Where Does the Truth Lie?
Discredited. Disgraced. Fraud.
These have been the main descriptors in the media regarding a certain academic gastroenterologist from England for the better part of two decades.
“Andrew Wakefield’s a quack and the science is settled,” is an oft repeated argument in the plethora of social media debates surrounding the issue of vaccines and autism.
But, what if he’s not a quack? And is science ever settled?
Did you know that one of the co-authors of that now infamous study, Professor John Walker-Smith, was completely exonerated? Did Wakefield and the other authors really claim a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism?
The Lancet paper’s conclusion stated:
We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve the issues. If there is a causal link between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change…
Why, if the paper did not claim a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and only stated that further study was needed, do we constantly read and hear that Wakefield did indeed claim a causal link and that it has since been thoroughly debunked?
Further, what if one of those efforts to debunk his paper was itself shrouded in possible fraudulent activity? Indeed, Dr. William Thompson, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Senior Scientist, has come forward and admitted such fraud. His statement reads, in part:
I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.
This is shocking, or should be, yet the media has been all but silent and despite Congressman Bill Posey’s efforts, Dr. Thompson has yet to be subpoenaed to testify before Congress. If indeed the authors of this paper committed fraud, should they not be subject to the same repercussions that Wakefield was?
In the words of Emmy award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, “In an untainted news environment, the allegations would make headlines in most legitimate publications and would trigger federal inquiries. However, the interests of the powerful pharmaceutical industry reach deeply into Congress and the news media through lobbyists, propaganda and advertising dollars.”
What if there is more to the story than what we have been told?
Here is Wakefield’s side of the story, in his own words:
So where does the truth lie?
Award-winning investigative journalist, health writer, Fulbright scholar and author/editor Jennifer Margulis had this to say in a Facebook post, “By falsely accusing Wakefield of fraud a message was sent to scientists around the world. Research vaccines, promote vaccine safety, and we will silence and discredit you.”
Wakefield’s story is coming to the big screen and hopefully it will shed some light on what really happened.
In the meantime, find out more about the CDC whistleblower story via the documentary Vaxxed, directed by Andrew Wakefield.