Marco Cáceres di Iorio

Andrew Wakefield et al. (Yeah, it was a “team” of researchers)

Most people are unaware that the so-called “debunked Wakefield study” supposedly (but inaccurately) alleging that vaccines (specifically the MMR vaccine) cause autism was a team effort. While Andrew Wakefield, MD was the “senior scientific investigator” on the study, he was one of three principal authors of the study paper, and there were 10 co-authors. In other words, this was the product of many highly-trained and reputable individuals, not something done willy nilly by a lone ranger. So who were all those other people? Ah, glad you asked!

  • John Walker-Smith, FRCP (co-principal author)
  • Simon Harry Murch, MD (co-principal author)
  • A. Anthony, MB (co-author)
  • J. Linnell, PhD (co-author)
  • D.M. Casson, MRCP (co-author)
  • M. Malik, MRCP (co-author)
  • M. Berelowitz, FRCPsych (co-author)
  • A.P. Dhillon, MRCPath (co-author)
  • M.A. Thomson, FRCP (co-author)
  • P. Harvey, FRCP (co-author)
  • A. Valentine, FRCR (co-author)
  • S.E. Davies, MRCPath (co-author)

So why is it only Andy Wakefield we hear about? Why is HE the scapegoat? Well, one answer is that after the paper was published in The Lancet, he was asked publicly whether he would recommend continued use of the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine. Dr. Wakefield replied that, in his personal opinion, he would not—that he would encourage the use of the single dose measles vaccine (not the combined version) instead… just to be on the safe side.

It was probably that response that immediately made him the target of the giant pharmaceutical SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) which made and sold the MMR vaccine in the United Kingdom. Little tidbit… media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family just happened to have a financial interest in that company and one of his sons, James, actually sat on its board of directors.

Ah, did I mention that the Murdoch family owned The Sunday Times of London which contracted reporter Brian Deer to write a series of defamatory articles about Dr. Wakefield? Well, they did. The editor of The Sunday Times back then was a guy named Paul Nuki, who hired Deer. Oh, and did I mention that Nuki was the son of Prof. George Nuki, who just happened to be a member of the vaccine licensing authority committee in the UK when the MMR vaccine was introduced in the country in the late-1980s. He was.

So, you see, there’s an awful lot more to this fascinating story than meets the idea. Of course, that part of the story is never told by journalists, TV commentators, doctors, nurses, public health officials, legislators, etc. More than likely, they’re just ignorant of it and too lazy or not sufficiently curious to do a little digging.

And so we’re stuck (for now anway) with the bogus story of the “debunked study” by the “defrauded doctor.” At least until we get enough people of high intellectual character and moral fortitude, and half a spine in positions of power and influence to do the right thing, repair the narrative, and grudgingly tell the truth.
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