Do you remember when kids used to go trick or treating and it was perfectly acceptable to receive popcorn balls and cookies from little old ladies? Then, starting in the 60's and 70's the rumors that there were poisons and razors in candy spread, and parents never looked at Halloween candy the same again. Obviously these rumors had to be true. Why would someone lie about something like that. The candy scare turned out to be an urban myth, loosely based on a couple of stories and it got out of hand. The point is that someone had to initiate the scare. The same is true for the mercury-causes-autism scare. I would now like to introduce to you the people that scared millions of parents into not vaccinating their children, and subjecting them to dangerous alternative therapies.
Andrew Wakefield: The Biggest Loser.
Meet Andrew Wakefield. In 1998 Wakefield held a press conference, claiming he had found the cause of autism. He believed the measles virus in the MMR shot was causing damage to the intestine. The virus was able to pass through the damaged intestine, out into the bloodstream, only to be carried to the brain, causing autism. His findings were published in prestigious medical journal (therefore making it all the more believable). He seemed to really care about the well being of children. However, his studies were flawed. He did them in his own lab, ignored contradictory data, and falsified his findings. He collected blood from children at his son's birthday party and subjected children to dangerous tests. He also had financial gain. He was receiving large amounts of money from personal injury lawyers to prove the link between vaccines and autism. He was also developing his own autism detection kits. Unfortunately, before this information became public, there was a ban on vaccinations, leading to a rise of measles in the UK, and instilling fear in parents everywhere that their choice to vaccinate their children was the wrong one.
Meet Mark and Dan Geier. They also receive money from personal injury lawyers to serve as expert witnesses in vaccine cases. They investigated vaccines by turning their basement into a lab. They are also chelation advocates, charging large sums of money for their own therapies. They also advocated for Lupron, a drug sometimes used to chemically castrate sex offenders, which they were financially invested in. To support their claims they referred to findings recorded in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). This system was inaccurate and could be used to manipulate and support clinical findings to their liking. Because they have no background in autism, toxicology,pediatrics s or epidemiology their expert testimonies of subsequently been thrown out of court.
Famous people are smart and always know best. Robert F Kennedy Jr is from one of the most well known families in America. He is perfect to advocate for anti-vaccine laws. Problem is, he doesn't know what he is talking about. He is an environmentalist who also was a participant in a law firm that regularly sues drug companies. His articles on autism and the CDC have been inaccurate and misleading, but he's a Kennedy, so obviously his heart is in the right place.
This woman obviously knows more than doctors. Jenny McCarthy is such an idiot I don't want to talk much about her, except that her "google" degree has led her to cure her child's autism. McCarthy represents everything that is wrong with parents. Of course parents know their kids the best, but shouldn't be making medical decisions based on a 10 minute Internet search. Her kid may have autism, but now she can be a model and a best selling author. YEAH!
David Kirby is deserving of recognition. He is a journalist who wrote "Evidence of Harm" and anti-vaccine manifesto of sorts.
Then there are the scare mongering politicians that don't know what they are talking about that scare the country into believing something that just isn't true. The top offenders include John McCain (idiot), John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Christopher Dodd.
Lets thank the media for giving these people a voice. A big thank you to Don Imus (always a pleasure), Oprah Winfrey and Larry King Live. Controversy makes for great ratings.
Most of these people had something to gain, money. Money is a huge motivation. Unfortunately, ignorance plays a huge part in this scare as well. I'd like to give these people the benefit of the doubt, and say that all our false prophets aren't hurting children out of greed, but out of a lack of knowledge. It's fun to pretend.