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Friday, June 14, 2024
Journalist denounces link between vaccine, autism

autism: Journalist Seth Mnookin denounced the proposed link between the MMR vaccine and autism at a lecture yesterday on campus.

Journalist denounces link between vaccine, autism

After facing airplane delays and a bout of food poisoning, journalist Seth Mnookin eventually found his way to UW-Madison Thursday to denounce the proposed link between autism and the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine.

Mnookin's book, ""The Panic Virus,"" discredits a 1998 British medical study that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism in children.

""The Panic Virus"" traces the spread of public skepticism with child vaccinations, questioning the ethics of both the scientific and journalistic communities who he believed perpetuated the concern.

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Mnookin said he is shocked that young, affluent and well-read parents were debating the merits of child vaccinations.

 ""I was surprised that some people I knew were not making these decisions based on analysis of the evidence."" Mnookin said. ""There seemed to be this great disconnect to me.""

Mnookin said he had two goals for ""The Panic Virus."" One was to explore the reasons behind the debate about the possible danger of vaccines, dangers that he said in some cases, such as autism, were fabricated.  

""It seems clear to me that this wasn't a case where there was a legitimate debate about where the evidence actually lay,"" Mnookin said.

His other goal concerned a broader societal question. ""Why is it that we as individuals create narratives that we use to convince ourselves that things that appear not true, actually are?"" Mnookin said.

Mnookin said he blames the media for the spread of ""injecting fear into the population.""

He said parents' refusal to immunize their children has lead to multiple outbreaks such as a serious measles outbreak in a Los Angeles neighborhood.

Parents who choose not to immunize their children put countless others at risk, Mnookin said.

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