The facts are in, and they're overwhelming.
Here's the thing about science.
It has a mind of its own. And sometimes, it won't do what you want it to do.
At least one anti-vaccine group recently learned this the hard way.
Beginning in 2003, SafeMinds, a group that attributes the majority of new cases of autism to "worrisome changes in our environment," spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over 10 years to fund a study that it hoped would demonstrate a conclusive link between childhood vaccines and autism, according to a report in Newsweek.
The results of the study were finally published last week. And it did not turn out the way SafeMinds expected:
"Between 2003 and 2013, SafeMinds provided scientists from the University ofTexas Southwestern School of Medicine, the University of Washington, the Johnson Center for Child Health & Development and other research institutions with approximately $250,000 to conduct a long-term investigation evaluating behavioral and brain changes of baby rhesus macaques that were administered a standard course of childhood vaccines. (The National Autism Association, another organization that has questioned vaccine safety, also provided financial support for this research.) The latest paper in the multiyear project was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In it, the researchers concluded that vaccines did not cause any brain or behavioral changes in the primates."
Yep. The evidence against a vaccines-autism link is so overwhelming that even a study funded specifically to find such a link was unable to find one.
It's one thing to spend money on an honest scientific inquiry and let the chips fall where they may. But once the inquiry has been made, it's important to respect the facts.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Pediatrics also found no evidence supporting a vaccines-autism link. Neither did this 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nor did this one from 2011. This one also found none.
SafeMinds has pushed back against the reported findings via a statement on their website, but thus far, the evidence for a vaccine-autism connection is thin-to-nonexistent.
After all, the most prominent study to suggest one has since been found to have been a complete fabrication.
The bottom line: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own science.
And the science just keeps getting clearer and clearer:
Vaccines and autism aren't linked.
And vaccines save lives.