Rumors of a link between autism and the measles vaccine persist, although the original paper that claimed the link, as well as its author, have been discredited.
Dr. Ken Haller, a SLUCare pediatrician at Cardinal Glennon and associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University, reaffirmed that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe and effective Tuesday on “St. Louis on the Air.” After the show, a listener sent us a question about an alleged autism cover-up within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We asked Haller to respond.
Q: Please ask the doctor about the recent admission by a CDC official that the CDC covered up test results indicating African-American males are more likely to be autistic following the use of the MMR vaccine.
Haller: “He seems to be referring to a paper that purported to show what he alleges in his question. I have heard about this episode, and the paper in question was held from publication because the author had a number of conflicts of interest that he did not disclose to the publisher.
“Even more important, the data in the paper, when examined carefully, did not support the author’s conclusion. Further the CDC did not engage in any ‘cover-up,’ as all of the data are readily available online.
“The paper’s author, along with your correspondent and so many in the anti-vaccine movement, demonstrate the all-too-human trait of confirmation bias — searching only for data that supports a foregone conclusion, and even twisting data to serve that conclusion. We all do it to some extent or other. Unfortunately, the consequences to the health and safety of our children is quite grave when it comes to those who seek to convince others not to vaccinate their kids.”
“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.