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Andrew Wakefield speaks out

(181 Posts)
babanouche Thu 18-Apr-13 00:02:03

Sorry if this has been done to death. I've never been to this part of MN before. This is a really interesting clip, worth watching to the very end. My LO is due MMR soon and I have my doubts now.

Previous to watching this I was sure he was a bad scientist. He says the measles outbreak in wales may be due to the vaccine not working. He also throws doubt on the people who approved the triple vaccine & challenges certain professionals to a televised public debate. Very thought provoking stuff.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 08:15:11

Fluffy as a HCP I do not have to state my opinions to anyone in my profession nor do I advocate my opinions to those I work with. That's the long and the short of it.

Wannabe With respect, I think you are deluded in your views, but we are all entitled to an opinion as you said.

Good day all.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:16:54

There is an argument to be made for delaying and selectively vaccinating against mumps and rubella but that would take us off on a tangent. I'm just talking about measles for now. If people are concerned about the measles outbreak then it shouldn't matter which vaccine they use - I'm wondering what Sashh has against the single measles vaccine wrt its protection against measles which is what people are looking for at the moment.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:18:17

Forgetful, AW is not anti-vax confused

Forgetfulmog Thu 18-Apr-13 08:19:45

Bumbley, I didn't say he was confused

yetanotherworry Thu 18-Apr-13 08:21:43

Please get your immunity checked after getting the single vaccines. I remember being in Sheffield a couple of years ago where they had a measles outbreak. A number of children who had it were found to have had the singles vaccine. It was later linked with one clinic who had given the vaccine but none of the patients had gained immunity - not sure if it was a dodgy clinic (but had a good reputation up to this point) or dodgy vaccine batch.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 18-Apr-13 08:22:23

But you must have had to have vaccinations to start working. I started my training 16 years ago and it was a condition of starting the course that I was immune to Hep A and B.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:24:41


"Vaccines were introduced to protect people & prevent the spread of very serious illnesses." After talking about AW, I thought you were suggesting he was against vaccines in general. The single measles vaccine was still available at the time of the press conference.

Moominsarehippos Thu 18-Apr-13 08:25:40

I remember reading his original research when it was published. I was studying psychology at the time and a part of that is writing/analysing studies and stats. I was quite confused by it then and thought that the study wasn't in any way conclusive, had too many jumps to conclusion, and the survey group was just way too small. He had a theory and went out to prove it - didn't do this but went with his gut and caused a lot of trouble.

He certainly has caused a big enough question mark over vaccinations. Than goodnesss he didn't also look into other vaccines - can you imagine if he said that the tetnus shot was hazardous?

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:25:43

Most people do yet, there is a booster available for it as well - just like the MMR. The MMR doesn't offer 100% of people immunity either.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:26:53

Moomins, it was a case series. It was ok for it to be small.

Moominsarehippos Thu 18-Apr-13 08:37:16

That was what a lot of the 'evidence' was based on though. The press just leapt on it as conclusive. I can't quite remember the whole hoo ha but do remember him being interviewed an awful lot in the press.

The whole thing has caused a lot of heartache for so many parents.

Forgetfulmog Thu 18-Apr-13 08:37:44

Bumbley, no sorry just bad grammar on my part; I should have started a new paragraph there. I wasn't trying to say that AW was against vaccines.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:40:07

Yes, the press have a lot to answer for. As do those who decided to withdraw the singles vaccine while so many parents were still worried. If they'd kept it available then children could at least still have been vaccinated against measles.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:40:41

Ok forgetful - just a misunderstanding then! smile

Moominsarehippos Thu 18-Apr-13 08:44:11

I suppose it boils down to money - have one that does all rather than a choice.

Sadly the internet publishes a lot of 'research' to back up any theory you have, so someone with a 'gut' feeling about something can very quickly find stacks of supporting evidence.

The internet has made experts of us all.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 08:47:43

Money over health - sad state of affairs. Look how much it is costing now! Probably would have been cheaper to just keep the singles available.

Beachcomber Thu 18-Apr-13 08:50:32

Isabella Thomas who is the mother of two children who were in the Lancet case series has also made a statement.

Here it is in full.

Statement by Isabella Thomas, mother of two boys who were part of the Lancet Study

“It is now time for the truth to be told”

I, as a parent of two children in the Lancet study, have had to speak out about the vicious attacks on Dr. Andrew Wakefield by his own government, the US government and the media blaming him for the measles outbreak in Wales. The Lancet study was not paid for by the Legal Services Commission and our children were referred to the Royal Free Hospital because they were very sick and would still have had investigations done even if they were not part of the Lancet research as many more children have done after the Lancet study by other consultants at the Royal Free and other hospitals in London.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield listened to the concerns of many parents about their sick children suffering with bowel conditions and a form of Autism, a bowel condition and brain damage that was ignored by other professionals. These parents were demonstrably ‘black listed’ for saying their children became ill after the MMR vaccine.

Parents were speaking about this situation years before Dr. Wakefield came on the scene and our government also knew about these concerns years before the Lancet study yet they did nothing to investigate, leaving hundreds of other children at risk of side effects. Our government did not listen to parents but accused them of making the symptoms up and threatening to take their children away if they did not stop making a connection with MMR vaccine. As a result, these children and young adults live in a great deal of pain to this day (one doctor saying to my son ‘we believe you believe you are in pain’).

There is much more I could say about the experience of my family and others but I want to make it clear that the children’s claims in relation to MMR were supported by many other experts in several disciplines all of whom provided reports for the court. I attach a list of them. These experts would all have given evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice on behalf of hundreds of children we claim were damaged by the MMR vaccine had the cases been allowed to continue. In addition, the solicitors representing the claimants were in touch with and drawing on the expertise from many more than these, but many did not want to be formal experts. I don't know how much the experts listed were paid, but they were all paid fees just as Dr. Wakefield was in the normal way that experts are paid in litigation cases (and probably much less than the defendants’ experts were paid!).

MMR Claimant Experts (who produced reports that were served)

Professor M B Abou-Donia

Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and a Professor of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Centre

Pharmacology and Neurobiology

Dr Kenneth Aitken

K.Aitken Consultancy, Independent Consultant

Child Clinical Neuropsychologist

Professor William Banks

Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, both departments at Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Pharmacology and Physiology

Dr. Edward Bilsky

Associate Professor of Pharmacology, University of New England College of Medicine


James Jeffrey Bradstreet, MD, Fellow, AAFP

International Child Development Resource Center Adjunct, Professor of Neurosciences, Department of Psychology, Stetson, University Celebration, Florida

Child development

Vera S. Byers, M.D., Ph.D

President of Immunology, Inc


Professor Neal Castagnoli, Jr.

Peters Professor of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA


Dr A Peter Fletcher MB BS PhD FFPM (Dist)

Former regulator Industry Expert

Professor Noam Harpaz

Associate Attending Pathologist, The Mount Sinai Hospital, Director, Division of Gastrointestinal Pathology, The Mount Sinai Hospital, and Associate Professor of Pathology, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York


Professor Ronald C. Kennedy, Ph.D

Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center located in Lubbock, Texas


Marcel Kinsbourne, D.M. (OXON), M.R.C.P. (LOND).

Research Professor of Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and Professor of Psychology at the New School University in New York


Arthur Krigsman MD New York University Hospital

Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Dr John March

Head of Mycoplasmology at the Moredun Research Institute (MRI), Edinburgh Vaccine development

Molecular Biologist

Professor John J Marchalonis

Professor and Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona

Microbiologist and Immunologist

Professor Johnjoe McFadden

Professor of Molecular Genetics at the School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford


John H. Menkes, M.D Professor Emeritus of Neurology and Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles Director Emeritus of Pediatric Neurology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center


Dr Scott M Montgomery

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden


Professor John J. O’Leary, MD, DPhil, MSc, BSc, FRCPath, FFPathRCPI

Professor of Pathology at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Histopathologist, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin and the Coombe Women’s Hospital


Professor Samuel Shapiro MB, FRCP(E)

Visiting Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of School of Public Health, Columbia University. Emeritus Director, Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University School of Public Health


Dr Orla Sheils

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Pathology, University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD).

Molecular Pathologist

Dr Fiona Scott BSc (Hons) PhD C.Psychol

University of Cambridge

Chartered Psychologist

Dr Carol Stott BSc (Hons) PhD (CANTAB) C.Psychol

University of Cambridge

Chartered Psychologist


Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University and Royal Victoria Hospital Montreal, Canada


Professor Richard Tedder

Head of the Joint Department of Virology, University College London. Also Clinical Lead for the UCLH NHS Trust Department of Virology and Clinical Head of Microbiology Services UCLH NHS Trust


Professor Edward J Thompson Doctor of Medicine (MD, FRCP,FRCPath) and a Doctor of Science (DSc,PhD)

Head of the Department of Neuro-Immunology at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery


Professor John Walker- Smith

Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Gastroenterology in the University of London

Paediatric Gastroenterologist

Dr. Troy D. Wood

Associate Professor in Chemistry and Adjunct Faculty in Structural Biology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA

Chemistry and Structural Biology

The court case was not heard and parents did not lose. Legal Aid decided to pull their funds for the sick children at the last minute. Legal Aid is government run and the government took out an indemnity to protect the drug companies from parents suing and we as parents had no idea that the litigation case was set up to fail right from the start. The government could not afford for the children to win and thus they could not afford for the statements from the experts to be read out in court. I have these reports and am told they are sealed and I am not allowed to produce them here, however tempted. Below is a ‘summing up by Justice Keith when a few of us parents tried to continue the case without the support of Legal Aid and spoke in front of a room full of drug company representatives about our sick children at the Royal Courts of Justice. I was very proud to be part of that group.

"It is important for the claimants’ litigation friends to understand why their children’s claims are not being allowed to proceed. It is not because the court thinks that the claims have no merit. Although this litigation has been going on for very many years, the question whether the claims have merit has never been addressed by the court. The reason why the claims have not been allowed to proceed is because everyone has realistically recognised for some time that it is just not practicable for the claims to proceed without public funding. With no realistic prospect of public funding being restored for any of the claims save for the two which are now to proceed as unitary actions, the dissolution of the litigation became inevitable.

Before leaving the litigation, I wish to express my thanks to the defendants’ legal teams for the assistance they have given the court. Although at all times advancing the interests of their clients as is to be expected in adversarial litigation, they recognised the needs of the claimants’ litigation friends, and provided them with all the information they needed, as well as affording them the occasional indulgence. The assembly of the various bundles of documents, and the preparation of the skeleton arguments, were of an exceptionally high order. But my final words must go to the claimants’ litigation friends. As I said in an earlier judgment, no-one can fail to have enormous sympathy for the parents of the children to whom this litigation has related. They have spoken eloquently and with great feeling of the tragedies which befell them when their children became ill. They blame the vaccines produced by the defendants for damaging their children, and they are bitter over their inability to proceed with their claims. But when they came to court, they always expressed themselves in a measured and moderate tone, despite their disenchantment with the Legal Services Commission which they believe has let them down, and at all times they treated the court with courtesy and respect. They made my difficult task less wearing that it might otherwise have been. I am grateful to them for that." Justice Keith.

Dr Andrew Wakefield has made front page news over the last few days in some of the national papers prompting an immediate reaction that it is lunacy to give him space, and that what he says is "balderdash". What is highly questionable (and vindictive) is to blame him for all the ills of MMR vaccine because he published a paper in the Lancet 15 years ago (which has neither been "discredited" nor did it claim that MMR causes autism) and because he suggested that children should be given the single measles vaccine.

The association between autism and MMR was never assessed by the UK courts because of the withdrawal of legal aid. In the USA and Italy the courts have awarded compensation for MMR vaccine damage. The USA also has an expert committee for assessing claims of vaccine damage and they have compensated other parents for damage caused by MMR which did not then need to go through the full legal process.

How long does it take the UK government to learn that cover-up is invariably a more serious matter than the original crime or mistake? It's time the spotlight was turned on Professor David Salisbury, who had little or no background in immunization and had only been in post a short time when he reassured his committee that they did not need to worry about the adverse effects of Pluserix despite its withdrawal in Canada and serious reports from Japan. It's time to turn the spotlight on the process by which I believe Brian Deer was recruited by the Department of Health to help rescue their MMR programme. It is, of course, easy to conjecture and it needs a full enquiry which must come sooner or later, the results of which demand full media attention.

I am aware that in 1992 two of the three brands of MMR were withdrawn overnight on the safety ground that they caused viral meningitis and that when MMR was first introduced the Department of Health stated that the single vaccine would continue to be available. For their own reasons they changed their minds later. Had they not done so, those who had concerns could have continued to protect their children from measles and this present outbreak would not be happening.

I know that it is officially denied that there is any link between the vaccine and any form of autism (even though American and Italian courts appear to have accepted the link). What is not denied is that the rate of autism has increased substantially since the 1990s (from about one in 2500 to as many as one in 50). Instead of blaming Andrew Wakefield every time there is a measles outbreak why does the Government not put funding into finding the cause of this distressing condition? If it can be shown that the cause of the increase in autism has absolutely nothing to do with vaccines, then that will remove the suspicion that it does and you can all forget that Andrew Wakefield ever existed.

Governments should be putting huge resources into finding out what is causing this disabling condition which is putting an immense strain on families and draining the welfare resources of the UK and other countries, and attacking doctors and parents of telling lies

By not listening to the Experts, families and more importantly to the children then this in my opinion has to come into the category of “child abuse”.

Professor John Walker Smith, who was part of the Lancet team, was exonerated in March 2012 in the Autism MMR GMC Case. The GMC issued the following statement following the judgment “Mr. Justice Mitting has made a number of criticisms about the inadequacy of the reasons given by the panel for the decisions they made on the charges facing Professor Walker-Smith. The panel of medical and non-medical members, having heard all the evidence, were required to set out very clearly why they reached the decisions they did. They failed to do that in relation to key questions, including whether Professor Walker-Smith’s actions were undertaken for the purpose of medical practice or medical research and whether procedures performed on the children were clinically necessary. These were important points that needed to be addressed by the panel in the determination and the failure to do so was the major cause of Mr. Justice Mitting allowing the appeal”. (Extract of official GMC Statement).

In my opinion, this also stands for Dr. Wakefield who did not have the funds to challenge the GMC as Professor Walker-Smith did.

Isabella Thomas.

Mother of two boys who were part of the Lancet study

coorong Thu 18-Apr-13 08:52:39

Blame big pharma all you like, but who makes money out of single vaccines - private clinics! And who do you think owns all those natural remedies and peddles them - large multi-billion pound / dollar industries.

Moominsarehippos Thu 18-Apr-13 08:56:42

The case is far from cut and dried. There are big hitters on both sides of the argument.

Not all children who have the mmr develop autism. Not all people with autim have had the mmr. There are so many other factors. We strongly suspect that a family member has mild autism and he is in his late 50s.

coorong Thu 18-Apr-13 09:01:30

Here's one of your expert witnesses beachcomber - quoted in2007
Dr March

“There was a huge conflict of interest,” said Dr John March, an animal vaccine specialist who was among those recruited. “It bothered me quite a lot because I thought, well, if I’m getting paid for doing this, then surely it’s in my interest to keep it going as long as possible.”
March, who the LSC allowed almost £90,000 to research an aspect of Wakefield’s theories, broke ranks this weekend to denounce both the science of the attack and the amount that the case had cost in lawyers’ and experts’ fees.
“The ironic thing is they were always going on about how, you know, how we’ve hardly got any money compared with the other side, who are funded by large pharmaceutical companies. And I’m thinking, judging by the amounts of money you’re paying out, the other side must be living like millionaires,” he said.
Also among those named as being paid from the legal aid fund was a referee for one of Wakefield’s papers, who was allowed £40,000. A private GP who runs a single vaccines clinic received £6,000, the LSC says.

Beachcomber Thu 18-Apr-13 09:07:43

Is that from Brian Deer's website by any chance coorong? hmm

It is normal practice for expert witnesses to be paid.

I see you don't you have anything to say about Isabella Thomas' actual words. hmm I guess there isn't anything up about her statement on Brian Deer's website yet.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 09:09:06

Coorong, only because there is a demand for it. A demand that wouldn't be there if the single vaccine hasn't been withdrawn from the nhs schedule.

bumbleymummy Thu 18-Apr-13 09:10:15

Hadn't *

Beachcomber Thu 18-Apr-13 09:17:53

Precisely bumbleymummy.

It is fascinating how people are generally pretty cynical about both the government and Big Pharma - until it comes to vaccines. If the subject is vaccines then the Bad Guys are small private clinics, the parents who will inconvenience us all with their vaccine damaged children and whistleblowing doctors.

The government and Big Pharma are altruistic, trustworthy and always right.

YoniRanger Thu 18-Apr-13 09:19:02

My offer still stands for any of you who are anti MMR to bring your unvaccinated children to stay in my house in Powys where we have a nice outbreak and put your theories about how mild it is to the test.

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