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CDC Accused of Withholding Study Data Linking MMR Vaccine and Autism

Aug 26, 2015

Bill Posey, a House member from Florida, recently asked Congress to investigate evidence that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) withheld data linking the MMR vaccine, (measles, mumps and Rubella) and autism from a study published in Pediatrics.

Posey based his request on allegations by Dr. William Thompson, who has worked at the CDC since 1998. Thompson charged that he was pressured to manipulate data in order to conceal possibly harmful side effects of the MMR vaccine, WND (WorldNetDaily) reports.

In August 2014, Thompson alleged that the CDC hid data that revealed the MMR vaccine caused an increased risk of autism when administered to children younger than three years old. There appeared to be an even greater risk for African-American children, according to WND. Thompson said he led or co-led three major vaccine safety studies while working for the CDC. After finding risks for autism and a disproportionate impact on black children, Thompson said, "All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002 not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects." The authors went through all the hard copies of documents "we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can." But Thompson said he assumed it was illegal to destroy the material and he kept hard copies of all documents in his office and also retained the associated computer files. Thompson said he believes "we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper." The article was published in 2004. In a statement last year Thompson said, "Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed." Thompson went on to say there "have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly convey the risks associated with receipt of those vaccines."

Rep. Posey said the federal government has a responsibility to provide accurate information to parents about vaccines. "It's troubling to me that in a recent hearing on childhood vaccinations, it was never mentioned that our government has paid out over three billion dollars through a vaccine injury compensation program for children who have been injured by vaccinations. Regardless of the subject matter, parents making decisions about their children's health deserve to have the best information available to them." Posey has asked for a "thorough investigation" and has asked the House Appropriations Committee to take such action, according to WND.

Dr. Lee Hieb, who is an orthopedic surgeon and a columnist for WND, and is past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, praised Posey's actions but said the investigation needed to go farther. Hieb urges Congress to investigate not just the possible withholding of study data but the vaccine issue itself and the practice of administering vaccines to children under three. Hieb calls for an examination of the science in order to determine the risks and benefits of vaccination, according to WND.

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