By now you have heard that the controversial paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been retracted by the journal Lancet which published it a
decade ago. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html
In the UK Wakefield's research has been deemed dishonest and unethical. His new "monkey study" which has been touted by Jenny McCarthy and Jim
Carrey as a "gamechanger" has been withdrawn by the Journal Neurotoxicology.
So how did his original study involving just 12 research subjects cause such a controversy, lead to a fear and backlash against vaccination, and cause large outbreaks of measles and mumps? The answer can be quite complex but here are some major factors that drove the scare and continue to cause
people to question vaccines:
1. Autism diagnoses continue to rise and the reasons are generally unknown.
2. Many people of varying political ideology no longer trust larger institutions in society like "Big Business" (vaccine makers) or "Big Governement" (vaccine regulators).
3. People's knowledge and ability to interpret scientific results are weak
4. The Internet has lead to the proliferation of more information to the masses as never before. Not all of that information is accurate.
5. Some people believe celebrities over doctors
And this is why Coalitions are still so relevant. Coalitons can act as health education organizations that do not represent soley government or business but are indenpedent entities. Coalitons must help decipher scientific information for the public and provide objective, science-based information for the communities they serve. Coalitons like SFIC, can also serve as sounding boards for the people who are responsible for making sure communities are protected from disease by appropriately immunizing them. This includes health care, school, child care, public health, and social service personnel. These people must be armed with the most up-to-date, accurate, and useful information - Coalitions can help do that.
Since vaccines were developed they have been questioned by society. This questioning will not and should not end. But it is up to us to make sure people are provided the best, most complete, and useful information when making all health care decisions including vaccination. We have more work