A Criminal Hoax is Coming to an End- Autism and Dr. Wakefield

The Hoax of Dr. Andrew Wakefield-
Autism and Vaccines- A Hoax Heard Round the World 
Comes to an End
How did it Work?
Who did it Hurt?
What to Do Now?

In 1998, a Dr. Andrew Wakefield published findings that launched an avalanche of worry.
In 2010, he was exposed as a charlatan, sought by British authorities, fled the United Kingdom,
and just recently stripped of his license to practice medicine in Britain.
He fled to Arizona where he has opened a clinic recently.

What was Dr. Wakefield's hoax?  What impact did he have?  Who did he hurt?
What do we do now?

The Hoax
In 1998 Dr. Wakefield published a paper in which he claimed that the measles virus in measles vaccine caused a chronic, semi-permanent infection in the guts of young children, opening their bloodstreams to toxins that caused autism.

Nearly overnight, the concept that vaccines could cause autism was borne, and spread faster than the hottest forest fire.  Within a few years, immunization rates dropped, as parents became terrified that the autism epidemic threatening them could be caused by shots.  In Denmark, about 20% of children no longer were immunized for any illness.  Measles outbreaks, once thought to be a thing of the past began erupting again in Europe and the US, the main countries that rushed to accept Dr. Wakefield's claims.

What makes Dr. Wakefield a charlatan and his claims a hoax?:
  • British authorities have established that his publication contained false data and claims.
  • The journal that published his article retracted its publication for reasons of unreliability
  • The British authorities have stripped Dr. Wakefield's medical license for the gravity of his deception http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100524/ap_on_sc/eu_britain_autism_doctor
  • Dr. Wakefield has been found by British authorities to be paid by lawyers of children with autism
  • Not a single reputable scientific investigation has been able to find any proof that Dr. Wakefield's claims were true and many such investigations found them to be false.
  • In particular, a Danish study of 500,000 children found that the 100,000 children who got no vaccinations developed autism anyway, at the same rate as the immunized kids.  Not giving immunizations spares no one from autism.
Who Did The Hoax Hurt?
The hoax hurt two groups of people:

Children and Families with Autism
It hurt these many families because it diverted precious time and resource away from finding the real cause autism towards the wasted years of chasing down Dr. Wakefield's pernicious hoax.  Instead of searching for the real cause and preventing thousands of cases of autism, the world chased the empty threat of immunizations causing autism.  And what do we have to show for over 10 years of this pointless chase- ever increasing rates of autism.
So the first victim of Dr. Wakefield were all the children who have developed autism during the years we argued about immunizations instead of finding the cause and ending this epidemic.

Children who Got Measles and Other Preventable Diseases.
Dr. Wakefield's hoax dropped immunization rates in communities across the US and Europe.
Measles and pertussis epidemics began to erupt.  Many children died.  About 0.1% of the children who got measles suffered permanent brain injury.  All thanks to Dr. Wakefield and the hysteria his hoax lit.

What to Do Now?

The most important thing to do now is to stop being fooled.
Dr. Wakefield did unethical research and launched one of the cruelest and most successful hoaxes in history.
The only way to stop the harm he has caused is to first stop believing this charlatan.
Two actions result from waking up from this vicious trance:
  1. Have your child immunized against the serious diseases that you approve he or she being protected from.  The immunizations do not cause autism.  The shadow of Dr. Wakefield needs to be cleared away by the welcome exposure to light that is happening now.
  2. Fight hard to find the actual causes of autism.  We are in the midst of an epidemic.  It is time to put the harmful and wasteful diversion of the immunization question aside and finally find the real cause for this outrageous epidemic.
Bottom Line
  • A Dr. Andrew Wakefield has been exposed as propounding unethical research
  • The hoax he launched was that immunizations cause autism.  The exposure of his fraudulence should finally end this hoax.
  • This hoax has caused the deaths and disability of many children who would have been protected by immunizations if this false fear had not been ignited.
  • This hoax caused a decade or more of delay in finding the real cause of autism, leaving thousands of children afflicted by the unknown cause
  • It is time to stop believing the false claims of this now denounced fraud.
  • It is time to leave the hysteria around immunizations aside 
    • To protect our children from preventable diseases, safely
    • To find the real cause of autism ASAP
Dr. Arthur Lavin

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