Most folks have a good idea of who Andrew Wakefield is and what he did.
Still, some folks seem to be pathologically optimistic that he didn’t actually do anything wrong.
Andrew Wakefield Is Not A Fraud?
You remember Andrew Wakefield, right?
“To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.”
J. B. Handley
He is the guy who published the 1998 paper in Lancet in the UK that started folks thinking that the MMR vaccine is somehow associated with autism.
In 1998, a major medical journal based in the UK, The Lancet, published a report headed by Andrew Wakefield, who was at that time a gastroenterological surgeon and medical researcher. The report implied a causal link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the development of autism combined with IBD in children, which Wakefield described as a new syndrome he named “autistic entercolitis”.
Andrew Wakefield’s Harmful Myth of Vaccine-induced “Autistic Enterocolitis”
But he didn’t actually say that the MMR vaccine caused autism in that paper, did he?
No, he saved that for the press conference for the paper.
If not for the press conference, which in itself was unusual, and all of the media attention over the next few years, his small study, which was “essentially a collection of 12 clinical anecdotes,” would have gone nowhere.
But there was no “Wakefield Factor” on immunization rates in the UK, was there? Didn’t measles cases continue to go down in the 10 years after his Lancet paper was published?
Despite the heroic efforts of some folks to manipulate the data, it is clear that MMR vaccination rates dropped and measles cases jumped in the years after Wakefield’s MMR scare.
But even if his paper scared people away from vaccinating and protecting their kids, he was never really found guilty of fraud, was he?
How do you define fraud?
“The Office of Research Integrity in the United States defines fraud as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism.13 Deer unearthed clear evidence of falsification. He found that not one of the 12 cases reported in the 1998 Lancet paper was free of misrepresentation or undisclosed alteration, and that in no single case could the medical records be fully reconciled with the descriptions, diagnoses, or histories published in the journal.
Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield. Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No.”
Fiona Godlee on Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent
Brian Deer wasn’t the only one calling Wakefield a fraud.
But those charges from the General Medical Council were later all overturned, weren’t they?
While charges against John Walker-Smith, a co-author of Wakefield’s study, were dropped on appeal, that doesn’t exonerate Wakefield in anyway. Remember, John Walker-Smith was actually against blaming the MMR vaccine and unlike Wakefield, he and another co-author actually published their own press release stating continued support of the use of the MMR vaccine.
But the other coauthors have stood by the results of the paper, haven’t they?
“We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.”
Retraction of an Interpretation
They stood by the idea that it is important that research be done so that gastrointestinal problems in autistic children can be recognized and treated. Almost all of them retracted Wakefield’s interpretation of the paper though.
Yeah, but other studies have proven Wakefield to be right though, haven’t they?
No, they haven’t. In fact, other labs could not even replicate Wakefield’s original study.
But Wakefield’s Lancet paper wasn’t retracted because it’s findings were wrong…
Yes it was!
“Following the judgment of the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were “consecutively referred” and that investigations were “approved” by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.”
Retraction—Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children
Still think Andrew Wakefield isn’t a fraud?
Their false narratives and myths attempt to rewrite history and make you forget that he doesn’t just scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids, he hurts autistic kids and their families.
More on Andrew Wakefield Myths
- How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed
- Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent
- Andrew Wakefield GMC Charge Sheet
- Andrew Wakefield – the fraud investigation
- BMJ series on the Wakefield fraud
- Andrew Wakefield’s Harmful Myth of Vaccine-induced “Autistic Enterocolitis”
- Is It True That Andrew Wakefield’s Research Never Claimed Vaccines Cause Autism?
- The media’s MMR hoax
- The MMR story that wasn’t
- Andy Wakefield exonerated because John Walker-Smith won his appeal? Not so fast there, pardner…
- Surprise, surprise! Andrew Wakefield was paid by lawyers to undermine the MMR vaccine
- Antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield: Scientific fraud?
- The Lancet retracts Andrew Wakefield’s article
- Andrew Wakefield’s many statements that MMR causes autism
- Andrew Wakefield “Acted Unethically”
- Andrew Wakefield: paid $316k to administer $80k in grants by the Strategic Autism Inititiative
- Andrew Wakefield’s vaccine patent
- Andrew Wakefield Tortures History
- Andrew Wakefield discredited – a collection of his attacks on vaccines
- The Wakefield birthday party blood draw story
- 20th anniversary of the Andrew Wakefield vaccine fraud – no celebrations
- Andrew Wakefield: Recognized as the Great Science Fraud that he is
- Andrew Wakefield, the MMR, and a “mother warrior’s” fabricated vaccine injury story
- Andrew Wakefield – dishonest attempt at self-justification
- May 24, 2010: Andrew Wakefield Struck off the UK Medical Register. He’s Still Harming Autistic People
- Refuting one of the tropes that Andrew Wakefield was wronged
- Andrew Wakefield: Don’t try to blame me for the results of what I said and did
- Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, Litigious Bully
- Studies ‘supporting’ Andrew Wakefield
- On The Lancet’s Retraction of Wakefield’s 1998 Paper Alleging A Connection Between the MMR Vaccine and Autism
- BREAKING: BMJ calls Andrew Wakefield a fraud