Home > In the News, Preventable Diseases > Doctor at Center of MMR/Autism Controversy Found Guilty of Reckless Disregard for Suffering Children in Landmark GMC Decision

Doctor at Center of MMR/Autism Controversy Found Guilty of Reckless Disregard for Suffering Children in Landmark GMC Decision

By Alison Singer
President, Autism Science Foundation

This week, the British General Medical Council (GMC) ruled that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first proposed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” when he published his research and showed a ‘callous disregard’ for the suffering of children.

The GMC decision came after the longest and most expensive hearing in its 148-year history.  The hearing focused on a small study of a dozen children by Dr. Wakefield and 12 doctors which linked the MMR vaccine with autism and bowel problems.  It was published in the highly respected medical journal The Lancet, the, in 1998. At a press conference following the publication, Wakefield said there were “sufficient anxieties for a case to be made” to give the three vaccines separately.  Numerous other studies, including one involving three million children, failed to replicate his findings.  But that didn’t prevent MMR vaccination rates from plummeting by 12% in Great Britain after Wakefield’s report. And in 2006 a 13-year-old boy died from measles. More deaths followed.

 Eventually Wakefield’s collaborators withdrew their names from the Lancet paper and the paper itself was eventually retracted. Later it was revealed that Wakefield had received funds from lawyers representing the children enrolled in his study. And now the GMC has spoken in clear and convincing terms. And let’s not forget that the hearing itself was not even about the science; it was about Wakefield’s methods. The science has been in for some time now. No study has shown a link between autism and MMR. To read the studies visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org/autismandvaccines.html

 But will this be the end of the controversy? I doubt it.

 Once you put an idea in people’s head, even in the presence of clear and convincing science, it is very hard to unscare them.  Anti vaccine autism advocates continue to see Wakefield as a hero who remains willing to take on the establishment and fight for their children.  In the meantime, Wakefield’s actions have had a lasting negative effect on children’s health in that some people are still afraid of immunizations. In some cases, the younger siblings of children with autism are being denied life saving vaccines. This population of baby siblings, already at higher risk for developing autism, is now also being placed at risk for life threatening, vaccine preventable disease, despite mountains of scientific evidence indicating no link between vaccines and autism. This is the Wakefield legacy.

  1. Danielle Romaguera
    February 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I heard this news the other day on the radio and was elated. I had a daughter that died of a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine. She was too young to receive her pertussis vaccine, but if others would get vaccinated young babies who are unprotected could be safe. What this doctor did was so dangerous and irresponsible. There have been so many parents that have followed his advice . His “findings” have hurt people on both sides of the spectrum. It has hurt people like myself due to the numbers of people getting vaccinated dropping and then in turn affecting my newborn daughter. I also feel as if it has hurt parents of autistic children. Many of them would like answers and solutions. This doctor has just wasted many years of their time and effort when we could have been looking in other ways to help these parents of autistic children.

    Like

  2. Lee
    January 10, 2011 at 8:37 am

    The role of the lawyers in helping should not be ignored here.Their actions deserve to be called into question. Read the article…

    http://marketsandculture.blogspot.com/2011/01/mmr-vaccine-autism-andrew-wakefield-and.html

    ..it is astonishing how many millions of public money were wasted by their actions.

    Like

  3. Iwan Phuku
    January 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    97 percent of children affected by mumps already vaccinated in this study.

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1202865

    Like

  4. January 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Iwan Phuku :
    97 percent of children affected by mumps already vaccinated in this study.
    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1202865

    What does this have to do with the post, and why do you feel the need to comment on a post that is two years dormant?

    Like

  5. Iwan Phuku
    January 5, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Well Maam it is the only post I found relating to MMR. Is there a better post to post this on?

    Thank you!

    Like

  6. January 5, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Perhaps you should alert the CDC or National Institutes of Health and not a random website. Or perhaps the population that was discussed in the article: Orthodox Jews who used unique educational system that involved close contact for an extended time.

    Also, perhaps you need read more closely the conclusions (I will add bolding to help you):

    The epidemiologic features of this outbreak suggest that intense exposures, particularly among boys in schools, facilitated transmission and overcame vaccine-induced protection in these patients. High rates of two-dose coverage reduced the severity of the disease and the transmission to persons in settings of less intense exposure.

    As a person who experienced mumps twice during a mumps epidemic year, this makes me feel a bit better. I had had mumps, but my mother was baffled why I got it again in 1968. Which turned out to be a year when was an epidemic. So even though I had had it before, I was exposed enough to get it again.

    Sorry, dude, even “natural” immunity is imperfect.

    Like

  7. January 5, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Agreed Chris. I had mumps at age 6. Got the MMR at 16 but showed zero immunity to any of them in 2007 when my sixth child was born so after his birth got another MMR, the second vaccine I had ever gotten in my life, to that point. The disease that really scares me is pertussis, and that is the third, and so far last, vaccine I’ve gotten, two summers ago.

    Like

  8. Iwan Phuku
    January 5, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Ahh yes thank you Chris – excellent advice indeed!

    Like

  9. Chris
  10. Hippocrates
    January 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Chris,

    Sorry, dude, even “natural” immunity is imperfect.

    I thought vaccinators abhor the Nirvana fallacy. Oh well.

    Like

  11. Narad
    January 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Sorry, dude, even “natural” immunity is imperfect.

    I thought vaccinators abhor the Nirvana fallacy. Oh well.

    This may actually be the least sensible utterance I’ve ever seen from Th1Th2/INF-ß/Rational Antivax/Hippocrates (which also seems to be running desperately low on fake ID creativity).

    Like

  12. Chris
    January 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Yeah, I did not understand it either. I guess I was giving her the benefit of the doubt because English is not her native language. I thought she just did not understand that what I said about even getting the disease does not provide immunity was completely opposite of the “Nirvana Fallacy.”

    Though it is further proof she lives on Htrae.

    Like

  13. Rita
    January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Hippocrates,
    Check out the Amazon one-star reviews of Your Baby’s Best Shot. You were a topic of conversation there for several days.

    Like

  14. Hippocrates
    January 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Chris,

    So even though I had had it before, I was exposed enough to get it again.

    So you had deliberately exposed yourself to get it again. Now that one actually make sense than…

    Sorry, dude, even “natural” immunity is imperfect.

    Like

  15. Hippocrates
    January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Narad,

    This may actually be the least sensible utterance I’ve ever seen from Th1Th2/INF-ß/Rational Antivax/Hippocrates (which also seems to be running desperately low on fake ID creativity).

    As usual, vaccinators are crying wolf again. That’s what happens when when you hit their soft spot.

    Like

  16. Gray Falcon
    January 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Th1Th2, you know perfectly well that it’s possible to come down with something without deliberately exposing oneself. Please stop lying.

    Like

  17. January 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    @Gray – don’t you know that insane troll can instantly tell if someone is contagious (regardless of showing symptoms) and is able to detect pathogens in the air?

    Like

  18. Smithers
    January 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Gray Falcon:

    If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to TWEET about it, did it really happen?

    Like

  19. Hippocrates
    January 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Gray,

    Th1Th2, you know perfectly well that it’s possible to come down with something without deliberately exposing oneself. Please stop lying.

    Why the sudden sympathy Gray? Why are you still asking things you already know? Like,

    […] you wish children to die of influenza?

    I thought Chris was a victim of false reassurance –“Mommy told me it’s OK to expose myself to mumps coz I had had mumps before.”

    Of course it’s OK little Chris, that is if you want to get REINFECTED!

    Like

  20. Hippocrates
    January 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    don’t you know that insane troll can instantly tell if someone is contagious (regardless of showing symptoms) and is able to detect pathogens in the air?

    Nirvana fallacy. Next.

    Like

  21. January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    @Insane Troll – you really don’t know what you’re talking about anymore do you? Now you’re just parroting without understanding….definitely signs of serious mental disturbance.

    Like

  22. Rina
    January 8, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Hippocrates,
    Did you see this study: http://het.sagepub.com/content/31/10/1012.full ?
    It found that the more vaxes infants get, the HIGHER their mortality rate, in an unfortunate synergyistic effect. I guess a lot of babies have to die to prove Dr. Proffit wrong.

    Like

  23. January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

    @Rina – do we need to go into again why the VAERS database is a horrible method for making statistical studies like that one?

    Like

  24. January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    @Rina – here is an actual discussion and take-down of the bad science used in that “study:”

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/16/vaccines-and-infant-mortality-rates/

    Like

  25. novalox
    January 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    @rina

    Yawn, another ad hominem attack and a “pharma shill gambit”, your argument automatically has no merit whatsoever.

    Like

  26. Georgio Tirees
    January 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Are you tired novalox? You should take better care of yourself!

    Like

  27. novalox
    January 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    @georgio tiress

    Try harder to troll next time, troll, maybe you can elicit a laugh from me next time.

    Like

  28. Georgio Tirees
    January 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Wasn’t trying to make you laugh, letting you know your “yawns” are stupid, Novalox. Think anybody will take you seriously when you act like that? Not!

    Like

  29. novalox
    January 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    @georgio tiress

    And what contribution have you made at all to this blog?

    Try again troll.

    Like

  30. Georgio Tirees
    January 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Well…I’m sure not acting like that. I’ll make a contribution if/when I have something to contribute. Until then, I just read. And what’s with this troll business? I would call that an ad hominem attack.

    Like

  31. Chris
    January 10, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Mr. Tirees, do you have evidence that the MMR vaccine causes more harm than mumps? If so, please present that data.

    Like

  32. January 10, 2013 at 9:28 am

    @Chris – are we having to play “guess the sock-puppet” now?

    Like

  33. Georgio Tirees
    January 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Chris
    Do you have evidence that the MMR vaccine causes more harm than mumps? If so, why don’t you present the data?

    Like

  34. Chris
    January 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Actually, Mr. Tirees, I was asking you the question. Have you decided to go from sock puppet to echo chamber?

    Evidence of things mumps can do:

    Korean J Urol. 2012 Dec;53(12):865-9. doi: 10.4111/kju.2012.53.12.865. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
    Clinical features of mumps orchitis in vaccinated postpubertal males: a single-center series of 62 patients.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):173-5. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31818a8ca8.
    An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.

    And this report says:

    Parotitis was reported in 870 (66%) of the 1,327 patients for whom such data were available. Data regarding mumps complications and hospitalizations are incomplete. However, complications have included 27 reports of orchitis, 11 meningitis, four encephalitis, four deafness, and one each of oophoritis, mastitis, pancreatitis, and unspecified complications.

    And for the recent cases in New York there were:

    Sixty-five reports of complications from mumps have been received: orchitis (55 cases), pancreatitis (five cases), aseptic meningitis (two cases), transient deafness (one case), Bell’s palsy (one case), and oophoritis (one case).

    Now do tell us how often the MMR causes meningitis, deafness and swelling of sensitive areas like testicles and ovaries.

    Like

  35. Chris
    January 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Mucked up last link:
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5905a1.htm

    That is a report when there were a bit over 1500 cases of mumps. The two cases of meningitis comprises over one per thousand cases of mumps. Now, do give us the evidence that the MMR causes meningitis at a greater rate.

    Like

  36. Hippocrates
    January 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Chris,

    Do you wish the healthy, unvaccinated and uninfected to suffer from orchitis?

    Mumps vaccine associated orchitis: Evidence supporting a potential immune-mediated mechanism.

    Just be honest about it.

    Like

  37. Hippocrates
    January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20085834/

    How I wish this will not be deleted.

    Like

  38. Georgio Tirees
    January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Chris
    Why are you asking me? Did I say something to the contrary? Are you taking your meds today?

    Like

  39. Chris
    January 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Because you are a bad joker, Mr. Tirees. I thought I’d give an opportunity to contribute to this thread.

    The other one is a clown who does not know the concept of relative risk, or just does not understand that adjectives have specific meaning, like the difference between “common” and “rare”:

    We report 3 cases of orchitis following vaccination with mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine, two with an onset within 3 days following vaccination. Orchitis is a common complication of mumps infection, particularly in post-pubertal males, and is also recognized as a very rare complication of mumps vaccination

    Like

  40. January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    @Chris – about time to ignore the sock-puppets.

    Like

  41. Hippocrates
    January 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    The other one is a clown who does not know the concept of relative risk, or just does not understand that adjectives have specific meaning, like the difference between “common” and “rare”:

    You should know better because first, you’re the infection promoter and second, you’re the one playing the Russian Roulette, right Chris?

    Me I just stay on the sidewalk. What are you going to do now, shoot me and then discuss RR?

    Like

  42. Georgio Tirees
    January 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    As I mentioned above Ms. Chris, I will contribute when I actually have something meaningful to contribute. I may be a bad joker in your opinion, but at least I don’t act like a school girl with “yawning” and I don’t know what to call your attitude, it definitely needs adjusting.

    Like

  43. Chris
    January 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Actually, I wasn’t yawning. I was providing you actual information, Joe.

    Here is some more since this article was about Andrew Wakefield: the legal aid money he got from Richard Barr to do specific research was to go towards the lawsuits for families whose children had meningitis from the MMR with the Urabe strain of mumps. Even though the risk of meningitis with those versions of the MMR were still much less than actually getting mumps, there was a risk. And the reason that the UK stopped using MMR vaccines with the Urabe strain of mumps in 1992.

    But here is the funny thing: when Wakefield announced without any supporting evidence that parents should get single jabs, he did not realize that there was no single mumps vaccine approved for use in the UK. So some enterprising clinics illegally imported one from the continent. The problem with that was it was an Urabe mumps vaccine:
    http://www.mhra.gov.uk/home/groups/pl-p/documents/websiteresources/con2031106.pdf

    Which says:

    The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) has advised that Urabe mumps vaccine is associated with an unacceptable risk of aseptic meningitis and that the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) should object to importation of unlicensed mumps vaccine containing the Urabe strain of mumps virus. On the basis of that advice, the MCA has today contacted importers notifying them that the vaccine should not be imported.

    Like

  44. Georgio Tirees
    January 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Joe?

    You weren’t yawning….novalox was, and that’s what started this whole thing off. Do you even know what we are talking about? How can you be so rude when you are obviously not follwoing the conversation Ms. Chris? Please, take your medication.

    Like

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