The Doctor Who Fooled The World Into Thinking Vaccines Cause Autism
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Doctor Who Fooled The World Into Thinking Vaccines Cause Autism

The man who started this assertion was actually paid by lawyers.

The Doctor Who Fooled The World Into Thinking Vaccines Cause Autism

Measles was once declared eradicated in the United States due to a highly effective vaccination program. However, when the assertion of "vaccines cause autism" became prevalent, significantly less number of parents were vaccinating their children against measles, causing the disease to re-emerge and eventually causing deaths due to unvaccinated U.S. residents traveling internationally. Measles is now one of the leading vaccine-preventable diseases caused by death.

So, how did we go from not a single case of measles in the United States for at least twelve consecutive months to hundreds of cases a year?

It all started from a 1998 peer-reviewed medical article written by a British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, and it consisted of a study that he did with only twelve children, most of which he selected himself. A true medical study includes at least hundreds of people who volunteered to be part of the study, and the people in it needs to be randomized to represent a wide variety of races and genders. Instead of conducting the study out of true intentions for the betterment of the world, Wakefield was being paid by lawyers who were suing over alleged vaccine injuries. Not only that, the children in his study were the children of the parents suing, and he treated them unethically. This raised concerns that led to the lost Wakefield's medical license, and ultimately, the retraction of his study from the British Medical Journal.

Unfortunately, his assertion of "vaccines cause autism" is still prevalent to this very day.

More and more people suffer from measles over the years. In 2004, there were only 37 cases of measles in the U.S., but by 2014, that number raised to 667. In the following year, in January of 2015, an outbreak in Disneyland caused 111 cases, which were 59% of the cases that year. The U.S. ended up with a total of 188 cases by the end of 2015. Although these numbers decreased from the year 2014 to 2015, the U.S reported 375 cases in 2018, the second largest number of cases of measles since it was eradicated in 2000, with 667 cases in 2014 being the first. And to think, there was not a single case of measles in the U.S. for at least twelve consecutive months back when it was eradicated, but since then, the U.S. has seen nearly 3,000 cases since 2001.

Measles could still have been eradicated in the U.S by now if it weren't for parents choosing not to vaccinate their children against the disease, and instead, choosing to believe in Wakefield's assertion of "vaccines cause autism". The link between vaccines and the eradication of a disease doesn't only pertain to the measles vaccine and the disease itself. You don't hear on the news about many of the diseases that we have been vaccinated against since we were children. "Thanks to widespread vaccination, the United States has been polio-free since 1979," and smallpox has been eliminated in the U.S. since the 1950s.

But the elimination of a disease doesn't have to stop there. Any disease can be eliminated if there is a vaccine available for it. The most obvious example would be COVID-19. If enough people, not only in the U.S. but also worldwide, were to get the COVID-19 vaccine, cases would be significantly less than what it is now, and we would see a continued decline in cases throughout the following months and years. However, vaccine hesitancy is still prevalent, with the assertion of "vaccines cause autism" still being one of the many concerns even though it's not a valid concern.

Report this Content

Alone At The Met

I survive a day alone in NYC.

Wikimedia Commons

It was six in the evening. I was sitting in the courtyard of a Renaissance-era Italian villa, glancing around at the statues, most notably one of a boy removing a thorn from his foot. Despite the supposedly relaxing setting, I was incredibly anxious. My phone was at less than 5 percent battery, and once it died I would be completely disconnected from my family and peers, alone in one of the largest art museums in the country.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

College 101: How To Ease The Back To School Blues

Getting back into the school groove when you just can't seem to let go of summer.

Beyond The States

With fall classes just beginning, many of us find ourselves struck with summer withdrawals. Especially for those who refrained from taking courses over the summer, it can be quite difficult to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are various ways to help make the transition back to college as smooth as possible.

Keep Reading... Show less
Dating Apps

We Met At A Bar

Salvage what you can; if you can't, it's alright to walk away.

We Met At A Bar
Anne Waldon

We met at a bar.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Mets And Me

They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.

Keep Reading... Show less

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments