Vaccines: Part 1 The Wakefield Saga

Introduction

I thought the subject of cancer was a subject not dissimilar to putting ones hand in a raging fire, but the topic of vaccines and their supposed association with adverse events is still raging in the media with a ferocity of putting one’s whole body in the fire.  

The last fiery event occurred when filmmakers unleashed the documentary called ‘Vaxxed’ where Robert De Niro the actor, who was pressured in removing the controversial film from a film festival called Tribeca that he was involved with some months ago.

What is most talked about is the associative link between vaccines and autism, specifically the MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella) vaccine.

Robert de Niro who has an autistic son, stated in an interview, that he believed that there was a causative link between vaccines and autism.

Like all my articles I stay neutral until I am satisfied that there is enough scientific evidence before jumping on anybody’s bandwagon.

We must begin our discussion with Dr Jeremy Wakefield, a British former gastroenterologist and medical researcher, who was relieved of his position of doctor from the UK’s medical register for helping publish a ‘fraudulent research’ ( as posited by the UK’s General medical Council, the official medical regulator for medical professionals) paper in 1998, specifying a possible link between the MMR vaccine and Autism.

In 2010 ( the analysis of the paper by the medical council began in 2004), the General Medical council submitted its summation that the research paper was found to have been conducted improperly, unethically, detailing dozens of egregious transgressions, stripping Wakefield and Walker Smith’s the right to practice medicine citing gross professional misconduct.


 

The Wakefield Story

A research paper that was published in the British Medical journal the Lancet in 1998 by Dr Wakefield and stayed there until 2010 when it was retracted.

This research was simply a ‘case series’ or observational study into several children that were developing normally, and after they had received the MMR vaccine regressed into abnormal behaviour and contracted abnormal physiological symptoms.  

Dr Wakefield was joined by 12 other doctors including the eminent JA Walker Smith in helping publish this research paper.  

The summary of the paper analyzed 12 children between the ages of 3-10 who were referred to the paediatric gastroenterology unit of the paediatric bowel unit of the Royal Free hospital in Hampsted North London between July 1996 and Feb 1997, with a history of normal development but were then given the MMR vaccination.

What followed was a loss of acquired skills ( language ), diarrhoea and abdominal pain in the children.   

After a series of tests ( gastroenterological, neurological assessments etc) including biochemical, haematological and immunological profiles, the parents attested that these problems were associated with the MMR vaccine in 8 of the children, measles infection in one child, and Otitis Media (inflammation of the middle ear) in another.  

All children had intestinal abnormalities including Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia (small nodules in the gastrointestinal tract ), and Aphthoid Ulceration (ulcerated nodules in the colon associated with Crohn’s colitis). Behavioural disorders (Autism) found in 9 of the children.  

Disintegrative psychosis (referred to as Heller’s syndrome or Childhood Disintegrative Psychosis), a rare condition where delays in development or even reversal in language , social function and motor skills were witnessed  in 1 of the children and in 2, possible Postviral or Vaccinal Encephalitis (brain neurological damage).


Publication of the Observational Study Outcome

Soon after the paper was published a sustained campaign against the vaccine was unleashed and a huge vote of non confidence within the ranks of the general public and as expected UK vaccination rates plummeted.  

In the US an anti-vaccine movement developed almost overnight after Wakefield attended several autism conferences, also appearing on the CBS 60 minutes show and the British press the next day published new articles with headlines:

DOCTORS LINK AUTISM TO MMR VACCINE AND BAN THREE-IN-ONE JAB, URGE DOCTORS AFTER NEW FEARS.’  

Ironically 10 of the 12 co-authors made a retraction soon after the original 1998 paper was published  saying that

‘no causal link was established between the MMR vaccine and autism as the data was insufficient’.  

The lancet soon followed up with a comment that Wakefield et al had failed to disclose financial ties with lawyers who funded the research, and who were engaged by the parents of the children.


An Answer that Fits Reality… Perhaps

At the time, in the US, health officials were recommending 35 childhood vaccines by the age of 6, but autism was on the rise as well, in California autism rates had risen from 6.2/10,000 births in 1990 to 42.5/10,000 births in 2001, as well as a rise in measles outbreaks, because more and more parents were refusing the MMR vaccine.  

In 2002 a pathologist John O’Leary of Coombe women’s hospital in Dublin said that he had found RNA from the measles virus in 7% of normal children, and 82% of those 7% were autistic.

A biologist in Utah University reported that he had also found unusually high measle virus antibodies in the blood and spinal fluid of autistic children, and in 2003 gastroenterologist Arthur Krigsman working at the New York University school of medicine found 40 autistic children had severely inflamed guts.

The Lancet Removes the Published Article in 2010

According to to an article published by the NCBI in 2011 the Lancet retracted the research paper in 2010, admitting that several elements in the paper were incorrect, and that Wakefield at al were found guilty of ethical violations by conducting invasive investigations on children, without proper ethical clearance and scientific sampling was consecutive when in fact it was selective.


The Aftermath of the Wakefield Scandal

Some years later Wakefield gave up his appeal process to get reinstated as a Doctor, but co-author Walker Smith who at the time was well known as the ‘father of pediatric gastroenterology’ appealed to the British High Court, not to reinstate his medical status since he was a 73 retiree, but to reestablish his reputation.

After the in-depth examination of all the evidence the Court of Appeal threw out all charges of misconduct and cited that the charges were an abomination.  

They also concluded that the medical council’s ruling was odd, untenable, unsustainable and inadequate.

The court expressed amazement in the serious weakness of the government’s reasoning and failed in its duty to do justice ignoring awkward facts that did not support its case, and produced findings based on distorted summaries.

As a result the court ordered the regulator to reinstate Dr Walker Smith, and for the regulator to ‘clean up its own act’.  

The mystery however, is that Wakefield did not join Walker Smith in the appeals process in an attempt to recover his medical license.

The appeal process overturns the Medical council regulator’s findings

In terms of the appeal, the research conducted by these 13 men was exonerated and the regulator chastened.

The original plan was to conduct 2 studies, but only one was completed, where separate criteria was established for both studies and results from the first study would be fed into study 2.  

The twist and somewhat bizarre circumstances surrounding the charges against the 13 authors from the regulators was that the regulator claimed they were working on the second study that required different ethical guidelines and it was this weird charge that led to the fraudulent charges.  

This repudiation of the regulator and exoneration of the research is not widely published so very few are aware of it….I wonder why, do a google search and you will find very few references to the repudiation/exoneration outcome, but do a search of fraudulent Wakefield and you will find thousands ( Maybe Mike Adams has a point toward controlled media ).

Missteps and mistakes that possibly led to Dr Wakefield’s undoing

Clearly, a bright intellectual individual, morally correct and a strong obligation to protect children from harm, that unfortunately released the wrath of the medical industry, who take no prisoners if their territory or source of revenue is under threat..like it or leave it that is how the real world has been allowed to develop.  

Dr Wakefield knew perfectly well that once this observational study was published and any association or any mention negatively with a pharmaceutical substance ( Vaccines in this case ) would unleash a negative backlash from the conventional Medical establishment.  

If Wakefield and his team of co-authors were going to put their names against a publication, placing any pharmaceutical substance in a bad light, they had to be appropriately prepared.  

Prior to its publication, he had read all of the clinical trial data on the MMR vaccine and produced a 250 page report..as he states

“I reviewed all of the safety reports on the single measles and combined MMR vaccines and if I was going to challenge the status quo I needed to be in a position that I knew what I was talking about and ‘pick up the gauntlet’.

As he went on to say, he was appalled at the quality of the safety study’s that he reviewed, and that he was no longer in a position to support these combined vaccines, but vigorously support the single vaccine versions.

At this stage Larry Zuckerman the dean of the medical school at the University of London decided he was going to hold a press conference in Feb 1989, but Wakefield wrote a letter to Zuckerman suggesting that this was not a good idea,  since we don’t want to get into the vaccine issue, but if you want to ahead with the press conference leave me out of it.  

The press conference went ahead with Wakefield in attendance and as soon as the vaccine issue was raised the question was fielded to Wakefield who responded accordingly ( as stated above).

Wakefield did not help his plight by continuing to appear in particular venues such as Autism conferences and ’60 minutes’ and to be drawn in as a litigation expert on vaccines.  

As British journalist Brian Deer, who pursued a public interest investigation on behalf of the British newspaper the Sunday Times, British TV’s Channel 4 and the British Medical Journal ( BMJ ) also uncovered various conflicting issues.  

According to Deer he claimed that Richard Barr a ‘jobbing solicitor’ ( jobbing is loosely defined as to complete a specific piece of work) hired Wakefield as a litigator’s expert witness in his effort to raise a speculative class action lawsuit against the drug companies who manufactured the MMR vaccine.

It is further claimed in 2006 by Deer that Barr paid Wakefield from a UK legal aid fund ( a UK legal aid fund providing judicial access for the poor) 150 pound/hour to a total tune of 453,643 pounds ($ 750,000 US ) plus expenses.

Deer also claimed that Wakefield received an additional 55,000 pounds which Wakefield had applied for in June 1996 to conduct the research, and that this amount was part of a bigger pot of 26.2 million pounds ($56 million US at 2014 prices) of taxpayer money, eventually shared among a group of doctors and lawyers directed by the Barr/Wakefield ‘partnership’.

It was further reported as part of Deer’s investigation that in June 1997 ( almost 9 months before the press conference ) Wakefield filed a product patent that included a single measles vaccine which would be supported if the MMR vaccine was proven to be problematic.


Dr Wakefield’s Position on Vaccines

 

 

As Wakefield has always advocated he only wanted to protect the safety of children, and was not an anti-vaccine advocate but simply an advocate of a single vaccine not the combined MMR vaccine. 

It was the UK government that tipped his hand, since they withdrew the import license for single vaccines in the UK in September 1989, taking away the children’s parents option of choosing a single vaccine on the NHS.

Furthermore, it was Wakefields recommendation against the combined MMR vaccine that was based on his review of the safety studies of the MMR and the subsequent report he produced, not the published research paper of 1998.

It was Wakefields contention that it was the UK government protecting the policy of using the MMR instead of a single vaccine as opposed to protecting the safety of vaccinated children.

The Aftermath

Wakefield and colleagues went on afterwards to publish a further 19 studies in peer reviewed journals, detailing bowel disease and colitis associated with multiple shots of the MMR vaccines that were never discussed, and according to Wakefield his original results have been replicated over the years in various countries including the US, Venezuela, and Italy.

However, in 2002 scientists led by Brent Taylor of the Royal Free ( same hospital were Wakefield had worked in) claimed that their study of 473 children found no difference in the rates of autism between MMR recipients and non MMR recipients.  

In Finland, scientists conducted a study involving 2 million children and concurred with findings of the study of 472 children at the Royal Free Hospital.  

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the US concluded from the review of 200 or so studies that a vaccine-autism link did not exist, although Republican Dave Wheldon a physician from Florida denounced the report from the IOM claiming that the report was based on ‘selective use of data to make the association of vaccines and autism disappear, engaging in a public relations campaign rather than sound science.

As I said before don’t you love to be in the real world watching the relentless scrapping between individuals never to agree to disagree, leaving the general public as confused as ever. 

For one scientist and his team to destabilise the medical status quo with the audacity to suggest a negative outcome toward our beloved vaccines is tantermount to Medical heresy.

A few hundred years ago this would be answerable to a witch burning, or even public ridicule to suppress the ‘unbeliever’.  

This is what happened to Ignaz Semmelweis  (1818-1865), a hungarian physician and Scientist while working in Vienna,  had the gaul to suggest that to reduce Puerperal fever ( a bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth) hand disinfection ( washing hands with chlorinated lime solution) should be introduced in Obstetrical clinics. 

Because Sammelweis could not provide hard scientific proof that doctors should be washing their hands,  the medical establishment attacked and ridiculed him for making such a preposterous suggestion. 

In 1865 ( the year of his death at 47) the medical skeptics claimed he had a nervous breakdown and committed him to an asylum, where he was immediately beaten by the guards, and subsequently died of Pyaemia ( a type of septicaemia ), the same condition that occurs in Puerperal Fever, from a wound on his hand that became gangrenous, as a result from the beatings.


Behind the Scenes

At some point in the 90s (96/97), the Department of Health contacted the medical school where Wakefield was conducting his research on the children, in an attempt to shut down the study on the grounds that it was unethical and that these children had autism and was it justified to be conducting examinations on them.

But the ruse of the Department of Health was that they appeared interested as well in Wakefield assisting in any future litigation against the vaccine, and for Wakefield to determine if there was a case in law against the vaccine.

Wakefield agreed to provide evidence for the purposes of protecting the children, especially if something happened to the parents and further care for these children would not be forthcoming.

Wakefield assumed that any future litigation would be drawn against the drug companies but this was not the case. 

Upon the introduction of the MMR into the UK the department of health and the government had struck a deal with one of the manufacturers of the vaccine GSK to indemnify them against litigation.

Wakefield asked the question..Why ?’

The reason was that the MMR vaccine that GSK had developed contained a strain of the Mumps virus Urabi Am9, a dangerous viral strain that caused Meningitis which was discovered in Canada and Japan ( both countries subsequently banned the MMR vaccine) when the MMR was introduced there, and was quickly withdrawn, but still used in the UK.

However, Merck at the time had a safer MMR version not containing Urabi Am9, and the French also had a safer version but the UK government wanted to buy British as contended by Dr Wakefield.  

Dr Wakefield also stated that the UK government took the safety standards of the Merck MMR and applied it to the GSK MMR so as the vaccine looked safer.  

This in theory is possible with the same drug but with a vaccine it is a different ball game in terms of development.  

Within 4 years of its introduction it had to be withdrawn because of it causing meningitis.  

Furthermore instead of this withdrawn MMR vaccine made by GSK being destroyed, it was stored for later use and then sold on to Brazil that ended up with a meningitis outbreak as a result…don’t you just love to live in our modern world..the sleazy, corrupt underbelly of a world we all call home to..I love to be in the land of the living.

Other works by Wakefield

Dr Wakefield and colleagues also conducted a study that had never been done using non human primates looking at the vaccine schedule in the 1990’s that is imposed on human infants from day 1 to pre-school booster shots.

The purpose of the study was to examine the outcome of such a schedule in terms of vaccinated children’s cognition, their intestinal and immune functions.

This type of detailed study should have been done in terms of safety but it was never done, except for individual vaccines but not the combination of all vaccines that are administered as a complete infant vaccine schedule.

The first study examined the Hepatitis B vaccine, and found the acquisition of basic life survival reflexes in the few days of early life, such as feeding, was significantly delayed in vaccinated monkeys, compared with the non vaccinated monkeys.  

The study went through peer review scrutiny but as a result of the GMC hearing where Wakefield was stripped of his license to practice medicine it was never published, in fact it was removed days after the Lancet decided to retract the infamous 1998 article in 2010.


The Story of the MMR Vaccine Becomes more Murkier

Merck approached the CDC with a Mumps vaccine, and the CDC conducted a study and confirmed there was no need for a mumps vaccine since the disease is benign in children, and this was the opinion in other parts of the world as well.

Dr Wakefield claimed that the Mumps vaccine did not work in most cases and when it did the antibody production dropped off very quickly (secondary failure), requiring another shot of vaccine, and as he said, this vaccine became part of the vaccine program despite government agencies and regulators saying there was no need for it.

The vaccine makers were aware of this problem but of course chose to run with it.

Wakefield claimed that the problem in using this vaccine, potentially converts a benign disease in children to a more dangerous disease in adults (Testicular inflammation, sterility), and supposedly the drug makers were prepared to take this risk.

What transpired, and as predicted by Wakefield, the risk turned into reality and mumps outbreaks started to become apparent within the adult population, which could have been avoided had ‘they’ decided not to vaccinate for mumps and just allowed the body to naturally build its own immunity.

So in essence, ‘they’ (government) created a population that would require mumps booster shots for the rest of their lives to prevent these mumps associated complications in adulthood.

However, isn’t this the perfect business model to sell more mumps vaccines to a population that has become dependent on it…so this was not incompetency it was a deliberate act..or maybe they just are not that smart.

As Wakefield noted, you can’t substitute conspiracy with incompetence so you be the judge, but mumps epidemics are occurring nevertheless:

West Switzerland: “Since 1991, 6 years after the recommendation of universal childhood vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR triple vaccine), Switzerland is confronted with a large number of mumps cases affecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Up to 80% of the children suffering from mumps between 1991 and 1995 had previously been vaccinated …”

Ströhle A, et al. Schweiz Med Wochenschr, 1997 Jun, 127:26, 1124-33

Without a doubt, the WHO and UNESCO will be using the single (monovalent) measles vaccine and NOT THE MMR, to vaccinate thousands and prevent outbreaks of measles in the areas of the Far East that were devastated by the Tsunamis of December 2004.

As noted in an article posted Feb 24 2017 on the CBC website entitled ‘Mumps make a comeback in Canada and the US – Viral infection in young adults poses a public health challenge.

As reported in USA Today March 10 2017 Hundreds of cases of mumps have been reported across the country since the start of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of March 4, the CDC had received reports of 1,242 cases of mumps.


Conclusion

The question now is, are there any other known viral diseases like Mumps that have had their susceptibility displaced from a childhood disease to a more dangerous adult disease.  

Wakefield believes that one candidate for this phenomena is ‘Chicken pox’ that is also a benign disease in childhood, but a more dangerous disease in adulthood such as ‘Shingles‘.  

Hepatitis B vaccines that are given on day 1 of a newly born irrespective of birthweight or gestation period without the mother’s consent.   

No Mother is provided an opportunity to at least be given any informed consent after a possible exhaustive labor process, and given the fact that this virus can only appear in the human body by blood transfusion, sexual intercourse or if the mother has it.  

The mother can have a blood test and if she has it, then administer the vaccine, but all other conditions does not warrant it.

Who knows what long term damage can occur with this unscientific policy and no safety studies have ever been done on this vaccination policy according to Wakefield.  

This is the first in the series of articles on vaccines so we will investigate further and attempt to draw some conclusions or at least provide readers with more informed decisions toward vaccination perhaps for your own children.

We will conclude the Wakefield saga in the next exciting chapter…lol.

For now, lets put the record straight, Dr Wakefield is not part of the anti-vaccination crowd, since he encouraged parents to vaccinate their children using a single vaccine for each disease, but did not support the combo version MMR, because adequate safety studies had never been conducted.

He and two other colleagues out of the 13 co-authors of the infamous study of 1998 did not agree with the retraction no causal link was established between the MMR vaccine and autism as the data was insufficient’, because this was always a possibility.

If 12 healthy children are developing normally and then suddenly the MMR vaccine was administered and within days the children began developing cognitive and physiological problems as described above; if indeed this occurred then there was a definite cause for concern.

According to Wakefield it was the parents who concluded the association with vaccine, but Wakefield always said it was a possibility ( From this data I think anyone would conclude that the coincidence is almost irrefutable and indeed a high possibility).

Despite the thousands of posts that you may read questioning Wakefields ethics and morals, he and his co-authors were exonerated by the High Court of Justice in the UK, while the UK Medical council, responsible for removing Wakefield’s license to practice medicine, was chastened and all charges were quashed, and finally the British High Court emphatically told the Medical council to’ Clean up their act’.

However, we cannot forget the blatant conflict of interest of Wakefield brokering a deal with Richard Barr the solicitor, and that subsequent studies could not replicate the vaccine-autism link.  

There is still this niggling fact that Wakefield did not join the appeals process with Walker Smith in an attempt to get his medical license reinstated.  

There are still some unanswered questions and some unsubstantiated events that may or may not have occurred.


References/Acknowledgments:

  1. Grounds for thought presents The Wakefield vaccine scandal Feb 2017 YouTube     The MMR vaccine & autism : sensation,refutation ,retraction and fraud Sathyanarayana Rao, Andrade April 2011 NCBI
  2.  Mercola Interviews Dr Wakefield 2012 YouTube
  3. Dispatches MMR : What they didn’t tell You BMJ 2004
  4. Exposed:Andrew Wakefield and the MMR autism fraud Brain Deer.com
  5. Autism : how childhood vaccines become villains Sharon Begley 2009 Newsweek
  6. Puerperal Fever, Ignaz Semmelwies Wikipedia
  7.  Dr Andy Wakefield quotes

Author: Eric Malouin