In this series, PA Raven will address the 4 goals of the Vaxxed movies leadership (1). Those goals are as follows:
1. Subpoena CDC Senior Scientist William Thompson, Ph.D.
2. Repeal of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
3. Make the single Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine available.
4. Classify vaccines as pharmaceutical drugs, and test accordingly.
This article deals with goal #1. The entire statement from William Thompson, Ph.D. (2), separated for analysis and commentary:
“My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.”
“I regret 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.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson indicates that “statically significant information” was omitted from the final study results, and that he believed the final study protocol was not followed. Dr. Thompson was one of five authors on the 2004 journal Pediatrics study (3). There is no public record or information indicating the other four authors agree with his opinion. The study has not been retracted.
“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.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson remains a proponent of vaccines, and doesn’t suggest parents of any race should not vaccinate their children. I find it of particular interest that he doesn’t say the omitted information (increased risk of autism in small subset of children) affects his risk vs benefit opinion.
“My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub group for a particular vaccine. 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.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson clarifies the parameters of disagreement with his co-authors. This centers on a very small subgroup of children (African-American males) who received the MMR vaccine prior to 36 months of age. He acknowledges risks to vaccines and the responsibility of CDC to convey those risks. His four co-authors don’t seem to share his concern, as none have expressed similar reservations about the study publicly.
“I have had many discussions with Dr. Brian Hooker over the last 10 months regarding studies the CDC has carried out regarding vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes including autism spectrum disorders. I share his belief that CDC decision-making and analyses should be transparent. I was not, however, aware that he was recording any of our conversations, nor was I given any choice regarding whether my name would be made public or my voice would be put on the Internet.”
PA Raven: Here’s where it gets interesting… Dr. Thompson acknowledges that Dr. Brian Hooker secretly recorded his private conversations. He does not say in his statement what prompted him to contact Dr. Hooker, nor the motivations behind it. Did he make these contacts out of true concerns over the study, or was he advancing a CDC interest? Dr. Thompson filed for whistleblower status only AFTER knowledge of his conversations became public. It’s fair to suggest he did so to protect himself from from Dr. Hooker and the use of the recordings, because Dr. Thompson has taken no steps in over 2 years in support of his whistleblower status. Typically, whistleblowers file lawsuits over their allegations, and there’s no record Dr. Thompson has done that, and no public statement that he intends to do so. If Dr. Thompson really believes the CDC omitted information, and that the omitted information reflects a real increased risk of autism from the MMR vaccine for any child under 36 months of age, it would be imperative for him to file suit or takes steps to retract or reanalyze the results. He has not done either.
“I am grateful for the many supportive e-mails that I have received over the last several days. I will not be answering further questions at this time. I am providing information to Congressman William Posey, and of course will continue to cooperate with Congress. I have also offered to assist with reanalysis of the study data or development of further studies. For the time being, however, I am focused on my job and my family.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson offers his support to Congress and his colleagues inside and outside the CDC. He did share the study results and data with Congressman Posey, which has been released publicly. No original data was destroyed or deleted, and remains available for analysis.
“Reasonable scientists can and do differ in their interpretation of information. I will do everything I can to assist any unbiased and objective scientists inside or outside the CDC to analyze data collected by the CDC or other public organizations for the purpose of understanding whether vaccines are associated with an increased risk of autism. There are still more questions than answers, and I appreciate that so many families are looking for answers from the scientific community.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson acknowledges that his co-authors are reasonable scientists, and does not question their integrity or motivations. He does not state that he believes African-American males are at higher risk of autism after receipt of the MMR vaccine prior to 36 months of age. If he believed that, it would be of utmost importance to take some affirmative step (i.e. lawsuit) to advance that. He supports further study on the vaccine-autism question.
“My colleagues and supervisors at the CDC have been entirely professional since this matter became public. In fact, I received a performance-based award after this story came out. I have experienced no pressure or retaliation and certainly was not escorted from the building, as some have stated.”
PA Raven: Dr. Thompson states his treatment at CDC has been professional and appropriate. He specifically rebuts reports from some that CDC acted with hostitity towards him. He certainly doesn’t appear to be a classic whistleblower.
The Vaxxed leadership has issued a call to subpoena Dr. William Thompson to testify before Congress. Dr. Thompson has released all study files to Congressman Posey, and spoken to him as well. I believe that it’s highly likely that Dr. Thompson agrees with the journal Pediatrics study results, but not the road used to get there.
Absent some affirmative action from Dr. Thompson in support of his whistleblower status (ex. filing a lawsuit over the study for retraction or reanalysis), I don’t think he should be subpoenaed to appear before Congress. He may well agree with his colleagues. This would be damaging to the efforts to oppose Vaccine mandates for school and employment.
The primary goal for those of us who support parent choice on vaccination must be securing Vaccine Exemptions, and it doesn’t appear that issuing a subpoena for Dr. Thompson advances that interest. Let’s put our energies into visiting our legislators and demanding our fundamental, constitutionally protected rights as parents are upheld and written into law.
November 21, 2016