If you have done some research on vaccines, I am certain that you’ve come across this name: Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
He was one of the first researchers to warn us against the link between the triple shot MMR and inflammatory bowel disease.
He was used as a scapegoat by the pharmaceutical companies to set an example to others who would dare to question vaccinations and their benefits.
Since then, the vaccine promoters have been using this case to prove that there is no link between the MMR vaccine (or the measles) and autism.
Mary Holland, co-founder and board member of the Center for Personal Rights, wrote a very nice piece about Dr. Wakefield, his story, and the truth about it.
She tries to address all the myths and confusion around this because the pro-vaxers are spreading false information.
You may or may not be okay with the legal aspect of this story, but what matters to us or what should matter to us is the science behind Dr. Andrew’s research. Unfortunately, the vaccine promoters do not care about the science that he provided in the late 90s. If they did, they would never bring up the name of Andrew Wakefield, because he is right!
We will get back to the science in a minute.
For now, let’s look at what she has to say:
“In the early 1990s, Dr. Wakefield began to study a possible link between the measles virus and bowel disease. He published a 1993 study, “Evidence of persistent measles virus infection in Crohn’s disease” and co-authored a 1995 article published in The Lancet, “Is measles vaccine a risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease?”
“In 1996, an attorney, Solicitor Barr of the law firm Dawbarns, contacted Dr. Wakefield to ask if he would serve as an expert in a legal case on behalf of children injured by vaccines containing the measles virus. The lawyer was bringing the suit on behalf of parents who alleged that vaccines had caused their children’s disabilities, including autism. Six months before this, and independent of the litigation effort, parents of children with autism and severe gastrointestinal symptoms began contacting Dr. Wakefield because of his publications on the measles vaccine, asking for help for their children’s pain and suffering, which they believed was vaccine-induced. Dr. Wakefield made two major, but separate, decisions at about this time, to try to help the families dealing with autism and gastrointestinal problems, and to become an expert in the legal case regarding vaccines and autism.”
“Barr asked Dr. Wakefield to study two questions:
(1) whether measles could persist after measles infection or the receipt of the MMR vaccine; and
(2) whether the measles virus could lead to complications, such as Crohn’s disease or autism.
Due to bureaucratic delays at his hospital, however, Dr. Wakefield did not begin this litigation-related study until October 1997. By July 1997, Dr. Wakefield and his colleague, Professor John Walker-Smith, had already examined the “Lancet 12”, twelve patients with autism and gastrointestinal symptoms that were the basis for the case study in the 1998 article published in The Lancet.
This is a very good point that we need to understand. The 12 cases of the Lancet paper were investigated before the beginning of the legal process. So it is 2 different situations here.
Dr. Wakefield and others had recommended the referral of these patients to Prof. Walker-Smith, an eminent physician described by his peers as one of the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologists.
Prof. WalkerSmith had recently moved to St. Mary’s Hospital from a different institution and brought with him the same clinical privileges and ethical clearances that he enjoyed at his previous hospital. He, a colleague, Dr. Simon Murch, and a team of other physicians, did extensive clinical workups on these sick children that Prof. Walker-Smith deemed “clinically indicated,” while Dr. Wakefield coordinated a detailed research review of the tissues obtained at biopsy.
The clinical tests included colonoscopies, MRI scans, and lumbar punctures to assess mitochondrial disorders. “Clinically indicated studies” did not require permissions from The Royal Free Hospital ethics committee because the tests were required for the benefit of the individual patients. Dr. Wakefield’s research was covered by an appropriate ethical approval.
In 1998, to announce the publication of The Lancet article coauthored by Dr. Wakefield and twelve other scientists, the dean of St. Mary’s Medical School called a press conference.
At the press conference, Dr. Wakefield was asked about the safety of the MMR vaccine. In 1992, two different combination MMR vaccines had been withdrawn from the U.K. marketplace because they were unsafe, so MMR vaccination was already a hot topic before The Lancet article was published.
Dr. Wakefield responded that, given the paucity of combination MMR vaccine safety research, and until further safety studies were done, the vaccines should be separated into their component parts. He had previously informed his colleagues that this was his view and that he would express it if asked.
The controversy surrounding Dr. Wakefield simmered. In February 2004, it reached a boiling point when Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, held a news conference to declare that the 1998 article was “fatally flawed” because Dr. Wakefield had failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest with the litigation-related study he conducted.
You see, his science had nothing to do with it. It was his supposed financial conflicts of interest that was the problem
The funny thing is that pro-vax researchers have tons of conflicts of interest but that does not seem to bother anyone.
British reporter Brian Deer published the story in the Sunday Times, detailing alleged undisclosed conflicts of interest. Immediately following publication, Mr. Deer sent a detailed letter to the British General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates the practice of medicine. The GMC then initiated proceedings against Dr. Wakefield that culminated in Dr. Wakefield’s delicensure in May 2010 and the retraction of the 1998 article from The Lancet.
The Allegations against Dr. Wakefield
The highly publicized, multi-year, multi-million dollar prosecution against Dr. Wakefield alleged that:
•Dr. Wakefield was paid 55,000 British pound sterling (about US $90,000) by litigators for the study published in The Lancet, and he failed to disclose this conflict of interest;
•He and his colleagues performed medically unnecessary tests on the children in the 1998 study and lacked appropriate ethical clearances;
•The children in the 1998 study were selected for litigation purposes (as described in the Sunday Times article) and not referred by local physicians; and
•He drew blood from children at his son’s birthday party for control samples in the 1998 study with callous disregard for the distress that this might cause children.
Based on its findings, the GMC concluded that Dr. Wakefield had engaged in “serious professional misconduct,” and “dishonest,” “misleading,” and “irresponsible” behavior, warranting the sanction of his removal from the medical profession.”
But as Mary eloquently explains, all these allegations did not hold further scrutiny.
He did not personally receive 55 000 British pounds. It was a grant. If you understand a little bit how science works you would know that researchers need money. They receive grants. There is nothing wrong with this.
Then, she says:
“The Lancet 12 were sick. Each child was administered tests with the intent to aid that child. The hospital administration was fully aware of the tests being conducted and made no objections. Because all of the tests were “clinically indicated” and not for research purposes, no ethical clearance beyond what Prof. Walker-Smith already possessed was required. Notably, no patient, parent, or guardian has ever made accusations against Dr. Wakefield or testified against him for ethical violations or medically unnecessary procedures”.
The Lancet paper was a case report paper. Those are being published regularly in medical journals. There is nothing wrong with this.
Here’s another lie:
“The GMC charged that the children were referred through the litigation effort and not through ordinary medical channels. This is incorrect. Parents started contacting Dr. Wakefield long before the litigation started, and independently of it. Since the litigation study was not yet started by the time The Lancet study was completed and submitted to the journal, this finding is false. Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues reject that claim; the families contacted them directly because of their medical expertise”.
And here’s another one:
In 2009, the journalist Deer made additional allegations that Dr. Wakefield fabricated data, which was completely false. But the press picked this news up, and it was already too late before people knew about it. The damage was already done.
Dr. Andrew is taking legal actions against this crooked journalist. The lawsuit, filed in Travis County, Texas, District Court, names BMJ, Godlee, and Deer as the defendants for having maliciously published deliberate lies about Dr. Wakefield’s 1998 case study paper that was published in The Lancet back in 1998.
In its February 2, 2010 retraction, The Lancet did not allege fraud. Relying solely on the GMC proceeding, it retracted the article, asserting that the authors had not referred the patients as represented, and the study team had not received the hospital’s ethics committee’s approval. The GMC’s conclusions and The Lancet’s reliance on them appear unfounded.
See that was the only reason that the Lancet paper was retracted. The authors did not receive the hospital’s ethics committee’s approval. But this approval was not needed as we saw. You don’t need their approval when a child goes to the hospital to get some help. You just don’t!
“Dr. Wakefield’s crucifixion was a
desperate well-orchestrated effort to restore faith in risky
vaccinations that the majority of people worldwide no longer trust”.
So there was no scientific fraud, no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, no ethical breaches in performing tests on sick children, and no complaints from patients or their families.
They never said that his science was wrong!
Did you know that in 2016, The Lancet exonerated Dr. Andrew Wakefield! Yes, The Lancet admitted that they were wrong and they were misled by the journalist Deer.
The Lancet ombudsman Dr. Malcolm Molyneux acknowledge that the UK General Medical Council’s findings of misconduct against Dr. Wakefield had been overturned.
Wakefield stated the following: “If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988.”
He was right. There was a rising incidence exactly after the introduction of this vaccine.
So there is no evidence of Dr. Wakefield’s scientific fraud. On the contrary, many scientists and laboratories around the world have confirmed Dr. Wakefield’s findings regarding severe gastrointestinal inflammation and symptoms in a high percentage of children with autism.
Below are dozens of study supporting Dr. Andrew’s paper.
See this is the neat part of science. When a finding is true, it is repeatable, it is reproducible. This is the foundation of biological science. We need to be able to confirm over and over that the finding is true.
And as you can see below, this is the case for the original finding of the Lancet paper.
- The Journal of Pediatrics November 1999; 135(5):559-63
- Am J Gastroenterol 2005.100:979-81.
- The Journal of Pediatrics 2000; 138(3): 366-372
- Arch Venez Pueric Pediatr 2005. 69:19-25.
- Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003; 23(6): 504-517
- Journal of Neuroimmunology 2005
- Mol Pathol 2002. 55:84-90.
- Brain, Behavior and Immunity 1993; 7: 97-103
- Pediatric Neurology 2003; 28(4): 1-3
- Neuropsychobiology 2005; 51:77-85
- The Journal of Pediatrics May 2005;146(5):605-10
- Autism Insights 2009; 1: 1-11
- J Biomed Sci 2002. 9:359-64.
- Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology February 2009; 23(2): 95-98
- Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 2009:21(3): 148-161
- Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1998. 89:105-8.
- Journal of Child Neurology June 29, 2009; 000:1-6
- Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders March 2009;39(3):405-13
- Medical Hypotheses August 1998;51:133-144.
- Journal of Child Neurology July 2000;15(7):429-35
- Lancet. 1972;2:883–884.
- Pediatr Neurol 2003. 28:292-4.
- Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia January-March 1971;1:48-62
- Journal of Pediatrics March 2001;138:366-372.
- Molecular Psychiatry 2002;7:375-382.
- American Journal of Gastroenterolgy April 2004;598-605.
- Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003;23:504-517.
- Neuroimmunology April 2006;173(1-2):126-34.
- Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol Biol. Psychiatry December 30 2006;30:1472-1477.
- Clinical Infectious Diseases September 1 2002;35(Suppl 1):S6-S16
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2004;70(11):6459-6465
- Journal of Medical Microbiology October 2005;54:987-991
- Archivos venezolanos de puericultura y pediatría 2006; Vol 69 (1): 19-25.
- Gastroenterology. 2005:128 (Suppl 2);Abstract-303
More than 30 scientific papers proving the Wakefield was right!
When I bring this point up to vaccine promoters I usually get two answers:
- All those papers are wrong, fabricated, not true.
- Dr. Wakefield paid all those researchers so they can fabricate the same data to support his original claims.
I actually heard the last one several times! And they call us conspiracy theorists??!! Lol
They just crack me up!
I do not care if Dr. Wakefield was ethically correct (which he was actually), but the only thing I care is the science behind his claims.
And dozens of groups of doctors have confirmed he was right.
Of course, you still have all those pro-vaxers who use the Wakefield case to discredit the science, which is completely ludicrous.
Now that we know that the measles virus affects the gut function, let’s all work together to find a solution to this epidemic of intestinal disorders in our kids.
God bless y’all 😊