Andrew Wakefield

23/1/19

Andrew Wakefield is the arch antivaxxer. He wrote a paper describing a new type of autism which he claimed was caused by the triple dose MMR vaccine. The paper was written on the basis of studying on 12 boys and unfortunately printed in The Lancet, a very well respected medical journal. Everyone - other than Wakefield - who wrote the paper has now distanced themselves from it and asked to have their names removed from it and the Lancet has retracted it. Wakefield was forced to give up his medical license due to the high levels of fraud and unethical practice on display in the paper. he has also been shown to have had a financial interest in the ramifications of his paper. Before this happened however, the original paper was picked up by the British press, especially The Daily Mail, and so the modern antivax hysteria was born.

Mr Andrew Wakefield is still insisting that his research demonstrates a link between autism and vaccines and he has found a home amongst American conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and Donald Trump. He even met Trump at the White House. Wakefield and his supporters claimed that he is being misrepresented by a big pharma conspiracy intended to supress the truth about vaccines. This has led to new outbreaks of measles and mumps which is potentially fatal. This is particularly a problem for children who are unable to get vaccinated due to another condition such as Cystic Fibrosis meaning they are reliant on the community immunity that is achieved when the vast majority of the population is vaccinated.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella are all on the rise in the western world after decades of decline. Outbreaks have been seen in the US and in the UK, as well as many EU countries. There are still large groups campaigning against vaccines and many of their ideas are reaching back into the mainstream again. Italy's populist Five-Star party have recently renounced their original anti-vaccination stance after an outbreak of the disease in Italy.

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