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The Sunday Times has an article finding that Andrew Wakefield faked the research for his 1998 article which found a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The article also points out that as a result of his frightening parents out of taking up the MMR vaccine, the rate of measles in the UK has gone up by more than 2000% and two children died from it last year alone. Further comment is superfluous.

(Hat-tip to james_nicoll.)


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)
Amazing. That should be actionable. You have no idea how many fights I've had about the vaccines with friends based on that study-- a shameful number of people I know who refuse to vaccinate.
Feb. 8th, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
I have no truck with those that refuse to vaccinate; they're not even worthy of my scorn.

That said, when the garklet was coming up to two months, we had an opportunity to participate in a vaccine trial. The existing multiple vaccine at two months is a multiple for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and Hib (NHS vaccination schedule) - the new vaccine was also a multiple, but for more things.

He had the scheduled vaccination, but we declined the trial vaccine (this was just after the medical trial in London that went badly wrong - rationally, we knew that wasn't a vaccination and so was not comparable). The provisos for the trial vaccine were worded such that the potential advantages of the vaccine seemed to be outweighed by the (unquantified) potential risks.

Not sure if I'd make a different decision now, which I find a bit concerning.
(no subject) - frumiousb - Feb. 8th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rmc28 - Feb. 8th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Feb. 8th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bopeepsheep - Feb. 8th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nwhyte - Feb. 8th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bopeepsheep - Feb. 8th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nmg - Feb. 8th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bopeepsheep - Feb. 8th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nmg - Feb. 8th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bopeepsheep - Feb. 8th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nmg - Feb. 8th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gareth_rees - Feb. 8th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frumiousb - Feb. 8th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - davesangel - Feb. 8th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - davesangel - Feb. 8th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nmg - Feb. 9th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - autopope - Feb. 8th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 8th, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
recommending Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre...
...which makes the point that, though Wakefield deserves blame for his research, he's hardly the only one at fault. He was one guy, with not a lot of research to back up his claim (obviously). He was front page news because the media likes scare stories, they blew it up far more than it deserved and dragged it out far longer than was justified. And then, when the "does MMR give your kids autism?" story couldn't be sold any more, they switched to "this evil man made it all up"
Feb. 8th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Re: recommending Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre...
I read and like Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog http://www.badscience.net/
Feb. 8th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
Wasn't the Sunday Times one of the papers shouting the 'result' so loudly?

Irony indeed.
Feb. 8th, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
That man deserves to be shut up in jail for the rest of his life.
Not for the original fakery. For not coming clean.
Feb. 8th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Well I'm one of the 'shameful' ones who isn't even worthy of scorn then, as my daughter was given MMR a few months ago, just after her 10th birthday. The delay had a lot to do with the scare, and several cases of family being told medical odds like '1:10000' and then the thing happening to them. I tried to do what I felt was the best thing for my child at the time, it wasn't a decision taken lightly.

I'm not too clear on how this makes me the subject of such ire though? Surely all any parent can do is make the best decision based on the available data at the time? Would someone care to elaborate please?
Feb. 8th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Agreed - you should be allowed to make whatever decision you like, given that she is your daughter, and you shouldn't feel pressured into it or be the subject of scorn...especially as I do know of cases where children who received the vaccine got very sick or suffered the side effects that everyone was afraid of...
(no subject) - frumiousb - Feb. 8th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - artw - Feb. 8th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - iylliana - Feb. 10th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 8th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
I really don't understand HOW supposed scientists like this convince themselves that they either SHOULD do this, or that they can get away with it. This is science. It's based on, among other things, the replicability of your results. If you claim significant results (and there's no reason to go around faking something that no one cares about), SOMEONE is going to check you SOMETIME -- the more cool and important your results, the more likely that "sometime" is going to be soon.

And it's getting harder and harder to get away with even the initial fakery.
Feb. 8th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Doesn't really matter how sound or throughly discredited the science is as long as the mainstream media is selling its scare stories on the front page.
Feb. 8th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
I hope he gets put in front of a court on criminal charges.
Feb. 8th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
General related question
Do you think antivax sentiments are losing steam in the UK? Things seem to be getting worse in the US.
Feb. 8th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
We're about to ask our local health centre to give husband an MMR. Because as an astonishingly healthy kid, he had rubella and scarletina. That's it. His brother and cousins had the full set of everything, up to and including measles - this being the 1960's - and he never caught anything else.

The medics reckoned he'd had 'sub-clinical exposure' that was sufficient to generate the relevant antibodies. Not to chicken pox, he hadn't (bearing in mind that is a spectrum-type virus). This became apparent when the off-spring both caught the particularly vicious variant of chicken pox that reached official epidemic proportions round here in the winter of 97-98.

So husband celebrated his 40th birthday in isolation in the infectious diseases unit on intravenous acyclovir. He was very ill indeed and took a good three months to return to something like full health. We do not want him catching measles.
Feb. 9th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
Our son has had to be revaccinated for everything. The consultants said: "absolutely no MMR, no multiple vaccines of any kind, and at least three months between different vaccines". Getting GPs to go along with this has been a royal pain.

When he was first diagnosed with leukemia in 1999, his recent booster jabs were fingered by the consultant as the likely trigger. As a result, we got private single jabs for our daughter (and consequently have third-hand knowledge of Leo Blair's vaccination history).

The Government was shamefully irresponsible in withdrawing the single vaccines from general availability. That policy has some considerable share of the blame for the increased measles cases in the last few years. String Wakefield up, quite right, but he didn't stop any child from
getting measles vaccine. He dissuaded parents from getting combined MMR for their kids. Most of those parents would have been quite happy for their kids to have measles vaccine.
Feb. 9th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
"As a result, we got private single jabs for our daughter (and consequently have third-hand knowledge of Leo Blair's vaccination history)."

Are you saying what I think you're saying?
(no subject) - nickbarnes - Feb. 9th, 2009 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redfiona99 - Feb. 9th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
Round Up Post on Blog Responses to Deer's Wakefield Expose
Not anonymous but not a Live Journal user. My real name is indeed Liz Ditz, and I blog at I Speak of Dreams (http://lizditz.typepad.com).

I've done another round-up post -- who is saying what about the Deer articles on Wakefield in the London Times. I've included this post.

11 years on, Wakefield Manufactured Data showing MMR-Autism Link? (http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2009/02/11-years-on-wakefield-manufactured-data-showing-mmrautism-link.html)
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
"Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation"
It turns out journalist Brian Deer made it up:-
"Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation":

And he was helping the US Justice Dept sink 4500 US kids claims for vaccine damage compensation - what kind of normal journalist does that? Ans: none.
"US Federal Court, US Justice Dept & The Sunday Times - More Questions Than Answers"
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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