Note: Take a moment to imagine stupid things. Ridiculous things. Channel Alice and imagine six impossible things before breakfast. Now, imagine the idiocy of attacking Polly Tommey - autism Mum and advocacy powerhouse - because (insert "dah dah daaaaah" music here) she has strong links to Andrew Wakefield. Have you imagined your stupid things? I'm imagining running barefoot across a floor full of Legos. And now? I am imagining baking cookies and removing them from the oven without a mitt. Wait! Here is another stupid thing... injecting neurotoxins into healthy babies! And finally, taking a crumpety-crap on POLLY TOMMEY. The Times UK thinks otherwise. See below. Kim
The founder of a British autism charity is an anti-vaccine campaigner with strong links to the discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield, The Times has learnt.
Polly Tommey, who believes that the MMR vaccine caused her son’s autism, founded the US and UK branches of the Autism Trust and produced a highly controversial film directed by Mr Wakefield alleging a link between vaccines and the condition.
Scientists and campaigners expressed concern yesterday that Ms Tommey’s role in the charity was in conflict with her views about vaccines. Jon Spiers, chief executive of the charity Autistica, called the film highly irresponsible.
The Autism Trust works with children who have the condition and Ms Tommey said that a crucial part of her work is “recording stories from families who are vaccine injured”. “I’m very passionate that vaccines cause massive injuries and I’m not afraid to say that,” she said.
Ms Tommey is also the producer of Vaxxed. The film is directed by Mr Wakefield, who was struck off the medical register for fraudulent research claiming vaccines were linked to autism. The film claims that the US government is covering up data proving the connection. At a screening of the film in the summer, Ms Tommey told the audience that all vaccines were unsafe.
“Stay away from these paediatricians, they are dangerous. Sorry paediatricians, but you are,” she said. “There clearly is no safe vaccine. I can tell you we will never trust again, we will never stick in another needle. You can say it’s a safe vaccine — we will never believe you.”
Mr Spiers said that there was no evidence for this view. “Numerous research studies in enormous numbers of people have found that the MMR vaccination saves lives and does not cause autism. It is highly irresponsible to spread fear through films like Vaxxed. Campaigning against vaccinations does absolutely nothing to give autistic people and their families the support, empathy and hope they urgently need.”
David Robert Grimes, a postdoctoral research associate at Oxford University, agreed. “It is highly concerning that someone so prominently involved in an autism charity would harbour such widely debunked and frankly dangerous views,” he said.
In 1998 Mr Wakefield claimed in the journal The Lancet that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Although the paper was discredited, it resulted in a drop in vaccine uptake. Studies have since shown that it does not cause autism.
He moved to the US, where he retains a following among parts of the autism community. He is believed to have met Donald Trump, and is due to speak next week at the European parliament.
A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission told The Times: “The commission will assess the issues you have put to us regarding the Autism Trust Limited to determine what, if any, regulatory role there might be for us.”
Ms Tommey said that neither she nor her charity were willing to be silent on this. “It’s my charity, I set it up, I’m all for the truth,” she said. “I’m a huge believer that vaccines cause injury and death.”