The latest viral craze to sweep across social media is the so-called ‘Autism Injection Challenge’. The challenge involves the participants injecting themselves with the MMR vaccination and donating to an Autism charity of their choice before challenging three others. The MMR vaccination, as documented by journalists, will eventually give the participants autism, so the challenge hopes to raise awareness as well as funds.
Numerous celebrities have taken the challenge, with the public showing surprise that some have even reportedly mentioned the worthy cause behind it. However, the challenge has drawn criticism from those who believe charity to be a strictly zero sum game with one Facebook commenter suggesting ‘if they really cared about diseases they’d inject themselves with Ebola’.
Despite the criticism of this so-called “hashtag activism”, the challenge appears to have had an additional positive side effect. New research published by the Edward Jenner Institute in Oxford has revealed the MMR injection may offer protection against disease.
Dr. Mary Blossom, the lead author on the paper published in the Lancet, reports that children given the injection are ‘resistant to measles, mumps and rubella’ in later life. In a video published on the Institute website, Dr Blossom, given the injection herself as a child despite the lack of social media available at the time, is seen licking a measles-ridden teenager.
Andrew Wakefield, pioneering Autism researcher, former practising doctor and one time contributor to the Lancet, was dismissive when informed of the news. “Vaccines are only beneficial when they’re not used in combination with each other,” Wakefield claimed when reached for a comment. “A recent lucrative study of mine, involving investigation into the effects of vaccination on four squirrels and a marmoset clearly show this.”
“The paper should be appearing in the Lancet next year,” he added.
Some members of the anti-vaccination movement have been questioning their position in light of the new study. James Phipps, previously a vocal anti-MMR campaigner, was asked if he would now gives his children the injection given its protection against diseases. In a statement published on his Facebook page, Mr Phipps said: “Jesus Christ Yes! Have you seen measles?! That stuff kills people.”
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and universally well-liked guy, surprisingly still in control of his Twitter account, was able to tweet: “As someone who speaks for all atheists we should restrict this vaccine to children without Down’s syndrome; let’s not be immoral”. An apology tweet was posted 12 seconds later.
The news that the MMR vaccine provides protection is surely great news in regards to the recent increase in measles cases. USA Measles cases dropped rapidly in 1964, coinciding with the licencing of the MMR vaccine, although there has been an increase in cases worldwide in recent years. Despite being untested, the MMR vaccine may be able to reverse this trend. The reason for the increase in cases is currently unknown.
Is fully protected… ladies.