The autism community has been rocked with chaos this past week after a CDC whistleblower released highly volatile and controversial information. The information itself remains unconfirmed by reputable media sources, but the public response to the whistleblower’s claims are unquestionably explosive.
A top researcher working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with Focus Autism Foundation’s Dr. Brian Hooker, alleged that the CDC has been involved with vaccine research data manipulation reigniting the MMR and autism link, according to Yahoo News.
The alleged changes in data reportedly covered-up a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys receiving their MMR vaccine on schedule. The study in question was published in Pediatrics and is entitled, “Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta.”
Dr. Hooker says he acquired related documents via a Congressional request from the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Citing the two sources, Hooker accused the CDC of widespread manipulation of scientific data pertaining to MMR vaccine safety.
— 21st Century Wire (@21WIRE) August 23, 2014
Dr. Hooker and the whistleblower claimed the CDC knew of the risks as early as 2003, prior to the study’s publication. Many parents from the autism community responded to the claims with anger, even demanding that criminal charges be brought up against the CDC leaders responsible.
Initially, the CDC employee spoke anonymously. Now, a video where his image and voice are not disguised, presented by the controversial gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, is making its way around the globe. The whistleblower was identified as Dr. William Thompson, who indeed worked at the CDC and was considered a highly respected professional.
— Julia Streeter Berle (@juliasberle) August 22, 2014
The pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a highly respected CDC scientist would engage with controversial Drs. Wakefield and Hooker. In that blog post, the author wrote:
“Was there really a 3.36-fold increased risk for autism in African-American males who received MMR vaccination before the age of 36 months in this dataset? Who knows? Hooker analyzed a dataset collected to be analyzed by a case-control method using a cohort design. Then he did multiple subset analyses, which, of course, are prone to false positives. As we also say, if you slice and dice the evidence more and more finely, eventually you will find apparent correlations that might or might not be real. In this case, I doubt Hooker’s correlation is real. “
Meanwhile, some parents in the autism community have taken to social media demanding apologies from the CDC:
— Crystal Mackey (@crystal_mackey) August 23, 2014
— Diana Gonzales (@CravenBlood) August 23, 2014
Social media users are using the hashtags #CDCPantsOnFire and #CDCWhistleblower to express their outrage, though that outrage has garnered no response from officials. There has been no statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CDC is equally as quiet about the vaccine whistleblower’s statements. Claims that the CDC whistleblower was escorted off of the CDC property have not been verified by mainstream sources. Mainstream news has not reported on the whistleblower’s claims, nor on the explosive nature of the public commentary.
The autism community is noticeably divided on the whistleblower’s claims. Fiery debates have also erupted over how the autism community leaders are handling the fallout. As a result of the CDC whistleblower’s confession and claims, an online petition has been started asking the medical journal Pediatrics to issue a public retraction of the study in question.
[Photo via Public Domain Photos]