Why are there many vaccinated kids in measles outbreaks?
A Fraud and Its Victims
In 1998, a team of researchers in Great Britain published a study examining the relationship between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism. Or, as the study paper put it, “We identified associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children, which was generally associated in time with possible environmental triggers.” One of those triggers was the MMR vaccine.
If you clicked on the link to the paper, you might have noticed the paper is retracted. It was retracted because it was found to be fraudulent, filled with inaccuracies and with questionable ethics practices. Nevertheless, the damage was done. Anti-vaccine organizations and activists showcased the study and its authors as evidence that vaccines cause autism.
In 2017, one of the principal investigators of the fraudulent 1998 study traveled to Minnesota. He met with parents in the Somali refugee community there. He allegedly explained to them his concerns about the MMR vaccine, and they believed him. Soon thereafter, MMR vaccine coverage for young children dropped. Not too long after that, a measles epidemic hit the community hard.
A Reasonable Fear
Why were parents concerned? First, their children were being diagnosed with a condition that was new to them: Autism. In many developing nations around the world — and in cultures where science and biology are not easily attainable as they are in the American educational system — the idea of autism is hard to understand.
Autism occurs on a spectrum, with some autistic people showing more developmental delay/disability than others. If you did not know that autism was a thing, you might think of a severely disabled autistic person as “brain damaged.” And you might think of a functional…