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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 The paper was retracted by Lancet, and around the same time the UK’s medical regulator revoked Wakefield’s license for a series of ethical violations.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.

  • J.M. and Jay Kanta are paid Pharmaceutical industry shills/ trolls. Their limited, repetitive, propagandized attempt at answers is now so pathetic and desperate that even real pro-vaccination enthusiasts can see they are floundering. Continue telling the truth without responding to them, that way, they won’t be paid as much! Much love Andy!

    • I earn no income from these comments. I never have, never will.

      I comment here because it is supposed to be based on the best science and evidence, which is something that the anti-vax minions do NOT have.

      They have no real education in science, no real education in methodologies, no real education in how to read scientific studies or evaluate them for credibility and repeatability.

      For instance, Heidi, here, is subscribed to every anti-vax page on Facebook, but she herself has no education in medicine or science.

      This is why people like myself are so necessary to counter the blathering nonsense of the anti-vax minions.

    • Ha ha Heidi.

      You think someone who proves your silly conspiracies wrong must be paid pharma shills!?

      You might want to tighten that tin-foil hat.

  • Interesting, how you represented the movie VaxXed, when it’s the chronicle of a whistleblowing senior CDC scientist’s admission of an egregious breach of the public trust, in the conscious coverup of data showing a strong correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    • Ah, I should have known it would be you, the crazed anti-vax blogger, that has been sending your little minions to attack the page.

      When are you ever going to try to publish real research, Mr. non-scientist?

  • Hey, the appropriate description for this man is not “vaccine skeptic” but “lying, thieving mass-murderer.” His data have been disproven and utterly rejected. Vaccines DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM. You are collaborating with an effort to destroy 100 years of scientific advances if you call this man merely a “skeptic.”

    • Andrew Wakefield’s data – and he was working with 12 other physicians and researchers – has never been disproven – rejected, yes, by a panel excoriated by the appellate judge who heard one of the cases for its lack of judgement and invalid assessment of the facts of the case, but not disproven. Even the editor-in-chief of the journal which first published then retracted the infamous paper testified at the General Medical Council hearing that the science of the paper was good.

    • Too bad SS has to lie, but it’s his standard procedure.

      Wakefield’s data was manipulated and fraudulent. There is no reason to “disprove” it at all, it can’t be replicated.

      But you’re not a scientist, SS, so you wouldn’t understand, which is typical for your kind.

    • “Even the editor-in-chief of the journal which first published then retracted the infamous paper testified at the General Medical Council hearing that the science of the paper was good.”

      A complete and utter lie.

  • You can present as many articles as you like picking apart Dr. Wakefield’s work. The fact remains that there are hundreds of thousands of parents out there who can verify the damage done by the MMR and other vaccines. They are all over the internet and there appears to be a slow awakening among my acquaintances as they recall exactly when their childrens’ health problems started. While I’m no fan of Trump, it is true that the media cover up this issue, and if the only person who will take vaccine safety seriously and fight for transparency on this topic is the new President, then I will consider him a hero. At this stage it seems only a president can stop this ever-increasing assault on the health of children worldwide.

    • As an individual growing up in te 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, it is quite obvious that the younger generation has been brainwashed to “fear’ these diseases..I had them all and as a result, my immune system is stronger for it.I never get sick. Andrew Wakefield is a upright,highly intelligent man who would be an asset to the Vaccine Safety Commission. The CDC has committed fraud for decades.

  • My daughter was brain injured in 1989 by her DPT shot, we were holding town hall meetings raising awareness of vaccine dangers waaaaay, before I had even heard about Andrew Wakefield. More and more doctors, health care professionals and parents are speaking out. The emporer has no clothes, and slanted, one sided freak outs by the MSM will not hold back this movement. A reckoning is coming. Subponea Bill Thompson, no more poisoning our children. Bring on 2017!!!

    • DPT was suspected, but never really confirmed, as causing slightly raised rates of encephalitis. Too bad your kind have no evidence.

    • The sort of “brain injury” that was erroneously attributed to DPT and which sparked the modern anti-vaccine movement has been shown by independent groups of researchers on several continents to be due to pre-existing mutations rather than to vaccination. Here’s a brief primer: Doja A. Genetics and the myth of vaccine encephalopathy. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2008 Sep;13(7):597-9.

    • Peta, did you file a case report with Vaccine Court? Your attorney’s fees would be covered, win or lose.

  • Dr Wakefield was not fraudulent at all. Do your research and stop the slander. Not is he the father of the anti-vaccine movement. That started back with the very first smallpox vaccine. Again, you need to actually look behind the rubbish to find truth

    • Wakefield intentionally manipulated the pathology reports, which is well documented in peer-reviewed documents. He also accepted funds for his “research” that he neglected to declare. Then he also ordered spinal taps on special needs children without IRB approval.

      All of that indicates he’s an unethical disgusting individual.

  • what an one sided lot of negative propaganda writing against a man that is not what you portray here. the harmed and vaccine damaged kid’s parents started questioning and that is how anti vaccine started. dont lie and say he started it. you are not worthy of writing if you produce exaggerated nonsense. vaccines are not safe for all.

    • His false data gave fuel to the anti-vaccine movement, which has been around since vaccines first started, denying the worth of vaccines. Now the anti-vaxxers are clearer: they would prefer to have dead children instead of autistic children, EVEN THOUGH VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM. So the solution here is for anti-vaxxers to NEVER HAVE CHILDREN, because they only abuse them.

  • Thanks for posting Andy’s periscope link of the inaugural ball. That was the only useful thing in your garbled invective you yellow journalist. What has happened to honest journalism????

  • What the Wakefield critics don’t tell you is that the study was coauthored by 12 other scientists and the paper made no conclusion whatsoever between MMR and autism.

    Wakefield’s paper was a “Case Series”, which is not a hypothesis testing paper. He simply took the doctors referrals, treated the disease and reported the information provided by the parents, the referring doctors and the outcomes of his investigations. Also, his 19 other papers were never retracted, and the investigations into gastrointestinal disease has been replicated multiple times around the world. The study involved a group of children who had presented with gastric complications, the parents of whom had approached Wakefield (the top gastroenterologist in the UK at the time) and his research team to try and assist them with their children’s condition, which is exactly what they did During this investigation 8 of the 12 parents revealed that these symptoms, along with the so-called autistic regression had started coincidentally with the administering of the MMR vaccine and what the scientists discovered was that when they treated the bowel disorders, the neurological and behavioural aberrations were similarly ameliorated.

    They thus concluded that there should be further study into the MMR vaccine as the claims of the parents had seemingly turned out to be valid.
    It was also recommended that instead of continuing the combined vaccine protocol, the GMC should perhaps revert to the single shot mumps, measles and rubella vaccines until conclusive studies had been undertaken on the combined MMR vaccine.

    Where in any of that does it show that Wakefied was making a causal link? It was simply never stated – ever. In fact, Wakefield was advocating vaccine alternatives – he was pro-vaccine but pro SAFE vaccines.

    Merck, who owned the exclusive licence (and obviously the British monopoly) for the MMR vaccine brooked no debate about withdrawing it for further study and the GMC backed this decision, in fact they actually went as far as to remove the single shot vaccine option altogether which had, up until the time of the Wakefield study, been available. Once this had been published, the single shot vaccines were no longer commercially available in the national vaccine programme.
    Coincidence?

    It is of interest that the person that retracted the study, Sir Crispin Davis, was making a large salary in a non-executive director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. The “investigation” was funded by The Sunday Times whose owner at the time, Rupert Murdoch’s son James, was making a large salary in his director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. In the 1998 press conference Andrew Wakefield recommended using the monovalent measles vaccine option that had a safety record dating back to the late 60s, so he actually recommended vaccinating against measles. Unless you’re going to tell us that Andrew Wakefield was psychic, why isn’t the NHS for removing said option from the schedule over six months later at the request. Dr Walker Smith worked in the same capacity as Wakefield and was exonerated.

    The GMC proceeding was a multi-year, multi-million dollar prosecution against Drs. Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch. Based on the GMC prosecution, both Drs. Walker-Smith and Wakefield lost their licenses to practice and the Lancet article was officially retracted. The GMC alleged that the physician-authors had failed to obtain necessary ethical clearances and that they had subjected the twelve children in the study to unnecessary medical procedures.Justice John Mitting, in Case No: CO/7039/2010 in the Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, ruled on the appeal by Walker-Smith, saying that the GMC “panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it.” He said that its conclusions were based on “inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion.”

    Dr. Walker-Smith’s professional insurance coverage paid for his appeal; Dr. Wakefield’s insurance carrier would not.

    • “Dr. Walker-Smith’s professional insurance coverage paid for his appeal; Dr. Wakefield’s insurance carrier would not.”

      Indeed–but you left out that they had the same insurance carrier, which would not support Wakefield’s appeal because it was clear that he could not prevail.

    • The Royal Free Hospital, which employed Wakefield as a researcher, offered to fully fund a large study which would have allowed Wakefield to confirm or refute the controversial findings from the small Lancet study. Wakefield chose to walk away–and now we know why. Wakefield fraudulently manipulated the data in the Lancet paper.

      As the editors of the BMJ wrote:

      “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.]

    • “Wakefield simply took the doctors referrals, treated the disease and reported the information …”

      Really? Because Wakefield was never licensed to treat patients. He’s not even Dr. Wakefield per British convention. Surgeons are called “Mr.” in the UK.

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