More alt-med misinformation

A while back I covered a Natural News article in which it was announced that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – aka, “vaccine court” – had awarded damages to the families of two kids suffering from encephalopathy as the result of the MMR vaccine. I went over the evidence for the link between encephalitis in the previous article, so I won’t address it here.

This case has reared its ugly head once again on the Natural Cures Not Medicine blog which, not surprisingly from the name, advocates for alternative and natural therapy treatments as opposed to science based medicine. I was shocked by a couple of things in that article.

The first was the deliberate wording of misinformation within the opening paragraphs. It’s designed to set the reader up into being shocked about some sort of government/Big Pharma conspiracy and allow the rest of the “evidence” in the article to sink in. In other words, what they’ve written is blatantly not true. They made the same mistake as the Natural News article, in that the documented cases do not show that the vaccine court conceded that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

In recent months, courts, governments and vaccine manufacturers have quietly conceded the fact that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine most likely does cause autism and stomach diseases. Pharmaceutical companies have even gone so far as to pay out massive monetary awards, totaling in the millions, to the victims in an attempt to compensate them for damages and to buy their silence.

They haven’t conceded at all, which is apparent from the statement of the parents following the case. The parents made the link from an illness induced from the MMR vaccine to autism, not the court. Neither did the courts choose to do this “quietly”. As a general rule of thumb, courthouses and government panels don’t actively run to the media on the outcomes, they wait for the media to come to them. If this really was a case of the American government agreeing that the MMR vaccine causes autism, there would have been a mainstream media frenzy.

Even more wacky is the appearance of Andrew Wakefield himself. They quote an entire manuscript of a video he appears on, commenting on the court cases mentioned above. He says some truly startling things:

Such was my concern about the safety of that vaccine that I went back and reviewed every safety study, every pre-licensing study of the MMR vaccine and other measles-containing vaccines before they were put into children and after. And I was appalled with the quality of that science. It really was totally below par and that has been reiterated by other authoritative sources since.

Appalled with the quality of the science, Wakefield? Really? You faked results on a study to fit an agenda and had your research and medical license revoked because of it. The overwhelming majority of the scientific community agree that there is no plausible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Many, many studies have been conducted in the light of the crap that you managed to get published, and guess what? Still no MMR/autism link.

He doesn’t cite the so-called ‘authoritative sources’, so there’s no way of telling exactly who he is talking about. According to the article, Wakefield now operates from Austin, Texas. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t hold a valid medical license in the US either. I seriously don’t think there would be many reputable scientists or practicing medical doctors that would stand behind Wakefield and attempt to validate his claims. Those who do will make the same mistake of wandering into the murky realm of ideologically driven pseudoscience and push misinformation to suit the specific agenda at hand.

Then Wakefield continues on to how the British removed the singular vaccines from the NHS and migrated over to the composite MMR vaccine. He said this is:

…depriving parents who had legitimate concerns about the safety of MMR from a choice; denying them the opportunity to protect their children in the way that they saw fit.

So this is about taking away choice from the parent? This is about letting the non-scientifically trained minds of the public decide what medical practices are safe, and what practices aren’t? It doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason people spend a many, many years undergoing medical training: it’s complicated – and even that’s an understatement.

When we have an overwhelming majority of the professional medical community confirming that vaccination, and specifically the MMR vaccine, is safe, who are the accountants, council workers, firemen, store owners, engineers, etc to say that they’re wrong?

There’s a strong idea within the anti-vaccination community that everyone has, or should have, a choice on whether they and their children should get vaccinated. Yes, choice is a human right under a democratic society, but like freedom of speech, that right to choice ends if it causes harm to others. Choosing not to get vaccinated puts yourself and those who cannot be vaccinated (for various reasons, even though they might want to be) at serious risk of some pretty nasty diseases.

The Natural Cures Not Medicine article can be found here.


About Brad Smith
Freelance writer, blogger and secular humanist. I run "The Atom Stew" blog and I'm the self-appointed editor of Skeptical World.

One Response to More alt-med misinformation

  1. Pingback: The case of the annoying blockquotes | The Atom Stew

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