Today, news stories abound with the findings from a study involving 95,000 children: MMR vaccines do not cause autism. Why am I not celebrating?? Won't THIS convince anti-vaxxers to finally seek the preventative care that will protect their children and unvaccinated children everywhere? No. I have no confidence that it will. Why do I feel that way? Because this study didn't. Or this one. Not this one, this one, or this one either. This one? Nope. What about this one? Fail. This one? No dice. You see the point, I hope. Those who believe this believe it, and something as trivial as evidence is not going to convince them otherwise.
Why does this infuriate me? More than a dozen peer-reviewed studies say the same thing. They refute a study whose design was so flawed it NEVER should have seen the light of day in the first place. Why is that a bad thing? All of these studies were Federally funded, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Imagine for a moment if those funds had instead been granted to develop the next vaccine that would prevent a different infectious disease. What children that were lost might have been saved? Imagine if they had gone to developing therapeutic strategies for autistic children. What if they had gone to workforce programs for autistic adults? What if they had gone toward identifiying and understanding the actual causes of autism and autism spectrum disorders?
Truly, I hope I am being I being overly cynical. But in reality? I. AM. FURIOUS. If the above paragraph speaks to you, I implore you: the next time you hear someone spout off this myth, please tell them what they cost us. Tell them in dollars, and tell them in lost opportunity. It is time that we stop humoring and enabling this reckless behavior.