Speaking out for the first time about the controversy surrounding his MMR study and the final conviction by the U.K.’s GMC, Dr. Andrew Wakefield shares with Dr. Joseph Mercola (mercola.com) his experiences, including how he became accidentally involved in the autism focus as well as the false allegations. The article (link below) and youtube series is well worth the time simply for the benefit of educating yourself on what the issue is really about and how parents can make more scientifically informed choices from sources of reliable, world-renown (in spite of the final decree against Dr. Wakefield) information posing no conflict-of-interest issues. I had to share this here. Also, if you feel so compelled, please sign the petition listed on the link below.
Excerpts from the interview provided by http://mercola.com (see citation below)…
Dr. Wakefield on how it all began for him: “…in a nutshell, what we did was to publish a case series. Now, a case series is an observational study. It‟s taking a look at a group of children or patients who have got a constellation of signs and symptoms and findings that bracket them together. There are similarities that mean they need publication. They are sufficiently novel and sufficiently interesting but they need publication in their own right. Its not a controlled study, it‟s simply a case series. So it tells the story, the clinical story of those children. Part of that clinical story was the bowel symptoms and that lead to the discovery of a novel bowel disease and you would think that that would be some course for some small celebration but oh no. Why not?
DM: Maybe even a Nobel Prize down the road.
DW: I don‟t think so but nonetheless. You know, there was something that was treatable for the first time in this disorder. You had something tangible, treatable that you could really do something about as a doctor. It should have been a cause for celebration but no because part of the parents‟ story in the majority of children was regression after a vaccine. Now, if those children had regressed after natural chickenpox, you and I would not be sitting here now but they didn‟t. They regressed after a vaccine. Their parents weren‟t anti-vaccine. They took them to be vaccinated according to the schedule and they said to their doctor, well…
DM: Everything appropriately.
DW: Yeah, after my child was vaccinated, they weren‟t well. They had a high fever for a week. They then became delirious. They then started losing their speech and language, those kinds of things. So it wasn‟t just coincidence. It wasn‟t just that the child, at around the time, children were diagnosed with autism or first present with autism had had their MMR, it wasn‟t that. There were medical events associated with the exposure that then subsequently led to the child‟s decline. And so we had to take that very seriously. The parents were right about the bowel disease. Were they right about the vaccine? And when we published in The Lancet the story, we wonder about the sense of the story, weren‟t going to take out the bit about the vaccine. Then, things went very badly wrong. The other thing, when I decided that I was going to get involved in this, now, I wasn‟t going to back away from it.”
Dr. Wakefield on how he came to be charged by the U.K.’s GMC: “In 2004, I suddenly got this contact from a freelance journalist Brian Deer working on behalf of the Sunday Times making a whole series of allegations against my colleagues and I. In his opinion, these children did not need investigation, in his opinion, these children did not need a colonoscopy or a lumbar puncture or these other investigations that my clinical colleagues had deemed, they most certainly did need.
DM: And he had no formal medical training.
DW: None at all.
DM: He‟s just a journalist.
DW: None at all but it was his opinion. He believed that I had got together with a lawyer, had rounded up these children for the purpose of creating a legal case against the manufacturers of the vaccine in order to bring about the downfall of the vaccine in order to launch my own vaccine onto the market. It was a great story.
DM: If he had done his homework, he would have found that it was impossible because the manufacturers were indemnified.
DW: Well, it was just so fanciful. Where do you start to unpick a story like that? But the bizarre thing is that what mutated from that original story none of which really made any sense. The children were not involved in litigation when they were referred to the Royal Free. They were nothing to do with litigation until afterwards. They were not herded, rounded up by lawyers. They didn‟t come from lawyers. These were parent who heard about the work or read about the work or had been talking to friends at child groups who made spontaneous contact with me because in the newspapers they had seen the work on Crohn‟s disease. That‟s how they came.
So he made so many factual errors but he nonetheless managed to persuade the General Medical Council to initiate a process of investigation against us. And by that stage, this had become such a political hot potato, the Minister of Health, that a number of people from the department had put their all in and decided this needed to be investigated but they construed this case against us. And we, that are my colleagues and I, had recently been found guilty of some of the most ludicrous charges. For example, experimenting on children in the absence of ethical approval. So they determined that the world‟s leading pediatric gastroenterologist was not fit to determine whether these children needed a colonoscopy or not for clinical indications. They determined it was researched.”
Dr. Wakefield on the charges against him: “..the principal charge, the principal finding against us is that we had investigated these children without ethics committee approval. We had undertaken and a series of investigations had been undertaken on these children without ethics committee approval. Now, firstly, let me make it absolutely clear that tests that are clinically indicated are not researched and they do not require the approval of a hospital ethics committee. They are just like you going to the doctor, the doctor saying, “Wow, you got a bad throat. I‟m going to take a blood sample to see if you got strep titers.” That is a clinical test. And my clinical colleagues were perfectly capable of making the decision about those clinical tests but the GMC argued that those were research tests. They weren‟t.
They also argued that the research tests were not covered under an ethical approval. That also was false. What they had failed to identify in their due diligence was that there was an existing ethical approval for the research elements that were undertaken in The Lancet paper and that was work that I did and that was related to a detailed microscopic examination of the tissues in the children. So, they were wrong on both counts. They had called clinical tests research tests wrong and they had said there was no ethical approval for the research tests that formed part of The Lancet paper, wrong also. So the major conviction against me, against my two colleagues was that there were tests being done that were researched that didn‟t have ethical approval and they were wrong on both counts.”
Dr. Wakefield on The Lancet publisher’s Conflict-Of-Interest: “..when you look at The Lancet, it‟s owned by Elsevier, the publisher is Elsevier and there has been a very interesting article on (inaudible 44:05) autism which looks at the links between Elsevier, its chairman and his board position on Glaxo SmithKline.
DM: And Elsevier is a massive publisher. Perhaps the largest publisher of medical journals in the world. I mean, they have hundreds of hundreds of different journals that they publish, The Lancet being one of them.”
Dr. Wakefield on Dr. Offit (one of many things): “So let‟s just put Dr. Offit in the frame, in saying what I‟m going to say, I have offered on several occasions by recorded delivery and mail to debate Dr. Offit in public at any time in any place of his choosing and that he has never taken me up on. And I don‟t suppose that he is going to. Let‟s just characterize Dr. Offit‟s sense of proportion and due diligence in what he says. For example, in his book about false prophets, Autism and False Prophets, he claimed that I had made the recommendation to use single vaccines in the UK in February 1998 when the single vaccines were not available. They were. I would not have made the recommendation had they not been. If you Google that. If you put in „withdrawal single vaccines UK‟ into Google, the first website that comes up gives you the precise date on which they were withdrawn in the fall of that year; six months beyond what I had said. That is all Dr. Offit had to do to check his facts. That was all he had to do.
DM: Use Google.
DW: He did not do it. Instead, he decided to go into his book, go into print and defame me by suggesting that I would make a recommendation which was in effect unethical. So that is a measure if you like of Dr. Offit‟s application to the task at hand. Now we come to your specific question about the use of 10,000 which I think he‟s now revised to a hundred thousand vaccine antigens on one day. This is based upon a theoretical study that he did looking at the sort of genetic variability of the genes responsible for antibody production and saying, well, based upon
the number that we have available; we should be able to produce this number of antibodies. That is an entirely theoretical mathematical piece of jiggery pokery. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the real world and it‟s bizarre that he would go out there and say that. That really, really worries me from a safety standpoint.
If you just take for example, MMR and you add in the varicella vaccine, the chickenpox vaccine, MMRV as ProQuad what happens is you double the rate of convulsions as an adverse reaction.”
Dr. Wakefield on Mumps and Chickenpox Vaccines (Note to Pancreatitis Sufferers…): “They did a study and they said there is no need. Mumps is a trivial disease in children; we do not need this vaccine. Exactly the same happened in the UK. The Department of Health, the Medicines Control Agency, the regulators in the UK said, this is a trivial disease in children. We do not need a mumps vaccine. But it got in. It got in and there is a story behind this that will be published in a book by Patrick Tearney that will be coming out sometime later, hopefully this year. What they did is they got the vaccine into the program. Now, the problem has been that the mumps vaccine does not work. It does not protect enough people in the first instance and those that it does protect, the protection does not last. Now, they foresaw this problem…
The mumps vaccine, the antibody levels, the protection levels fall off very quickly and they had anticipated this. They said, here is the problem, if the vaccine does not work, its called secondary failure, the antibody levels falling off the protection diminishing over time, then we are turning a trivial disease in children into a potentially more dangerous disease in adults because you and I know and people out there know that mumps in adult males can cause testicular inflammation and sterility. It can cause other problems.
DW: Orchitis. So there was the risk. If they introduced this vaccine, is there going to be a long term problem because they‟re taking a trivial disease and turning it into a more dangerous disease. That is exactly what‟s happened. So we‟re now seeing outbreaks of mumps in highly
vaccinated populations; populations of people who have received not one but two doses and more because reboosting them with another vaccine doesn‟t work.
DM: That‟s a very important point. I wonder if you could just review that again. So your suggestion is that if you have a population that is not vaccinated, their likelihood of getting mumps as an adult is much lower than a population that was.
DW: That‟s right because if they caught it as children, if they caught it as infants, they‟ve had a mild trivial dose of mumps, they developed lifelong immunity and therefore they are immune.
DM: So the natural immunity that they would typically get in a community that hadn‟t been vaccinated is going to be far superior and prevent essentially eliminate the only known dangerous complication of mumps which is this testicular inflammation and swelling which is going to lead to infertility.
DW: I mean there are other problems as well, we have pancreatitis…
DM: Well, that‟s the major one.
DW: Absolutely, that‟s the major one. So you have effectively taken a trivial disease and by vaccinating, you have turned it into a more dangerous disease. Now, they are in a real mess. They are in a real mess because one dose of MMR doesn‟t prevent it. Two doses of MMR don‟t prevent it; three doses. You are creating a population that is dependent upon reboosting with vaccines for the rest of their lives to avoid this complication, a man-made complication.”
DM: And isn‟t that convenient and isn‟t that perhaps the model that they‟re using to have this, create a problem with a very solution that they‟re proposing that requires continuous use of that solution which massively and exponentially increases their profits because the demand for the solution goes to the roof. This is just one disease, mumps. This hasn‟t even been studied for the other diseases and the all the ones that are in the pipeline.
DW: Was there a conspiracy to anticipate that, I don‟t know. You never substitute conspiracy for incompetence. I think they made a huge error.
DM: That‟s a good point.
DW: There was incompetence. They were incompetent. They were so zealous. So urgently needed to get this vaccine into the market that they ignored the potential problems and now we have a big, big problem. Mumps vaccine is a dangerous vaccine. It does not work.
DM: It‟s hard to imagine there was incompetence on the drug companies. Certainly, in the regulatory agencies, they may not have looked at it carefully or thought it through but the drug companies are the ones that are going to benefit from the increased use of this. Maybe they didn‟t know at the time. I guess you give them a benefit of the doubt but they are certainly that ones that are benefitting.
DW: I think there is no doubt that if you create a population that‟s dependent upon boosting and boosting and boosting on a regular basis with vaccines, your volume of sales is going go up dramatically. So there is benefit. My concern is that this madness has to be curtailed. It has to be stopped. There has to be an injection of common sense into the whole regulatory process. It‟s not there at the moment. It‟s not there. And we‟re seeing mumps epidemics occurring all around the developed world as a consequence of this. So in blaming it on Barbara Loe Fisher and NVIC is utter nonsense.
DM: Are there any other diseases that are similar to mumps that you can see or predict or project that maybe an issue coming down the road?
DW: I think the one that concerns me most in that respect is chickenpox. I have real concerns about a chickenpox vaccine that may produce the same effects because chickenpox, for the great majority of children, is a mild disease.
DM: Similar to mumps.
DW: Similar to mumps. Chickenpox in adults is not. Chickenpox in adults can be an extremely severe disease producing inflammation of the brain, a major problem. So if you are again displacing the age of susceptibility to an older age because you vaccinated and the vaccine does not work over a long period then you‟ve got major problems. And there are other issues with chickenpox vaccine that go beyond that. We‟re now seeing shingles in children. We‟re seeing shingles in adults because they‟re not getting the natural reexposure in the community to children who are infected with chickenpox, that natural boosting of immunity over time. So, if I were to single out a vaccine that I would be particularly concerned about and certainly deserves long term study, it would be the chickenpox vaccine.”
Dr. Mercola and Dr. Wakefield on Hepatitis B Vaccination of Newborns and Safety Studies: ” DM[Mercola]: So another concern certainly one of my significant concerns is the absolute ludicrous insanity of recommending that a child, a newborn, harmless, innocent child be given hepatitis B vaccine on the day they were born. This is a disease that is really only blood borne so it has to be get in by getting a transfusion or through having sexual intercourse. There is no really other known routes of exposure except from getting it from the mother which is easily, if they were that concerned about it, they could just do a blood test and find out if the mother has it and then if she does, then you can give the child a vaccine. But that‟s not being done. Its being done… most of the newborns in this country even unknown to the parents are…well the child is taken away in the nursery and is given a shot, they‟re not even asked. So, to me this is insanity and actually, if you‟re vigilant about it you can refuse it but you have to be very, very careful and know that before. So I‟m wondering if you could comment on hepatitis B.
DW: This is a huge issue. I mean, quite apart from the fact you could make a very good case for hepatitis B immunization given the endemic nature of this disease and the high mortality and morbidity worldwide, coming down to the specific issue…
DM: I mean, you‟re trained as a gastroenterologist, you‟re particular qualified to address this.
DW: Coming down to the issue of giving it on day one of life, there are several issues that surround that. The first is when we did this primate study giving that hepatitis B vaccine on day one. We looked for the safety studies of that policy. What had been done to establish the safety of giving it on day one? Not just giving it on day one but giving it on day one to every infant whether they were born at 24 weeks or 30 weeks or 36 weeks or 40 weeks, whatever their gestational…their birth weight was, whether they were 10 lbs or 3 lbs or 2 lbs, they were getting the same shot at day one as a matter of policy. Safety studies…
DW: We couldn‟t find them. And that was really shocking, really shocking. How could this be? If you‟re going to make a case for it, if you‟re going to do it, you‟re going to make it a matter of policy for every kid in the country then you‟ve got to be absolutely certain that you got the safety set that is right because if not, you may produce insidious problems, minor degrees of damage which you don‟t pick up straight away but are catastrophic later on. So you better make sure you‟ve done the homework and they hadn‟t.”
Dr. Wakefield on the Vaccination Schedule and particularly concern for Newborns and Mothers too exhausted to speak up: “So here is a mother who has just been through 24, 48 hours of labor, who is absolutely exhausted, is not in a position to give informed consent, is simply not in a position to do it. They‟re not even asked in many cases. As you say, the child is just taken away because its policy. Now this has got to stop. That is criminal assault and that has got to stop. There has got to be some degree of legal control over that process because that mother is not in a position to give fully informed consent and as often, as you point out, never asked. So there are separate issues here; one about the safety profiling of this whole process and the other is about the policy issue that surrounds how it‟s done.” [My own note: With my sons, their father and I made it clear no hospital personnel had our consent to take the child from the room without one of us present, no matter what. We also informed them they did not have our permission to inject any vaccine into our child. When asked when we would “comply,” we stated our rights for exemption. In the case of my oldest son, I simply said that we would vaccinate at a later date since I was still exploring the information on vaccines. They had us sign waivers and that was that. As for insisting on being present (except in emergency surgery procedures), they couldn’t stand in our way.]
Dr. Wakefield on Mandatory Vaccination: “..just as a sort of reflection on the General Medical Council, I was called unethical and I just wanted to make the point that as you say, ethics is about fully informed consent, truly informed consent and I have never done anything without informed consent. So I adhered to the ethical codes throughout. It‟s particularly alarming to hear talk about mandatory vaccination. Mandatory vaccination itself is a reflection of the failure of the process. If you have to mandate a vaccination, if you have not got the will of the people, if you have not got the confidence of the people in your vaccination policy and therefore you have to mandate it, you have to coerce people, you have to threaten them with not going to school or no social welfare. Then you have failed. You have completely failed in your aim to gain the confidence of the public in your public health policy. So it‟s a reflection ironically of the failure of the system, the need to mandate the process. I am completely and utterly against the idea that you can take the rights of the parent away for the care of their child, for the decisions made in the context of what their child should and shouldn‟t have and hand them over to the State.”
Dr. Wakefield shares about a nurse whose child has autism: “One of the most telling cases I ever came across was a mother at a meeting, a mother of an autistic child and her job had been as a nurse to take the children who had been made wards of court because their parents wouldn‟t vaccinate them and vaccinate those children; to forcibly vaccinate those children. To take them from their parents and give them the shot because their parents had voluntarily decided not to and the government had intervened and determined that it had the right. And what had happened to her in the cruelest of ironies is that her child had regressed after a vaccine and become profoundly autistic. She has to live with that knowledge for the rest of her life. That she did that. That she was part of the that system that encouraged, that endorsed that process which is more reminiscent of Stalinist Russia than it is of latter day America.”
Dr. Wakefield on Informed Consent and Pediatrician Involvement in the issues: “I feel extremely sorry and then concerned for pediatricians as a group in as much that they have been driven down a path largely by the insurance industry where they‟ll be remunerated for five minutes, or 10 minutes or a brief consult and within that time, you‟ve almost got your pen in your hand to write the script or to give the vaccine. So, you are dependent in order to make an adequate living on getting information from the CDC, from the AAP, from all of these people and believing in that information and acting on that information but not being in a position to go away and assimilate it yourself.
Now, I don‟t believe that. I think that if people were really concerned, they would actually go and read these papers and come to their own determination of what was right and what was wrong and what to believe and what not to believe. An example of this was we wrote a paper recently in response to Dr. Ari Brown who is a proponent of vaccines and a spokesman for the Immunization Action Coalition which was utter nonsense. It was a written for the people. It was to explain why vaccines are safe but it was I‟m afraid factually, totally inaccurate and scientifically bereft of any common sense at all. And when we wrote a response to this and does that get out to the pediatricians? Do they see that? Is that the leaflet the parents pick out when they go into the doctors? No. But it should be because that is truly the essence of informed consent is to look at the pros and cons.”
Dr. Wakefield on pro and anti-vaccine arguments: “So, the other thing to say is this pro and anti-vaccine argument, its interesting there was a recall of Toyota cars recently because there were safety concerns about jamming of the gas pedal. Were the people who called for the withdrawal of those cars anti-car? I don‟t think so. They weren‟t anti-car at all. They were concerned about people crashing and dying on the freeway. So that doesn‟t make them anti-car and so dichotomizing this argument into pro and anti-vaccine makes no sense at all, absolutely none.”
To read the whole transcript of the interview from Dr. Mercola’s website: Transcript
To support Dr. Andrew Wakefield: Petition