For the handful of you who don’t know him, Mr. Andrew Wakefield fraudulently alleged a connection between the MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella) and autism – this has had the effect of suppressing vaccination rates in many countries. His claims were published in a now retracted paper published in the Lancet, a mostly respected medical journal who seemed to have forgotten how to do proper peer review back in the late 1990’s. This is a quick review of the Andrew Wakefield fraud.
Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA) – is a frequent contributor to this blog. She had posted an article that debunks the myth that Andrew Wakefield is probably innocent of all charges made against him by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC). Basically, some of the antivaccination crowd believes that because Wakefield’s partner in the fraud, Professor John Walker-Smith, had his own decision by the GMC overturned, it is considered evidence that Andrew Wakefield was wronged when the GMC found Wakefield, too, guilty of serious ethical violations. But that would be an incorrect interpretation of the facts.
And the vaccine-causes-autism crowd at Age of Autism still think that Wakefield is a god of the myth – they mindlessly shill for Wakefield claiming he’s innocent, even pulling out the myth, mentioned above, that Professor Reiss effectively shredded.
In case it’s not clear to everyone, Wakefield is a con artist. In fact, he should be known forever as Andrew Wakefield Fraud, and that’s being nice.
Wakefield has shown depraved indifference to children across the world by acting like he’s some pathetic, sad martyr of the evil alliance of Big Pharma, physicians (probably all in the pay of Big Pharma), and a few bloggers like David Gorski (who is a physician, and, in the eyes of the antivaccination cult, is in the pay of Big Pharma), the mysterious snark-meister Orac, and Steven Novella (another physician, so insert Big Pharma payoff trope here).
Unfortunately for his sycophants and supporters, the evidence that the Andrew Wakefield fraud is a menace is profound:
- BMJ, once known as the British Medical Journal, published a series of articles, written by Brian Deer, about Wakefield’s despicable deceit, you can read about it here, here, and here. (See Note 1)
- Vaccines are unrelated to autism. No. No. NO. The only reason that we even spent one nanosecond thinking about this issue is because of Wakefield’s fraud.
- With the advent of Wakefield’s claims, people suddenly believed that one of the safest vaccines, one that prevents some dangerous diseases, was bad for their kids. And despite all of the science that has refuted the original lie, it’s always the original Big Lie that stands, and the truth, that the MMR vaccines does not cause autism, gets lost in the noise.
- Wakefield continues to litigate against BMJ, which must cause Doshi and his unethical and incompetent BMJ sycophants much pain. Oh no. Another irony meter melted down. I need to check on the warranty.
- Wakefield attempts to created a manufactroversy about a so-called CDC whistleblower. Hilarity ensues.
Honestly, I don’t know why Wakefield isn’t in prison in the UK (see Note 2).
Of course, his cowardly retreat to a Texas mansion probably allows him to suck money from clueless and ignorant anti-vaxxers, while avoiding prosecution. Because a real martyr would fly back to the UK and demand an appeal of the GMC’s stripping him of his license to practice medicine. But he’s an intellectual and ethical weakling, so it’s better to snipe at everyone from the safety of his man, and more or less attempt to exonerate two family members from the murder of an autistic child.
I know that the anti-vaccine religion lacks any credible evidence to support their point of view. And hardly anyone actually listens to that crowd, with over 95% of children in developed countries getting all of their vaccinations. But placing your money (literally) on this fraud and liar is making all of you so easy to mock. It’s almost too easy.
- My irony meter explodes (does someone know of a explosion-proof irony meter on Amazon?) every time I realize that Peter Doshi, who is not a biologist, epidemiologist, immunologist, microbiologist or actually anything related to vaccines, is an editor on BMJ, pontificating about vaccines, something that is totally outside of his training – but because he’s firmly from the world of the argument from false authority, some think he actually knows something about vaccines. He doesn’t. But I digress, because Doshi and Wakefield babble together about vaccines frequently. There goes my backup irony meter.
- Brian Deer gives some perspective on why this probably won’t happen. Unfortunately, his comment got lost when we switched the comment system to Disqus from Facebook. Blame Russian bots.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2014. Because every time I write an article about Wakefield, I link to this article for a quick background on the guy for the 5 people wh have never heard about him, I realized that the article needed some new formatting, repairing of dead links, and some copyediting.
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