If you are a parent or are thinking about becoming a parent, chances are one of the issues you have really wrestled with is whether or not to give your children vaccines. The reason? You may have heard that there is a link between these vaccines and autism, a pervasive, neurological disease that can affect a child.
However, parents will be relieved to know that the original paper which supposedly found a link between autism and vaccines was a complete fabrication and that these shots are one of the best things you can do for your child’s health.
The Original Paper
The paper which began this controversy was published by a Dr. Andrew Wakefield in a British journal called The Lancet in 1998. However, very soon afterwards, it was retracted from the journal for several important reasons:
- Its conclusions were vague and not based on statistics
- It relied on human memory, which is not considered to be scientific proof
- There was no control group with which to compare results of this study
This paper was more than just bad or sloppy science, according to an article in Science-Based Medicine. The General Medical Council found that Wakefield acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in the way he conducted this study. During this investigation, too, it came to light that Dr. Wakefield was getting paid by lawyers who were involved in a lawsuit over vaccine injury — and that some of the children he was studying were actually the children of parents in that lawsuit. This was obviously a major conflict of interest — and eventually this led to Dr. Wakefield being stripped of his medical license.
The problem is that, despite the fact that this case was clearly fraudulent, it has had a powerful (and devastating) affect on the health of children around the world.