The doctor who claimed a link between child vaccinations and autism has been rebuked by British medical authorities for irresponsible and unethical conduct. The folk theory will continue for generations, unfortunately, because autism tends to emerge around the time children receive vaccinations. For a time my family was in the anti-vaccination camp, until I looked at the data used to support that position and realized how vaccine opponents misinterpret it.
The vaccination-autism correlation is one example. Another is looking at outbreaks of a disease like measles and concluding, because a majority of those sickened were vaccinated, that therefore vaccines don’t work. The problem with this reasoning, of course, is that in a population where 95 percent of children have received the vaccine, any outbreak is bound to include a good many children who were vaccinated, insofar as the vaccine, while highly effective, isn’t 100 percent effective.
Still another error can be found in the claim by vaccine opponents that their kids remaining healthy in spite of no vaccines is somehow proof that plenty of veggies/mega-vitamins/no television can ward off life-threatening illness. The reality, of course, is that they are coasting on the herd immunity afforded by everyone else having their own children vaccinated. And so on.
In any event, it’s good to see bad science punished. I didn’t know this guy, for example, used a sample of twelve kids for his study, that opposed to a random sample he paid kids at his son’s birthday party for their blood, and that he took payments from lawyers engaged in suing vaccine manufacturers.