Can you explain why we will almost certainly have the second highest number of measles cases in one year since 1994, even though we see the devastation that high rates of measles is causing in Europe and other parts of the world?
How many people will get measles in the United States this year?
Although no one is reporting on this, with several large ongoing outbreaks still not under control – it will be another record year for measles in the United States.
We know why most folks got scared of the MMR vaccine.
And most of us remember when most folks welcomed the MMR vaccine the end of endemic measles in the United States.
Why You Were Worried About the MMR Vaccine
Of course, that all changed when Andrew Wakefield spoke at the press conference for his 1998 Lancet paper and said:
“And I have to say that there is sufficient anxiety in my own mind of the safety, the long term safety of the polyvalent, that is the MMR vaccination in combination, that I think that it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines, that is continued use of the individual measles, mumps and rubella components… there is no doubt that if you give three viruses together, three live viruses, then you potentially increase the risk of an adverse event occurring, particularly when one of those viruses influences the immune system in the way that measles does. And it may be, and studies will show this or not, that giving the measles on its own reduces the risk of this particular syndrome developing… the risk of this particular syndrome developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines…. People have been saying for some time, people on the periphery of autism, have been saying for some time that this may well be related to bowel damage.”
Although there was no evidence for any of that, vaccination rates went down and measles rates went up – the Wakefield Factor.
But no, it wasn’t one person at a press conference that us lead down a decade of worry about the MMR vaccine.
“And then the nurse gave my son that shot. And I remember going, “Oh, God, no!” And soon thereafter I noticed a change. The soul was gone from his eyes.”
“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?
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
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
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.