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The link between vaccines and autism

Vaccines can cause autism.

Context

Autism rates among children in the US have soared from 1 in 10,000 children in the 1980s, to 1 in 110 today. The number of vaccinations children receive has also risen sharply since the 1980s from 10 to 36.[1] In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper in which he studied the link between vaccinations and autism in children. He looked at 12 children who were showing signs of autism in their development. In his study, he found that eight of the twelve had begun displaying these symptoms just days after receiving the MMR vaccine designed to protect the child against measles, mumps and rubella. While he could not conclusively say that the MMR vaccine had caused the children’s autism-like symptoms, the paper insinuated that the MMR vaccine could be to blame.[2]

The Argument

The paper quickly gained significant attention, confirming many people’s fears that vaccines were not safe. Many speculated that the Mercury that was put into the vaccines to prevent them from expiring and kill off any fungi or bacteria, was damaging the children’s brains. In 2001, a study examined the level of Mercury present in vaccinated children’s bloodstreams. It found that a six-month-old child that was up to date with its vaccinations had levels of Mercury twice as high as the amount the EPA considers safe. There are cases where the US “vaccine court” has paid out millions of dollars to families of children suffering from autism, suggesting that it has knowledge of the link between vaccines and autism. The cases were “unpublished” meaning that much of the information surrounding the payouts have been withheld from the public. [3]

Counter arguments

Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s findings have been disproved by many subsequent studies. His findings are most likely circumstantial. These symptoms most often do not appear until around the age of two, which, coincidentally, is when many children receive vaccination doses. Medical professionals have criticised the integrity of Wakefield’s work, accusing him of indication causation when there was no evidence to support his conclusions. For example, children also begin to get their first teeth around the age of two. However, Wakefield does not assume that this is also caused by vaccinations. His sample size of twelve children is also far too small to draw any solid conclusions. The General Medical Council was so concerned by Wakefield’s conduct that they would go on to ban Wakefield from practising medicine in the UK in 2010, citing a number of ethical lapses as the reasoning behind the ban. The Lancet retracted the study in the same year.[1] As soon as the 2001 study was released, the Centre for Contagious Diseases ensured that Mercury-free versions of the five vaccinations children receive were the only versions being used. However, many years on, autism rates remain the same, despite tests indicating that the children inoculated today have only traces of Mercury in their blood (levels far below what the EPA considers safe). This would indicate that it was not the Mercury in the vaccinations that was causing autism. Even nonprofit groups dedicated to researching and understanding the causes of Autism have independently concluded that vaccines are safe.[2]

Premises

[P1] Vaccines cause autism. [P2] Therefore, they are not safe.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] There has, as of yet, been no scientific study that proves the causal link between vaccines and autism.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/debate-over-vaccine-safety#8
  2. http://www.pacificpediatrics.com/docs/vaccines.pdf
  3. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/post2468343_b_2468343

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 19:30 UTC