29 January, 2010

My Bad Dreams: MMR, Wakefield and Advocacy

It doesn't happen often that I am asleep for enough hours in a row to dream, but last night I got there. Unfortunately my only dreams were those of unvaccinated children, and sickness and rallies and something about a huge "pile of advocacy" that I was responsible for sorting and re-building properly so we could all climb to the top. Yeah, very restful.

After the news yesterday that the General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield "had acted 'dishonestly and irresponsibly' in doing his research." My stomach just sort of kept churning.

You see, this just means more children will go unvaccinated and be exposed to horrible diseases, and it means I have more work to do. Anyone who does not believe that vaccines caused their child's autism has even more work to do now, because Wakefield just got more air time. Andrew Wakefield's unethically performed project now has another platform to do damage, because his supporters are loud and they have a passion that is untethered to reality. In the face of science and studies and information, they cling to anecdotal evidence, and if they are threatened with truth they do not calmly listen or examine where their logic may be false. Instead they insult people (like my brilliant friend Kristina), or they leave nasty notes here on my blog, and on other advocates pages. With Wakefield in the news, the media will go round and round again about "the controversy" of vaccines (like that news guy I used to like Matt Lauer). The Age of Autism herd, Jenny McCarthy and her McAutism clan have more things to set on fire now. All of Wakefield's supporters will just add this to the list of "big pharma" and "government" keeping us all in the dark, harming children on purpose. They must come to his defense because the truth would be too painful and would undo their entire existence.

So now I need to push more for real help for families affected by Autism. I am not going to say I am on the "other side" because I fight for those people's children too and for all those children who are "healed" but still need a full-time aide. I don't want there to be sides, I want all of our children to get the help they need now. I want families to have the support they need, and I want my child to have a place to live when he's grown and I am gone. So it's back to work.

Here you can sign the petition to encourage First Lady Michelle Obama to meet with Autism Families because when Wakefield's bogus findings show up on the news, monies are swayed away toward vaccine/autism "research" instead of helping actual families.

and don't get me wrong, I am very glad Wakefield was officially, and for public record, found to be unethical. After reading through most of the 143 page document, it is clear that he went rogue and did not act in the best interest of those children. But because of this statement:

The Panel wish to make it clear that this case is not concerned with whether there is or might be any link between the MMR vaccination and autism.
I will be most happy when his name can slip off the front pages and we can all get back to the business of caring for our children.

Thank you to Shannon Rosa, Liz Ditz, BBC news, and Brian Deer
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