Dear Mr Wakefield,
Following your announcement of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, uptake rates of this vaccine in the UK have fallen to amongst the lowest in Europe:
Take-up rates of the jab dropped throughout the UK, down to less than 70% in some areas, after a small-scale study published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr Andrew Wakefield suggested a link to autism.
In 2004, mumps cases in the England and Wales rose from 4,204 in 2003 to 16,436 in 2004, nearly a four-fold increase.
And in the first month of 2005, there were nearly 5,000 cases. Most were among young adults born before 1988 and who would, therefore, not have been offered MMR as a child. In the second paper, Dr Ravindra Gupta, from London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’, working with colleagues from King’s College London, found cases have also occurring in very young children who would have been eligible for the MMR – measles, mumps and rubella – vaccine…..Dr Gupta (…) said uptake of MMR among two-year-olds in the UK fell from around 92% in early 1995 to around 80% in 2003/4.
In October 2004, experts predicted that due to falling vaccination uptake, the UK would start to suffer from ‘small outbreaks’:
The medical newspaper Pulse has warned that there could be a measles epidemic this winter on a scale last seen in the 1960s. It said that lowering levels of immunity meant as many as 12% of children and 20% of adults could be hospitalised if infected by measles.
And now, this year, 18 months after this warning, we have the UK’s first measles induced fatality in 14 years.
The 13-year-old who died last month lived in a travellersâ€™ community. It is thought that he had a weakened immune system; he was being treated for a lung condition. The boy died of an infection of the central nervous system caused by a reaction to the measles virus. The Health Protection Agency described his death as shocking.
The Times also says that of the 72 reported measles cases last month, 9 required hospitalisation – this tallies almost exactly with the 2004 prediction of a hospitalisation rate of 12%.
I have a few questions for you Mr Wakefield.
Do you accept that there is a strong causative correlation between the falling MMR vaccine uptake and the rise in both mumps and measles? If you do not, could you please explain why not. If you do could you please explain what you feel is your role in these matters.
Is it true that, as reported by Brian Deer in the Times and in the Channel 4 current affairs programme ‘Dispatches’, that you received up to Â£55,000 to find scientific evidence of a link between MMR and autism and that you did not disclose you were being funded through solicitors seeking evidence to use against vaccine manufacturers?
Is it true that the vast majority of your subjects from the Lancet study were not, as you claimed, captured through the normal referral process, but actually supplied to you by lawyers representing these people and their families in vaccine litigation?
Is it true that up to nine months prior to the publication of your paper showing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism that you and the Royal Free (where you conducted your research) filed numerous patent applications which were alternatives to the MMR vaccine? If you did, would you consider it a lucky guess that led you to do this seeing as your MMR paper had yet to be published?
Do you believe, like your collaborator Hugh Fudenberg, that:
Some parents would rather see their kid die than live as a severely autistic.
These are serious matters Mr Wakefield. I’m aware that you are pursuing three court cases related to these matters (although at least one is currently stayed) and you are also due to be investigated by the GMC sometime this year but as the parent of an autistic child – in short exactly the sort of person you claim to want to help – I need answers now. What I read of you indicates wrong doing on a grand scale. If these things are established to be true you are guilty of not only extreme medical negligence but also of betraying thousands of parents and forcing thousands of autistic children to undergo totally unnecessary and highly invasive medical procedures.
You need to account for yourself Mr Wakefield. Please don’t wait for more children to be hospitalised or die.