In 1971, Merck – the (once German, now US) pharmaceutical giant – started marketing what is known commonly as the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine worked wonders – reducing inevitable diseases like the Measles down to a mere 1 percent. Since the 70’s, the MMR vaccine has become a global staple with 500 millions doses of it being administered in over 60 countries.
Then, in 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper on The Lancet claiming a link between MMR Vaccines and Autism. His arguments spread like wildfire. However, till now, other published researchers & scientists have said that they can’t reproduce Wakefield’s results or confirm this hypothesis of a relationship between certain childhood intestinal problems (caused by MMR) and Autism. To make things worse, news soon surfaced that Wakefield had collected blood samples at his children’s birthday-parties and paid £5 to each donor – and that he was in serious breach of ethics. In 2010, Wakefield’s research was found by the General Medical Council to have been “dishonest” and The Lancet fully retracted the original paper. Wakefield’s paper has been described as one of the greatest hoaxes in medical science.
Supporters of Wakefield tried pointing fingers at Big Pharma for launching an assault to discredit the report. And to be honest, this wasn’t the first time Merck was accused of bending rules to retain its monopoly of a vaccine market worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Accusations against Wakefield haven’t pacified families living with autistic children either. In 2007, 4800 families filed the Autism Omnibus Trial – contending that their children had developed Autism from the MMR vaccine and/or Thimerosal (a mercury compound, mostly banned now).
Two things are again challenging the absolute denial of any link between MMR and Autism. Towards the end of 2012, the US ‘vaccine court’ awarded millions to two children with Autism. However, the US government did not admit that vaccination caused encephalopathy (syndrome of brain-dysfunction) or autism, but merely decided not to spend any more in defending the case. Huffington Post adds, “What’s more, these cases fit the pattern of other petitions, (i.e., Poling and Banks) in which the court ruled (or the government conceded) that vaccines had caused encephalopathy, which in turn produced permanent injury, including symptoms of autism […]” Many, including Wakefield, are claiming that these awards, in addition to mainstream-media’s complete silence on the matter, hints towards something fishy.
To further complicate things, new research appears to support the MMR-Autism link. Dr. Vijendra Singh and team – at the Utah State University – are talking about a strong correlation between MMR vaccine and the immune system’s reaction to it that plays a role in Autism. The National Autistic Society said the new study offered a ‘plausible’ explanation of how some children with autism came to be suffering the disorder. Many parents are now renewing their demand for single shots instead of the 3-in-1 combo.
prevalence diagnoses in the USA has jumped 600% since the 1990’s. This may provide some insight into the disorder as it occurs, but remains unreported or not investigated, in other parts of the world.
* Information provided in this post are collected from various online sources and do not constitute scientific or medical facts. Please consider the following further reading:
- MMR Vaccine Not Linked to Autism, ABC News
- New Evidence in MMR-Autism Link, The Daily Mail
- New Study Verifies Wakefield’s Conclusions, The Liberty Beacon
- Vaccine Court Pays Millions to Autistic Children, HuffPost
- 1989 Autism Spike, HuffPost