDC study claiming that MMR is safe, isn't the only liar involved, of course. Dr. Frank DeStefano, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, the branch that actively promotes vaccines, and Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., Medical Epidemiologist and Chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch of the CDC, are also complicit in claiming that science has vetted the MMR vaccine and determined it to be safe with no risk of autism.
Such claims are absolutely bogus, says the whistleblower, who also admitted to Dr. Hooker that he deeply regrets his own prior involvement in inadvertently covering up data that clearly showed a link between MMR and autism. According to the whistleblower, the CDC has known about this link since at least 2003 but has deliberately chosen to conceal it. The CDC has also speciously chosen to spread the myth that MMR is completely safe and in no way linked to autism.
"The CDC knew about the relationship between the age of first MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African-American boys as early as 2003, but chose to cover it up," states Dr. Hooker in the film, affirming the information he received from the whistleblower.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, on July 29, 2015, U.S. Congressman Bill Posey accused a federal agency of a cover-up and nothing has been done about it.
In fact, since the whistleblower story first broke over a year ago, there has been no demand for accountability. Are African-American children, especially boys, more susceptible to vaccine injury? Does the government have evidence? Have they concealed the findings?
Is anyone asking?
Two African American legislators, FL Rep. Frederica Wilson and MI Rep. Brenda Lawrence have shown no interest in Rep Bill Posey’s allegations about black boys and vaccines.
On May 18, 2015, Age of Autism published the story, Why Did Florida Representative Frederica Wilson Introduce a Federal Vaccination Mandate Bill?
Florida Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-24) has introduced a bill, House Resolution H.R. 2232, that will require all states to mandate all students enrolled in public schools receive all the vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Policy, a federal body compromised of vaccine-industry representatives, which includes vaccines for HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Paul Offit’s rota virus vaccine, annual flu shots, and dozens of others. States that do not comply will not be eligible for grants for “preventive health services” under the Public Health Services Act.
The story went on to explain who Dr. William Thompson is and ask Wilson to stand up for black children.
Congresswoman Wilson is a voice for the voiceless. As an elementary school principal, she stood up for the health of her students by opposing the construction of an environmentally dangerous waste facility being built across the street from her school. She won the fight, forcing the Miami-Dade County Commission to close the plant. As a community leader, she stood up for the fair treatment of locally incarcerated female Haitian refugees who faced poor living conditions. In 1984, long before she knew her political destiny, Congresswoman Wilson successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress for their release. As a legislator, she has passionately advocated for education and economic policies that give all children and adults the opportunity to reach their full potential.
On August 17, 2015, I wrote a story about a letter from David Brownstein, MD to his congressional representative, Brenda Lawrence.
Brownstein had repeatedly contacted Lawrence’s congressional office with information about the CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson. There was no response from Lawrence.
If these educated, prominent women in positions of power refuse to even ask questions about the 2004 MMR study, who will? Who else will care about the damage being inflicted on black children?
I think the answer is obvious: NO ONE. And the nightmare will continue.
Back in Feb, 2015, when Jason Johnson (himself an African American) wrote, “Where Are the Black Anti-Vaxxers in the Measles Debate?” for NBC News, he denied that there’s any problem. Sure, there may have been horrific experimentation in the past, things like the Tuskegee study where black men with syphilis were left untreated, but that could never happen with vaccines. The MMR study controversy is merely “an overreaction” according to Johnson.
If Johnson had really looked into the matter, he’d have discovered that health officials have a sordid history when it comes to minorities and vaccine studies.
A few months ago I came across the book Medical Apartheid, by Harriet Washington.
Washington has been a fellow in ethics at the Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University.
She’s also the author of Deadly Monopolies.
Medical Apartheid is an impressive history of medical experimentation on African Americans throughout our history, even back to the days of slavery. It won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
I was especially interested in what Washington said about measles vaccine studies U.S. health officials conducted on black children.
"Between 1987 and 1991, U.S. researchers administered as much as 500 times the approved dosage of the experimental Edmonton Zagreb (EZ) measles vaccine to African Americans and Hispanic babies in black neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The parents of these children did not know mammoth overdoses were being administered nor that the vaccine was experimental. They also did not know that the vaccine had been given to two thousands Haitian children. . .with disastrous results. EZ-vaccinated children, all poor, began to sicken and die by the hundreds there and throughout countries in the Third World."
While Harriet Washington doesn’t talk about the cover-up of MMR vaccine injury data on black boys, she makes it clear there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.
Adiaha Spinks Franklin, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Frederica Wilson, Brenda Lawrence, and Jason Johnson can’t imagine that there could be a modern-day apartheid. That’s what officials are counting on.
"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
2014 wasn't the first time officials were alerted to people of color with higher rates of autism.
Seven years ago, the news about how severely the children of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis were affected by autism made the headlines.
In Minneapolis, fears have been fueled by some puzzling statistics. Last year, Somali children made up just under 6 percent of the school population, but 17 percent of those in the early childhood autism programs (14 of 81 children). The numbers have been creeping up for several years, especially among young children.
"People are worried," said Saeed Fahia, who heads a Somali community group. "Nobody remembers any autistic children in Somalia. I'm sure there must have been some, but there were not that many."
. . . Somali children appear to have a more severe form of the condition, said McLellan, a developmental pediatrician and autism specialist at Children's Hospital. He estimates that 10 percent of his patients are Somali. "I do think there's something up with this," he said. "I don't know what it is."
For now, state and federal officials say they're not sure whether Somalis in Minnesota are getting autism at an unusual rate or whether there's another explanation. But they're taking it seriously enough to look closer.
I wrote about it for Age of Autism in 2008: On Autism, Somalis Feel the Chill in Minnesota
Five years later, officials got back to concerned parents with the results of their investigation. It was reported in the New York Times. Experts found that yes, the Somalis do have more autism. (The research "was not designed to answer" why this was happening.)
Dec 16, 2013 New York Times: Study Links Autism and Somalis in Minneapolis, by Donals G. McNeil, Jr.
A long-awaited study has confirmed the fears of Somali residents in Minneapolis that their children suffer from higher rates of a disabling form of autism compared with other children there.
The study — by the University of Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks — found high rates of autism in two populations: About one Somali child in 32 and one white child in 36 in Minneapolis were on the autism spectrum.
The national average is one child in 88, according to Coleen A. Boyle, who directs the C.D.C.’s Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
But the Somali children were less likely than the whites to be “high-functioning” and more likely to have I.Q.s below 70. (The average I.Q. score is 100.)
The study offered no explanation of the statistics.
“We do not know why more Somali and white children were identified,” said Amy S. Hewitt, the project’s primary investigator and director of the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living. “This project was not designed to answer these questions.”
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.