NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Health officials at the Metro Public Health Department are encouraging parents to make sure their children's vaccinations are up to date as new claims regarding a link between the MMR shot and autism are untrue.
In 1998, British surgeon and researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield claimed there was a link between the measles, mumps rubella vaccine and autism.
The suggestion that the MMR shot and autism were connected caused parents around the world to not vaccinate their children with the shot.
Recently, the British Medical Journal examined Wakefield's previous claims, calling the study an “elaborate fraud.”
The new examination performed by the BMJ pointed out a series of discrepancies and irregularities, including falsification of the data.
“I think what Dr. Wakefield did was a moral crime, if not an actual crime,” said Brian Deer of the British Medical Journal.
At the Metro Public Health Department, health officials have always encouraged parents to vaccinate their children, though some parents would resist on vaccinating their child, fearing there could be a link between vaccines and autism.
“We have had parents here who would pick and choose vaccines based on their opinion of what caused autism,” Becky Green Director of Nursing told Nashville's News 2.
Despite Wakefield's claims, health officials have never embraced his opinions and views.
“It's amazing when you think about the years that parents have not immunized their children, making them susceptible to deadly diseases,” Green said.
For parents that have chosen not to have their children immunized, Green encourages them to do so.
“It's not too late, simply because they are off schedule doesn't mean we can't put them on a different schedule to bring all of them up to date,” Green said.
Wakefield said that he still stands by his previous claims.