Andrew Wakefield discusses “his war with vaccines”

20 Feb

For many years Andrew Wakefield put forth the image of the reasonable scientist who has been persecuted for merely asking questions about vaccines. Over the past year, that image has been fading as Mr. Wakefield has taken a more direct approach to criticizing vaccines and those involved with vaccines. His video claiming the CDC were involved in a “Tuskegee” like experiment and were worse than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot was an epic departure from his previous restraint.

His latest interview, while not quite in the epic stature of the “Hitler et al.” video comments, is another example of Mr. Wakefield’s evolving rhetoric. He was interviewed by Alex Jones. Just being on the Alex Jones show is a poor choice for anyone who values accuracy over meager publicity.

The title of the video is “Dr. Unloads On Safe Vaccines”. And beneath that we can read this line:

Published on Feb 13, 2015
Alex Jones welcomes Dr. Andrew Wakefield to the studio to talk about his war with vaccines.

Here’s a screenshot of the YouTube page (click to enlarge):

alex jones on Wakefield

So, we get Mr. Wakefield’s “war on vaccines”. We of course get the obligatory, “We aren’t anti-vaccine”. OK. We also get comparisons of the vaccine program to Nazi Germany. More than once.

Mr. Wakefield seems to be saying that the MMR vaccine does not protect against measles, only the single measles vaccine does. Right. Amazing how we’ve gone so long without major outbreaks of measles with the MMR in use.

Readers may recall that last year Mr. Wakefield bungled the PR campaign for a paper by Brian Hooker. Mr. Hooker’s paper (since retracted) presented a reanalysis of an old CDC dataset on autism and claimed:

Additional research is required to better understand the relationship between MMR exposure and autism in African American males.

It was at best not a strong result in a not strong paper. But even in that paper the assertion that a causal connection was not made. But, how is this work being described now? From Mr. Wakefield on the Alex Jones show:

“And now that Dr. William Thompson, senior CDC scientist, has come forward and said that they have known for 13 years that MMR vaccine is causally associated with autism and they have hidden it from the public, from doctors from public health officials, from everybody.”

The “reanalysis” doesn’t say there’s a causal connection. Mr. Thompson’s public statement doesn’t say “causal” at all. But, hey, Alex Jones and his listeners are not the types to actually fact check Mr. Wakefield.

One could go on and on analyzing the misinformation in that interview. But statements like these make the point: Mr. Wakefield is moving away from his “reasonable guy just asking questions” mode. But we knew that when he put out his race baiting YouTube video last year.

I would be very interested in how Mr. Thompson feels about how he is represented by Mr. Wakefield. Mr. Thompson has made only the one public statement and it does not say what Mr. Wakefield claims.


By Matt Carey

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47 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield discusses “his war with vaccines””

  1. reissd February 20, 2015 at 14:15 #

    I don’t think the listeners do nuances any more than they do fact checking. Re your point about not finding a causal connection.

  2. lilady February 20, 2015 at 15:33 #

    Just what does Andrew Wakefield think he will accomplish, by those statements about single antigen measles vaccine…especially in the midst of a a huge measles multi state measles outbreak?

    Mr. Wakefield is getting desperate now to make himself relevant after the tawdry documentaries he produced. His only fans are his truly hard core supporters.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 20, 2015 at 16:47 #

      “Just what does Andrew Wakefield think he will accomplish, by those statements about single antigen measles vaccine…especially in the midst of a a huge measles multi state measles outbreak?”

      I try to avoid speculating on motivations. And this goes double for Andrew Wakefield, whose actions are quite alien to me. That said, he appears in the video to be making the “I was right all along, and I’m not anti-vaccine because I recommended the single antigen vaccine” message.

      Making the claim that the MMR doesn’t work is just so incorrect as to make one wonder why he does it.

    • Phillip Brandon Holmes February 22, 2015 at 16:15 #

      “Huge measles outbreak” what a joke. With 1 in 55 being autistic and 6 in 1000 SIDS deaths and lilady is concerned with 150 cases of measles (the majority of which were previously vaccinated).. The USA has the highest infant mortality rate in the world and people are freaking out about a 150 measles cases.. Nobody has died from measles in over a decade.

      SMH.

      • Chris February 22, 2015 at 16:49 #

        So you don’t care about kids who need hospital care.

        Plus you don’t know how to check the CDC Pink Book Appendix G that shows at least one death from measles in the past decade. Though it shows the type of intellectual rigor that ignores the reason is because there aren’t more deaths is because most people vaccinate, and there are fewer cases of measles. Though there should be no cases of measles in the USA.

      • Lawrence February 22, 2015 at 16:52 #

        Incorrect:

        http://pastebin.com/aLf5C1DV
        http://pastebin.com/FaDfAGhU

        And the US does not have the highest infant mortality rate in the world.

        But then again, don’t let little things like the truth or facts get in the way of a good rant, right?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 23, 2015 at 02:33 #

        I find the “infant mortality rate” argument interesting in that one of the people most vocal about how the comparison is misapplied was Bernadine Healy. Ms. Healy was one of the people often quoted by those claiming that vaccines cause autism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 23, 2015 at 03:50 #

        From his facebook page, we can find that he’s using this news story which cites this study (which I question whether he read).

        The study shows the U.S. as last among the listed countries. They then go into detail. One point made, similar to that of Bernadine Healy, was ” Deaths at all gestational ages are included, but countries may vary in completeness of reporting events at younger gestational ages”

        That’s a big deal. Some countries do not count a preterm birth as a “live” birth unless the child lives for a day or longer. The study discusses how much of the low infant mortality rate has to do with a high prevalence of preterm birth in the U.S.. (Somehow the infant vaccine schedule is to blame for this in Mr. Holmes’ view, I suspect). When the exclude births before 24 weeks gestation, the U.S. jumps up dramatically in the ranking.

        The study brings up the fact that the U.S. does very well with extreme preterm births, but more moderate preterm births (the example being 37 weeks gestation) is low.

        “The findings from the current analysis suggest that declines in either the percentage of preterm births or in infant mortality rates at 37 weeks of gestation or more could have a substantial positive impact on the U.S. infant mortality rate. If both of these factors could be reduced to Sweden’s levels, the U.S. infant mortality rate (excluding events at less than 24 weeks) would be reduced from 4.2 to 2.4—a decline of 43%. Such a decline would mean nearly 7,300 fewer infant deaths than actually occurred in the United States in 2010.”

        Once again, an important question in public health gets twisted by those who are antagonistic towards vaccines.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 22, 2015 at 20:15 #

        Well, if vaccines had anything to do with autism or SIDS, we could discuss your point in the context you are trying to create.

      • lilady February 24, 2015 at 21:13 #

        Have you really got a problem with my comment, Mr. Holmes?

        What does the ASDs prevalence rate and the SIDS rate have to do with the use of the combined MMR II live attenuated vaccine?

        How about looking at the “infant mortality rate” and how each country reports the infant mortality, to show us that United States has “the highest mortality rate in the world”?

        Are you innumerate and you cannot tell the difference between Afghanistan which has a neonatal death rate of 117.23/per 1,000 live births-vs-The United States which has a neonatal death rate of 6.17/per 1,000 live births?

        https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

        I suggest you check out this article to see how countries are supposed to report infant mortality rates according to the WHO Guidelines (which only the United States and Canada adhere to)-vs-how other countries report lower infant mortality rates by not adhering to the WHO Guidelines:

        http://www.skepticalob.com/2012/03/international-comparisons-of-neonatal.html

        Come back and post another comment about infant mortality rates statistics once you’ve read and comprehended these articles

      • lilady February 24, 2015 at 21:25 #

        SIDS deaths have decreased dramatically since the implementation of the “Back to Sleep Program”.

        The supposed relationship between early childhood vaccines and SIDS deaths have been studied and no link was ever found to link any childhood vaccine and SIDS deaths:

        http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/sids_faq.html

  3. rob567evan February 20, 2015 at 16:14 #

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 20, 2015 at 16:31 #

      You know that most people are wary of links with no words or description, right?’

      But there is a heavy irony in linking to the canary party cartoon “do vaccines cause autism” which could easily be considered to be part of a larger war on vaccines. Here’s the video you linked to embedded so people can see what I am talking about

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 20, 2015 at 16:43 #

        Oh, that’s cool, in this browser your link embeds too. Great.

        So, what? A group funded by rich people who even though the science is against them, they can make a cartoon that says different? On one side, research and data, and on the other a cartoon?

  4. brian February 20, 2015 at 17:41 #

    It’s amazing that Wakefield cherry picks the crude results from one case-control study (although that result is explained by confounding factors) while completely ignoring other case-control studies that refute his position.

    Uno Y, Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Aleksic B, Ozaki N. Early exposure to the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines and risk of autism spectrum disorder. Vaccine. 2015 Jan 3. pii: S0264-410X(14)01689-2. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.12.036.

    Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kiełtyka A, Majewska R. Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.

    Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T, Bauman ML, Lauwers G, Siemetzki U, Hummel K, Rota PA, Bellini WJ, O’Leary JJ, Sheils O, Alden E, Pickering L, Lipkin WI. Lack of association between measles virus vaccine and autism with enteropathy: a case-control study. PLoS One. 2008 Sep 4;3(9):e3140.

    Smeeth L, Cook C, Fombonne E, Heavey L, Rodrigues LC, Smith PG, Hall AJ. MMR vaccination and pervasive developmental disorders: a case-control study. Lancet. 2004 Sep 11-17;364(9438):963-9.

    Smeeth L, Hall AJ, Fombonne E, Rodrigues LC, Huang X, Smith PG. A case-control study of autism and mumps-measles-rubella vaccination using the general practice research database: design and methodology. BMC Public Health. 2001;1:2.

    BTW, it was interesting to see that long-time anti-vaxx favorites Burbacher and Hewitson collaborated on a case-control study, and concluded:

    “This comprehensive five-year, case-control study, which closely examined the effects of pediatric vaccines on early primate development, provided no consistent evidence of neurodevelopmental deficits or aberrant behavior in vaccinated animals.” [Curtis B et al. Examination of the Safety of Pediatric Vaccine Schedules in a Non-Human Primate Model: Assessments of Neurodevelopment, Learning, and Social Behavior. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Feb 18.]

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25690930

  5. Phillip Brandon Holmes February 22, 2015 at 16:17 #

    97 peer reviewed studies confirming the link between autism and vaccines

  6. Ryan February 24, 2015 at 17:31 #

    Interesting that the Japanese have separated the MMR vaccine due to their own concerns. Will everyone here jump on them with the same vigour as the Dr. despite “them” being a country? I am not a scientist or an intellect but I can read, rationalize and recall an old saying; “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.

    • Chris February 24, 2015 at 17:47 #

      Not quite accurate. There version of the MMR vaccine contained the Urabe mumps strain, which has a higher than acceptable incidence of meningitis.

      So now they offer a measles/rubella (MR) vaccine, and a separate mumps vaccine. But for a while due to their politicians bending over backwards to satisfy that country’s anti-vaccine sentiment they made measles vaccination “voluntary.” This had a similar effect to their previous history of delaying pertussis vaccines in the 1970s (see: Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84., “Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future”).

      From Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan:

      In Japan, measles vaccine coverage has remained low, and either small or moderate outbreaks have occurred repeatedly in communities. According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months.

      “Will everyone here jump on them with the same vigour as the Dr. despite “them” being a country?”

      Actually, there is quite a bit of jumping on them by their own medical community. For a while Japan was a major importer of measles to the USA, and there were papers indexed on PubMed from Japan who expressed dismay at that. Plus since mumps is circulating there are others indexed criticizing their own government about vaccine policy.

    • Chris February 24, 2015 at 17:52 #

      Of course it is kind of hard to comment on Japanese blogs if you don’t speak or write the language. While my youngest can do that, she mostly sticks to linguistic and art blogs.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 24, 2015 at 18:39 #

      Japan uses a combined measles rubella vaccine, has for 20 years. Mr Wakefield will readily tell you that he believes the autism rate jumped when this happened.

      What we also see in Japan is low vaccine uptake and with that measles and rubella are endemic. In 2013 we saw 15,000 cases of rubella with over 40 cases of congenital rubella syndrome. Add to this that many pregnancies with rubella end in the death of the fetus.
      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2814%2960712-1/abstract

      That’s what Japan should be concerned about. Do you want to start criticizing them for allowing so many children to become disabled through an easily prevented route?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 24, 2015 at 18:57 #

      By the way, has Japan been classified as having a “war with vaccines”? It appears that is confined to Mr. Wakefield at this point.

      And since when is pointing out that someone has a very irresponsible approach to public health “jump[ing] on them” with “vigor”?

  7. Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 19:58 #

    Keep drinking the kool-aid Mr. Carey,

    “VAERS received 29,747 reports after Hib vaccines; 5179 (17%) were serious, including 896 reports of deaths. Median age was 6 months (range 0-1022 months). Sudden infant death syndrome was the stated cause of death in 384 (51%) of 749 death reports with autopsy/death certificate records. The most common nondeath serious AE categories were neurologic (80; 37%), other noninfectious (46; 22%) (comprising mainly constitutional signs and symptoms); and gastrointestinal (39; 18%) conditions. No new safety concerns were identified after clinical review of reports of AEs that exceeded the data mining statistical threshold.”

    Yet, there is still no reason for concern.. move along.. nothing to see here. Only 29,747 adverse reaction reports for one vaccine because 1990-2013.

    Give me a break Matt. You’re just another aspy that believes autism isn’t a disorder.

    • reissd March 2, 2015 at 20:45 #

      At this point you should know that VAERS report in no way show causation. Anyone can report anything, and the evidence is that most reports are for things unrelated to vaccines. You should also know that the evidence is that SIDS is not caused by vaccines – which is why this article pointed out that there is no new safety concern: because the most serious reports were not vaccine-related.

      I would also add that using ASD as an insult does not reflect well on you.

      • Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 20:56 #

        The summary of the study (like the rest of the CDC’s pharma funded research) sticks it’s head in the sand. The number of reports (on a so little publicized reporting system mind you) speaks for itself.

        My commend about his obvious disability wasn’t an intended as an insult. Quite frankly, I’ve read this blog for years and it’s painfully obvious. It’s quite ironic that high functioning autistic / Aspergers syndrome folks campaign so diligently against the very thing that has caused their disability to begin with.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:53 #

        If you read, and understood, this blog, you wouldn’t have made the comment you made. Not because it’s an insult, but because it is wrong.

        I’ll spell it out for you: I’m not autistic. Never claimed to be.

        You are invited to go back to reading this blog and not commenting.

      • Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 20:58 #

        AND BTW. My son is autistic and vaccine damaged. He is under the care of some of the finest board certified doctors (M.D.s) in Dallas who corroborate that he was vaccine injured. So, in the event you’re all wrong (which is obvious), you won’t mind if I forward his therapy bills to you, would you? Please send your mailing address so when this is all settled, I’ll have it handy.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 22:01 #

        If your child is vaccine injured, his therapy bills will be a part of your award from the court.

        Since you have presented no evidence that your child is vaccine injured, I make no statement that this is or is not the case.

      • reissd March 2, 2015 at 20:59 #

        A. Again, you ignore the main point: the passive reporting system does not show causation. Many of the reports were for things vaccines don’t cause. That’s why the study pointed out that there is no evidence of new safety concerns. Using raw numbers of VAERS reports as if they mean something is a misuse of them. For an explanation of the limits of VAERS, see: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2013/11/vaers-few-things-we-need-to-discuss.html

        B. Your attempt to apply a diagnosis this way reads as an insult, and I’m sure not just to me; at the very least, it reads as prejudice, as suggesting that if Dr. Carey was on the spectrum he would somehow be less. And the attempt to blame it on the disproven vaccine connection is even weaker.

      • reissd March 2, 2015 at 21:00 #

        “My son is autistic and vaccine damaged. He is under the care of some of the finest board certified doctors (M.D.s) in Dallas who corroborate that he was vaccine injured. ” I’m sorry you blame your son’s autism on vaccines, and it’s even sadder that some doctors are willing to corroborate such a counter-evidence claim.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:51 #

        Finding a doctor to diagnose vaccine injury is not difficult. There used to be a guy who would diagnose vaccine injury in children. All you had to do was send him a few thousand dollars and some video clips.

      • Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 21:07 #

        If you don’t want people to call a spade a spade, then you shouldn’t allow comments.. Nobody is changing anyone’s mind on this topic. So, I don’t know why either of us are wasting keystrokes on this thread.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:49 #

        “Nobody is changing anyone’s mind on this topic.”

        Well, you certainly aren’t. It was never my goal to change your mind. As to wasting keystrokes, I do believe you are wasting them, yes.

      • Lawrence March 2, 2015 at 21:31 #

        Agreed – using a slur like that shows just how the anti-vax folks feel about people with autism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:48 #

        And, no one I know uses aspy with a “y”. I doubt this guy has a connection to the autism community, but who knows.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:45 #

      “Give me a break Matt. You’re just another aspy that believes autism isn’t a disorder.”

      So, you diagnose people over the web? Perhaps you could ask me what I think rather than tell me what I think and who I am. Or perhaps you just don’t care about being wrong.

      • Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 21:50 #

        I know exactly who you are Matt. We all know.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2015 at 21:53 #

        True. My identity is public knowledge. So what?

  8. Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 20:36 #

    And….. this is no cartoon.. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you try to explain how vaccines are safe to this mother (that just received 2.2 million in damages).

    http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/charlotte-observer-reports-on-child-crippled-by-vaccines-and-awarded-2-million-in-damages/

    • reissd March 2, 2015 at 20:48 #

      I would say the problem here is that encephalopathy is still listed as a table injury for pertussis containing vaccines, although studies showed there is no causal connection. Since it’s a table injury, there’s a presumption of causation, so the child was compensated although it’s unlikely it’s the vaccine that caused her injury.

      It’s tragic when a child is harmed. It compounds the tragic for the family when a vaccine is blamed in error: it makes the parents blame themselves and live with guilt, anger and fear. I’d say if you wanted to do this mother a service, you’d help her see it wasn’t the vaccine, rather than reinforce her fears. Though I’m glad she received compensation to help her deal, we should have a way to compensate disabled children that does not require proving a connection to vaccines that goes against the evidence.

      • Phillip Brandon Holmes March 2, 2015 at 20:59 #

        wow.. you’re completely full of shit.

      • Lawrence March 2, 2015 at 21:32 #

        And Philip, you’re obviously not going to add anything to the discussion here, are you?

    • brian March 2, 2015 at 21:45 #

      The award in this case demonstrates how far the courts are behind the science.

      Many such cases have been studied by independent research groups on several continents, and they have repeatedly been shown to be caused by pre-existing mutations rather than by vaccination.

      Such mutations cause similar syndromes in unvaccinated laboratory animals that also appear to initially develop normally, and the evidence shows why: the form of the gene expressed during embryonic development and soon after birth is gradually supplanted by the increased expression of the mutant gene, which, depending on the particular mutation, may cause seizure disorders with intellectual regression, seizures without regression, or regression without seizures. The mutations may involve a temperature-sensitive phenotype, which reveals the underlying genotype when body temperature is elevated by a warm bath or the normal response to either vaccination or natural infection.

      The idea that the first expression of such a genetic disorder within 72 hours of vaccination means that the disorder was caused by vaccination is ludicrous. While that may be a convenient marker in the courts, it is not supported by scientific evidence. Alleged cases of “vaccine-related encephalopathy” are now correctly recognized as the result of a genetic disorder, not vaccination.

      That’s been clear for years. It’s past time for the courts to catch up.

    • Chris March 14, 2015 at 23:10 #

      The National Vaccine Information Center is not a reliable source of information. Their #29 reference includes Wakefield as an author, and as a known fraud it should be discounted.

      If the MMR vaccine was associated with autism, then it should have been noticed after it was introduced in 1971. Just provide the documentation dated before 1990 that autism went up in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s.

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