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Connie Howard of Vue Weekly Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Vue weekly Read and comment at Edmonton's Vue Weekly online. Thank you to VL for the link.

By Connie Howard ([email protected])

It turns out I didn't get an inch past the shoreline when I dipped my toes into the Andrew Wakefield Lancet paper retraction story a few weeks ago, so I decided to revisit it. To give the man at the centre of the controversy the opportunity to respond to media statements being made about his ethics and integrity, I contacted him.

To recap, The Lancet retracted Wakefield's 1998 paper suggesting a potential link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and the bowel disorders he was seeing in his autistic patients. Journalists and medical professionals alike have been cheering ever since: the so-called hoax and vaccine conspiracy theory has been exposed, and we can now apparently relax in the safety of the MMR vaccine.

I asked Wakefield if it was true that he'd been paid over 400 000 pounds by trial lawyers working to prove the vaccine unsafe. "I worked as a medical expert for nine years on the MMR litigation," he wrote in an email. "When the case folded because Legal Aid was withdrawn, the lawyers refused to pay what was owed and the costs judge took a lot of the fees back from the various experts. What I did earn was donated to an initiative to build a new centre for gastroenterology care and research at the Royal Free [in London]. Unfortunately I was forced out and it never got built."

Not a single penny of Legal Aid Board (LAB) money was spent on the Lancet paper. A LAB grant was provided for a separate viral detection study, but the Lancet paper had been submitted for publication before the LAB grant was even available.

What about allegations that Wakefield had been working for a company making a rival vaccine? He was involved in developing a nutritional immune stimulant they hoped would clear up chronic vaccine-induced measles infection. But this, he says, "could in no way have competed with a live viral vaccine and was not intended for that purpose. The patent was owned by the medical school and not by me. It was never progressed."

The charge that Wakefield is responsible for new outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella is, to my mind, absurd. Parents have become wary of vaccines, true, but this, it seems to me, is the doing of vaccines, not of Dr Wakefield.

Further, outbreaks among the vaccinated happen all the time—77 percent of those affected in the recent New York and New Jersey outbreak were immunized. And though the outbreaks in England and Wales have reportedly occurred mostly in unvaccinated children, the question we ought to be asking is whether we need to fear measles as much as we do. United States mortality statistics indicate that the mortality rate—13.3 per 100 000 in 1900 and 0.2 by 1945—was negligible by 1963 when the vaccine was introduced.

What Wakefield did is publish a case study of a group of patients in which he'd identified a common thread. These kinds of studies often lead to new hypotheses. This is how science is supposed to work. The feeling of the parents of the children involved in the study and the many who have since been helped by Dr Wakefield's work is that he was being a responsible physician in pursuing the cause of his patients' illness.

But industry has a habit of quashing science that may not be good for business. Follow the links: The Lancet is published by Reed Elsevier. The CEO of Reed Elsevier during the time period in question was Sir Crispin Davis, who was also a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKlein, one of three defendant drug companies in the MMR controversy.

We all know that money is power, and that money wins legal battles, and that the pharmaceutical industry has money like no other. As Noam Chomsky would say, it takes effort not to see what's happening. This is not conspiracy theory. Wakefield has been singled out for the purpose of discouraging other doctors willing to listen to their patients and do the relevant research even when it challenges vaccine dogma. His career and reputation have been severely harmed as a result of putting his patients ahead of his own protection.

But Wakefield views that as trivial compared to what has been lost to the children. In his mind, they are the real victims.  V

You can reach Connie Howard  at [email protected].

Comments

Sheri Nakken, RN, MA, Homeopath

amazing - the only journalist to actually interview Andrew Wakefield?

Just a mother

Thank you Vue Weekly, we need more independent
newspapers like yours, who do not make a living from big Pharma advertisements. Professionals must distance themselves from
pharmaceutical companies and must do independent research. Thank you Dr. Wakefield for standing up for our children and doing what is right. We need more doctors like you.
Stay strong Dr.Wakefield,history will remember those who spoke the truth.The fight is not over yet.

Autism Grandma

Re Post by Erik:"I can only conclude that Ms Howard is allowed to be a true journalist because Vue Weekly is an independent publication that is not dependent on funding from pharmaceutical company advertising."

Alas, the truth would get out about the vaccines and alot of other grievous corruption in the pharmaceutical industry IF they were not allowed to advertise in the media. No other countries allow this except here in the good ol' USA. The Land of Free Speech has become the Land of Propaganda. Thank God for the Internet.

Erik

Thank you, Connie! It is amazing to me that so many journalists have not engaged in the simple, basic task of actually interviewing Dr. Wakefield before writing their articles. I can only conclude that Ms Howard is allowed to be a true journalist because Vue Weekly is an independent publication that is not dependent on funding from pharmaceutical company advertising.

Lainna

I no longer vaccinate and I stopped long before I heard of Andrew Wakefield, so he is not to blame for MY stopping or the stopping of those I spread the word to, which is many/ My daughter's OBVIOUS regression into Autism following 7 vaccines, including 4 live virus in one visit was the reason.

Dr. Wakefield WILL come out on top and because of him, something will finally be done to protect future generations of children.

Trace

Money is power but hopefully righteousness, honesty and truth will prevail. After all, money is the root of all evil. God bless Dr. Wakefield for listening to his patients like a good doctor should.

Anne

Does anyone know if Dr. Wakefield has plans to publicly give his account of the GMC hearings? He expresses himself so well, it would be nice for the public to actually hear him give his side of the story (not just read an account). Surely there must be some media outlet that would put him on the air? Even a taped interview on You Tube would be better than nothing. More people need to hear his story!

kathleen

Fantastic poem Gatogorra!
Excellent article, but I did not see a way to comment.
Thank you Vue Weekly for allowing a fair and unbiased story on Wakefiled!

Gatogorra

This was excellent. Finally, a full measure of the stupidity of the GMC's charges. Disgusting injustice.

I found a poem by e.e. cummings which reminded me of the doctors brave enough to stand up for children at grave risk to themselves:

#7
because you take life in your stride (instead
of scheming how to beat the noblest game
a man can proudly lose, or playing dead
and hoping death himself will do the same

because you aren't afraid to kiss the dirt
(and consequently dare to climb the sky)
because a mind no other mind should try
to fool has always failed to fool your heart

but most (without the smallest doubt) because
no best is quite so good you don't concieve
a better; and because no evil is
so worse than worst you fall in hate with love

-human one mortally immortal i
can turn immense all time's because to why

Wade Rankin

Outstanding!

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