Vancouver, British Columbia — Amid controversy surrounding an anti-vaccine study involving two researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC), the school showed support for its embattled faculty members.
The university researchers were involved in a controversial study correlating autism with vaccination— a research discredited by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of medical health experts who described the anti-vaccine claim as “weak and misleading”.
Organizations promoting anti-vaccine theories such as the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI) have been referencing to the UBC study as evidence to back claims that vaccines can cause autism and other serious illnesses in children.
CMSRI’s official website cites the 2013 study from the UBC researchers which they call a “landmark” research, where it was stated that
“the more children receive vaccines with aluminum adjuvants, the greater their chance is of developing autism, autoimmune diseases and neurological problems later in life.”
The research emphasized that the rate of of children affected with autism spectrum disorders climbed as the use of pediatric vaccines containing aluminum increased.
But Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network in Toronto Michael Graham disagrees. According to Graham, the findings made by the UBC research do not show that it were in fact the vaccines that caused the increase in rates of ASD.
Graham added that correlation does not necessarily mean causation, citing that children these days also have more exposure to junk food, but that junk food isn’t necessarily culpable for the increase in autism rates. Graham said that jumping into conclusions without the facts needed to back the claims is “disturbing” and “scientifically irresponsible“. He says:
“I’m not saying it’s disturbing because people may … question vaccines.”
UBC Research and International Associate Vice-President Helen Burt told The Globe and Mail:
“UBC holds dear the value of academic freedom that allows faculty to challenge any and all established conventions.”
Burt added, however, that the university does not endorse any of its faculty members’ researches, citing that it is upon the scientists to assess the study through what they call the ‘peer-review process’.
Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta
Source: Carly Weeks on The Globe and Mail website: UBC stands behind vaccine studies discredited by WHO
Bethany Lindsay on the National Post website: UBC neuroscientist has ‘academic freedom’ to look for links between vaccines and autism, university says