To think Andrew Wakefield has blood on his hands for causing so much distrust over the MMR?

(1000 Posts)
chicaguapa Sat 06-Apr-13 19:38:49

That's it really. He's caused so much damage with his stupid little study. It was years ago, he was struck off, the study was discredited, but people still don't get the MMR because of it. angry

Floweryhat Sat 06-Apr-13 20:07:50

YANBU however, the journal that published it originally has a LOT to answer for too.

ClaraOswald Sat 06-Apr-13 20:10:04

YABU.

The fault lies with the constant media promotion of the findings in his study.

In South wales, where it was nearly always in the local paper, you can see the results of that. Had it not been regurgitated on a weekly basis it wouldn't have taken hold so strongly.

kim147 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:10:22

"He did his studies, like everybody who is a parent we can read the studies and make our own decision"

No - you can't. You need to understand study design, control groups, sample selection criteria, risk, definition of autism, autism risk in a normal population and statistics.

I agree the science community should have communicated the risk better from their research and they have a lot to answer for.

But everyone likes a maverick fighting the system, don't they?

LynetteScavo Sat 06-Apr-13 20:11:14

If people still aren't gaining the mmr to their dc they are misinformed...... that is partly their fault. If you are not going to vaccinate your dc ( and I have refused certain vaccinations for one of my dc) you should be clear as to why not. AW was struck of some time ago. Lots of more recent info is out there.

simonthedog Sat 06-Apr-13 20:12:35

YANBU i live in the problem area and had to make the decision to vaccinate my 6month old today because other people hadn't had their children vaccinated at the right times. I am cross about it.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sat 06-Apr-13 20:12:41

Yy Clara I heard that on the radio this morning. That the local paper had run a campaign at the time and that they attribute the low uptake of the vaccine in that area at the time largely to that.

chickensaladagain Sat 06-Apr-13 20:13:00

'tis ok currentbuns I had guessed it was a x-post smile

ThePinkOcelot Sat 06-Apr-13 20:14:03

I didn't realise people were still not getting their children vaccinated. Mine are well past that age now. I would still be wary of the MMR however, if they were of that age. No smoke without fire IMO.

piprabbit Sat 06-Apr-13 20:15:16

One of the doctors in Swansea was interviewed yesterday and said that before the MMR scandal, vaccination rates were around the 95% level which confers group immunity (ie. allows children who cannot have the MMR for medical reasons to be protected by the much reduced levels of infection in the community).
During the MMR scandal the rate dropped to 75%.
Since Wakefield has been comprehensively discredited, the vaccination rates have risen to 80% - still not high enough to protect those who can't be immunised.

I think that Andrew Wakefield proved that the British public have very long memories and our authorities are not good at communicating important scientific information.

Myliferocks Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:31

They were saying on the news a minute ago that most of the children being vaccinated today are young children who are due booster's soon and the parents are bringing them forward.
The children they really want to be vaccinated now are the teenagers who weren't vaccinated in the years just after the AW study.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:34

I recall asking my HV about it (children 18 and 15). She said I can only say what the leaflet says. She was telling me I had to have my children immunised. If someone tells me I have to do something I also expect them to be able to tell me why, ie, aobut the study design, control groups, sample selection criteria, definition of autism, other studies, statistical comparative data etc. If they only know what is in the leaflet, ie, what I am told and not the basis for it I do not, under any circumstances expect them to instruct me to do something.

I made a fuss and had a meeting with the community health trust lead immunologist and I made the point to him that I thought the information was being disseminated inadequately. I was told that you couldn't expect an HV to understand it; it wasn't their job. I reiterated that I expected anyone instructing me to do something needed to understand the reasons why they were instructing me and anything else was wholly inadequate.

My children were immunised by the way.

meditrina Sat 06-Apr-13 20:19:18

No, he raised concerns which were valid at the time and which we're published (without reservation) by The Lancer, thus giving credibility.

If, as reported now, his claims were known to be rubbish at the time, the ones with blood on their hands were the editors of The Lancer, a it was their action in publishing that meant it was picked up by the non-medical media.

It of course did not help that this came on top of the new Government in 1997 allowing the licence to lapse, thus remove the single jabs fm NHS just a the moment of controversy. Those ministers have the blood o. Their hands too. For if they cared about children receiving the vaccine, they would have allowed the continuation of the vaccines schedule that had been well received and complied with, rather than trying to force through ier will at thhe expense of children's lives.

SneezingwakestheJesus Sat 06-Apr-13 20:21:49

I think its a hard decision to make for some people. I'm afraid of regression after the MMR and I find the wording in the NHS booklet to be a little vague on some points which makes me distrustful. But I'm also afraid of these diseases and what they could do. Its stressful.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 06-Apr-13 20:25:56

There is a fabulous section in Ben Goldacre's book Bad science about this.

the problem is not with Andrew Wakefield at all. there are scientists all over the world studying all sorts of things and sometimes they get it wrong.

HOWEVER... the media fed off it. it was a feeding frenzy, articles stating opinions over and over again, based on such small study.

We have our great british media to blame they took a small study and stated it as fact. they fed off the fears of every parent. It sold papers, and continues to sell papers.

Any medical professional I have EVER spoken to about it has always told me that they would and have vaccinated their children.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 06-Apr-13 20:27:26

meditrina, the lancet publishes small studies all the time. month after month how many are publicised like this

Loshad Sat 06-Apr-13 20:27:27

His concerns were not valid at the time meditrina, see many above comments re study design (and lack of declaration of a massive conflict of interest re funding). His original study was massively flawed. I don't know how he can sleep at night, although i agree totally with the poster who said blame should be shared amongst whoever was editor of the lancet at the time.

EllieArroway Sat 06-Apr-13 20:28:11

Wakefield's report was shown to be fraud. The Lancet didn't know this - if it hadn't been fraud, the findings would have been worth reporting on.

There was an awful lot of irresponsible reporting in the years afterwards which certainly bears some responsibility - but ultimately this does go back to Wakefield.

I think the distrust lies in the fact that whilst plenty of studies have shown that statistically there is no link between MMR and autism, there are plenty of otherwise sane parents who have reported what appears to be regression into autism directly following the MMR vaccination.
And because there is no universal agreement on what does cause autism, it's very hard to dismiss those parents who can say - here is video of my son talking and engaging and laughing, and here he is 2 weeks later not doing any of that.
To my knowledge no scientific study has conclusively proved that autistic regression CANNOT be linked to MMR, i.e, because there is clear proof of another cause (genetic/environmental/whatever). They can say there is no statistical link, but that's not the same thing. If someone can correct me on that I'd like to hear where my understanding is wrong.

You do realise that Andrew Wakefield told people to carry on vaccinating don't you? He suggested using singles (which were freely available on the NHS at the time) while further research was carried out into the MMR.

What an utter bastard hmm

AnaisB Sat 06-Apr-13 20:30:26

hang on - i thought Wakefield's study was about digestive problems or stomach problems and the autism comment was phrased speculatively. he was writing for a professional journal - not the public. i would say he was unwise, but would lay more blame with newspaper journalists/editors who jumped on the speculative comment.

so yabu

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 06-Apr-13 20:30:44

The Lancet are certainly partially culpable, as is Wakefield, the media, and parents, and the government at the time.

The problem is, that it had been such a long time since a proper outbreak of anything covered by MMR, that parents became complacent 'oh it's only measles etc' forgetting that it can kill.

I hope a lot of people re-visit their decision not to vaccinate in the light of this outbreak.

kim147 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:31:29

In science you can never prove anything. You use statistical analysis and probability. We are 99.9% certain that .... does or does not cause anything.

That's the hard thing about science and it's why the media has to be responsible in reporting - but if it sells papers....

tiggytape Sat 06-Apr-13 20:31:39

YANBU
My DS is 12 so was due his MMR at a time of huge (negative) media interest in the issue. It was very worrying but we talked to our GP and made the decision to have him vaccinated.
DD is a bit younger but by then the big issue was single MMR injections (until they ran out of the mumps ones). She had the MMR combined jab too.

Measles seemed like a long forgotten illness whereas the media was full of stories that seemed to confirm Wakefield's 'research.' Parents had to take a leap of faith to choose vaccination because it took so long for him to be discredited and his actions definitely contributed to the low uptake and loss of herd immunity.

EllieArroway Sat 06-Apr-13 20:32:46

To my knowledge no scientific study has conclusively proved that autistic regression CANNOT be linked to MMR

Probably true - but completely irrelevant. There's no scientific study that conclusively proves that hayfever isn't linked to MMR either. Or asthma. Or piles. Or anything else. Science doesn't work like that.

Jan49 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:32:50

YABU. I don't think he has "blood on his hands". It seems to me that opinions on vaccinations swing backwards and forwards. At the moment public opinion is more in favour of vaccinating. So people talk about the potential severe effects of catching diseases like measles, ignoring the potential severe effects of vaccination.

I have a son who had all the vaccinations (before the MMR issue with Andrew Wakefield) but I felt that there were as many reasons for vaccinating as against vaccinating. Some children will suffer severe disability or even die due to a vaccination and some due to a disease which may have been less prevalent if more children were vaccinated. Some will have the vaccination but still get the disease and suffer severe effects. I don't think a parent is wrong whichever they choose.

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