Wakefield Case Prematurely Shuts Door on Autism-Vaccine Debate
After investigative reporter Brian Deer found that Andrew Wakefield falsified a study
linking autism to the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, stories have
inundated the newswires on a daily basis with headlines such as, "Autism/vaccine link: Another nail in the coffin,"
"New finding disproves link between vaccines and autism," and "Busting the autism/vaccine myth."
Such sweeping headlines would lead the casual reader to conclude that the
vaccine-autism "myth" has been settled once and for all, which is
simply not correct. Despite scientific data mounting against an
autism-vaccine connection, the truth is, we still cannot state with 100%
certainty that all vaccines (and their ingredients) haven’t played a role
in the surge of autism in the past twenty years.
Unfortunately, any time a particular vaccine is vindicated from causing or
triggering autism, the media and public at-large jump to sweeping conclusions
and assume that the autism-vaccine debate is finally over. It happened when the
Thimerosal link was disproven several years ago, and unfortunately, we’re seeing
it now with the Wakefield-MMR incident.
Each side needs to exhibit a little more responsibility in this continuing
saga. It’s just as irresponsible to conclude that "all vaccines are
safe for every child," than it is to deem that "all vaccines are
dangerous for every child." Until we can know for 100% certainty and
more studies are conducted, each side (particularly the media) needs to show a
little more humility and admit that we just don’t know for sure.