(LifeSiteNews) — With vaccine skepticism on the rise and trust in regulatory agencies and big pharma dwindling, it is time to re-visit one of the most important and most controversial potential cover-up cases of the past decades and answer the question: Did the CDC manipulate data to hide a link between MMR vaccines and autism?
The 2016 movie “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe” tells the story of CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) whistleblower Dr. William Thompson, who revealed how the CDC allegedly destroyed evidence that shows that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism in children.
The movie was recently re-uploaded to Rumble and garnered significant attention again, likely since trust in both the CDC and vaccines in general has been diminishing since the COVID crisis.
The film is produced by filmmaker Del Bigtree and scientist Andrew Wakefield, a former academic who has been accused of fraud for his 1998 study published in the Lancet on the possible link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism and has since been discredited as a “conspiracy theorist” and “anti-vaccine activist” by the mainstream media and the scientific establishment.
What are the claims of Dr. William Thompson?
Dr. William Thompson has claimed that he and his co-authors intentionally omitted data from a 2004 study that shows a significant correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American children.
In 2014, Thompson had a series of phone calls with Dr. Brian Hooker, a biologist and former university professor who is currently the senior director of science and research at Children’s Health Defense, the environmental and vaccine safety advocacy group chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Kennedy is on leave from his role with the organization as he runs for president as an independent.)
Thompson suggested that Hooker request the data from the CDC’s 2004 MMR-autism study through a so-called “citizen’s request.” Wakefield explained in the Vaxxed movie that Thompson used this method as a “legal loophole” because sending Hooker the CDC’s internal documents without such a request would have been illegal.
After Hooker had analyzed the data, he saw a significant correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism in black children, prompting him to publish his findings.
The CDC and the study authors were now threatened by media attention generated through Hooker’s publication. Hooker had furthermore secretly recorded his phone calls with Thompson, so he had evidence that the CDC scientist told him how to access the data.
This caused Thompson to go public and publish a statement on August 27, 2014, saying that he “regret[s] that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics.”
“The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.”
“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 continued.
The scientist stressed that he believes “vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives” and that he “would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race.”
“My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub group for a particular vaccine,” Thompson stated. “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.”
In one phone call with Hooker, Thompson said that the data showed that the earlier children receive the MMR shot, the higher the likelihood of developing autism was. Del Bigtree, one of the Vaxxed filmmakers, pointed out that children in the U.S. are recommended to receive the MMR injection between 12 and 18 months. However, Thompson’s data would show that this period is the “most dangerous time” for them to get the shot, Bigtree asserted.
In 2014, Thompson published the “CDC files,” a collection of documents allegedly excluded from the MMR vaccine study, including internal communication between Thompson and CDC executives.
Alongside the CDC files, Thompson published a memo in which he lays out the timeline of events from March 2001, when the meeting of the study authors began, to March 2004, when he was put on administrative leave for criticizing the CDC’s National Immunization Program (NIP) for failing to accurately represent vaccines safety issues.
Thompson stated that the CDC’s MMR-Autism study was commissioned to respond to the discredited Wakefield study that suggested a correlation between the MMR vaccine and an increased risk of autism. The scientist claims that he found a significant correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African-American males when he ran analyses of the data. In order to hide these findings from the public, “All the coauthors met and decided sometime between August 2002 and September 2002 not to report any RACE effects for the paper,” Thompson wrote.
“[A]lso between August 2002 and September 2002, the coauthors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.”
However, Thompson thought what they were doing was illegal, so he kept “hard copies of all my documents in my office, and I retained all the associated computer files.”
The CDC whistleblower seemingly felt guilty for what he and his co-authors had done, and he reported the controversial findings that were excluded from the study to his superiors. He presented his results to members of the National Immunization Program (NIP), a division of the CDC responsible for vaccination programs in the U.S., as well as Julie Gerberding, who was the CDC’s director at the time. After sending a letter containing his concerns about the MMR-autism study to Gerberding, Thompson was put on administrative leave on March 9, 2004, for “inappropriate and unacceptable behavior in the workplace,” according to screenshots of the letter provided by Thompson.
Thompson added an interesting detail in his memo that may be a hint as to why the CDC would try to hide data linking autism cases in black children to the MMR vaccine. He claims that one of his most trusted colleagues at the CDC, Brook Barry, informed him that the Congressional Autism Caucus, a bipartisan political initiative to help people suffering from autism, was meeting on February 3rd, 2004, one day after Thompson delivered his letter to CDC director Gerberding. According to Thompson’s colleague Barry, the Autism Caucus was initiating “a formal investigation of the National Immunization Program,” seemingly meant to determine if there was any link between vaccines and autism.
“I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the DeStefano et al (2004) Pediatrics paper,” Thompson wrote in the conclusion of his memo.
“The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation,” he continued.
However, “This result would have probably [have] led to designing additional better studies if we had been willing to report the findings in the study and manuscript at the time that we found them,” Thompson said.
Another piece of information that points toward irregularities in the CDC’s MMR autism study is the fact that the data collection was done in 2001, and the paper was meant to be published in 2002. However, the publication was delayed until 2004. According to Thompson, CDC executives held secret meetings over these two years where they discussed what to do with the controversial data.
Thompson was blocked from testifying under oath
“I am providing information to Congressman William Posey, and of course will continue to cooperate with Congress,” Thompson wrote in his 2014 statement.
In July 2015, Republican Congressman William Posey urged Congress to subpoena William Thompson and have him testify under oath. As a CDC employee, Thompson could not speak out voluntarily against his employer, as Hooker noted in the movie.
Posey also asked CDC representative Coleen Boyle before Congress whether the agency had ever done a study that compared a vaccinated to an unvaccinated placebo group (known as the “Vax-Unvax” study). She confirmed that such a study had never been done, confirming one of the major criticisms of vaccine skeptics, namely that vaccines do not have the same safety standards as other drugs on the market.
In 2016, the CDC successfully blocked William Thompson from testifying in a court case in Tennessee involving a boy who claims his autism was caused by vaccine injuries. To this day, Thompson has still not been subpoenaed by Congress, despite many petitions calling for his public testimony under oath.
Thompson said he received “no pressure or retaliation” at work in his 2014 statement and is still listed as a researcher for the CDC on ReseareGate.net. The last scientific article in which Thompson is listed as a co-author was published in 2021, according to ResearchGate.
What evidence is there for a link between autism and vaccines?
This article mainly deals with the question of Thompson’s allegations against the CDC and is not meant as a scientific discussion about vaccines and autism. However, some notes about the possible link between MMR vaccines (and vaccines in general) and autism are essential to understanding the context of the story properly.
The number of reported cases of autism in children in the U.S. has risen exponentially over the past few decades. According to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, 1 in 36 children born in 2012 suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder as of 2020. In 2000, it was “only” 1 in 150 children who suffered from autism, while studies from the 1960s and 1970s in Europe and the U.S. found significantly lower incidences of autism in children (around 2 to 4 cases per 10,000 children).
Many scientists try to explain this sharp increase by citing improved diagnostics and the broadening of the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder as the main reasons for the rise in cases from the 1970s to the early 2000s. However, the incidence has continued to rise between 2000 and 2020, so something has caused this concerning development.
While the “scientific community” has not been able to show which environmental factors may increase the risk of autism in children, scientists cited by the mainstream media always insist that vaccines certainly have nothing to do with it because many studies investigating the issue have not been able to show a significant correlation between vaccines and autism.
However, there seem to be thousands of cases of parents who tell a similar story about their children developing symptoms of autism after receiving their childhood vaccines. The movie Vaxxed tells the story of Polly and Jonathan Tommey, whose son developed severe autism symptoms shortly after receiving the MMR vaccine. Polly Tommey told her story on a TV show in the U.K. She received thousands of messages from parents whose children experienced the exact same symptoms after a childhood vaccine: high-pitched screams, diarrhea, constant banging of the head against the wall or floor, and a loss of cognitive and motoric abilities, among others.
Due to this overwhelming response, Tommey founded a magazine called “Autism File,” which got 45,000 subscribers within a few months, according to Jonathan Tommey.
In addition to these personal anecdotes, there have been court cases where families were awarded compensation because their child developed autism shortly after receiving the MMR vaccine. In 2012, a court in Italy granted a family €174,000 “after the Italian Health Ministry conceded the MMR vaccine caused autism in their nine-year-old son Valentino,” the Independent reported.
Furthermore, several studies do purport to show a link between children with autism and the reception of childhood vaccines (a list of some of them can be found in the description box of the Vaxxed movie here). However, these studies are frequently discredited or ignored by government health agencies and the scientific establishment.
In a 2011 CBS News article (hardly an outlet for anti-vaccine “conspiracy theorists”), investigative journalist and five-time Emmy Award winner Sharyl Attkisson wrote:
A number of independent scientists have said they’ve been subjected to orchestrated campaigns to discredit them when their research exposed vaccine safety issues, especially if it veered into the topic of autism.
Attkisson also recently pointed out that autism was listed on the official package insert as a reported “adverse event” of a Tripedia vaccine that has since been discontinued.
Another potential explanation for the increase in autism cases in children may be the use of aborted fetal cell lines in many vaccines.
The pro-life doctor Theresa Deisher, a Seattle-based genetic research scientist, argued that human DNA fragments found in many MMR vaccines produced from aborted fetal cell lines are causing children to develop autism.
While I do not have a conclusive answer to the question asked in the beginning, the evidence suggests that the CDC did, in fact, manipulate data to hide a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
If William Thompson was lying and fabricated all the evidence, why did the CDC keep him as an employee after he blew the whistle on them in 2014? Why would they keep someone who is publicly lying about their organization, accusing the CDC and his co-authors of criminal activity? However, if Thompson was telling the truth, it makes sense for the CDC to keep him on board to prevent him from voluntarily testifying before Congress or any court case involving vaccine injuries.
Any scientist or researcher who questions the mainstream narrative on vaccines and autism, even if he is generally pro-vaccine, is immediately discredited, and the establishment launches media campaigns against the dissident. If Thompson were telling the truth, it would vindicate all these vaccine-skeptic scientists whose careers have been damaged and destroyed by the establishment. It would send shockwaves through the entire world, destroy the reputation of CDC, and severely hurt the bottom line of big pharma.
Julie Geberding, who was CDC director in the early 2000s when the MMR-autism study was published, may have had a vested interest in preserving the profit and reputation of big pharma since Gerberding became the president of the vaccine division at pharma giant Merck in 2009 after her stint as CDC director.
These career moves are very common among high-level executives of regulatory agencies, who are supposed to scrutinize pharmaceutical products but often move on to become pharma lobbyists. A recent example of this is former FDA director Scott Gottlieb, who became a board member at Pfizer shortly after leaving the regulatory agency.
The CDC and big pharma have both lost much of their credibility during the draconian Covid era, and whether people like it or not, vaccine skepticism is on the rise. The debacle of the dangerous and largely ineffective COVID shots has led many to question the safety standards of pharmaceutical products, especially vaccines. Well-known public figures such as presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., businessman Steve Kirsch, and political commentator Candace Owens have publicly criticized poor vaccine safety standards and the propaganda surrounding this issue.
Regardless which side of the debate you are on, people interested in pursuing the truth about the potential link between childhood vaccines and autism should demand that both David Thompson and CDC director Julie Gerberding be subpoenaed by the U.S. Congress and testify under oath so that the public may get be able to know the whole truth about the matter.