Andrew Wakefield’s Autism/Vaccines Study Shown to Be a Hoax

This is a guest post by Jamie Bernstein. Jamie is a graduate student in public policy at the University of Chicago.

For those who have been reading this blog for awhile, you might remember a guest post I wrote back in May where I talked about meeting Andrew Wakefield, getting my picture with him, then handing him a note with my true feelings for him to read later.

If you’re still not really sure who Andrew Wakefield is, here’s a CliffsNotes version:

1998: Wakefield releases a paper in the British journal The Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to autism in children.

1998 – 2004: Wakefield’s results are not replicable and all other medical research is unable to find any link between autism and vaccines.

2010: It is determined that Wakefield did not report conflicts of interest in his initial 1998 study and, furthermore, he acted unethically in regards to the children in the study. The Lancet formally retracts the 1998 paper and he loses his UK medical license, though he continues to practice medicine in the US.

Then, when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse for Wakefield, last night an investigation by Brian Deer published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) provided proof that Wakefield’s original study was a deliberate and elaborate medical fraud.

This is pretty much the nail in the coffin on this case.

There is a grand total of no evidence whatsoever linking autism to vaccines — even the slight piece of evidence that at one point seemed to have something to it turned out to be completely falsified.

Well, that’s it then! It’s great news and a great win for science! The anti-vaxers are sure to review the available evidence, realize they were wrong, and retract all their previous anti-vax sentiments. I’m sure we’ll see Jenny McCarthy on the next episode of Oprah admitting she was wrong and telling everyone to get vaccinated!

….

Oh, wait. That wasn’t how things worked out after all.

In fact, it took the anti-vaxers at Age of Autism all of 2 seconds to post a response on their website, blaming the report on an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by Brian Deer.

This is just one more example of what makes pseudoscience decidedly not science. In real science, a person looks at all the available evidence and goes where the preponderance of evidence lies. In real science, had many other studies come out confirming Wakefield’s linkage of autism and vaccines, then scientists would have eventually been swayed to his side.

Only in the realm of pseudoscience do supporters hang on to their ideas long after the evidence has shown it to be completely wrong.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, feast your eyes on this video of Anderson Cooper calling Wakefield a liar to his face!

It’s like someone typecasted Wakefield for the part of “lying scumbag”…

Also, even though this has nothing to do with Wakefield, I’m going to use this opportunity to brag about the fact that I once partied with Anderson Cooper and I have a picture to prove it!

He looks even hotter in real life! (That’s me on the left, by the way.)

All joking, Wakefield bashing, and drooling over Anderson Cooper aside, the release of Deer’s investigation and the proof of the fraudulence of the original 1998 Wakefield study is a huge win for science. But it also has a dark underside.

We know Wakefield’s study is a hoax now, but it was taken seriously when it first came out, despite the lack of corroborating studies. Wakefield’s study set off a vaccine scare that has persisted to this day, causing a decrease in childhood vaccination rates and an increase in instances of preventable diseases.

If you think diseases like measles and whooping cough were a thing of the past, think again. In the past year alone, 10 infants died of whooping cough in California. Whooping cough, in California, in 2010!

This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Preventable disease outbreaks happen pretty much every year in the US. Just take a look at Derek BartholomausJenny McCarthy Body Count website if you don’t believe me.

Almost equally as bad, in the years following the publishing of Wakefield’s study, a lot of genuine scientific research toward finding the causes of autism was diverted into studying the false autism/vaccine link, greatly setting back autism research. So, Andrew Wakefield’s lies have not only led to deaths from preventable diseases, but also has likely held back a deeper understanding and possibly even the discovery of treatments for children with autism.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this whole debacle, it’s that science works, but it can also be led off-track, at least for a short period, by those who wish to twist and pervert it toward their own ends.

The fight against the anti-vaxers is not over yet and it won’t be for a long time, but hopefully this recent incident and its excellent coverage in the mainstream media will set them back a bit. At least for today, science has gotten itself a well-deserved victory!

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Almost equally as bad, in the years following the publishing of Wakefield’s study, a lot of genuine scientific research toward finding the causes of autism was diverted into studying the false autism/vaccine link, greatly setting back autism research.

    Not only that, but billions of corporate and taxpayer dollars were poured into creating, testing, and approving new vaccines which lacked the preservatives that anti-vaxers claimed were causing the problems, even though there was conclusive evidence that they were absolutely unrelated.

    My girlfriend has three kids, two of them with autism. She’s told me of the venomous hatred she’s received from people for having her youngest son vaccinated after her older son was already born autistic. Never mind that her kids’ dad has two autistic brothers, and that 80% of autism cases occur in males, pointing almost definitely toward a genetic cause; she’s been called every name in the book for “dooming” her little boy.

    There’s such a stigma against mental disorders and disabilities. Most often, when someone has one, they look unimpaired. So when a normal-looking kid suddenly starts acting abnormally, the parents’ family tends to blame it on something they think the parents have done. The whole vaccine/autism link concept is just another sad extension of that, painting responsible parents who love their kids as horrible monsters who want their kids to be ‘damaged’.

  • AWayfaringStrainer

    Thanks for the post. Great update and a great picture!

  • david

    the big problem ( apart from the lies by this geezer ) is the fact that people dont understand medicine and would rather follow the advice of someone from the talking box in the corner of their living room that seek REAL advice
    ANY medicine and I mean ANY one can kill someone, the problem comes in the numbers for instance

    lets say 20 million people take a drug and are perfectly happy with the results they get from taking it, all well and good you might say and you would be right
    but if 3 or 4 people die while taking it and even more so if one of those 3 or 4 is young and pretty and another of them is a famous sportsman FDA ( which is nothing more than a gangster organisation demanding monies through threats but thats a different matter ) and POOF
    we have federal commitees and its banned from sale
    no real investigation into what else was wrong with the 3 or 4 that died and a huge feck you to the 20 million HAPPY with the pill they were on

    basically there needs to be a % system in place for drug bans and other things where a very small almost minute % of the population can feck it up for everyone else

  • Claudia

    I do hope that the wide publicity this is getting will contribute to fewer parents being duped by the anti-vaxxers into putting the lives of their children at risk.

    However I have little hope for the true believers. The original “study” has been discredited for years, with most co-authors having removed their names from it. Even without the fraud allegations, it’s not a credible study for many reasons. This has not stopped the True Believers and this new allegation won’t affect them either.
    Much like creationists, the more discredited their leaders are, the more feverently they believe in them, citing the “persecution” as “proof” that they are telling the truth. Anti-vaxxing and homeopathy are like the religion of the left-wing; totally impervious to evidence and science, and with a really serious persecution complex.

    Also, though this is arm-chair psychiatrist stuff, I suspect there’s a deep emotional issue with the parents involved in this movement. People hate not knowing. Having an autistic child is incredibly difficult, and the sad fact is that we still aren’t sure of many of the root causes. Vaccinations, since they happen around the same time the first symptoms of autism appear, is a convenient scapegoat. My child is not sick because of some scary unknown, poorly understood process, he’s sick because Big Pharma is poisoning him with vaccinations! It gives them someone to blame. Also, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children may have a hard time admitting they were wrong and actually allowed their children to be put at risk for death or permanent disability based on some laughably stupid ideas they read on the internet.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    A few years ago in the UK the HPV vaccine was introduced for all teenage girls. The distrust that Wakefield began surely influenced the parents of girls who refused this vaccine. Girls who will either spread a virus or be more susceptible to the cancers that it causes.

    Wakefield is responsible for a lot of suffering because of his lies. Losing his medical licence really isn’t enough. It could be a generation or more before confidence in vaccines is restored.

  • Alex

    Here’s a question from an unemployed law school grad: when is he going to be prosecuted for manslaughter? Jamie’s article says it flat out: 10 Californians died of an easily preventable disease due to fears that preventative care for it would cause autism. Here is the relevant California statute:

    “(b)Involuntary–in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection. This subdivision shall not apply to acts committed in the driving of a vehicle.”

    It certainly seems like Wakefield committed the unlawful act of fraud, which resulted in a death. I hope the state, or some other state (maybe New York? Brooklyn had a measles outbreak) puts the effort into finding some parents who will outright say “I didn’t have my child inoculated due to the study showing links to autism.”

  • Kurt

    Nowhere in this article does it mention what I read in the newspaper this morning (yeah, a printed old-school newspaper), which is that Wakefield was paid $675K to create this study, by a lawyer hoping to sue vaccine companies for large amounts. Has this accusation been discredited? Because if not, that seems to me to be more damning than the evidence of incorrect medical histories.

    In the AC interview, he also comes across as a real ass. That ain’t a crime, but selling thousands of kids down the river (for the price of a 1-bedroom flat in London) surely is.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    The British Medical Journal Editorial has this to say :

    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. A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.

  • AWayfaringStrainer

    I just watched the video and read some the comments on AC’s blog. A typical one is:

    I just watched your show about the doctor who is being accused for fraud.It is mighty funny how the pharmacutical company are scared because they are loseing money from the vaccines.My son has Autism.I agree with the doctor.It sounds to me like it is a cover up,

    Don’t no the cure,but are so sure the vaccines dosen’t cause it.Instead of fighting the doctor help him find a cure.

    Wow. There is clearly a huge uphill battle to undo the damage. The basic lack of science understanding, not to mention spell-checking skills, is very scary.

  • http://www.answerswithoutquestions.com/ Mihoda

    You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded building, so why do we allow half-cocked idiots to go off shouting “autism” in a crowded world?

  • Bob

    @Alex:

    I’m not a lawyer, but I see it like this:

    While Wakefield may be guilty of fraud or possibly criminal negligence, a charge of involuntary manslaughter would necessitate Wakefield to have a direct role in a parental decision to not vaccinate a child.

    That is, it’s not ‘something they read’ or because of drummed up fears of sudden-onset autism, but Wakefield serving as an attending physician and/or personally advising parents whose child or children subsequently suffered from whooping cough and died.

    It’s insufficient for Wakefield to have a widely-publicized and celebrity-endorsed study.

  • Joel

    I just had a discussion with my sister in law about vaccines over Xmas. She is a rabid anti-vax proponent and spouts off the same Jenny McCarthy crap almost verbatim every time we talk. I guarantee that this won’t change minds of these people…they always have the big-pharma conspiracy to fall back on.

  • Alex

    @Bob,

    I dunno, I think you can argue “but/for” causation. “But for Wakefield’s false study, the fears of a link between autism and inoculations wouldn’t exist and I would have had my child immunized.”

    I think at the very least it is an argument that wouldn’t be thrown out of court, and maybe the negative publicity would do some good.

  • Silent Service

    When are we going to yank his license to practice here in the States? It needs to be done before he “Practices” any more people to death.

  • Claudia

    @Kurt no, that accusation stands:

    “It’s always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science,” Godlee said. “But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues.”

    Speaking as a scientist, someone who falsifies data for money while putting the lives of children at risk, causing the waste of precious research money on bogus claims and contributing to the mistrust of science (people forget that it’s other scientists who uncover and destroy these frauds) this guy is scum and should be in jail.

  • Bob

    @Alex:

    Granted. However, the decision of the parents to forego vaccination would have to be shown to be unduly or significantly influenced by Wakefield’s direct participation (that could be as simple as attending an event where he was a featured speaker, or perhaps not) and in the absence of/as a substitute for pediatric care.

    If the child was under regular pediatric care, the pediatrician is almost certainly going to recommend vaccination, but can’t vaccinate a child against the parents’ wishes.

  • Erin

    I was involved in a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group and many women there were anti-vaxers, but I didn’t realize what the big deal was at the time. I was only 18 and very live and let live about parenting choices.

    Two years later and I don’t want anything to do with these fundie women, who never have given evidence for their ideas. I got looks because I vaccinated my son, although I spaced them out to one a week so he would suffer them all at once.

    I look forward to learning more about how the anti-vaccine movement started, and how in the future I can help promote vaccine use.

  • Erin

    Oh and look what I get to wake up to on facebook from on of these fundie mothers: “PREDICTIONS FOR 2011!!
    The Bible will still be true, God will still sit on His throne, God will still answer prayers, Christ will still be the only way to heaven, the Holy Spirit will still work, Christians will still be in the minority, the world will progressively get worse, and Christ’s return will be closer than it was before!”

    I want to throw a brink at something when I read such things.

  • Richard Wade

    Excellent report, Jamie.

    The worst damage will not be from the “true believers” who will continue to cling to their belief in this fraud. As Claudia mentions, this scandal is going to feed all the true UNbelievers who are anti-science in general because science contradicts beliefs of theirs that have nothing to do with autism. Even the fact that other scientists uncovered the fraud will be twisted into justifying more distrust and discredit of science. They’ll say,

    “See? Not only are them egghead scientists a buncha con artists, they cain’t never agree. They’re always at each others’ throats. Y’cain’t trust none of ‘em. Always changin’ their story, like a liar caught out. Ah’ll stick with the Bible. It don’t never change.”

  • cypressgreen

    I am sure as h*ll not going to watch anything on CNN. My husband and I heard something about this on the local radio this morning and both burst out laughing. Seriously desperate. Vaccines are a hoax and everybody knows it.

    It’s comments like that on Age of Autism that make me really sad.

  • Rich Wilson

    I have a lot of religious facebook (and ‘real life’) friends, including a few Mormons. The only person I’ve ever de-friended over disagreement was the anti-vax person.

    I’m guessing her latest status is something like

    First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.

  • Richard Wade

    I wonder what, if anything Bill Maher will have to say about this. His anti-vaccination stance will collide with his usual great talent for skewering frauds and liars. I usually enjoy his humorous presentation of his skepticism about so many things, but that one opinion of his has always been inexplicable to me.

    Will he have the courage to admit that he’s been not just an innocent dupe, but part of the problem?

  • Venture Free

    “10 infants died of whooping cough”

    Look at it from their point of view. Being dead is preferable to having autism, so it’s a sacrifice they’re willing to have others make.

  • ButchKitties

    I don’t understand the Big Pharma conspiracy nuts. It’s not that I don’t think a corporation would be willing to lie if it was profitable enough, it’s that childhood vaccines aren’t all that profitable. Only a handful of cancer vaccines have decent profit margins. The rest are not patented, expensive to produce, and have a limited shelf life. Childhood vaccines have one of the lowest profit margins of any medicine. The flu vaccine is much the same: it’s expensive to produce and the product is going to obsolete in a year.

    Vaccines aren’t especially profitable for doctors either, since a lot of insurance companies will reimburse the cost of the vaccine itself, but not the cost of storing or administering it.

    There’s a lot more money to be made in letting people get sick and then selling them medicines to treat their symptoms than there is in preventing people from getting sick in the first place. Which do you think would make a company more money, selling you a single dose of a herpes vaccine or selling you a lifetime supply of Valtrex?

  • Casimir

    Antiexpertism: The belief that the more qualified one is in a field, the more they should be distrusted. Further, the only ones you can trust are outsiders with no reputable knowledge of corresponding field.

    Example:

    Me: “Any doctor will tell you there’s no link between vaccines and autism.”

    Anti-vaxer: “Well of course a DOCTOR will say that. But I don’t trust DOCTORS at all!”

    Me: “O…kay… then who…”

    Anti-vaxer: “JENNY MCCARTHY!!!”

  • http://www.unmails.com Tyler

    Richard, I’m in the same boat. I have to believe that as a skeptic Bill Maher will come around.

  • cypressgreen

    Me: “Any doctor will tell you there’s no link between vaccines and autism.”

    Anti-vaxer: “Well of course a DOCTOR will say that. But I don’t trust DOCTORS at all!”

    Me: “O…kay… then who…”

    Anti-vaxer: “JENNY MCCARTHY!!!”

    Makes you wonder why they go to the doctor for anything else at all! If they has a heart attack, I bet my life savings they’d call 911.

  • cypressgreen

    Oh, and thru a link in Age of Autism comments, I found this poll to Pharyngulize:

    http://moms.today.com/_question/2011/01/05/5774052-do-you-believe-theres-a-link-between-vaccines-and-autism

  • david

    Here’s a question from an unemployed law school grad: when is he going to be prosecuted for manslaughter? Jamie’s article says it flat out: 10 Californians died of an easily preventable disease due to fears that preventative care for it would cause autism

    ermm saying they could have avoided the disease is pretty much the same argument they use not to have the vaccine

    yes its preventable but thats not to say you still cant get something after having the vaccine against it

    if anyone is to blame ( and thats a pretty big stretch) its the parents
    and the even bigger problem which is two fold is
    1) a greater belief in the legal system and the ability to sue when the fan gets clogged than in doctors
    2)band waggon jumpers who cant accept that we are not all perfect …………. two tall people are more likely to have tall children, just as two short people will probably never have a kid who plays basketball …………. this is easy to understand yet when it comes to stupid people having stupid kids they have to find a reason for it ( other than stupid parents ) hence the jumping on the autism bandwaggon or the previous flavour disease adha etc etc

  • Dave

    1) I think there is a large group of “anti-vaxers” who simply think that vaccine administration should be spaced out. The potential for damage to a baby from all that stuff dumped into their bodies for their immune systems to process seems high.

    2) I don’t understand how the anti-vaccine movement caused the 10 deaths in California. At least one was a premature baby that couldn’t have been vaccinated yet.

    3) Is there evidence that un-vaccinated kids either get these illnesses at a higher rate or that they somehow spread these illnesses?

    This is a challenging issue. Rather than attack each other or those who hold differing positions, why not be open and honest and listen to real people’s real concerns. Then determine how data can be gathered, compiled and presented to help clarify the efficacy and/or the risk of each vaccine being recommended by healthcare professionals.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    ZOMGSCIENCE speaks truth:
    Vaccination

  • http://www.subhumansuperwoman.blogspot.com Tucker

    As the mother of an autistic child, this infuriates me. I had already known that the study had been fraudulent, but the newest information that shows even more lies told by Dr. Wakefield are even more damning. I have always believed that my son’s autism is genetic, as I also have Asperger’s as does my father. I belong to an autism meetup group where many of the moms are anti-vaxxers and believe wholeheartedly in this Dr. Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy bullshit. It’s incredibly frustrating that they refuse to listen to us rational parents, including the mother of an autistic boy who was never vaccinated. She brings this fact up with every vaccine debate, and they ignore her completely. There’s a whole level of denial out there that no amount of evidence can penetrate.

  • Disconverted

    Reminds me of the evolution/creationist debate…
    “I’ll believe no matter what harm it brings and no matter what evidence you show.”

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com/ pinkocommie

    @ Dave:

    2) I don’t understand how the anti-vaccine movement caused the 10 deaths in California. At least one was a premature baby that couldn’t have been vaccinated yet.

    One of the ways vaccinations work is via something called herd immunity. That is – everyone who can get vaccinated does, that way little newborns who are too young to be protected, kids with illnesses that prevent vaccination, etc. are at least somewhat protected because the disease doesn’t have as many potential hosts that will aid in spreading it.

    So basically when Jenny doesn’t vaccinate her kid, that means more of a risk not only to Jenny Jr but also to little Suzie who is already fighting cancer or whatever and didn’t have the choice to get the vaccine or not. Also, if these diseases are allowed to find more viable hosts, they have the ability to potentially adapt and grow stronger – creating a health risk for everyone.

    Not vaccinating is incredibly socially irresponsible. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to try to remain compassionate toward anti-vaxers because they are commonly people who refuse to educate themselves on what they’re actually doing to their kids and to their communities.

  • Parse

    @David:

    1) I think there is a large group of “anti-vaxers” who simply think that vaccine administration should be spaced out. The potential for damage to a baby from all that stuff dumped into their bodies for their immune systems to process seems high.

    It may seem high to a casual observer, but the doctors behind the standard vaccination schedule are anything but. Many doctors are willing to humor the ‘too many too quicky’ crowd, provided that it will still have the end result of a fully protected child.

    2) I don’t understand how the anti-vaccine movement caused the 10 deaths in California. At least one was a premature baby that couldn’t have been vaccinated yet.

    Rather than typing it out, I’ll link you to Wikipedia’s article on Herd immunity. The key phrase here is “Hence, a public health policy of herd immunity may be used to reduce spread of an illness and provide a level of protection to a vulnerable, unvaccinated subgroup.” (emphasis mine)

    3) Is there evidence that un-vaccinated kids either get these illnesses at a higher rate or that they somehow spread these illnesses

    The fact that you need to ask this question makes me wonder if you know what vaccines are intended to do. A helpful reference. Or, if you’d prefer just actual scientific articles, try this link.

    This is a challenging issue. Rather than attack each other or those who hold differing positions, why not be open and honest and listen to real people’s real concerns.

    I agree the people should attack the positions, and not the people. But we should still attack their beliefs because they’re provably false. The pro-vax side has the hard evidence and scientific support, whereas the anti-vaxers have fearmongering and profitable opposing interests. I encourage doctors to listen and respond to parents who have only heard the anti-science side of the argument. But many people who ask that we listen to “real people’s real concerns” are actually asking us to consider their emotional anecdotes equal to rigorous scientific studies.

  • http://amillionwordstogo.blogspot.com aynsavoy

    @Dave:

    I believe the children who died of pertussis in California were exposed to infected individuals who were not up to date on their boosters for the vaccine.

    pinkocommie is right about herd immunity: vaccines are only effective when a certain percentage of the population is vaccinated. The biggest problem with anti-vaxxers isn’t that they endanger their own children (which is bad enough)–it’s that they endanger the general public.

    Act One of this episode of This American Life examines an outbreak of measles caused by a child who contracted the disease while overseas, and whose parents had chosen not to have vaccinated. He returns to the states and 11 other children, including infants too young to be vaccinated themselves, catch the measles from him; in at least one case it’s fatal.

  • Jim Kirk

    Sounds like a double sting to me. Loads more information regarding vaccines for any disease point to the fact they are at best unnecessary and worst deadly. The absolute hype from the WHO last year regarding “Swine Flu” is so obviously a ploy to convince millions to accept the unacceptable. We don’t need “science” to tell us what is good and bad for us regarding vaccines. We just need our own common sense.

  • ButchKitties

    Here’s a simulator that visually illustrates how herd immunity works. In the default setting, the simulator assumes that a vaccinated person has a 10% chance of being infected and a person who isn’t vaccinated has a 90% chance of being infected. If you click on a dot, the simulator presumes that dot is infected whether vaccinated or not. It then calculates how the disease will spread using the above odds.

    http://www.software3d.com/Home/Vax/Immunity.php

    Herd immunity protects people who have been vaccinated as well as those who haven’t. It can be the difference between being exposed to a pathogen once or being exposed to it dozens (or more) times.

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona
  • AxeGrrl

    Richard Wade wrote:

    I wonder what, if anything Bill Maher will have to say about this. His anti-vaccination stance will collide with his usual great talent for skewering frauds and liars. I usually enjoy his humorous presentation of his skepticism about so many things, but that one opinion of his has always been inexplicable to me.

    Will he have the courage to admit that he’s been not just an innocent dupe, but part of the problem?

    I highly doubt it. He’ll probably just respond the way he has in the past when challenged on this stance, which is to (basically) say: ‘I’m not taking sides, I’m just a guy asking questions *rolling eyes*

    Watch the way Maher reacts here, to Chris Matthews and Alec Baldwin poking him on this subject, and specifically when Matthews asks him “So, why are you fighting this fight?”

    Maher still “not crazy” about vaccines”

    It’s always fascinating (and disappointing) to see mr snide dig in his heels on something (instead of admit error) and completely lose his sense of humour about himself.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com CycleNinja

    I tried to sit through that video, but I was so nauseated by the mere sight of Wakefield, I couldn’t take it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/UAJamie Jamie

    @CycleNinja: Try letting Wakefield hug you……seriously. I had to shower like 8 times before I could feel clean again.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com/ pinkocommie

    Sounds like a double sting to me. Loads more information regarding vaccines for any disease point to the fact they are at best unnecessary and worst deadly. The absolute hype from the WHO last year regarding “Swine Flu” is so obviously a ploy to convince millions to accept the unacceptable. We don’t need “science” to tell us what is good and bad for us regarding vaccines. We just need our own common sense.

    Sources please!

  • cat

    @venture free, that’s exactly what I think every time I see these anti-vaxers. Even if it were true that vaccines caused autism (which it plainly isn’t), so fucking what? Tell the quarter of a million babies that die of tetanus every year that they should just be grateful they didn’t have to be autistic freakos like me, I am sure they would appreciate it, if they weren’t dead that is. Autism isn’t terrible and I do not think autistic people are inferior to neurotypical people. You know what is terrible? Tetanus.

  • http://lizditz.typepad.com Liz Ditz

    I’m keeping a list of positive responses to the BMJ (Yes Wakefield is a fraud, and here are the implications…) and negative responses (Wakefield’s research IS TOO valid and vaccines cause autism anyway) at A roundup of responses to the BJM: Wakefield’s research was motivated by fraud

    Some observations
    1. The positive responses come from a broad range of sites — politically left and right; people who are skeptics/ people who have heretofore (to my knowledge) never commented on vaccines or autism before, and so on. The negative responses are from a predictable set of sites and people.
    2. The news coverage in the US has (perhaps inadvertently) perpetrated the idea that all parents of children with autism believe in the vaccine causation myth. It is a complete falsehood. Many parents of children with autism and adults with autism robustly reject the myth.
    3. Kev Leitch, whose daughter has intense autism, has a moving post at Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield–how Wakefield’s actions have damaged everyone affected by autism

  • http://apostateangelica.wordpress.com Apostate Angelica

    Wakefield’s a bit of a skeaze for my taste, but if you don’t mind me saying, you’re pretty darn cute!

    Thank you for this piece, by the way. The whole vaccine debacle hasn’t been quite as prominent in Ireland, and I had been looking for a good summary of it for some time. This kinda clears things up for me.

  • http://www.twitter.com/UAJamie Jamie

    @ApostateAngelica Thanks! If you want to read a great summary of the history of the entire vaccine debate, I suggest the book “The Panic Virus” by Seth Mnookin. It’s an easy and entertaining read and describes exactly how the modern antivax movement came to be.

  • Ross Coe

    You have to be quite a moron to believe vaccines are harmless. Anti-vaxxers as you fools call them want whats right. They want truth and fairness and for criminals to go to jail. Its easy to see that a portion of people are easily manipulated and brainwashed into believing the marketing scams for pharma product. I guess simple minds can’t understand the evil minds behind vaccine sales.

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