Friendly reminder that the man who sparked the whole “Vaccines cause Autism” thing said it was one combination of three vaccines (MMR) that would cause it so he could sell each vaccine individually instead of all three together in the same vaccine. Tripling his profit.
Then he was arrested for molesting Autistic children later in life.
Why are people so shitty
LET ME TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR JAB
MMR was introduced to the UK in 1988 as a combination vaccine to combat measles, mumps, and rubella. Great, right? Not only was this was a fucking brilliant development from a financial point of view, but it was safer - the previous method of providing one vaccine at a time meant that children had to wait a year between each injection, leaving them vulnerable during that time. So, it shaved off three years of risk, in one easy step. Awesome. (X)
Ten years later, along came Andrew Wakefield.
Wakefield was well respected as a scientist at the time, so when he spoke up, people (unfortunately) listened. Parents refused to have their children vaccinated, which resulted in several outbreaks of measles, and the death of a 13 year old schoolboy - the first UK death attributed to the disease in 14 years.
In February 1998, he wrote a very famous and well-known paper claiming to link the jab to a type of bowel syndrome that he called ‘autistic enterocolitis’, which supposedly increased the risk of autism.
It should be noted that this condition does not, actually, exist. (X)
Usually, papers like this are meant to be peer-assessed before publication, but Wakefield’s was published without it, in a well respected medical journal called ‘The Lancet’.
Problem? Oh yes.
The number of things wrong with his findings and his unethical testing methods are endless, but before I get into that, you should know who was paying him to do this research - because you can bet your sweet ass he wasn’t doing it out of the goodness of his heart.
A solicitor named Richard Barr had asked Wakefield (among others) to conduct an investigation into the vaccine, deliberately to try and find negative side effects. (X)
Why would he do this?
Because he had a group of parents with autistic children, all of whom wanted to sue the government for ‘damaging’ them. They wanted a case that would hold up in court.
In addition to the £3,910 he claimed in expenses, Wakefield was paid £435,643 for his services. (That’s $707,724 for all you Americans out there, or €557,961 in euros.)
Where did this money come from? Where else, but the Legal Aid Fund, set up specifically to pay for legal services in Britain for those too poor to afford them. (X)
So, now that we’ve established the massive conflict of interest, what was actually wrong with his research?
First; his test group.
It doesn’t take a great scientific mind to figure out that it would take a pretty big group to gain results representative of the entire population, right?
Wakefield chose twelve. Eleven boys, one girl.
Not only that, but those children were ‘recruited’ from the group of parents wanting to sue the government. Two were brothers, and one was even flown in from the US. (X)
So, representative? Not so much.
Plus, he tampered with the results of eight of them. (X)
Second; the paper was not approved by an ethics committee, nor was it peer reviewed, as would usually be required for a paper’s publication. Wakefield also should have declared his conflict of interest in the paper. (X)
But what did he have going for him? There had to have been some real evidence, right?
The vaccine is usually administered to children between twelve and fifteen months old. When do the first signs of autism start to appear in a child?
You guessed it.
Wakefield also had plans to bring out his own, ‘safer’ measles vaccine, as OP mentioned. (X)
He has now been struck off of the general medical register, and his paper has been retracted from The Lancet. (X)
Thanks to Wakefield’s shameless self-interest, outbreaks of these diseases are more prevalent. Even in 2013, there was an epidemic of 620 measles cases in Wales. Because of his paper, and the decision of parents to shun the vaccine, diseases we once had under control are spreading yet again. (X)(X)
TL;DR: The MMR vaccine does not cause autism. (X)(X)(X)
I could go on about this topic all day, and I’m perfectly happy to debate with anyone who wants to tell me vaccines aren’t beneficial. Hit up my askbox, y’all.