Dr. Andrew Wakefield was trained as a gastroenterologist. The basis for his now “debunked” (not true, by the way) clinical research paper in 1998 pointing to a possible link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism was that he biopsied the guts of a group of 12 autistic kids and he found measles virus in the gastric mucosa. (Note: MMR is a live-virus vaccine.) Because of this, Dr. Wakefield, Prof. John Walker Smith, and Dr. Simon Burch (plus 10 co-authors) concluded there was sufficient reason for concern to merit further investigations.
Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues NEVER claimed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. (They didn’t do what the CDC has speedily done with Zika and microcephaly.) They simply acted responsibly as conscientious, caring physicians and reported what they had observed, and proceeded to recommend additional studies.
Now, separately, when Dr. Wakefield was asked in a news conference about his views on the MMR vaccine, what he said was that he thought the vaccine should be given separately. In other words, give the measles vaccine by itself rather than as part of the MMR combo. As a precautionary measure. Think about it. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And for THAT, he was crucified. You see, the company (now GlaxoSmithKline) that produces the MMR vaccine in question feared that sales and usage of its product would plummet. The crucifixion was all based on pure market economics (and greed, of course).
So the firm used its significant political and media influence to go after Dr. Wakefield. (Hint: research the pharmaceutical industry interests of the Murdoch family (Rupert, James, and all them), along with its ownership of the The Sunday Times of London, which published the series of hit pieces (by non-science contracted reporter Brian Deer) against Dr. Wakefield which ultimately destroyed his career.) Yes, you see, unlike Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, sometimes conspiracies are real.