While there’s radio silence from the mainstream media, #CDCwhistleblower has been blowing up the Twittersphere since recent claims that the Center for Disease Control has been doctoring research to cover up a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. According to the whistleblower, a 2004 report published in Pediatrics intentionally omitted information that showed a link between the vaccine and an increased risk of autism in African-American male children.

Today, 1 out of 68 children will develop autism and that rate nearly doubles for boys – 1 in 42. With autism being the fastest growing serious development disability in the States, could the CDC be to blame for not disclosing the truth about vaccines?

Who is the CDC Whistleblower?

The claims came to light after the release of phone interviews with Dr. William Thompson, Senior Scientist with the CDC and co-author of the report in question, conducted by Dr. Brian Hooker of the Focus Autism Foundation, who has spent nearly a decade attempting to extract records from CDC research using the Freedom of Information Act.

Quotes from the interview appear in a video released by Dr. Andrew Wakefield on the Autism Media Channel; most notably Thompson can be heard saying, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we did what we did. But we did.” Thompson has confirmed that the voice in the recording is his in a press release, albeit the conversations were released without his permission. Thompson writes:

“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.”

A long history of distrust

Like Hooker, Wakefield has also been trying to prove a link between vaccines and childhood autism for years, and like Thompson, Wakefield is no stranger to accusations of fraud: in 2011, Wakefield’s medical license was revoked after his study linking vaccines to childhood autism was declared fraudulent. The same study is credited for strengthening the anti-vaccination movement.

A screenshot of text messages in which CDC whistleblower Thompson apologizes to Wakefield for the original fraudulent report and what it has done to Wakefield’s career has been circulating the Internet, however the validity of the image has not been confirmed by either party.

Millennial Magazine - CDC Whistleblower Autism

Hooker, who is the father of an autistic child, also published an article re-evaluating data from the 2004 report on August 27 in Translational Neurodegeneration. The article was removed and a message explaining its removal due to concerns about its validity was posted in its place.

What it could mean for the victims

When Dr. Frank DeStefano, co-author of the report and CDC Director of Immunization Safety was contacted for a statement, he stated there was no causal link between the vaccination and autism, but admitted that the vaccine may trigger autism in certain individual cases.

CNN iReport, a user-generated news community, states that the MMR vaccine can increase the risk of autism in African-American male children by 340%. According to Age of Autism, the fraudulent report could be responsible for more than 250,000 cases of autism in African-American male children. While few personal cases of this demographic have come to light, CBS released a story in 2008 about a child named Hannah Poling who began to exhibit signs of autism after receiving five vaccines in one day.

Reactions from the government

Congressman Bill Posey, who, according to Benswann.com is currently reviewing CDC whistleblower documents, has been questioning the validity of CDC reports long before the recent uncovering. In a Congressional hearing in 2012, Posey questioned CDC’s Dr. Coleen Boyle who denied a link between autism and vaccines.

Millennial Magazine - CDC Whistleblower Autism

On April 25, 2013, Posey proposed House Resolution 1757, or the Vaccine Study Safety Act, which has not yet been passed but has been receiving increased attention in light of recent events.

Certainly the revealing of the CDC whistleblower has brought attention to the institution’s credibility. But it’s difficult to confirm the exact amount of damage that a decade of deceit could have caused.



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Amanda Jane McConnon


New Jersey

Amanda McConnon has an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She lives in New Jersey. You can find her on LinkedIn and her poems in Best New Poets 2014 and others.

All posts by Amanda Jane McConnon

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