The Vaccination Autism Debate Essay

1801 words - 8 pages

The vaccination-autism debate originated from the studies of a British medical researcher named Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield had claimed to discover a connection between the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and the development of autism and gastrointestinal disease in young children. (Hansen) He published his findings in a British medical journal and this started a large controversy amongst many scientists, doctors and citizens all over Europe. Many of who insist that there is no relation between the disease and the vaccination while others stand firm behind the beliefs of Wakefield. This dilemma soon spreads from the UK across the ocean and into North America. The decision of whether or not to have their child vaccinated became a very difficult one for many parents with conflicting beliefs on the matter. As medical researchers continued to study the topic many came to the conclusion that the link between vaccinations and autism and bowel disease were false. While at the same time many were convinced that the relation was so obvious that no children should be exposed to the vaccine. It was soon discovered that the data Wakefield had used in his study was fabricated and there was in fact no connection between the vaccinations and autism in young children. After years of debate many firm believers in the connection will not accept that the information they trusted was a lie.
The sources that I used in my research of the debate include different newspapers such as the Times, Sunday Times, US Newswire, The Guardian, The Week, Salon, USA Today, CBS News and the Pittsburgh Post-Gauzzette. I also used the online news station CNN. The search terms that I employed during my investigation varied from things as specific as “public reactions to 1998 Lancet article by Andy Wakefield” to much broader terms such as “vaccination-autism connections”. I used the University library’s database to search for most of my news articles, as it was easy to filter out the other websites that were not from newspapers. The time frame I looked at was from 1998 when Wakefield’s first study was published to 2011 when his studies were found to be false and it was made widely known that he was paid to release these results. (Retracted)
In 1998 the vaccination-autism connection was first brought to light by the medical journal “The Lancet”. (Murray) Doctors from the Royal Free Hospital of London conducted this study and it stated the discovery of a bowel disease that is associated with the measles virus, which can lead to autism. (Deer) The authors of the original report admit that their results do not prove a direct connection between the MMR vaccination and autism but the lead researcher Andy Wakefield does not recommend the idea of taking the MMR vaccination as one and instead would rather it be taken as three separate vaccinations, one for each illness. (Murray) He believes that when all three are given in one vaccine it causes a shock to the...

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