Dr. Ian Lipkin, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, writes in the Wall Street Journal this week that “Anti-Vaccination Lunacy Won’t Stop” (article freely available at the link).
He is upset about the movie “Vaxxed,” which presses the claim that autism is caused by the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). He is pleased that Robert De Niro dropped the film from the Tribeca Film Festival (in agreement with Dr. Lipkin’s recommendation), but is dismayed that the Angelika Film Center in New York is showing it.
Dr. Lipkin writes that the causal association initially claimed, and apparently still asserted, by Andrew Wakefield was not reproduced in other research, does not fit the time course of the incidence of autism, and lacks biologic support in that viral sequences are not found in children with autism. Plus, Dr. Wakefield’s 1998 report in the Lancet was retracted by the journal in 2010, six years after 10 of his 12 original co-authors disavowed the report’s findings.
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) statement on “immunizations,” as edited in 2004 and found on the CMDA website, says in part, “CMDA agrees with current medical opinion that immunizations are of great benefit to the individual and society…[and] supports the current scientific literature that validates the general practice of immunization as a safe, effective, and recommended procedure…[but also] acknowledges the right of an individual to refuse immunization except in extraordinary public health circumstances…[t]he Christian community needs to base its decisions on accurate information.”
I agree with CMDA. People are free to say or believe as they wish, but I think it’s pretty hard to continue to assert the vaccine-autism link absent convincing new data.