The Vaccination-Autism Debate

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The vaccination-autism debate originated from the studies of a British medical researcher named Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield had claimed to discover a connection between the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and the development of autism and gastrointestinal disease in young children. (Hansen) He published his findings in a British medical journal and this started a large controversy amongst many scientists, doctors and citizens all over Europe. Many of who insist that there is no relation between the disease and the vaccination while others stand firm behind the beliefs of Wakefield. This dilemma soon spreads from the UK across the ocean and into North America. The decision of whether or not to have their child vaccinated became a very difficult one for many parents with conflicting beliefs on the matter. As medical researchers continued to study the topic many came to the conclusion that the link between vaccinations and autism and bowel disease were false. While at the same time many were convinced that the relation was so obvious that no children should be exposed to the vaccine. It was soon discovered that the data Wakefield had used in his study was fabricated and there was in fact no connection between the vaccinations and autism in young children. After years of debate many firm believers in the connection will not accept that the information they trusted was a lie.

The sources that I used in my research of the debate include different newspapers such as the Times, Sunday Times, US Newswire, The Guardian, The Week, Salon, USA Today, CBS News and the Pittsburgh Post-Gauzzette. I also used the online news station CNN. The search terms that I employed during my investigation varied from things as sp...

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...m, 30% weren’t sure and 18% were positive that they were related, published a poll taken after CNN’s article. (Gardner)

The myth that vaccinations cause autism in children was created by a British man for a small profit and then escalated quickly into a global debate. The science behind his theory was presented by many different forms of media, mostly through newspapers, to the general public and made many parents scared to get their children vaccinated from potentially deadly diseases. This is an obvious downside to the debate and put many children at risk of getting sick and even dying because of false information being broadly published. Even after everything was corrected much of the public’s reaction was disbelief and they no longer trusted science or the government and wanted to think that the vaccination is actually related to autism and bowel disease.

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