With flu season quickly approaching (feels like it may be already among us?), the results of this recent study about vaccinations seems to be pretty timely.
The word “science”, by definition, means: a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws. And the thing about science is, sometimes, it won’t do what you want it to do. And, some anti-vaccine groups and individuals have recently had to learn about this the hard way.
Beginning in 2003, a group named SafeMinds, who attributes the majority of new cases of autism to “worrisome changes in our environment,” spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, over a course of 10 years, to fund a study that it hoped would demonstrate a conclusive link between childhood vaccines and autism, according to a report in Newsweek.
The results of the study were finally published last week. And it’s safe to say that it did not turn out the way SafeMinds expected:
“Between 2003 and 2013, SafeMinds provided scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, the University of Washington, the Johnson Center for Child Health & Development and other research institutions with approximately $250,000 to conduct a long-term investigation evaluating behavioral and brain changes of baby rhesus macaques that were administered a standard course of childhood vaccines. (The National Autism Association, another organization that has questioned vaccine safety, also provided financial support for this research.) The latest paper in the multiyear project was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In it, the researchers concluded that vaccines did not cause any brain or behavioral changes in the primates.”
You can read the full details in the articles listed above, but to sum up the entire study for you: the evidence against a vaccines-autism link is so overwhelming that even a study funded specifically to find such a link between the two, was unable to find one.
It’s one thing to spend money on an honest scientific inquiry and let the chips fall where they may. But once the inquiry has been made, it’s important to respect the facts. The reality is, there have been several studies conducted (a 2013 study in the Journal of Pediatrics, a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, to name a few) finding no evidence supporting a vaccines-autism link.
SafeMinds has pushed back against the reported findings via a statement on their website, but thus far, the evidence for a vaccine-autism connection is thin-to-nonexistent.
“The bottom line: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own science.” And the science just keeps getting clearer and clearer: Vaccines and autism aren’t linked.
And vaccines save lives.