The Vaccination Autism Debate Essay

1456 words - 6 pages

Before the rise of the vaccination-autism debate in 1988, the safety of the MMR vaccine was put in doubt because of its negative effects related to Urabe mumps stress that would result to meningitis. A case had been presented before a court in Britain in the 1980s indicating that the MMR vaccine caused Urabe mumps strain. The adverse reactions of the MMR vaccines was brought before the American and the Canadian authorities because of the reports that emanated from Japan that the vaccine caused meningitis. The distribution of the vaccine was suspended in the early 1998 but was recalled after a while. A solicitor was able to win a legal aid in pursuing a legal action against the manufacturers ...view middle of the document...

Majority of the public depend on the media to obtain the information on science and treatment. Wakefield’s case on the connection of MMR vaccination and autism received wide coverage from the media causing a rising alarm to parents. The coverage attacked the health department and the government showing that they had failed in proving there was no link between the MMR vaccination and autism. This debate received the most covered science story in 2002, with more than 2500 articles written about it. Most of the articles written discussed the validity of Wakefield’s study that the MMR vaccination resulted to autism. Few articles wrote on the safeness of the vaccines. The press conferences, videos, and articles caused a health scare in the United Kingdom because parents lost their faith with the health departments and the government. Many parents felt that the MMR vaccines were responsible for the cases of autism. The publication of Wakefield’s study led to a fall of MMR confidence from 59% to 41% due to the health scare (Wakefield et al. 1998)

Many studies had to be made to restore the confidence of the MMR vaccines in the United Kingdom. The debate raised by Wakefield on the MMR vaccination and autism led to epidemiological research to investigate the correlation between vaccination and autism. According to Alison Singer, the president of Autism Science Foundation, the two do not connect whatsoever. The study was carried upon two theories, the hypothesis of Wakefield that MMR vaccine was connected to autism, and a preservative that contains mercury found in vaccines was responsible for autism. The medical institute availed a report in 2004 with the conclusion that there was no connection between the MMR vaccine and the mercury preservative and autism. It is after this study that Wakefield’s ten authors of out of thirteen withdrew (Goldacre 2008).

A reporter named Brian Deer reported to the Sunday times that Wakefield had manipulated the data of the patients that he had done the experiments on. He wrote that Wakefield was working with a group that had a conflict of interest with the MMR vaccine manufacturers. He argued that the publication of the study was not supposed to be published in the lancer because it was flawed. He claimed that Wakefield had acquired his results from another vaccination manufacturer rather than the MMR vaccines. Brian reported to the Sunday Times that Wakefield had received payments from lawyers in Britain who wanted to brand the MMR vaccination as dangerous (Laura, Stroud, 2005). These transactions were conducted before the publication was made to the Lancet. These reports of contradiction made authors involved in Wakefield’s study to withdraw from the study.

On 2nd February, 2010, The Lancet withdrew Wakefield’s publication from their published records from the investigations by the general medical council. In April 10 Brian dear expounded his findings on how the results produced in the Royal Free Hospital were...

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