Link between autism and vaccines debunked

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The British Medical Journal blasted a 1998 study linking autism to vaccination. Alabaster Senator Cam Ward, the father of an autistic daughter, says the study scared a lot parents.

"It's a tragedy all the way around. This hoax was perpetrated by these folks," Ward said.

Ward says the study conducted by Andrew Wakefield caused parents to question if they should get vaccinations for their children.

"The fact that they didn't vaccinate children probably lead to deaths out there as a result that they were not vaccinated. That is one terrible aspect of it," Ward said.

The BMJ accused Wakefield of using bogus test results. Dr. Peelie Soong, a pediatric physician with Children's Health System, says there were questions about the study when it was released.

"So I think in the medical community a lot of people thought this was not a very good study. Since then it has been shown it was unethically done, where they were paying patients to be a part of the study," Soong said.

The study did lead to a drop in vaccinations for children both in the United States and England. Dr. Soong says this is why many doctors were outraged about the results.

"I don't know how many times a day we will sit there and try to educate parents to about the safety of vaccinations. They are safe and never have been linked to autism," Soong said.

While Ward and other autism parents welcomed the news the study was debunked, there is still a big problem for parents.

"You still don't have an answer to what causes autism. Regardless of whether it was vaccinations or genetics or a combination there of, you still don't have an answer," Ward said.

Wakefield has denied any wrong doing involving his study.

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