There is absolutely no doubt that the fraudumentary “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe” is demonstrably bogus nonsense.
It is also potentially very harmful nonsense and as such deserves to be debunked when the opportunity arises. There are a huge number of references that outline just why, and indeed how, this intellectual revulsion is firmly discredited by evidence. More so, there are a range of approaches presented in various critiques. This isn’t a result of authors seeking to be creative. Rather the final product of Vaxxed is so egregiously wrong on so many levels, it can be nudged into a pile of rubble from so many angles.
Interestingly the argument can be made that the main claim put forward in Vaxxed helped in destroying any attempt at credibility. The story of a so-called CDC whistleblower was easily revealed as bogus. The companion claim, that suppressed data showing a 340% increased risk of autism among specific populations of African-American boys resonated only in the echo chambers of antivaccinationists. Particularly when in the only official statement  from the “whistleblower”, we read irrefutable support for vaccination;
I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits. (William Thompson)
I trust these references are helpful.
1) This article from Snopes covers various sources of disinformation that sustain the primary lies in Vaxxed. Using articles that address the fallacious claims of Brian Hooker from an evidence based background and a range of other sources Snopes offers a compelling rebuttal.
Fraud at the CDC uncovered?
Rumour: Data suppressed by the CDC proved that the MMR vaccine produces a 340% increased risk of autism in African-American boys.
2) Did a high ranking whistleblower really reveal that the CDC covered up proof that vaccines cause autism in African-American boys? David Gorski; Science Based Medicine, August 25th 2014 [Source]
3) Autism, Atlanta, MMR: serious questions and also how Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield are causing damage to the autism communities Matt Carey; Left Brain Right Brain, August 26th 2014 [Source]
4) Hey, where is everybody? The “CDC whistleblower” manufactroversy continues apace Orac; Respectful Insolence, August 26th 2014 [Source]
5) Journal takes down autism-vaccine paper pending investigation Adam Marcus; Retraction Watch, August 27th 2014 [Source]
An article purporting to find that black children are at substantially increased risk for autism after early exposure to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine has been shelved.
Although we don’t know if the events are related, the move comes amid claims that a CDC whistleblower has accused health officials of suppressing information about the link.
Not surprisingly, the prospect that the CDC has been sitting on evidence of an autism-vaccine connection for more than a decade has inflamed the community of activists wrongly convinced that such a link exists.
The paper, “Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data,” was written by Brian Hooker, an engineer-turned-biologist and an active member of that community. It was submitted in April, accepted on August 5, and published on August 8.
Translational Neurodegeneration, which published the article earlier this month, has now removed it and posted the following notice:
This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation.
6) Retraction Note: Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young African American boys; a reanalysis of CDC data [Source]
7) CDC Whistleblower William Thompson Breaks Silence Todd W; Harpocrates Speaks, August 28th 2014 [Source]
8) The “CDC whistleblower saga”: Updates, backlash, and (I hope) a wrap-up David Gorski; Science Based Medicine, September 1st 2014 [Source]
9) MMR, the CDC and Brian Hooker: A Guide for Parents and the Media Todd W; Harpocrates Speaks, September 8th 2014 [Source]
10) Kevin Barry, you magnificent bastard, I read your antivaccine book! Orac; Respectful Insolence, August 25th 2015 [Source]
11) Reviewing Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED: Antivaccine propaganda at its most pernicious David Gorski; Science Based Medicine, July 11th 2016 [Source]
12) Andrew Wakefield releases the trailer for his William Thompson video. Slick production and dishonesty Matt Carey; Left Brain Right Brain, March 22nd 2016 [Source]
I can’t recommend this article highly enough. In just a few paragraphs readers can see how Thompson was exploited by Hooker and Wakefield. We have this claim from the Vaxxed fiction;
“There’s a whistleblower from the CDC who is going to come out and say that the CDC had committed fraud on the MMR study and that they knew that vaccines were actually causing autism.”
Also we find when the genuine chronology of the Hooker/Thompson discourse is applied that Thompson is not a so-called “CDC whistleblower”. The manner in which Wakefield spliced unrelated conversations together to produce his fallacious narrative becomes clear. As Matt Carey writes (emphasis mine);
Well, Thompson never says in his statement that there was fraud or misconduct by the CDC team. He does say “Reasonable scientists can and do differ in their interpretation of information.”
Let’s back up a bit, what is the Hooker/Wakefield claim of fraud? In a nutshell, they claim that the CDC team found a result they didn’t want to make public and then changed the research plan/protocol so they wouldn’t have to report that. In this exchange from a phone call we can see Hooker apparently trying to get Thompson on tape saying this. Trying because Thompson refuses to say it:
Dr. Hooker: And then you basically deviated from that particular plan in order to reduce the statistical significance that you saw in the African American Cohort.
Dr. Thompson: Well, we, um, we didn’t report findings that, um…All I will say is we didn’t report those findings. I can tell you what the other coauthors will say.
As to the claim by the narrator that Thompson stepped forward and stated… “that [The CDC] knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”. Nope.
Also, Thompson provided a summary statement to Member of Congress Bill Posey. That was made public along with a great deal more documents when I released them here. What does Mr. Thompson have to say about the study in question showing that vaccines “actually cause autism”?
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.
It’s clear that Thompson struggled at times with mental illness. He was deeply concerned that it would become public knowledge. Wakefield’s callous disregard is on display again as we read:
The only reason people know about Thompson’s personal medical history is that Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield made it public. Hooker and Wakefield filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services and included this statement from William Thompson:
Ya know, I’m not proud of that and uh, it’s probably the lowest point in my career that I went along with that paper and I also paid a huge price for it because I became delusional.
13) Seven things about vaccines and autism that the movie Vaxxed won’t tell you Ariana Eunjung Cha; May 25th 2016 [Source]
14) Vaxxed – a guide to Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent film The Original Skeptical Raptor; December 22nd 2016 [Source]
15) The William Thompson Documents – There’s no whistle to blow Matt Carey; Left Brain Right Brain, January 6th 2017 [Source]