Lab 12 - Vaccine Controversy Assignment Help
write a 2-3-page (about 500 words--no penalty for going over) summary and opinion paper about the vaccine controversy. This is like a longer, more in-depth version of your normal discussion summary. Aspects of the topic you can research and concentrate on are the retracted Wakefield paper in The Lancet journal about the link between autism and the MMR vaccine, Jenny McCarthy's anti-vaccine activism, the increase in vaccinated diseases like measles and whooping cough, etc.
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Controversy over Wakefield’s paper in the Lancet journal
Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues published a study in the Lancet journal, in 1998, which suggested that children who were exposed to the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) were susceptible to developing autism, which is a pervasive developmental disorder. The study was essentially speculative, and this can be attributed to the small sample size (only 12), but the paper received widespread recognition and it was not long before the rates of vaccination for MMR began to drop considerably (Rao & Andrade, 2011). This paper was completely refuted by the Lancet journal in 2010, and they admitted that the findings of the paper were incorrect and unscientific. Wakefield was charged with scientific misrepresentation andviolation of ethics, as he and his colleagues had conducted only a selective study, that too without bothering to obtain the required clearancesthat are necessary for any investigation.
However, a lot of damage had already been done due to the results as implicated by Wakefield’s paper, and many scientists and caregivers all over the world had to invest a considerable amount of time as well as money to prove that the Lancet study was incorrect and not conclusive. As noted by Rao and Andrade (2011), many parents also started refusing to vaccinate their children in fear that the young ones would develop autism, thereby running the risk of them contracting measles and its subsequent complications.In 2008 and 2009, there had been measles outbreaks in the UK and in the US and Canada, which was easily traced back to the anti-vaccine movement that was brewing steadily.
Anti-vaccine activism: Jenny McCarthy and other celebrities
The opinions and decisions of the public in general are not driven by economic or scientific forces; instead, there are a multitude of psychological, political and socio-cultural reasons that shape their attitude towards vaccines (Larson, Cooper, Eskola, Katz, &Ratzan, 2011). The rapidly progressing anti-vaccine movement, which is based on facts that are yet to be scientifically validated, is the major reason why people all over the world have been refusing to vaccinate their children, exposing them to infectious diseases that are otherwise easily preventable. This movement has been further spiraled on after celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey took the center stage, advocating against the use of the MMR vaccines.Einbinder (2019) from Insider Newsreports that McCarthy has now become the “face of the anti-vaccine movement,” primarily due to her son being diagnosed with autism, which she believed was caused by the MMR vaccine.It was also rumored that her son actually suffers from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, which is a rare disease that causes the child to lose their ability of comprehending and verbalizing language. However, McCarthy had refuted the news and claimed that her son was actually autistic, and the diagnosis took place after she had taken him for his MMR vaccination. In fact, she also claimed that she has been able to “heal” her son from autism through a controlled diet of nutritional supplements to “detoxify” the body (Weisman, 2013), not to mention the numerous books that the actress has published on the subject.
Rise in the incidence of preventable infectious diseases
Einbinder (2019) notes that there has been over 700 cases of measles across 22 states in the US, which is higher than the last reported number, which was decades ago, in 1994. Measles had been said to be eliminated from the country in 2000, but the advent of the anti-vaccine movement is the primary reason behind the re-emergence of this preventable disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) has documented at least 1,261 individual outbreaks of measles across 31 states in 2019 alone. The CDC also states that it is likely that the outbreak would spread among groups that are unvaccinated, and there have been major complications for the affected people as well, ranging from encephalitis to pneumonia.Soucheray (2019) has further documented the rise in the cases for whooping cough or pertussis as well, the likelihood and incidence of which increases when children and not vaccinated. The anti-vaccine movement, although based on false and unscientific claims, has thus increased the spread of diseases that are otherwise easily preventable through childhood vaccines.
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