I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from friends that the reasons they are worried about vaccines are the combo shots, such as the MMR. Why? They don’t really know, but they heard it was too much for the immune system.
This wild speculation and fear can be traced back to one irresponsible scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his study on twelve patients. Wakefield had England in a tizzy because his study showed that autism could be traced to problems in the gut due to the MMR vaccine. Or could it?
Other scientists attempted to replicate Wakefield’s study, but they came up with opposite results. The Cochrane Review listed over 31 quality studies that showed no link between autism, bowel problems, and the MMR vaccine. And yet, there are scores of parents who not only believe that the MMR vaccine is the root cause of autism, but they also believe Jenny McCarthy’s lie that a strict gluten-free (etc.) diet cured her son.
Why would Wakefield lie like that? What could have been his motive? Glad you asked. On closer inspection, it seems that Wakefield may have had some conflicts of interest that likely tainted his results, like perhaps the fact that he was paid 400,000 pounds by lawyers who specifically wanted to sue the company that made the MMR vaccine. Yeah, that’s a huge conflict of interest – ya think?
Wakefield has been laughed out of the scientific community, but his legacy lives on. This man has been completely discredited – he was abandoned by most of the co-authors of his failed study; and yet, despite Wakefield’s fall from grace, measles rates are soaring in England. That’s right. Dr. Andrew Wakefield is responsible for lowering the rate of measles vaccination in Great Britain to 80%, far short of the level needed for a safe herd immunity. How bad is it? There are 24 times as many cases of measles this year than the 56 cases reported in 1998 when Wakefield’s paper was published.
Yeah, Dr. Wakefield’s kind of an ass, and today we find out that his already sullied reputation continues to go down the tubes. Investigative reporters in England have been comparing the details of Wakefield’s analysis on the twelve children in his study with the info from their original hospital reports. It seems that he fibbed a bit, fudged some facts, you know, he made shit up.
Moral of the story? It only takes one liar, with a big mouth and bad facts, to change the world, for better, or in this case, for worse.