Anti-vaccination activists, commonly referred to as anti-vaxxers, thrive off of reports indicating a link between vaccines and the development of autism spectrum disorders. Unfortunately, even after these reports have been disproven due to a lack of evidence or poor research methods, anti-vaxxers continue to spread propaganda that puts both parents and their children at risk to otherwise vaccine-preventable illnesses. "Science Cop" and editor at Time, Jeffrey Kluger set out to prove that “again, and always, they’re wrong.”

Kluger pokes holes in a report that claimed a 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention withheld a link between vaccines and autism among African-American boys, first, by pointing out that the study participants who were excluded from the data did not have birth certificates containing vital information, such as their mother’s race and age. The difference between association and causation was also misconstrued by anti-vaxxers, since the children diagnosed with autism had received vaccination after they had already developed the neurodevelopmental disorder.

Ultimately, Kluger concludes that the ringleader of this anti-vaccination effort is the British researcher Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield, whose medical license has been revoked in the UK, spurred on the anti-vaccination effort with his “fraudulent” 1998 paper that first linked vaccines to autism. The CDC recently reported that vaccines have prevented over 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths in the past two decades. “So for the billionth time. Vaccines are safe, effective, and vitally important,” Kluger explains. “Rumor mongering, on the other hand, can kill.”