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ontroversial vaccine skeptic Andrew Wakefield attended one of President Trump’s inaugural balls late Friday, prompting a flood of mostly negative reaction on social media, with many commenters raising concerns that his discredited ideas will gain traction in the new administration.

Wakefield, who helped launch the anti-vaccine movement with a fraudulent study linking vaccines to autism, posted a Periscope video from one of the balls, calling for an overhaul of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the video, a tuxedo-clad Wakefield strolls through the ball declaring it a “very exciting time” and briefly narrates his efforts to find influential people to talk to about his proposals. “Just looking around to see if there’s anyone important here — see if I can prevail upon them to make the world a better place for children with autism, a safer place for children,” Wakefield says. “What we need now is a huge shakeup at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a huge shakeup. We need that to change dramatically.”

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Neither Wakefield nor a Trump spokesman could be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

His short video triggered instantaneous reaction on Twitter, with many commenters seizing on it as an example of the kind of people and ideas that are finding a new audience in the Trump administration. Wakefield met with Trump over the summer and later said he found him to be sympathetic to his cause. Earlier this month, Trump also met with vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who announced he will be chairing a new federal panel on vaccine safety. Trump’s aides quickly pulled back the idea of such a panel, saying no final decisions have been made.

It is unclear whether Wakefield’s appearance at the ball indicates he holds any special sway in the Trump administration. Attendance at the balls is typically limited to invited guests and dignitaries, but people can also get tickets through lawmakers and other channels.

Wakefield became an influential leader in the anti-vaccine movement when he authored a study in 1998 suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines could cause autism. The paper was retracted by Lancet, and around the same time the UK’s medical regulator revoked Wakefield’s license for a series of ethical violations.

But he has continued to pursue his ideas in other venues. Wakefield directed and also appears in the film “Vaxxed,” which strikes a paranoid tone about the “medical industrial complex” and alleges an array of conspiracies to promote vaccines. It was pulled from the Tribeca film festival but was shown in at least nine cities, including Detroit, San Francisco, and New Orleans, since its premiere last April in New York. The new film is based on Wakefield’s 2010 book  “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines — The Truth Behind a Tragedy.”

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Wakefield’s book, in which he frames himself as a truth-teller unfairly targeted by the medical establishment, has been thoroughly debunked.

“It is just terrible. If he handed it in as a term paper as an undergraduate, I wouldn’t pass him,” said Joel Harrison, a retired epidemiologist who wrote a journal article in 2013 rebutting the book’s claims, point by point.

  • First the “Wakefield study”was a case study with 13 authors

    Secondly, not a single procedures was “unnecessary,” as determined when Dr. John Walker-Smith appealed the withdrawal of his medical license. http://www.ebcala.org/areas-of-law/vaccine-law/co-author-of-lancet-mmr-autism-study-exonerated-on-all-charges-of-professional-misconduct
    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html

    And exactly ZERO of the procedures were performed by Wakefield, who was not a clinician.

    This is what the parents have to say about those evil doctors who performed those “unecessary” procedures on their children who “had not gut issues”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHrgYxqcU0w

    “We are writing to you as parents of the children who, because of their symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and associated autism, were seen at the Royal Free Hospital Gastroenterology Unit by Professor Walker-Smith and Dr. Simon Murch with the involvement of Dr. Andrew Wakefield on the research side of their investigations…. Among the many allegations made are the suggestions that the doctors acted inappropriately regarding our children, that Dr. Wakefield solicited them for research purposes, and that our children had not been referred in the usual way by their own GPs. It’s also claimed that our children were given unnecessary and invasive investigations for the purpose of research that was not in their interest. We know that this was not so. All of our children were referred to Professor Walker-Smith in the proper way so that their severe, long-standing, and distressing gastrological symptoms would be fully investigated and treated by the foremost gastroenterologists in the U.K…”

  • The GMC never accused Wakefield of fraud in their decision. Their charges tried to claim the treatments ordered by Professor John Walker-Smith were not clinically indicated. Walker-Smith’s was completely exonerated in British court. Wakefield has not been able to finance an appeal over largely the same charges.

    Charges of fraud were made by Brian Deer. Often boiling down to Deer’s interpretation of various (how did Brian Deer get access to private medical records) physician’s notes not available to Wakefield and his colleagues who took an independent history of each patient didn’t match Deer’s interpretation of what the Lancet case series report was saying.

    • “In reaching its decision, the Panel notes that the project reported in the Lancet paper was established with the purpose to investigate a postulated new syndrome and yet the Lancet paper did not describe this fact at all. Because you drafted and wrote the final version of the paper, and omitted correct information about the purpose of the study or the patient population, the Panel is satisfied that your conduct was irresponsible and dishonest.

      The Panel is satisfied that your conduct at paragraph 32.a would be considered by ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people to be dishonest.”

      Dishonesty is fraud.

      Sorry you want to try to parse words and protect a horrible quack that neglected an IRB review. I’m sorry you have to defend an unethical fraudulent clown, but perhaps you can just go back to your worthless little echo chambers.

    • In the meantime, the crux of Vaxxed, the revelations of fraud by the CDC released by CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson, is curiously not mentioned.

    • “In the meantime, the crux of Vaxxed, the revelations of fraud by the CDC released by CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson, is curiously not mentioned.”

      That’s because “Vaxxed” is based entirely on a debunked hoax. It’s assertions were proven false long before the film was even released. Brian Hooker’s paper was retracted, and when his math was done correctly, his whole argument for a vaccine-autism link fell apart. It has nothing to do with any pharma conspiracy or cover up, it’s simply doing the math correctly.

    • “The GMC never accused Wakefield of fraud in their decision.”

      Indeed, the evidence of Wakefield’s fraud emerged only after the conclusion of the GMC proceedings.

    • The editors of the BMJ (The British Medical Journal) asked:

      “Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield. Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No. A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.” [Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H. Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. BMJ. 2011 Jan 5;342:c7452.]

  • After the continued development and testing of vaccines over the decades, one question remains unanswered-

    Why do anti-vaxxers lie so much? See the comments below for dozens of examples.

    Also, some anti-vaxxers on this thread (Shawn Seigal et al.) falsely say Andrew Wakefield was never accused of fraud. Well, let’s see what his subject’s own parents say:

    “if my son really is Patient 11, then the Lancet article is simply an outright fabrication” – parent of patient 11

  • Japan freaked out as they began seeing rising accusations of autism after MMR. So they did what you anti-vaxxers want. They went with the single dose vaccines.

    Guess what? Autism rates continued on the exact same R value path. I’m sure very few of you actually understand what that means. It means that the rise of autism diagnoses continued without alteration in the slope.

    The easy conclusion? MMR has nothing to do with autism:

    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/204/suppl_1/S533.long

    Don’t worry, it’s a difficult scientific research paper and most of you anti-vaxxers couldn’t read beyond the abstract.

    • http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/05/vaccines-and-autism-what-do-epidemiological-studies-really-tell-us.html

      * Annual incidence of ASDs for children born in 1987 was 20-per-10,000, but after MMR was introduced, in 1988, annual incidence more than quadrupled, to 85.9-per-10,000 for children born in 1990.

      * But then, MMR coverage began to decline dramatically, as concerns over the mumps viral component grew. ASD incidence likewise declined during this period, to 55.8 for children born in 1991 – representing a drop of 35%.

      * Following complete discontinuation of MMR in 1993, ASD incidence rose again, this time quite dramatically, to 161-per-10,000 for children born in 1994. However, during this time the recommended schedule was changed to include three single vaccines (M-M-R, given four weeks apart), which gained widespread acceptance, causing coverage to increase significantly.

      * For all practical purposes, children vaccinated according to the new schedule were still receiving ‘M-M-R’ at around age one. Giving the three separate vaccines in such close proximity amounts to overlapping exposure, in biological terms.

  • Hopefully, the vaccine-industry scam will soon be stopped. Injecting dead pathogens – combined with other chemicals – directly into your veins does NOT help your immune system; in fact, injecting dead pathogens with other chemicals, directly into your blood – circumventing your immune system – leads to a rise in Auto-immune diseases (Autism is only one of about 105 Auto-immune diseases that are skyrocketing equally with the rising # of vaccines being injected into children).

    • Everything is chemicals.

      ” (Autism is only one of about 105 Auto-immune diseases that are skyrocketing equally with the rising # of vaccines being injected into children).”

      Autism isn’t an auto-immune disorder. Why did you have to lie?

      Also, did you know that autism has risen with a p=.99 with the rise of organic food sales?

      Don’t come here and lie. You’ll get caught.

    • Hi, Tony. Could you please list the vaccines that are injected “directly into your veins” or “directly into your blood?” Thanks.

  • BePatienz re that JAMA study you refer to
    “A recent study of almost 96,000 children showed that MMR was not associated with the risk of ASD, even among children who are at markedly increased risk because they are younger sibs of affected children”

    The Lewin Group who funded this study have strong ties to pharmaceutical companies and this was NOT a vaccinated/unvaccinated study
    “As it turns out, the Lewin Group works directly with drug corporations like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Novo Nordisk, two of which actually manufacture vaccines. The Lewin Group is also in partnership with pharmaceutical associations and organizations like the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), whose “Fact Book” claims that “governments have reasons to promote vaccination.”

    This same group advocates for the continued development of new vaccines to address infectious diseases that it claims “remain uncontrolled.” This is a clear conflict of interest because it is highly unlikely that PhRMA or any other association that works with the Lewin Group would ever play a part in producing a study that questions the safety or effectiveness of the products it markets and sells.

    It is worth noting that some of the other organizations in partnership with the Lewin Group include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, not to mention a number of other hospitals and healthcare systems that actively promote vaccines as being among the greatest public health achievements of the Twentieth Century.”

    • Pssst: The Lewin Group had absolutely NOTHING to do with funding that JAMA study.

      Why do you anti-vaxxers lie so much?

      “Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Dr Jain, Ms Marshall, and Mr Kelly report being employees of The Lewin Group. Ms Buikema and Dr Bancroft are employees of Optum. Optum is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group and The Lewin Group is an Optum company. The Lewin Group operates with editorial independence. No other disclosures are reported.

      Funding/Support: This project was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services under contract HHSN-271-2010-00033-C.”

      doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077

    • Goldy, I suppose that conflicts of interest can be found everywhere you look. You might look, for example, at a researcher who was paid by trial lawyers the equivalent four times his annual salary to support planned litigation against MMR manufacturers–especially since that researcher established companies expected to earn millions of pounds annually in “litigation driven testing” based on his fraudulent work.

      Indeed, the study that I cited compared results only between those children who had or had not received MMR, and concluded that (even among children who are clearly at markedly increased risk for ASD–due to genetic factors–because they are younger sibs of affected children) receipt of MMR did not increase the risk of ASD. That makes sense, given the mounting evidence that ASD begins to develop early in gestation, months before the administration of vaccines that scientifically-illiterate people with no knowledge of developmental biology or gene regulation have foolishly blamed for the development of ASD.

    • Goldy might not even recognize a real research paper, since I doubt she’s ever read one:

      http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.01.093

      Look at that, a homogenous population failed to find a link between MMR and autism when they cancelled the MMR in favor of single dose vaccines.

      Isn’t that what that fraud Wakefield wanted to do?

  • Sorry but Dr Wakefield’s work saved my autistic son from great suffering. I am a democrat thrilled by Trumps safe-vaccine stance. Start talking to parents instead of Pharma lobbyists.

    • Most parents know that (not a Dr.) Wakefield is a professional scam artist, just like scientists do. He lied in order to enrich himself and preys on the gullible and vulnerable.

    • “Sorry but Dr Wakefield’s work saved my autistic son from great suffering.”

      Unsupported BS claim.

  • Wow, never knew all these people were so concerned about these “special needs” children? Unecessary procedures and tests? Bowel disease and autism connected?
    While here in the U.S. the CDC told our doctors there was no bowel disease in autistic children, not because they knew that but because they didn’t want anything to back up Wakefielded hypothesis! 20 years later they would reverse that and send out memos stating autistic children suffer bowel disease at disproportionately higher rates, you have an obligation to look for and treat these conditions!
    So for 20 years U.S. docs ushered worried parents and very sick kids out of their offices without investigation or treatment. Left innocent children to suffer, live in pain, and in many cases suffer lifelong damage from the failure to treat. Tens of thousands of U.S. doctors failed in their duty, if not outright neglect and malpractice for political expediency. Funny, I saw no such feigned concern then or now for the tens of thousands of “special needs” children being neglected here. No doctor here lost their license to practice, despite neglect and maltreatment to innocent children!
    No we attack the one who listened to parents, who got treatment for their bowel issues and improved lives! Thanks to him, thousands here in America finally found a few doctors brave enough to simply treat our kids like human beings, even if we had to fly across country to find one! And our kids got better, some a whole lot better!
    Your hypocrisy is amazing, your concern for special needs kids having procedures while here they got NOTHING! All this blather would be funny if it were not so devastating to so many thousands of our children!

    • Let’s forget Wakefield’s intentions for a moment (because unless you actually know him, you could not possibly know what his intentions are/were).

      The man knowingly falsified data and published it to link a specific vaccine (MMR) to autism. Meanwhile he held a financial stake in an alternative vaccine. That is disgraceful, plain and simple.

      No, I do not respect Wakefield. But to suggest that because I don’t respect him that I am somehow a hypocrite who disregards children with genuine medical conditions is patently false.

    • You might want to review Wakefield’s pathetic, failed hypothesis [Pediatrics. 2001 May;107(5):E] regarding monovalent versus MMR vaccines and ASD:

      1. Atypical presentation of measles virus (i.e., in the polyvalent MMR vaccine) allows persistent gut infection with measles virus
      2. Persistent measles virus infection causes “leaky gut”
      3. “Leaky gut” allows unspecified “neurotoxic intestinal products” to somehow migrate to the brain
      4. The unspecified “neurotoxic intestinal products” cause autism.

      None of that is true–none of it. Carry on.

    • As my specialty is research methods and assessment, yes, I am concerned about a high visibility research paper using unethical practices in order to reach a conclusion not supported by the data, until that data was manipulated.

      I’m sorry you had to lie so much and you were lied to by quacks, but you need to move on.

    • http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/04/22/peds.2013-3995

      The CDC has not admitted that GI disorders are higher in children with autism, only that it is reported more often. This is a failure of correlation and causation.

      The above research study I linked clearly says the relationship is a “maybe” because the evidence is mostly anecdotal or poorly organized and the link between the two has not been established.

      But go ahead and make things up, it really makes the anti-vaxxers look “credible”.

    • How about the poor children from his study? He put those kids through invasive procedures that no ethical Dr. would have inflicted on them….lumbar punctures, barium meals and colonoscopies, all to line his own pockets. Wakefield has a body count for the fear he instilled into parents over MMR, and from his continuing to perpetuate his lie it’s obvious that he doesn’t give a damn about the all of the children he’s injured and killed for $$$.

  • Yet Jay Kanta, I see no science nor evidence from you. It is as though you are reading from a list of responses prepared by the PR department of the Pharmaceutical industry… Oh that’s right, you are!

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