A panel in Great Britain has ruled that the doctor who published a 1998 study that challenged the safety of vaccines acted unethically in his attempts to test whether the shots put children at risk for autism.
The General Medical Council didn’t look into the purported link shots/autism link — that study has long since been discredited. Rather, it looked into Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s research methodology and found that he acted with “callous disregard for the distress and pain the children might suffer.”
Wakefield was found to have performed invasive tests, such as spinal taps, on children, despite the fact that such tests weren’t in the best clinical interest of those children. They also found he had neither ethical approval — nor the relevant qualifications! — to perform these tests.
He also failed to disclose that he had been paid by representatives on behalf of parents who suspected their children had been harmed by MMR shots.
Two of Wakefield’s colleagues were also implicated in the probe.
More than a decade ago, Wakefield suggested in a study that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, causing more than a decade-long drop in the shots and new outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella.
His findings — long since discredited — sparked heated debates in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, among other rich nations, over whether immunizations were responsible for increased reports of autism around the world.
Wakefield continues to defend himself, saying doubters should review the proceedings to determine whether they were fair. He said the science should continue in earnest.
Many parents continue to support the doctor and a crowd of them showed up to the public reading of the GMC’s findings. A number of them shouted in outrage as the panel’s leader read out the results of their investigations.
It’s interesting — not to mention alarming — that despite his study having been discredited and the journal that originally published it, “Lancet,” had long since apologized for its publication, that negative attitudes about vaccines continue.
What keeps parents from immunizing their kids? If you’ve been reluctant — or downright refused to get your kids shots — I’m curious why? What is the lingering doubt? Or do you support Wakefield, his research and his methodology?