Nation of Islam (a black nationalist group) has highlighted the following claim in their official website:

Dr. William Thompson, a CDC whistleblower, has charged the agency with dumping studies showing how vaccines containing mercury have had a disproportionate negative impact on Black males and increased cases of autism.

Is it true that CDC covered up such studies?

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    And how would the CDC go about covering up studies done in other countries?
    – PhillS
    Mar 30, 2017 at 16:53
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    I think this is a reasonable question. It is based off of the Vaxxed movie, which is a specific and notable claim. This is separate (somewhat) from the Wakefield claim. It covers a specific claim of cover up, so it can't be addressed with a generic response to vaccine/autism links.
    – KAI
    Mar 30, 2017 at 17:59
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    @MohammadSakibArifin: But the question is exactly about what DJClayworth linked here. The one study that "found" this link was the Wakefield study. It was completely and utterly debunked, repeatedly, with none of the follow-up studies "finding" a link to autism. So either the CDC didn't have any studies to "cover up", or they did a very thorough job "covering up" studies in countries where the CDC doesn't hold any sway (as PhillS pointed out)...
    – DevSolar
    Mar 31, 2017 at 7:45
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    Vaxxed was made by the discredited anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield, whose license to practice medicine in the United Kingdom was revoked due to ethical violations related to his fraudulent research into the role of vaccines in autism. The linked Q&A shows that Wakefield's findings were not reproducable (and fraudulent to begin with). Which means there was nothing for the CDC to "cover up".
    – DevSolar
    Mar 31, 2017 at 8:16
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    @DevSolar - no, it's not about the Wakefield studies. There was the claim that a whistle-blower within the CDC was fired for bringing to light OTHER studies that supported Wakefield. It is a different claim than "are there studies that show the link" - this is more about the "whistleblower," what, if any claims were made by the person, and if the situation is actually as claimed, specific to the CDC and that person. It's more "is there a whistleblower who was a CDC professional who was fired and made certain claims?" And not about the validity of certain claims. Mar 31, 2017 at 15:45

1 Answer 1



The Nation of Islam is essentially repeating the claims made in the movie Vaxxed. This movie was made by the discredited Andrew Wakefield, author of the famous "utterly false" Lancet study on the supposed link between autism and MMR vaccines.

William Thompson himself was concerned about the presentation of data in a particular paper as discussed here. He still strong supports giving children vaccines as stated in the press release. The CDC released a statement saying that the reason the supposed vaccine/autism link was not included in the original Thompson paper was because it disappeared when the authors performed a more in depth analysis. Rather than covering this up, the CDC has made the data available, so anybody is welcome to do their own analysis if they want.

Thompson never talked to the creators of the Vaxxed movie. Rather, he had some discussions about the presentation of data with a fellow scientist - Brian Hooker. Hooker eventually published a paper pushing the autism/vaccine link in black children, but it was forcibly retracted by the journal pending an investigation due to "serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions".

Hooker recorded Thompson's conversations with him (without Thompson's knowledge). These recordings were stitched together in non-chronological ways in the movie.

The stitched together recordings created by a discredited scientist, in a movie directed by a discredited doctor, form the basis of the Nation of Islam claim. The named doctor in the claim supports vaccines in all demographics per his press release statement.

  • perhaps the fact that Thimerosal (the source of a mercury-containing compound) has been discontinued for childhood vaccines since 2001, (and was not in all vaccines prior to that) should be mentioned as well.
    – Yorik
    Mar 30, 2017 at 18:23
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    @Yorik - That's not really relevant to this answer. We'd also have to get into ethyl vs methyl mercury, concentrations, etc, if we wanted to cover the broader issue. Mar 30, 2017 at 18:49
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    And, frankly, that issue has been covered, repeatedly and at length.
    – Shadur
    Mar 31, 2017 at 7:15

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