The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism – and subsequently made rates of measles and other diseases skyrocket – acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in doing his research for a landmark 1998 Lancet paper, says Britain’s official General Medical Counsel.
During over two years of hearings Andrew Wakefield was accused of a series of charges, including that he didn’t have ethical approval or relevant qualifications for such tests, he improperly gathered blood samples (paying children £5 each for the samples at his son’s birthday party), and (here’s the kicker) not disclosing that he had been paid to advise lawyers acting for parents who believed their children had been harmed by the MMR.
The GMC also declared two of Wakefield’s former colleagues at the hospital where he worked had also broken the guidelines.
In 2004, 10 of the 12 co-authors of Wakefield’s paper issued a retraction.
The board didn’t look into accusations that Wakefield had outright faked his data, yet a 2009 Sunday Times investigation, confirming evidence presented to the GMC, revealed that:
In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.
But the damage has been done. After Wakefield’s study appeared, new anti-vaccination groups popped up like toadstools after rain. (There are now over 150 anti-vaccine Web sites.) Older ones such as the National Vaccine Information Center were reinvigorated. This in turn caused surges in cases of all three viral diseases, each of which is highly infectious and potentially fatal.
This notwithstanding an absolute mountain of evidence that the MMR vaccine and other childhood vaccines (all under fire) are safe. Some of the epidemiological evidence for this comes from whole countries and one body of evidence includes the entire state of California. I have written repeatedly about this problem.
Measles, mumps, pertussis, and other illnesses are on the rise. The accompanying graph shows U.K. measles cases going from nearly zero to close to 1,500 in just the past four years. Not all children need be vaccinated to prevent any disease, but there need to be enough to maintain “herd immunity” or around a 95 percent rate depending on the specific disease. In many areas, rates have fallen well below that level. The ferocious anti-vaccine lobby (and if you think I’m kidding about the ferocity, you should check out my hate mail on the subject) is literally killing our children.
Because vaccines are so effective, people don’t remember these diseases and how they would kill. But we’re being forced to relearn.