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Website Forced to Remove Misleading Vaccine-Autism Claims

Website Forced to Remove Misleading Vaccine-Autism Claims

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered, a website offering advice about immunizations for children, to remove statements that the MMR vaccine “could be causing autism in up to 10% of autistic children in the UK” and not make such claims again.

Other claims that has been ordered to remove and not repeat are that “most experts now agree that the large rise [in autism] has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but also by a real increase in the number of children with autism,” as well as a claim that a “vaccine-strain measles virus” had been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children.

The ASA has told the Babyjabs site that such claims are “misleading” and that it cannot make them again.

My teenage son Charlie was diagnosed with autism in 1999, the year after Dr. Andrew Wakefield had published his infamous Lancet study linking the MMR vaccine to autism. Often it has seemed that this issue has dominated the mention of autism in the popular press, to the detriment of discussion about education and schools and long-term services and supports (housing, employment, quality of life concerns).  The British medical journal The Lancet has since retracted Wakefield’s study.

Plenty of Misleading Information About Vaccines Is Still Out There

The Babyjabs site notes that Wakefield’s original claims of a link have been “strongly rejected by the government and the medical establishment.” But the site still hints at a link in statements such as “at the time of the introduction of the MMR, the number of cases of autism being diagnosed started to increase dramatically, and some feared that the MMR might have triggered this rise.” While saying that “research, including large population studies, has since shown that the MMR is not causing the large majority of autism,” the Babyjabs site says that such research “has been unable to exclude the possibility that it is causing autism in a small number of susceptible children.”

Following this statement, the site notes that the Advertising Standards Authority had required it “remove information relating to the alleged link between the MMR vaccine and autism” and then references a newspaper article about a 2012 decision by an Italian court that the MMR had “caused” autism in a 9-year-old boy.

The MMR vaccine has been on trial in the US in the autism omnibus proceedings, in which over 4,800 families contended that vaccines or something in vaccines had caused autism in their children; the US Court of Federal Claims found no such link.  A legal decision is not the same as evidence from a scientific study and scientific evidence (here is one such study and here is another one) has accrued that refutes a link.

Fewer parents in the US have vaccinated their children in the wake of the well-publicized controversy linking vaccines to autism.  It is good news that the ASA has ordered the Babyjabs site to remove misleading information but certainly plenty remains on the web. It is the case that some organizations and websites continue to associate autism with “vaccine injury” and to make statements such as “autism is closely correlated with a lessened ability to excrete toxins.”

I don’t think that the Internet will ever be “vaccine-autism link misinformation”-free anymore than it will ever be free of inaccuracies. But following the retraction of Wakefield’s study and with research into the genetics of autism growing, the notion of a vaccine-autism link no longer receives the attention it did and when it does — as in the ASA’s order to the Babyjabs site — it is to refute a very misleading claim.


Related Care2 Coverage

Gene Mutations and Autism Risk: A Link?

Fears About Vaccines and Autism Endure In the Face of Scientific Evidence

Infanticide in New York City: The “Cyclops Child”

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4:45AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012


2:08PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

NO Amber, people need always be warned that having OR taking any medication, that there is always a risk of one having a reaction that's just the nature of the beast. What works for you may well cause a reaction of sorts to the next person as there is always a little poison in every medication there is. There has also been NO CONCLUSIVE evidence that any child vaccinated for the usual childhood preventive diseases has been proven to come down with Autism either. This makes the MMR completely non inclusive as "the" cause. As far as I'm concerned this is something congenital....Caused perhaps by medications taken by the mother at some point during the child's being in vitro. This is the same Annie get your gun mentality that occurred during the Dow Corning's brutal beating in the media over silicone breast implants and the years and years that were spent in courts vilifying this company that damn near put them 6ft under as a result of what proved to be women who had predispositions to the numerous diseases that they claimed were a cause and effect due to the breast implants via silicone when in fact Dow Corning after many years of court battles, were indeed found innocent of all liabilities.

1:04PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

people NEED to be warned that these vaccines could give their children autism.
and even if it is a low risk that their child could get autism, have you read the ingredients in these vaccines? are those things you want to put into your child's body regardless?? if/when I have children they will be getting none of that crap in their bodies.

3:12PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Really? Completely exonerated? Has The Lancet republished his paper? Is he allowed to practice again?

9:04AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Sure teri b,

As you can see, Jenny McCarthy did make quite a bit when nude.

Ooooh!, Maybe you meant about vaccines ! Well, you weren't too clear. Rebecca has already done a fine job with that. Read her posts. As Herd immunity:

9:44PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Really Mit W?

Show me the science. Show me the proof. Oops! There isnt any.

9:42PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Go ahead and jab yourself. Just stay away from me, my children, and everyone I care about.

It isnt difficult figuring out why this website is forced to withdraw, and it has nothing to do with inaccuracy.

Btw, Dr Andrew Wakefield has been completely exonerated.

9:16PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

If vaccines are so safe and great then why do we have the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) -created to inform and educate parents about the risks of vaccinations; and the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (Public Law 99-660) as well as the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?

7:22PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Jenny McCarthy body count.

5:46PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

There once was a McCarthy named Jenny.
When nude, earned quite a pretty penny.
She thought it would be green,
to claim vaccines are mean.
Never mind the lives saved, are plenty !

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