African-American autism and vaccines

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | 7/9/2015, 12:44 p.m.
Last August, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention senior scientist, Dr. William Thompson, invoked federal whistleblower status and confessed that ...

“A mistake was made,” then CDC Director Dr. David Satcher told the LA Times. “It shocked me. We need to move to a new level of assurance so people can trust what we’re doing.” The CDC denies that any Los Angeles Black children were injured by the unlicensed vaccine but has not produced any studies to confirm that claim.

In 1972, a government whistleblower, Peter Buxton, revealed that for the previous 40 years, beginning in 1932, both the CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service conducted the so-called Tuskegee Experiment to study the progression of untreated syphilis in impoverished African-American men in rural Alabama. Public health regulators lured illiterate sharecroppers with the promise of hot meals, funeral costs and free health care from the U.S. government. According to the CDC, which took over the study in the early 1960s, none of 299 syphilitic sharecroppers were ever told they had the disease. The CDC purposefully withheld penicillin after the antibiotic became a proven treatment in 1947. The CDC actively prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs elsewhere. The CDC’s victims in that study included numerous men who died of syphilis, 40 wives who contracted the disease and 19 children born with congenital syphilis.

When, in 1966, Buxton, an African-American, sent a letter to government regulators complaining about the ethics and morality of the study, the CDC reaffirmed the need to continue the research until all subjects had died and been autopsied. To bolster its position, the CDC sought and gained support for the study’s extension from the American Medical Association.

Buxton finally told his story to my uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, in July of 1972. Senator Kennedy convened Senate hearings, at which Buxton and HEW officials testified, and the CDC finally terminated the study.

May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized at a White House ceremony attended by five of the eight study survivors, promising “our African-American citizens” that “clearly racist” public health policies would never happen again.

By concealing the link between vaccines and autism in African-American boys, the CDC had once again violated that public trust. But this fraud is not just about African-Americans. The fraudulent 2004 study has been cited in 91 subsequent studies as one of the principle proofs of the CDC’s claim that vaccines are not linked to the autism epidemic. The CDC’s fraud in this study calls into question the validity of the entire body of research that families, medical professionals and policymakers rely on when making decisions for the health of children.

“I have a boss who is asking me to lie,” Thompson said in a taped conversation with Simpson University professor, Dr. Brian Hooker. “I have great shame now when I meet a family with kids with autism, because I have been a part of the problem … because the CDC has not been transparent, we’ve missed 10 years of research, because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They’re not doing what they should be doing. They are afraid to look for things that might be associated. I’m completely ashamed of what I did. The higher ups wanted to do certain things, and I went along with it.”

The time has come in this country for everyone—press, regulators and politicians—to stop “going along with it.”