Color me not surprised in the slightest...
Yet another panel of scientists has found no evidence that a popular vaccine causes autism. But despite the scientists’ best efforts, their report is unlikely to have any impact on the frustrating debate about the safety of these crucial medicines.
“The M.M.R. vaccine doesn’t cause autism, and the evidence is overwhelming that it doesn’t,” Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, the chairwoman of the panel, assembled by the Institute of Medicine, said in an interview. She was referring to a combination against measles, mumps and rubella that has long been a focus of concern from some parents’ groups.
The panel did conclude, however, that there are risks to getting the chickenpox vaccine that can arise years after vaccination. People who have had the vaccine can develop pneumonia, meningitis or hepatitis years later if the virus used in the vaccine reawakens because an unrelated health problem, like cancer, has compromised their immune systems.
The same problems are far more likely in patients who are infected naturally at some point in their lives with chickenpox, since varicella zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox, can live dormant in nerve cells for decades. Shingles, a painful eruption of skin blisters that usually affects the aged, is generally caused by this Lazarus-like ability of varicella zoster.
Needless to say, the fact that every major investigation of this issue has come to the same conclusion- that vaccines are incredibly safe and effective methods of preventing* disease- won't prevent certain parties from continuing to claim that vaccines are bad:
Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds, a group that contends there is a link between vaccines and autism, said the latest report from the Institute of Medicine excluded important research and found in many cases that not enough research had been done to answer important questions.
“I think this report says that the science is inadequate, and yet we’re giving more and more vaccines to our kids, and we really don’t know what their safety profile is,” Ms. Bernard said. “I think that’s alarming.”
Which is a pretty fascinating statement of position, when you think about it. If the science, and results, to date don't convince Bernard, what the hell will? Maybe this helpful graphic about the HPV vaccine?
Ah, well, at least we have effective vaccines, even if some of us aren't smart enough to make use of them.
* That's what always amazes me about this debate. We can actually PREVENT diseases before they happen, not just treat them once they do happen. That is so freaking cool! Sadly, however, it's also why so many people don't realize how important vaccines are- it's hard to get across that the reason why we don't have goddamn polio all over the place is because vaccines block it.