Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?

8 Jan

People have been questioning the necessity of these latest revelations about Andrew Wakefield and suggesting that enough is enough or maybe that all this latest round of publicity will do nothing except make him a heroic martyr. This is possible.

However, for a number of reasons I really feel it is vitally important that not only is there some response but that that response comes at least partly from the autism community.

Firstly, I believe it is necessary for there to be a response full stop. These might be the same set of _facts_ that were uncovered during the GMC hearing but the difference here is that for the first time it has been established that the facts against Andrew Wakefield came about through what the BMJ refer to as fraudulent. This is a huge difference. Up until now it could’ve been argued that Andrew Wakefield simply made a mistake. After the events of the last two days, that can never be honestly argued again.

Secondly, there are a set of people who have been at the rough end of Wakefield’s fraud for the last 13 years. A set of people who have struggled to make new parents understand that there is no risk of autism from the MMR vaccine. Doctors. Particularly paediatricians and GP’s. It is vital that by establishing what Wakefield has done as fraud, the media ensure that the message is spread far and wide. They (the media) have something to atone for in this respect, being the original spreaders of the message that the MMR caused or contributed to autism. They now need to recognise their role in the past and help the medical establishment by ensuring Wakefield can never again spread his fraudulent claims via their auspices.

Thirdly, there is another set of people who have been at an even rougher end of Wakefield’s fraud. The sufferers of the falling vaccination rates of MMR. Its been well documented in numerous places, including this blog how people – particularly children – have been injured and died in the UK and US. The concept of herd immunity, no matter what some might claim is a real concept and when it falls, the level of protection falls. When it falls to far then the people who suffer are the very young, the very old and those who for genuine medical reasons cannot be vaccinated. Wakefield’s fraud needs to be spread far and wide in order for people to realise what he is, what he tried to do and what the consequences were in order to have some confidence in the MMR jab.

Fourthly, there is another set of people who have suffered heavily. This set of people are the silent victims of Wakefield’s perfidy. Autistic people. Wakefield and his supporters, TACA, NAA, Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, Treating Autism et al have turned autism into a circus. The aim of the last decade amongst serious autism researchers and advocates has been to

a) Raise awareness
b) Find evidence-based therapies that will help the life course and independence of autistic people
c) Protect the educational rights of autistic people

and getting research monies to meet these aims is long, hard and slow. Andrew Wakefield and his hardcore of scientifically illiterate supporters have actively derailed that process, dragging research monies away from these principled activities and towards their core aim of degrading vaccines and ‘proving’ vaccines cause autism. Wakefield himself has taken over US$750,000 worth of money to pursue a legal battle against the UK Gvmt. Just think of how that money could have enriched the life of just one autistic person.

However, this same set of people claim to be representative of the autism community. They write nonsense books about autism. They hold celebrity studded fundraisers for autism. They participate in rant-filled rally’s for autism. But none of them are really about autism. What they’re about is anti-vaccinationism.

Every one of these activities denigrate autism and autistic people. They take attention away from where it is needed.

We, the true autism community, made up of parents, autistic people, professionals of autistic people need to do two things. Firstly, we need to wrest back control of the autism agenda from these one-note people. Secondly, we need to speak to society at large and say ‘yes, some members of the autism community believed the fraudulence of Andrew Wakefield but not all of us did. Please don’t tar us all with one brush.’

What Andrew Wakefield has done has impacted everyone. We need to make sure that he and people like him can never affect us all in this way again. To do that we need to speak out about him, loudly and as long as it takes.

69 Responses to “Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?”

  1. sharon March 13, 2011 at 23:51 #

    @John Fryer, I agree with your sentence “Progress comes out of those with open minds, not closed minds”.
    You display a tenacious grip on theories and ideas about vaccines/toxins/autism/Western world that reveal a profoundly closed mind. There is nothing “evil” about Autism, and use of the word in the context of this blog is quite frankly astounding. At the very least it reveals a thoughtlessness that is difficult to fathom, but does also provide further insight into your thought processes. I think taking Chris’s advice above may be in your best interests.

  2. McD March 14, 2011 at 04:19 #

    @John Fryer. You are talking nonsense. Valproate is a teratogen which can cause autism and/or Fetal Valproate Syndrome (most particularly in the first trimester). Yet it is considered a first-line medication for epileptic seizures in infants.

    Teratogens are by definition harmful to embryos and fetuses. There is a world of difference between a developing embryo and an infant; embryos and fetuses are much more vulnerable to a variety of chemicals, viruses, bacteria and the like.



  3. McD March 14, 2011 at 04:31 #

    @ John Fryer. Yet you are happy to conflate Asperger’s, Autism and PDD-NOS when you come up with your 1 in 50 (or whatever you are claiming these days). Those ‘epidemic’ statistics relate to people with an ASD – including Asperger’s and PDD-NOS – Less than a third of the people counted in those figures have classic autism. So when it is convenient to you, you conflate the variety that is on the spectrum. And when it is convenient to you, you try to make out they are separate conditions!

    And to equate measured IQ with functioning or special needs – That is just nonsense. The 75% MR/Autism co-morbidity figure has been under challenge for a variety of reasons, for some time. A key challenge being that IQ measures are an artifact of testing, but see Michelle Dawson for more on that. (I agree with her on this issue)

  4. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 14, 2011 at 04:40 #

    McD: “You are talking nonsense.”

    That guy speaks two languages, and only one of them fluently.


    And fluent Bollocks.

  5. John Fryer Chemist March 14, 2011 at 10:04 #


    I would love to have accurate figures for autism and especially that of severe autism where mental retardation occurs.

    The figures are not easy to obtain.

    The damage is done at birth or by the third year at the latest.

    Are these increasing decreasing or what?

    This is not my problem but that of the medical profession that argues over numbers to the extent of more than 10 fold differences.

    Andrew Wakefield talks of 12 children with specific, serious and permanent conditions by the age of 2 years.

    This is not woolly, not imprecise but just a pure lie to Brain Deer and the Merck/BMJ partnership.

  6. John Fryer Chemist March 14, 2011 at 10:14 #

    Valproate is a teratogen. This is correct and it is a powerful teratogen according to all research.

    Thalidomide is also a teratogen.

    Rubella vaccine virus is a teratogen.

    Thimerosal is a teratogen.

    All of these can and do cause autism.

    Some may be disputed for obvious reasons.

    Merck is one company that denies harm from teratogens.

    To use teratogens to cause unnecessary deaths illness and autism is EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.

    To persist in doing so is EUGENICS.

    Those that suffer with autism are not EVIL it is those that cause the autism and those that support the medical industry in its LUNACY.

    A 12 month infant with rubella live virus from a vaccine has a symptomless illness that is contagious for those in contact. Thes can include pregnant mothers who go on to get children with autism.

    Merck are happy to deny this of course and progress cannot be made by denying known facts.

    As a ryder I know personally of two cases of people with epilepsy and medical treatments. Both died and for one case the mother was put in prison for life, not the company or doctors that failed to look after the person with epilepsy.

    One was an adult who I knew in good health and yet died suddenly a few hours later. That year in the UK 751 such people – all adults – all on the best medical treatment for epilepsy died suddenly.

    A catstrophe and an evil perpetrated by a medical profession out of control and out of any moral or legal control.

  7. Chris March 14, 2011 at 16:14 #

    Mr. Fryer, you do not make any sense. Please, get off of the internet and go to your nearest senior health clinic.

  8. Julian Frost March 14, 2011 at 20:21 #

    John, do you even know what “attenuated” means? It means the virus has been injured so that it can’t multiply, but can still cause an immune response and thus immunity. You seem to be saying that the Rubella portion of the MMR isn’t attenuated, and can cause infections.

  9. John Fryer Chemist March 14, 2011 at 21:31 #

    Hi Julian

    I completely agree with you.

    The notion of infection actually is a quote from Paul Offit.

    But the notion that shedding of the live rubella vaccine virus is fact that has been repeated and even the length of time it happens has been shown to be 28 days.

    But ordinary virus knowledge tells us the viruses have the ability to hide in our bodies.

    The virus flairs up in times of weakened immunity.

    Probably why winter colds are predominant; especially this winter in Europe with little or no winter sun.

    The attenuation is to achieve symptomless states but teratogenicity may or may not be attenuated. The chances are it won’t be.

    To be exact Julian, attenuated does not mean the virus will not multiply but that after so many transmissions the power to produce clinical signs of illness has largely disappeared.

    In truth if you look at what happens to young girls and women this is far from the truth. Almost the same number of these people get temporary arthritis and arthralgia as for the wild virus.

    Evidently when a baby the pain and the crying are par for the Merck course of vaccines?

  10. John Fryer Chemist March 14, 2011 at 21:47 #

    I note recently that the BMJ make freely available articles condemning Andrew Wakefield and his reservation of rubella vaccine, mumps vaccine and measles vaccine live virus mix by Merck at the same time. He ADVOCATES single, safer vaccines at appropriate times.

    I also note several articles criticising the search and destroy activities of Merck etc are not freely available but hidden behind expensive charges to obtain them.

    The BMJ also admit they forgot to admit thay have huge sums and “education” deals with Merck.

    I am the first to admit the faults of the Royal Free team and their minor work but to target just Andrew Wakefield and try to make this paper as important as Watson and Crick’s paper is bizarre.

    As bizarre in fact as unemployed journalists devoting 12 years to this issue and more than a year for a professor to install himself in a foreign university to check their biology department where he himself got his qualifications without pay or at least in both cases living on no income is not easy without sums saved up or hidden people or industry pay outs to search and destroy people.


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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev. Kev said: Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?: People have been questioning the necessity of… http://bit.ly/hbr5lH […]

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