I decided to fact check an article titled ” Vaccines & Autism” from the website sciencebasedmedicine.org. This article discusses whether or not vaccines cause autism. This is a topic that I can relate to because I am hoping to become a special education teacher one day and I am also a caretaker to my cousin, who suffers from severe special needs. My Aunt had seen this article on Facebook, posted by a group called Down syndrome/Autism/Vaccine Injury. My first step in my fact checking journey was to figure out what this group was about. This group doesn’t have a website, only a page on Facebook, where a community of disabled individuals and their caretakers help one another by posting information and resources for these individuals. The page was created by Holly Martin Giglio, who has a daughter that suffers from down syndrome. She created a closed group on Facebook in order to provide support for parents who have a child born with Down syndrome and later regressed into autism through vaccine injury. She sent the article to me not too long ago and I thought it would be a great article to fact check because the topic is so controversial. Do you believe vaccines can cause autism? Let’s take a look at some studies…
Deciding whether or not your child should become vaccinated is a big deal, especially around flu season and when enrolling them into school. There have been many studies done that support both sides of this argument. What I liked about this article is that it listed several different outside posts about this topic. They’re wasn’t just one filter bubble, so that told me this article wasn’t going to be leaning pro or con vaccines. I went upstream by taking the article post on Facebook, linking it to the closed group Down syndrome/Autism/Vaccine Injury, and getting a better understanding about the admin Holly Martin Giglio. The post and the group is what led me to on Science-based medicine (SBM) page and that’s where I made myself familiar with the editors and contributors. This article is based off of six studies done by six different scientist/doctors who specialize in this field. Tome, scientific fact makes this article lean all the way to the right on our truthometer gage.
While reading this article I was sure to keep chapter three of Caulfield’s WEB LITERACY FOR STUDENT FACT-CHECKERS book in mind. In that chapter, he discusses keeping your emotions in check and not completely writing off a piece of work or taking to heart what someone posts on social media sites. This is important to remember, especially when reading sensitive topics because it may lead the reader to react in an emotional way.
The article states that vaccines are generally considered to be the most successful public health intervention. And yet there have been people against the use of vaccines ever since vaccines were created. So-called antivaccinationists have claimed over the years that vaccines do not work, even though there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that proves they do. These groups often spread misinformation about vaccines, such as the notion that vaccines weaken the immune system, when in reality they work by strengthening the immune systems response against the target infection.
Another scientist named by Mrozek Budzyn showed that in a retrospective case-control study conducted in Poland, they found that there was no correlation between autism and either the single measles vaccine or the trivalent MMR vaccine. In fact, there appeared to be a protective effect in that there was less autism in those who were vaccinated. This is likely either a random result or the result of an unknown confounder. However, this study does not reflect any increased risk of autism in those receiving either type of vaccine.
Being in the educational field, these groups cause major problems for administrators who mandate certain vaccines in order to enroll in school. These groups, most of the time, never perform any studies, but continue to post and share fake news.
This article conducted six different research cases from the six different scientists and doctors that proved getting vaccinated has no direct correlation with autism, measles, and or chrohns disease.
This population-based study investigated whether there was an association between the incidence of autism and MMR immunization in the North-East region. This study confirmed that there was an increase in the prevalence of autism but this increase was not related to the introduction of MMR or to vaccine coverage. This study did not identify any association between MMR vaccine and the age of diagnosis of autism. The results of this paper do not support a causal association between MMR and autism, either in its initiation or the onset of regression.
People will still unfortunately believe the fake news the antivaccinationists produce because parents, and rightfully so, hear this false information and fear that the vaccines will put their children in danger. If the last few weeks have taught me anything it is to never believe everything you read. In my opinion, the parents should read WEB LITERACY FOR STUDENT FACT-CHECKERS by Michael A. Caulfield, and factcheck the article before assuming that the information given is right. They should always take a step back and try to figure out where the source is coming from, learn about the people behind the articles, and what the content of their website is about. People would be surprised how many fake news articles come from well-known websites. Always check, never assume!