Somali community start to fight back against Andrew Wakefield and Generation Rescue

26 Mar

Taken from

Hodan Hassan of Minneapolis understands why some parents are afraid to have their children vaccinated. Until recently, she was one of them.

But today, Hassan will be one of the featured speakers at a Somali community forum designed to allay fears about vaccines in the midst of a measles outbreak.

“[I] read about how the world used to be without the immunization program,” said Hassan, who has four children, including a daughter with autism. “This generation doesn’t understand the benefit, and the importance, and how lucky they are having an immunization program in place.”

So far, 11 cases of measles have been confirmed in Hennepin County since February, five in Somali children who had not been vaccinated. Experts say that vaccine rates have dropped in the Somali community, along with other groups, because of unfounded fears of a possible link to autism.

Now, Somali physicians and state health officials have joined forces to counter what they say are widespread misconceptions about vaccine safety, which has left many children vulnerable to preventable diseases. The concern has grown in the last two years, since a Health Department study confirmed that there were an unusually high number of Somali children in the Minneapolis schools’ autism program.

In Hassan’s case, she stopped vaccinating her children after she learned that her daughter, Geni, now 6, had autism. At the time, she said, she was desperate for answers. Medical experts could not explain what caused her daughter’s condition, a severe communication and behavior disorder. But she quickly learned about the autism activists who blame the vaccines, in spite of medical assurances to the contrary. She began reading their books and attending their conferences, she said, and the fear took hold.

In December, she said, she turned out to hear Andrew Wakefield, the hero of the anti-vaccine movement, at a Somali community meeting in Minneapolis. Wakefield conducted a now-discredited 1998 study suggesting a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

‘I was shocked’

Later, Hassan said, a local doctor challenged her to do her own research on Wakefield, who was accused of scientific misconduct in connection with the study, and ultimately stripped of his medical license in England.

Now she is one of his biggest critics. “I was shocked when I found out people used to die [of measles],” she said. Many still do in her native Somalia, she noted, and in other in parts of the world where vaccines are not available.

“If we could all go back in time, we would have appreciated it,” she said.

Just this week, Wakefield returned to Minneapolis for a private meeting with Somali families. Members of the news media were barred from Wednesday’s gathering, which reportedly drew only about a half-dozen Somali parents.

But one of the organizers, Patti Carroll of Shoreview, said she doesn’t believe parents are worried about the measles outbreak.

“They’d rather have them get the measles than deal with the effects of unsafe vaccines,” said Carroll, a volunteer with Generation Rescue, an autism advocacy group.

Health officials warn that measles is highly contagious and extremely dangerous. So far, six people have been hospitalized in the current outbreak, most of them young children. All are said to be recovering.

This week, Hassan circulated an e-mail inviting members of the Somali community to tonight’s forum at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.

“Our community has been misled about MMR causing autism,” she wrote. “Vaccines don’t cause autism and the benefit [outweighs] the risk.” She added: “We are very much against an unlicensed doctor to make our community his scapegoat.”

68 Responses to “Somali community start to fight back against Andrew Wakefield and Generation Rescue”

  1. John Fryer Chemist April 1, 2011 at 22:05 #

    The 30 million dead is according to the late world expert an illness that came from developing vaccines in the 1970’s.

    Never publically admitted but the origin of AIDS is something that may not just bring disgrace from the medical profession but worse.

    A world famous disbeliever went to Africa to prove the origin of AIDS but died from malaria or a complication.

    But this brings us to areas of darkness.

    I have looked long and hard at AIDS and amhappy that man did introduce it either as the Merckexpert Hilleman claims or possibly from work of Nobel workers using SV40 or the work of the biological warfare centre at Fort Detrick.

    My own subjective view is unique to me in some ways.

    The development of vaccines for humans dates from 1875 andnotassome think earlier andkilled its first victim the next year after only a handful oftrials. Pasteur in conflict with Roux over its use.

  2. Chris April 1, 2011 at 22:22 #

    Mr. Fryer:

    As a person who got rubella, Ican tell you for me it was a non event.

    Correct me if I am wrong: but you were not a pregnant woman when you got rubella.

    You may have actually infected a pregnant woman and contributed to the damage of her unborn child. There is no way to know, but if it was in the early 1960s is was highly likely.

  3. Prometheus April 1, 2011 at 22:55 #

    Mr. Fryer claims that wild-type rubella was “a non-event” and truly it is to most healthy children and adults. If so, then why does he imagine that an attenuated form of that same virus would be so dangerous?

    As it turns out, wild-type rubella also causes thrombocytopenia (“platelets destroyed”, in Mr. Fryer’s jargon) and it does so more frequently and more severely than the attenuated vaccine strain. It is also “shed” by infected children with the resulting risk of infecting non-immune pregnant women.

    In addition, the wild-type rubella virus causes congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is catastrophic. Although there have been concerns about the vaccine strain causing CRS, they haven’t been borne out in practice.

    In fact, the incidence of CRS has dropped steadily since the vaccine was introduced in 1969. If the vaccine strain was being shed by vaccinated children and infecting pregnant women, it would have shown up in the CRS epidemiology.

    Frankly, given how many times Mr. Fryer has been caught making up his “facts”, I wonder why I bother. Except, of course, that I wouldn’t want anyone looking for legitimate information to mistakenly think that Mr. Fryer knew what he was talking about.


  4. Laurentius Rex April 2, 2011 at 00:44 #

    Oh no, it is grassy knoll time again, the quality of responses has degenerated according to some terrible internet law of entropy with regard to the level of debate and rationality of posts (not that I exactly made a salient plea to reason anywhere either)

    Come back Deer in the headlights all is forgiven (for now)

    BTW I had Rubella, and my brother and perhaps the dog, no big deal, but I do know someone whose mother had Rubella, she of course doesn’t have much funtional sight or hearing.

  5. Brian Morgan April 2, 2011 at 12:07 #

    Off topic I know, so apology, but “Grassy Knoll” time! I know where I was the day this couplet came into being. But back to the point, is it commonly used (in the States?) to describe the belief systems that are discussed here? I don’t recall seeing it written in the UK except in its original context. But I do like it. It’s now on a post-it stuck to my iMac display.

  6. John Fryer Chemist April 2, 2011 at 16:08 #

    Hi Prometheus

    I know the feeling about wondering who has or has not brain cells here.

    My problem is some people slavishly follow what is current to the medical profession. When rubella single vaccines were given to teenage girls; people here would probably agree with that?

    The USA at the same time used single rubella for 1 year infants.

    Both strategies cannot both be the best.

    Further generalisations are never a good idea and of course we all know of catastrophic consequences from rubella.

    But the present rubella strategy actually changes the dynamics of the illness pushing it to the tiny tots who suffer worst from this illness and if it is so bad it will be worse for those.

    The destruction of platelets is the term used in the 1971 research paper and is not simply my jargon.

    Destruction of platelets for the teenage child or the one year infant? Which is likely to be worse? And is it sensible to then add more live viruses to the mix, one of which is also known to destroy platelets?

    Merck did even add a fourth pathogen to the MMR vaccine and this was pulled not on grounds of safety but for other reasons.

    Not sure if they have this new MMR or whether it has been forgotten about.

    Different strains of rubella are usedaround the world, so all cannot be the best.

    The vaccine is used that doesn’t give spots rashes and the dangerous form of rubella that seems to be the consensus view of a three day illness.

    Whether this will also magically lose its powerful teratogenic capacity is very much chance with odds it won’t.

    Given autism was 1 case in 2 to 3 thousand can we expect the odd few hundred cases of error to show up the harm?

    I note they use “controls” which means up to one autism in 100 will now pass muster in 2011.

    All in all someone in the vaccine industry needs to wake up again at the wheel possibly?

    I am looking at MMR but have difficulty in getting past the first part I look at.

    I hope measles and mumps didnt have upsets in the vaccine for MMR but I suspect wherever you look there may be problems.

    Nobody knows where all the autism comes from so it does seem appropriate to ask hard questions and not accept the vaccinescheme is perfect.

    Teratogenicity, destruction of platelets, 25 to 34 per cent adverse effects, neurological harm, long term side effects, cyclical long term destruction of platelets, changing age of rubella to under one year old etc.

    There is a lot of criticism and like the origin of autism not many convincing answers.

    The research looks at problems for 3 months and more. Many side effects are not accepted in as little as 4 hours and no blame ever goes to the maker.

    My vaccines at age 5 – 15 gave no problems, no side effects and were quoted as safe to one in so many hundred thousand.

    For rubella today to have quotes of 34 per cent adverse effects?

    I cannot believe it. Except that no liability clauses are universal.

  7. John Fryer Chemist April 2, 2011 at 16:15 #


    As a matter of interest and talking UK where I lived.

    How many foetuses are lost today?

    And how many when you accused me of infecting some unknown pregant mother?

    In fact for rubella, I stayed in bed and hadlost faith in doctors so didnt go there as for measles.

    Any comments for the so and so that infected me?


  8. John Fryer Chemist April 2, 2011 at 16:31 #

    Autism is one of many diseases that the modern world is suffering from. Is it increasing? Well, sadly authoritative medicine agrees with everyone that it is.

    Until the true for all the autism is known including maybe some cases redefined from before then it needs to treated with proper respect to stop it increasing even more.

    People here like to argue but they do also have important knowledge.

    It is clear to me at least that the genetic cause is for the most part a big laugh. I haven’t had time to list all the chromosomes and parts thereof implicated but does anyone here seriously consider genetics is the cause and if so which is there favourite chromsome culprit and which part?

    I am still looking at rubella and collecting past work for this on its own before moving on the mix used today and deeper into the DEER vs WAKEFIELD side of things.

  9. Chris April 2, 2011 at 18:40 #

    Mr. Fryer, a whole lot less than what happened in the 1960s. I suggest you do some more reading,starting here:

    Also, work on your reading comprehension. Get someone to help figure out what these words are not a full accusation, I put some of the key words in bold: “You may have actually infected a pregnant woman and contributed to the damage of her unborn child. There is no way to know, but if it was in the early 1960s is was highly likely.”

  10. brian April 3, 2011 at 03:03 #

    It is clear to me at least that the genetic cause [of autism] is for the most part a big laugh. I haven’t had time to list all the chromosomes and parts thereof implicated but does anyone here seriously consider genetics is the cause and if so which is there favourite chromsome culprit and which part?

    Mr. Fryer, human height (adult stature) is regarded by geneticists as a strongly genetic trait, with up to 90% of the variation in height within a population determined by a combination of multiple inherited factors. Last fall it was reported that variants in 180 newly-identified loci together explained only about 10% of the variation in human height. Although it’s been clear for many years that tall parents tend to have children who become tall but short parents tend to have children who tend to be short, would you say that since no single “height” gene has been identified and the identified loci are scattered on various chromosomes and parts thereof that the idea that human height has a largely genetic basis is a “big laugh”? [Lango AH et al. Hundreds of variants clustered in genomic loci and biological pathways affect human height. Nature. 2010 Oct 14;467(7317):832-8]

  11. sharon April 3, 2011 at 04:29 #

    Mr Fryer on the basis of what do you claim that a genetic link to Autism is laughable? This idea seems to make perfect sense to me, and a lot of the current credible research supports a link also.

    You are so determined to make vaccines the culprit you continue to side step facts. Then you come here to repeatedly shame yourself. There are websites more sympathetic to your delusional views, why not visit those and find some like minded souls?

  12. John Fryer Chemist April 4, 2011 at 17:06 #

    Hi Sharon

    The link is laughable for the reason that as each day and year goes by we see more and more chromosomes linked to autism.

    The effect of proper changes in DNA can be remarkable excepting the repeats often found when animals respond to toxic insults.

    The smallpox virus shows huge links to the human DNA indicating the power of mimicry in causing harm.

    I haven’t checked out the latest factors that are purported to link autism to DNA.

    Of course there will be very general susceptibilities as everyone has unique DNA with few exceptions of special types of twins.

    Is the DNA being altered by the environmental forces and causing autism?

    Work is always useful on DNA but for me it is the waste of money that people keep heaping on the research into the vaccine autism link.

    Before looking at genes it would be circumspect to look at the actual rise, fall or change in autism.

    Another reason for laughter therefore is that how can the gene findings mean very much if people are still arguing over what constitutes what in the autism spectrum.

    I have to admit to knowing almost nothing about genes and what the interpretation means but don’t you need accurate diganosisfirst before then examining genes?

    Autism we know is a massive spectrum of human disease patterns so to be meaningful any genetic finding must link to a very narrow type of the disease and thisrarely happens.

    Further without a single DNA change people for physical or toxic reasons can lose all ability to talk or develop.

    So how does a gene come into play when people with identical DNA but separated by an event can descend from wellness to what is on the ASD scale?

  13. John Fryer Chemist April 4, 2011 at 17:20 #

    Hi Sharon

    Vaccines per se are not responsible for autism.

    Until around 1990 the amount of autism was tiny.

    What has happened is that people now get repeat vaccines where before one was enough.

    People now get vaccines at earlier and earlier ages. 13 for rubella in the UK down to 1 and often before.

    Accidents with vaccines as mentioned here rubella direct to the pregnant mother.

    Vaccines not kept properly, out of date, injected to wrong areas.

    Vaccines used where adverse effects reach 1 person in 3.

    Vaccines are an essential arm of the medical profession.

    They are not an arm to enable toxic mercury to be added or given to people when not required or for use of drugs to counteract an anaphylactic shock.

    And certainly not somthing to give when you live in fear of yourjob if you admit the health problem is definitely due to the vaccine.

    Harry Clark given several vaccines at once, too early in his life, some with mercury, a brother already dead from vaccines and yes death followed in less than 6 hours.

    Many reasons to demand anend to madness and if doctors used science, were not afraid of seeking why a vaccine was good or bad, it might just get rid of most of the problems they definitely cause and revert us to the safety factor of vaccines given to me when aged 5 through to 15 years.

    I was most happy not to risk things like smallpox, tetanus, diptheria, TB etc; but to get a vaccine for diarrhoea or some minor complaints when we know they are even today contaminated but don’t worry.

    Yes for those without clean water where diarrhoea is still harmful then that is sensible targetting of vaccines.

    For many years smallpox was not used in USA or the UK but was used in Africa.

    Sensible use of vaccines with a good end result.

  14. Julian Frost April 6, 2011 at 06:53 #

    John Fryer:
    “Until around 1990 the amount of autism diagnosed was tiny”
    Also, do you have evidence for your claims?
    “Accidents with vaccines as mentioned here rubella direct to the pregnant mother.” Proof that a mother got Rubella from the vaccination?
    “Vaccines not kept properly, out of date, injected to wrong areas.” Do you have proof of this? And what, exactly, are “wrong areas”?
    “Vaccines used where adverse effects reach 1 person in 3.” I find this especially hard to believe. If a vaxx had such a high rate of adverse effects, it would be pulled.

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