August 27, 2014 Press Release, “Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-AUGUST 27,2014

 

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM W. THOMPSON, Ph.D., REGARDING THE 2004 ARTICLE EXAMINING THE POSSIBILITY OF A RELATIONSHIP  BETWEEN  MMR VACCINE AND AUTISM

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 beliefthat 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Dr. Thompson is represented by Frederick M. Morgan,Jr.,  Morgan Verkamp, LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, www.morganverkamp.com.