Dr. William Thompson:
“My primary job duties while working in the Immunization Safety Branch from 2000 to ’06 were to lead or co-lead three major vaccine safety studies: The MADDSP- MMR Autism Cases-Control study was being carried out in response to The Wakefield Lancet Study that suggested an association between the MMR vaccine and an autism-like health outcome. There were several major concerns among scientists and consumer advocates outside The CDC in the ...Fall of 2000 regarding the execution of The Verstraeten Study. One of the important goals that was determined up front in the Spring of ’01 before any of these studies started, was to have all three protocols vetted outside The CDC prior to the start of the analyses, so that consumer advocates could not claim that we were presenting analyses that suited our own goals and biases. We hypothesized that if we found statistically significant effects, at either 18 or 36 months thresholds, we would conclude that vaccinating children early with MMR vaccine could lead to autism-like characteristics or features.
We all met and finalized the study protocol and analysis plan. The goal was to not deviate from the analysis plan to avoid the debacle that occurred with The Verstraeten Thimerosal Study, published in Pediatrics in ’03. At the September 5th meeting we discussed in detail how to code race for both a sample and the birth certificate sample. At the bottom of Table 7 it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race-effect, statistical significance was HUGE.
All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September ’02 not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can. However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office, and I retained all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper."