Report: Autism-Vaccine Link an 'Elaborate Fraud'

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A new report claims scientist Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who linked vaccines to autism in a study in 1998, made-up some of his data.

Wakefield's study that suggested the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can cause autism is now being labeled "an elaborate fraud" by the British Medical Journal.

The report has shocked the medical community and angered families across the country. Now, the big question being raised is did his actions cause children to die?

In the study, which has since been retracted, Wakefield cited eight cases where children developed autism within a week of getting their MMR shot.

But investigative journalist Brian Deer said some of the children had symptoms before getting the shot, and others never developed autism at all.

"I think what Dr. Wakefield did was a moral crime, if not an actual crime," Deer said.

Because of the study, many parents refused to allow their children to be vaccinated out of fear.

"What's happened is that children have suffered and have been hospitalized and have died because of the false notion that vaccines cause autism," said Dr. Paul Offit, author of the book "Autism's False Prophets."

Dan and Kelly Lacek refused to allow their son to get vaccinated because of the fear of autism. Then, he became severely sick.

"To find out that it's been a fraud, and it's a conscious effort to mislead people, that's frustrating," Dan Lacek said.

Despite being stripped of his medical license, Wakefield defends his research.

"The studies are not a lie. The results have been replicated in five countries around the world," Wakefield told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Wakefield still has his supporters though, like Becky Estepp, who has an autistic child.

"I can't tell you how much this man has impacted my family's life, as well as other families. He's made these kids better," Estepp said.

The overriding question for many is why would someone do such a thing? Dear said Wakefield did if for money.

He was reportedly paid around $750,000 for his research by lawyers whose clients were trying to sue the makers of the measles vaccine.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.