When I read that yet another study has confirmed there to be no link between vaccines and autism, my first thought harkened back to an article I wrote in 2015 that highlighted the comments of an Arizona doctor named Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist who thinks vaccines are “toxic.” But more about him later.
The study was published as measles makes another resurgence around the U.S., almost as if its publication is a desperate attempt to reach parents vulnerable to being swept up in a movement that insists on keeping alive a fraudulent study that was retracted almost a decade ago.
According to the study, there’s no evidence to suggest the vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella puts those who receive it at any increased risk of autism. The study, which was conducted with children in Denmark, is one of the largest of its kind.
“The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism,” the authors write in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “We believe our results offer reassurance and provide reliable data.”
Among the 657,461 children included in the analysis, 6,517 were diagnosed with autism over the next decade. But there was no overall increased risk for the developmental disorder among those who received the MMR vaccine when compared with those who had not gotten the vaccine, the researchers found.
It’s a staggering refutation of claims made by the anti-vaxxer movement, but there’s a reason why the movement has endured for so long and is still a catalyst behind measles outbreaks in modern times — they’ve been completely inoculated against science.
Which brings us back to Dr. Jack Wolfson. It’s unknown if his views have changed since his disturbing interview with CNN back in 2015, but he was a powerful testament to how immovable anti-vaxxer ideology can be and why this problem won’t be going away any time soon.
“I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” Wolfson said in the interview. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.”
As my 2015 article stated, Wolfson’s comments came on the heels of growing backlash against anti-vaxxer parents in the wake of a measles outbreak in California. The CNN story focused on a leukemia-stricken child whose chemotherapy treatments would not allow her to be vaccinated, forcing her to rely on the science of herd immunity – the expectation that her surrounding community would be vaccinated and protect her from infection.
Wolfson scoffed at the possibility that his unvaccinated child could affect other children too weak or immuno-compromised to be vaccinated. In another interview, he even floated the possibility the child’s leukemia was linked to vaccines.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place,” Wolfson said.
When asked by the CNN host if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got other children fatally sick, he was unwavering.
“I could live with myself easily. It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. And I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child,” he said.
With people like this, (a doctor?!) study after study won’t be the answer. The only way to slow the resurgence of once-eradicated diseases is to ban people like Wolfson and his children from utilizing public services, such as eliminating ideology and religion-based vaccine exemptions from public schools.
In the meantime, all one can do is hope they can elude an outbreak.
Featured image via YouTube