Andrew Wakefield: [Talking about his conversation with Donald Trump] "We went on to discuss the issue of the autism crisis in this country which is set to affect one in two children by 2032 according to the CDC's own data if nothing is done, if nothing changes. That's 80 percent of the boys in this country. There is a national crisis.”
Andrew Buncombe reports for the British newspaper, The Independent, and he is out to discredit Andrew Wakefield because Wakefield has refused to back down from his claim of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease in children.
Buncombe isn’t interested in Wakefield’s research. I’m sure he’s never bothered to read Callous Disregard, the book in which Wakefield explained how he became involved in the most heated issue in pediatric medicine and what he learned about the MMR vaccine.
Buncombe’s real interest is discrediting ANYONE who dares to question the ever-expanding, unchecked vaccine schedule. He couldn’t care less about what autism is doing to millions of children around the world, in fact, autism is barely mentioned in his reporting.
(On a personal note, having spent a summer in the hospital in Rugby, England after a car accident, I am aware that a surgeon in Britain is addressed as “Mr.” Dr. Wakefield in these stories is referred to as “Mr. Wakefield,” but I suspect that it’s done more to discredit him than to acknowledge his prominence as a surgeon in gastroenterology. No one in the media is interested in his findings as a GI doctor.)
Here are some of Buncombe’s latest reports. Judge for yourself what his real agenda is.
May 6, 2018, UK Independent: How a Muslim community overcame disinformation linking vaccines to autism
…When health officials in Minnesota were confronted by the biggest outbreak of measles in decades, they knew that earning the community’s trust would be crucial.
The section of the community most affected by the outbreak that eventually infected 79 people, the same as for the whole of the US in any average year, were Somali Americans. The vast majority were children under 10 who had not been vaccinated.
The state’s Somali Americans used to vaccinate their children more than other Minnesotans, but the rate fell, between 2004 and 2014, from 92 per cent to 40 per cent. Officials have linked this to visits paid to the community by anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield and other campaigners, whose influence still reverberates.….
“I think that before Andrew visited the Two Cities, Somali parents vaccinated their kids at around 90 per cent. But right now it’s 40, and that shows the fear’s impact and because of that you see a measles outbreak in the state of Minnesota.”
May 5, 2018, UK Independent: Trump claims vaccines and autism are linked but his own experts vehemently disagree
VIDEO Andrew Wakefield: [Talking about his conversation with Donald Trump] "We went on to discuss the issue of the autism crisis in this country which is set to affect one in two children by 2032 according to the CDC's own data if nothing is done, if nothing changes. That's 80 percent of the boys in this country. There is a national crisis. That's what he wanted to discuss. He said if he were to be elected, then he would do something about this."
… On more than 20 occasions, Mr Trump has tweeted about there being a link between vaccines and autism, something experts at the government’s leading public health institute say is not true. He also repeated the claim during a Republican primary debate, a remark that was immediately dismissed as false by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Prior the election, Mr Trump met with four prominent anti-vaccine campaigners at a fundraiser in Florida – disbarred British doctor Andrew Wakefield, Mark Blaxill, editor-at-large of the Age of Autism website, Gary Kompothecras, a chiropractor and Trump donor from Sarasota, and Jennifer Larson, an entrepreneur who has campaigned against the use of vaccines in her home state of Minnesota.
The campaigners celebrated after Mr Trump won the election and met with another anti-vaccine campaigner, Robert F Kennedy Jr (son of Robert Kennedy who was assassinated in 1968).
After news of the meeting emerged, Ms Larson wrote on the Age of Autism website: “Now that Trump won, we can all feel safe in sharing that Mr Trump met with autism advocates in August. He gave us 45 minutes and was extremely educated on our issues. Mark [Blaxill] stated ‘You can’t make America great with all these sick children and more coming’. Trump shook his head and agreed.” …
Mr Wakefield was in 2010 found guilty by the UK’s General Medial Council of three dozen charges including dishonesty and abuse of children, shortly after The Lancet medical journal retracted the 1998 study on which his claims about the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine were based. The magazine’s editor said at the time that statements in the article “were utterly false”.
A decade earlier he had moved to Texas where he continued to promote his theories. Health officials in Minnesota believe he was partly responsible for a 2017 outbreak of measles, the worst in decades, among the Somali-American community in Minneapolis.
He and other anti-vaccine campaigners met several times with members of the community, which was concerned about what it believed was an unusually high incidence of autism among Somali boys, something health officials said was not borne out by data….
Asked about his meeting with the president, Mr Wakefield told The Independent: “I met him once before the election, when he was running for the presidency. We had a meeting in Florida. We were there, four of us representing the issue of autism and its link to immunisation. …
Asked if was campaigning in America because his reputation had been wrecked in Britain, Mr Wakefield said: “I was discredited in the eyes of those who wanted to see me discredited. In other words, those who had an interest in maintaining the status quo.
“I don’t represent any of them. What I represent is the parents and the children who have been damaged. Is there a real case to answer? Absolutely. Do I believe vaccines cause autism? Yes I do. Is the problem equally as large in the US? Yes it is.” …
May 4, 2018, UK Independent: Andrew Wakefield: How a disgraced UK doctor has remade himself in anti-vaxxer Trump’s America
It has been 20 years since the gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield co-authored a now notorious and debunked medical paper that claimed to have found a link between autism and the use of a common children’s vaccine.
The paper, later retracted by The Lancet, helped lead to a drop-off in vaccination rates and an increase in outbreak diseases such as measles, not only in Britain and Europe, but in the US. The doctor was subsequently found guilty by the British General Medical Council (GMC) of three-dozen charges, including dishonesty and abuse of children, and struck off the medical register.
Yet two decades later, Wakefield, unable to practice in the UK, has remade himself in Donald Trump’s America, travelling the country to promote views experts say have had deadly consequences and seemingly finding an ally in the president.
Wakefield remains defiant, even though the editor of The Lancet said statements contained in his 1998 study claiming a link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, were “utterly false” and 10 co-authors issued a statement saying there was insufficient evidence to draw the conclusion the vaccine was not safe.
“I was discredited in the eyes of those who wanted to see me discredited. In other words, those who had an interest in maintaining the status quo,” he recently told The Independent.
Questions about Wakefield’s findings were first raised by a series of journalistic investigations in the early 2000s, and he was charged with professional misconduct by the GMC in 2006….
Yet since Trump’s election, Wakefield’s campaign has found fresh momentum. The president claimed during a 2015 Republican debate that the child of an employee developed autism after receiving a vaccine, asserting a link that has been stridently disputed by the British and US governments’ leading experts and numerous peer-reviewed papers….
In the summer of 2016, Wakefield was one of four anti-vaccine campaigners Trump met for 45 minutes, and he also attended one of his inauguration balls after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. After he entered the White House, Trump is said to have considered appointing another vaccine skeptic, Robert F Kennedy, to head a commission to look into their safety. That idea currently appears stalled.
Asked about his meeting with Trump, Wakefield said: “I met him once before the election, when he was running for the presidency. We had a meeting in Florida. We were there, four of us representing the issue of autism and its link to immunisation. …
These stories aren’t the only attacks on Wakefield and Trump and their views on vaccine safety. Buncombe sees the political side of vaccines, the link to autism, and anyone who supported President Trump.
December 29, 2017, UK Independent: One in three Donald Trump supporters believe vaccines cause autism—so does the President elect
… At the same time, there is exhaustive scientific research that concludes that vaccines such as the MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella) have no association with autism.
Despite this, a new survey suggests that one in three supporters of Donald Trump believe vaccines do indeed cause autism. (Around one in five supporters of Hillary Clinton believe the same.)
One reason for the high percentage of Mr Trump’s supporters holding this erroneous opinion, may be the man himself.
Mr Trump has repeatedly said he believes there is a link between vaccines and autism in children….
Mr Trump was asked about this incident during a Republican primary debate in September 2015, and he repeated the claim. Indeed, he said the vaccines were causing an “autism epidemic”….
At one campaign stop, Mr Trump spoke with leading proponents of the discredited link between vaccines and autism, including disbarred British doctor Andrew Wakefield, at a fundraiser in Florida.
ScienceMag said Trump chatted with a group of donors that included four anti-vaccine activists for 45 minutes, according to accounts of the meeting, and promised to watch Vaxxed, an anti-vaccine documentary produced by Mr Wakefield.
Mr Wakefield, who is now believed to live in Austin, Texas, was the lead author of a 1998 paper published in The Lancet which claimed to show a link between children who were given the MMR with autism and bowel disease….
Andrew Buncombe, like all the unthinking members of the media, simply does what he’s told. If he had any journalistic instinct to honestly cover this issue, he’d do things like talk to the parents of the children in Wakefield’s Lancet study or read Wakefield’s book. He slammed the film, ‘Vaxxed,’ without ever bothering to view it and tell us why it’s false. That kind of professionalism was suppressed long ago.
All that matters is that Wakefield is WRONG and any name associated with him must also come under attack. Buncombe’s real mission is to keep telling us this over and over. Autism is left as curiosity, not worth discussing.
Buncombe noted that one in three Trump supporters believes in a link between vaccines and autism, but he also mentioned that 20 percent of Hillary Clinton’s supports do also. Alas, this reporter failed ever look into anything except the views of experts who endorse vaccines for every child.
Buncombe trashed Wakefield for his association with the Somali community in the Twin Cities. He told us about the measles outbreak among the Somalis, without once a mention of their autism rate of ONE IN EVERY 28 CHILDREN (and that was back in 2008) or ever contacting a Somali parent who believes their child was injured by vaccines. They’re out there. I’ve met with them.
Buncombe heard Wakefield’s dire warning about the prospect of an autism rate of ONE IN EVERY 2 CHILDREN BY 2032, and he proceeded to question Wakefield about Trump’s views on global warming, without even a pause to discuss this inconceivable number.
Clearly Buncombe has his marching orders and they have nothing to do with journalism as we understand the term.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.