Wakefield’s Shameful Legacy

A new study, ironically published in The Lancet, raises serious doubts that the goal of elimination of measles in Europe by 2010 can be attained. The reason for this re-emergence of a disease which was completely under control 15 years ago is the “shoddy, litigation- and profit-driven pseudoscience” of Andrew Wakefield, whose now discredited study published in The Lancet in 1998, linked the MMR vaccine with autism in children.

Measles virus: small, but nasty

It later emerged that Wakefield was paid up to £55,000 by solicitors acting on behalf of the families of some autistic children to prove a link between the vaccine and the condition. This was something that he somehow forgot to mention to his fellow authors, medical authorities or The Lancet.

Simon Murch, one of the leading doctors involved with Wakefield’s research at the Royal Free, said that news of the £55,000 legal funding was “a very unpleasant surprise”.
“We never knew anything about the £55,000 — he had his own separate research fund,” said Murch. “All of us were surprised… We are pretty angry.”

10 years on and Wakefield’s scaremongering has resulted in a 13-year high in the number of measles cases in the UK: an “embarrassing problem” according to the WHO report’s authors. Vaccination levels have improved somewhat over the past 2 years, with concerted “catch-up” campigns for those who missed vaccination, but even cases of measles in South America, which was all but free of the disease, have been traced back to Europe.

Between 2007-8 in Europe, there were over 12,000 cases of measles, which should have been erradicated from the continent by next year. Over 1,000 of them were in the UK:

1,049 is the highest number of measles cases recorded in England and Wales since the current method of monitoring the disease was introduced in 1995.
This rise is due to relatively low MMR vaccine uptake over the past decade and there are now a large number of children who are not fully vaccinated with MMR. This means that measles is spreading easily among unvaccinated children.

As a microbiologist and a parent, I strongly urge all parents to do the decent thing and vaccinate their children. These are not called “preventable diseases” for nothing. Apart from the benefits for you and your kids, there should be a collective sense of social responsibility to help reduce the reservoir of these illnesses in society.
The results of a decade of misinformation, poor science and hysterical reporting are becoming evident now: disease, disability and even death for hundreds of children, all of which could and should have been avoided.

Don’t let it happen to your kids.

8 thoughts on “Wakefield’s Shameful Legacy

  1. Agreed. I have had measlish type diseases twice, with vaccination and it was horrible both times. I can’t imagine if I hadn’t had the vaccination.

    Po´s last blog post was: Brain Freeze! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  2. PO … if the vaccine actually worked you would not get it at all it does not make it “less” it stops it totally you are proof the vaccine is not effective.

    Measles Mumps And Rubella are not serious diseases and there is no need to take on the risks of vaccination.

    Of those getting it and not reported here a large % have been vaccinated the ridiculous herd immunity is used to blame un vaccinated that is psudo science …

    also not mentioned is the thousands and millions spent by the companies on lawsuits with gag orders …

    HPV has the potential to kill and paralyse more than the virus …

    the only vaccine with limited merit potential is the HIB vaccine for medical staff but this is also proven to be mostly ineffective with low efficacy.

    modern vaccines do contain chemicals i choose not to have injected into me or my kids make it the old fashioned safer way i may consider it until then no thanks.

    they are only partially effective and based on a theory that if they not 100% effective is incorrect in years past the hope was that it would work but has been proven wrong.

    does it cause autism it is possible and there is circumstantial evidence that cant be ignored there pro’s and cons.

    im still searching for a peer reviewed article showing they effective … more than 75%….

  3. Greg > I have chosen to publish your comment in the interests of free speech, but also to show that there are people like you (I call them ‘idiots’) who believe that kind of rubbish from discredited ‘doctors’ and conspiracy theorists.
    I don’t have a problem with you and your kind topping yourselves by not getting vaccinated (potential Darwin Awards nominees), but when it affects your children and those around them, then I do have an issue with it.

    That you think vaccination “doesn’t work” and is based on a theory that “has been proven wrong” is laughable. It’s based on our knowledge of the human immune system. Presumably, you think that is all incorrect as well, then?
    But then, you think we’re all alien reptiles, don’t you?

  4. Glad you linked this. Sometimes I wonder if people like this don’t post this for a laugh. They cannot truly believe…but then I suppose a certain individual we have in common once clogged my mail with a mixture of crap and porn…good grief, I still shudder at what came through by accident.

    My child has had all vaccinations. It stems from having a father-in-law pharmacist.

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