For nearly 14 years, many parents in the Western world have been wringing their hands about what to do about vaccinations – a formality taken for granted over the past half century. Measles, mumps, chicken pox and small pox- killers of children in past centuries, were nearly wiped out in the latter half of the 20th Century by the advent of preventative vaccinations which injected antibodies that impeded the spread of the diseases.
That was until an unfortunate article appeared in the U.K’s premiere medical journal The Lancet in July 1998. A study then published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield concluded that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine—a mainstay of public-health disease prevention efforts around the world—was linked to autism and gastrointestinal disorders in young children.
The study led to a highly charged campaign, led by such celebrities as former Playboy centerfold and television personality Jenny McCarthy, that called for the end of vaccinations. At the same time, a parallel campaign was led by medical researchers who claimed that the original study had been based on a fraudulent and inaccurate data.
The Lancet finally withdrew the article in January of last year after concluding that “several elements” of the paper were incorrect. But the journal didn’t describe any of the discrepancies as fraud. A British regulator stripped Dr. Wakefield of his medical license last May, citing “serious professional misconduct” in the way he handled the research.
An article, published a few days ago by journalist Brian Deer, found that important details of the cases of each of 12 children reported in the original study either misrepresented or altered the actual experiences of the children, the journal said. “In no single case could the medical records be fully reconciled with the descriptions, diagnoses, or histories published in the journal,” the editorial said. It called the study “an elaborate fraud.”
The damage done by the original article and the irresponsible advocacy of people like Jenny McCarthy and the organization Talk About Curing Autism is incalculable. Hundreds of thousands of children in the West are now exposed to diseases that were already but wiped out by the mid 1960s. Much like the scare over DDT, fraudulently declared toxic to human beings by Rachel Carson in the mid- 1960s ( despite practically having wiped out malaria), the scare over vaccinations has proved again how politics has crept into science and how political correctness has been used to assault the truth.
Jenny McCarthy and her supporters steadfastly cling to their version of the truth. But her pseudo-science now deserves out right condemnation and a public backlash against her irresponsible advocacy and that of her claque should be exposed as the posturing of a know nothing celebrity completely out of her depth.