Andrew Wakefield, his claims to the contrary, is antivaccine to the core. To be honest, I’m not sure if he was always antivaccine. After all, around 20 years ago when he was doing his “research” into whether the MMR vaccine causes autism, he was being generously funded by a barrister seeking to sue vaccine manufacturers and he was developing a competing measles vaccine (for which he filed for a patent) that would be unlikely to be profitable unless the MMR became discredited. In retrospect, knowing what I know now about these aspects of Wakefield’s “research,” I consider it highly likely that Wakefield was cynically making money where he could. However, somewhere along the line, whether it was due to the celebrity or the adulation he received from antivaccine mothers of autistic children who viewed him as a hero for giving them something to blame for their children’s condition or the lucrative nature of being an autism quack, Wakefield did become truly antivaccine. Now, he’s traveling the country promoting VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, a documentary that is in reality an antivaccine propaganda movie spewing the same old antivaccine pseudoscience coupled with the newer “CDC whistleblower” myth, to communities that can ill afford the return of vaccine-preventable diseases.

When last we left Andrew Wakefield, he was with his old friend and ally Polly Tommey and his new buddy and producer of VAXXED Del Bigtree spreading antivaccine misinformation to a largely African-American group in Compton, CA, complete with the mayor and an African-American woman featured in the film named Sheila Ealey, who believes that vaccines caused her son’s autism and buys completely into the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory. Worse, he peddled the intellectually dishonest “vaccines didn’t save us from infectious disease” gambit. His words are worth repeating here because they lead into what I’m going to discuss:

The mortality and the morbidity—that is, the illness associated with infectious disease—of virtually every infectious disease—measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, chickenpox—was coming down dramatically before vaccines were ever introduced. The morbidity and mortality from measles had come down by 99.6% before vaccines were introduced. If we had not introduced vaccines, would they have come down to zero? We’ll never know, because we intervened with vaccines, and they claim it was vaccines that caused the improvement. It was nothing to do with vaccination. OK, that may have produced an incremental improvement. Are they necessary for life? Absolutely not!

This is, of course, utter bollocks (to borrow a word from Wakefield’s native land). The sleight-of-hand is to point to declining mortality from infectious diseases, which was due to improvements in medical treatments that allowed more children to survive these diseases, with incidence of infectious diseases, which did decline markedly for each disease for which an effective vaccine was introduced at exactly the time one would expect, shortly after the widespread use of the vaccine took hold. Unfortunately, I learned recently that Wakefield just expounded on this little snippet on the VAXXED website in a little ditty called Notes on Herd Immunity from Andrew Wakefield. Basically, it’s a compilation of the “greatest hits” of antivaccine lies about herd immunity presented as a bullet list. Basically, Wakefield tries to claim that “natural” herd immunity is better than herd immunity due to vaccination and fails risibly and despicably.

So let’s look at Andy’s rationale, such as it is. Before I do, however, I can’t help but note that at no point does he provide links to his sources for his claims. For instance, Wakefield claim that in the developed world “As a consequence of natural Herd Immunity, in the developed world measles mortality had fallen by 99.6% before measles vaccines were introduced.” This is probably a not entirely unreasonable estimate of how much mortality had decreased. Then, Wakefield goes off the rails, saying, “A fall in morbidity will have paralleled the fall in mortality (mortality is the extreme of morbidity).” Um, no. You can’t make that claim. An equally plausible outcome is that, as more children survive measles, the survivors live with more morbidity. Think of it this way with another disease, polio. As more children survived polio, thanks to iron lungs, more survived to face the possibility of permanent weakness and paralysis. Mortality might well have declined, but morbidity in the survivors stayed the same or increased because more children survived to face that morbidity. Also, there is long-lasting morbidity due to measles virus infection in the form of immunosuppression that lasts two to three years after infection and predisposes to death from infectious disease. In other words, the benefits of measles vaccination go beyond just measles.

Wakefield’s claim is without evidence and rests on an assumption that is completely backwards. That’s even leaving aside the fact that getting sick is morbidity! Seriously, if you get sick with measles, even if you recover (as the vast majority do), you have suffered significant morbidity, and if there’s a vaccine suffering that morbidity is potentially preventable! Basically, Wakefield redefines morbidity as only permanent sequelae to make this deeply dishonest argument. I could much more reasonably define morbidity as being ill with vaccine-preventable disease (because that is morbidity, albeit temporary) and point out that, since the measles vaccine was introduced in the US, morbidity has declined by 99.9% and mortality by very close to 100%, while morbidity and mortality from polio have declined 100%. Meanwhile, worldwide, thanks to the measles vaccine, mortality has fallen dramatically since 2000, from an estimated 733,000 deaths in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008 to an estimated 96,000 in 2013, thanks to a worldwide vaccination program.

Let’s look at Wakefield’s “reasoning.” Wakefield makes the claim that “high dose exposure” due to natural infection (you know, complete with the replicating virus that makes you sick) results in better herd immunity:

  • High dose exposure occurs because, in the absence of viral immunity, viral replication is unimpeded in the multiple susceptible human reservoirs in which it thrives. High doses of measles virus are transmitted from one person to the next. Added to this, socioeconomic circumstances contribute to high dose exposure. This includes high population density (easy transmission) and poor antiviral defenses (e.g. low vitamins A, D, and C). An example is the ravage of measles in Confederate soldiers amassed in barracks and hospitals in the American Civil War.
  • Over time, as measles becomes endemic (constantly circulating) in a population with typical 2-yearly epidemics, Herd Immunity increases rapidly. Natural exposure leads to long term immunity. Immunity limits viral transmission and opportunities for viral replication. Concomitantly, developed countries have experienced an improvement in nutritional status and consequently antiviral immunity. Dose of exposure falls and a dramatic reduction in morbidity and mortality is observed.

I haven’t used this in a while, but truly it is appropriate now. The stupid, it burns.

Herd immunity (or the newer, more preferred term, community immunity, a term that doesn’t liken us to cattle) is not defined by morbidity and mortality of a vaccine-preventable disease. It’s defined by the incidence! Guess how many cases of measles there were in the US before the introduction of the vaccine? Between 1952 and 1963, there were an estimated 530,217 cases per year (with 440 deaths). Apparently that “natural” herd immunity didn’t work so well back then. What about now? A few hundred cases, thanks to the Disneyland measles outbreak, fewer before. That’s thanks to the measles vaccine and thanks to community immunity.

But wait, it gets stupider:

Let us look at an example of how natural Herd Immunity operated to provide age-appropriate immunity.

  • Infants less than one year of age have a limited ability to generate adequate immunity and are susceptible to serious measles infection.
  • In the pre-vaccine era mothers conferred good passive immunity on their infants by transplacental and breast milk transfer.
  • This passive immunity protected infants through a period of vulnerability until they were better able to cope with measles through the generation of their own active immunity.

Yep, that passive immunity worked so well that measles still ran rampant through the population. Just let the kids get sick after whatever passive immunity they had from breast milk wears off! And the price of that passive immunity is only a half a million sick kids a year and a few hundred deaths. What a bargain. Of course, one can’t help but point out the dichotomy here. Antivaccine activists like Wakefield will wax indignant over a single vaccine injury or death and scoff at any argument that vaccines are safe enough because only 1 in a million suffers a serious adverse event, but then will turn around with brain dead arguments that “natural immunity” is worth hundreds of deaths a year.

Now look at Wakefield’s characterization of the “vaccine era,” in which, as Wakefield tells it, “natural herd immunity” has been destroyed. Never mind that “natural herd immunity” is an oxymoron when describing one of the most easily transmissible infectious diseases out there:

  • The increasing Herd Immunity associated with natural measles and the accompanying decrease in morbidity and mortality, has been interrupted by vaccination. This makes it difficult to predict how vaccinated populations might respond to, say, a new strain of measles virus that has escaped the ‘protection’ conferred by measles vaccine (escape mutant). Because that population is not immune to the escape mutant we risk high morbidity and mortality from measles once again.
  • Vaccinated mothers do not confer adequate passive immunity upon their infants (< 1 year of age). Infants are unable to generate an adequate immune response to measles vaccine and in the absence of passive maternal immunity, are unprotected during the first year, putting them at risk of serious measles infection.
  • Unlike natural measles, measles vaccine does not provide lasting immunity and a substantial proportion of measles cases are reported in those who have been vaccinated against measles.
  • Boosting of immunity using repeated doses of measles vaccine is not sustained and falls off rapidly. The only answer to this diminishing return that is offered by the regulators and manufacturers is to give more and more vaccines. The vaccine is highly profitable in terms of volume of sales, precisely because it is inadequately effective.

There’s a whole lot of hand waving going on here which is silly in the extreme. In particular the first bullet point almost made me bleed from my ears, as the ignorance in it assaulted my neurons. If a new strain of measles virus were to evolve it would be difficult to predict how any population might respond to it because it’s a new strain. It could be more virulent, cause more harm, or be potentially more deadly, or it could be less so. There would be no way to predict a priori in a vaccinated or unvaccinated population. Also, the unvaccinated population wouldn’t be immune to the “escape mutant” either. Seriously, Wakefield isn’t even trying here, but his followers will lap this idiocy up. As for the implication that measles immunity rapidly declines, that’s not true. It lasts over 20 years after two doses of MMR, and the CDC only recommends one adult dose if there is no evidence of ongoing immunity, which implies that a significant part of the population is immune much longer than 20 years.

After dumping this load of antivaccine nonsense on us, Wakefield can’t resist moving on to the mumps vaccine. Railing against the mumps vaccine as being ineffective and referring to mumps as being a “trivial disease in children” but not trivial in post-pubertal males because of its ability to affect the testicles and cause sterility, he claims that “natural Herd Immunity” (which he inexplicably keeps capitalizing) has been destroyed by mumps vaccination. I can’t help but note that the incidence of mumps has fallen 96% since the pre-vaccination era; so Wakefield’s claim that the mumps vaccine is ineffective is, as the rest of his claims, deceptive. Truly, though, Wakefield can do an excellent Gish gallop, as he continues to do with chickenpox and shingles:

The chickenpox virus (varicella zoster) causes a mild self-limiting disease in healthy children. The virus frequently establishes latent infection in the cell bodies of sensory nerve roots where it has the potential to episodically reactivate and cause shingles, a very painful and debilitating condition. Shingles can cause blindness. Historically, shingles was an uncommon disease occurring in, for example, people with immune deficiency due to cancer or immunosuppressive drug therapy.

Reactivation of zoster is inhibited by an adequate level of immunity to this virus which, in turn, is maintained by boosting of immunity in parents and grandparents by re-exposure via children with chickenpox. Natural epidemics of chickenpox maintained Herd Immunity by ‘wild-type boosting’ (referring to the natural virus) of adults which prevented shingles in otherwise healthy individuals. This is no longer the case.

Widespread chickenpox vaccination has removed natural Herd Immunity by preventing epidemics, eliminating ‘wild-type’ boosting, and allowing immunity to fall in individuals to the point where shingles is now much more common, occurring in young, apparently healthy people. Vaccination has created a new epidemic to which Merck’s response is, ‘we’ve created a market; now let’s make a vaccine to prevent shingles.’

First of all, chickenpox is not nearly as benign a disease in children as Wakefield represents it. It can produce real complications, including:

  • bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children including Group A streptococcal infections
  • pneumonia
  • infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia)
  • bleeding problems
  • blood stream infections (sepsis)
  • dehydration

These complications can be serious enough to require hospitalization and can even cause death in otherwise healthy children. Such complications might not be common, but when large numbers of children get chickenpox, there will be these complications. Aside from that, having the chickenpox is just plain miserable. I got it when I was around seven, and its one of the few things I remember most vividly about that age because it made me so itchy, feverish, and downright sick. I still have a couple of scars from pox that I scratched open. But what’s the suffering of millions of children compared to an antivaccine ideology valuing “natural” immunity?

As for the rest of Wakefield’s argument, Skeptical Raptor does a good job of dismantling the rest of Wakefield’s argument, which is basically antivaccine boilerplate about chickenpox and shingles. First, I agree with the scaly one that it is morally repugnant to use children as a vehicle to immunize adults by maintaining a pool of infected children through not vaccinating, particularly when the cost is that some children will become very sick and some children will even die. Again, antivaccinationists, who wax so morally righteous at the thought that one in a million children receiving vaccines might have a serious adverse reaction seem unconcerned about more children (particularly the immunosuppressed) suffering and even dying to protect adults. More importantly, as our scaly friend put it:

Previously, scientists thought that the potential immune effect against shingles by recurrent chickenpox infections in children would last around 20 years. Based on real immunological and virological data from individuals, a new model of chickenpox vaccine and shingles, developed by the scientists in Belgium, shows that the effect only lasts for about two years.

So, if one could argue that putting children at risk for chickenpox just to protect adults was morally acceptable, the effect is so short-term that adults would essentially need to encounter a constant pool of chickenpox infected children. I swear this sounds like some surreal post-apocalyptic movie running on Netflix.

Of course, nuance is not what Wakefield is about. Fear mongering is. Yes, vaccinating against varicella (the virus that causes chickenpox) could temporarily increase the incidence of shingles in younger adults. However, vaccinated children who don’t get chickenpox, thanks to the vaccine, will never have to worry about getting shingles. These are the sorts of trade-offs that real public health officials, real physicians, and real infectious disease efforts consider while evaluating evidence that ideologues like Wakefield completely ignore.

Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey, Del Bigtree, and the rest of Wakefield’s crew might tell themselves they are “vaccine safety advocates,” but in reality they are clearly antivaccine, given that they keep repeating long-discredited misinformation about vaccine efficacy and safety. Unfortunately, they’ve made a vehicle, VAXXED, to peddle those same old lies as old wine in a new skin. Worse, they’re peddling them to populations that can least afford the return of the scourges of the diseases that vaccines have been effectively holding at bay.

Comments

  1. #1 Brian Deer
    May 31, 2016

    Not sure I entirely agree with your analysis. Or maybe it’s a question of emphasis. I don’t think he’s anti-vaccine “to the core”, as you put it.

    I think he has simply moved his presentation to that stance – which I agree is now through the looking glass in terms of his positions over the years – simply because he has to do this to bring to himself the money he wants and the control over these mothers that he needs.

    It’s a cynical positioning, but it’s worth pointing out that this former doctor – with no consequential expertise now on any of the matters he raises – has no knowledge or belief to substantiate what he says.

    As I say, he’s through the looking glass now.

  2. #2 Helianthus
    May 31, 2016

    Natural exposure leads to long term immunity.

    Repeated natural exposure.
    FTFY.

    Also, it’s basically saying that other should become sick – with all the attendant suffering – so little selfish me doesn’t become sick ever again.
    But I’m belaboring a point Orac already made.

    And the price of that passive immunity is only a half a million sick kids a year and a few hundred deaths. What a bargain.

    I couldn’t say it any better.
    A number of African countries are still stuck with this bargain and don’t seem very happy about it. I guess a few hundred thousands death from measles a year don’t count, since the babies were brown-skinned.
    True, part of the issue in third-world countries is malnutrition and healthcare access, but I haven’t seen Wakefield doing a tour of duty with Doctors without Borders.

    Unlike natural measles, measles vaccine does not provide lasting immunity

    Well, actually, I believe a regular here got natural measles and her all-natural illness also failed to provide lasting immunity.
    Also, all-natural measles has been found to be able to erase parts of our immune system memories. Good-bye, hard-earned immunity.

  3. #3 Chris Preston
    May 31, 2016

    I think he has simply moved his presentation to that stance – which I agree is now through the looking glass in terms of his positions over the years – simply because he has to do this to bring to himself the money he wants and the control over these mothers that he needs.

    I could not agree more.

    Regardless of what he himself believes, Andrew Wakefield has to make sure his pronouncements are anti-vax to the core. He has managed to throw so many people under the Andrew Wakefield gravy train that he is now reduced to the absolute hard-core, welded on anti-vaxxers for support.

    A few of them don’t think he goes far enough, so expect more of this.

    I quite like the development in one way, because it is not possible to show to the vaccine worried that Andrew Wakefield is actually a stark raving fabulist and not worth listening to.

  4. #4 Chris Preston
    May 31, 2016

    That should be “now possible”. Oh autocorrect how I hate thee.

  5. #5 irenedelse
    May 31, 2016

    “Yes, vaccinating against varicella (the virus that causes chickenpox) could temporarily increase the incidence of shingles in younger adults. However, vaccinated children who don’t get chickenpox, thanks to the vaccine, will never have to worry about getting shingles.”

    Ha. I wish I had known that when I had shingles at 20, barely six years after a bout of chickenpox! Of course, at that time, we didn’t have a vaccine for that, so I had only that magical “natural immunity” to protect me. It didn’t work as well as Wakefield thinks it works. Shocker, I know.

    But then, there’s the individual differences in the immune system: why did I get so many infections during childhood and my sister a lot less? Vaccines seemed to take, though, so maybe my immune system is just slow to learn and would soon be swamped when faced with a fast reproducing microbe. Or maybe it has trouble knowing friend from foe (yep, I have allergies and auto-immune disorders). Vaccines are just making the immune system faster and smarter.

  6. #6 Can't remember my nym
    or where I am
    May 31, 2016

    I don’t understand the objection to the term ‘herd immunity’ – I’ve even heard antivax mothers saying that we might win more of them over if we didn’t compare their kids to cattle.

    For one, ‘community immunity’ is such an awkward mouthful, I would even prefer a neologism like ‘comimmunity’.

    But mainly, we *are* animals. Someone who is offended by being reminded of that by the word ‘herd’ is someone who is also likely to be offended by the knowledge that we share 98% of the same DNA as chimps, i.e. an idiot.

    Sorry to bang on but it’s just such a daft argument – oh, I might’ve gotten my kids vaccinated but the word ‘herd’ reminds me that I’m a bag of meat standing on a rock hurtling through a cold and indifferent galaxy, and I find that offensive to my sensibilities.

  7. #7 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 31, 2016

    I think he has simply moved his presentation to that stance – which I agree is now through the looking glass in terms of his positions over the years – simply because he has to do this to bring to himself the money he wants and the control over these mothers that he needs.

    As a great man once said “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”.

  8. #8 Peter Dugdale
    homeofhomeopathy
    May 31, 2016

    the objection to the term ‘herd immunity’
    It’s just an attempt to divert from the real issues, and to try to show oneself as occupying the moral high ground.

  9. #9 Helianthus
    May 31, 2016

    @ Can’t remember my nym

    I don’t understand the objection to the term ‘herd immunity’ – I’ve even heard antivax mothers saying that we might win more of them over if we didn’t compare their kids to cattle.

    Well, on one hand, people have the right to feel offended if being compared to an ox or a sheep, or at the implication of being just one drone in a sea of indistinguishable lookalike creatures.

    OTOH, I have a sneaky suspicion that the opposition to “herd” is guilt/denial talking. The term “herd” is not just a reminder that we are animals, but that we are social animals, depending on each other for survival.
    Accepting the term “herd” would mean accepting/acknowledging the accompanying baggage of social interactions and responsibilities.

    tl;dr: “herd” could be rightfully felt as offensive, but as Peter Dugdale said, objection to it is mostly a distraction from the main issue.

  10. #10 MI Dawn
    May 31, 2016

    @Helianthus (waves). Yup. Over here. Had measles, had mumps, had the vaccines more than once. Tested about a month ago and Hey, guess what! Non-immune. Sure, I’m an outlier. But I have to depend on the community immunity. And I’m also going in for another MMR as soon as I can get an appointment.

    I don’t exist in Wakefraud’s world.

  11. #11 Troels
    May 31, 2016

    @MI Dawn.
    Mind if I ask why you were tested for antibodies against measles and/or mumps? Also how uncommon is it to not build up resistance towards those deceases?

  12. #12 Heidi_storage
    USA
    May 31, 2016

    One more thing that sounded “off” to me: I thought that “passive immunity” was, in most cases, acquired purely through placental means, and that most maternal antibodies are NOT transmitted through breastmilk (with the exception of some gut antibodies). So, at the end of two months or whatever, the poor little baby is more or less out of luck…which, coincidentally, is when sane people start many of the vaccine series. But someone correct me if I’m wrong, as I’m merely a humble layman.

  13. #13 Angela
    May 31, 2016

    So…Wakefield pretty much added nothing new to the same old anti-vaccine arguments that we’ve been hearing for years. Except for saying that morbidity and mortality can be assumed to be the same, which makes no sense.

    The anti-vaccine crowd is always saying that there’s no such thing as herd immunity from vaccines, only from the disease itself. Which never made sense to me. Can there really be heard immunity from just the disease? As long as the disease is circulating (in large enough numbers anyway), then there’s no herd immunity, right?

  14. #14 MI Dawn
    May 31, 2016

    Hi, Troels. I was tested because I requested it, since I haven’t had an MMR for several years and there are outbreaks (currently mumps and chicken pox) semi-locally (NYC area and I’m in NJ). I’d rather not get any of them at my current age.

    It is not common to not develop immunity after having the diseases, and really not common as an adult to not develop it after being vaccinated. However, I don’t develop a permanent immunity for some reason.

  15. #15 Lawrence
    May 31, 2016

    “Natural” herd immunity breaks down as soon as enough non-immune individuals get added to the population (i.e. get born).

    This is why you see disease cycles – because outbreaks are followed by decreases in incidence…until new people get added.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    May 31, 2016

    Unfortunately, I learned ( via AoA) that VAXXED! is being shown all over the US. IIRC its premier was 2 months ago.

    How much damage ( through fear mongering) will that do?
    Possibly though the audience is already converted.

  17. #17 Dorit reiss
    May 31, 2016

    A. Re anti-vaccine: He suggested he wouldn’t vaccinate his kids now. That sounds pretty there to me.

    B. Re breastmilk: my understanding is that the difference in immunity from naturally infected mothers v. vaccinated ones is real, but not as big as they make it out – I think this is the study he has in mind: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23661802

    And of course, it requires risking the mother’s generation with measles. I guess he’s assuming that’s an acceptable sacrifice.

    C. Since anti-vaccine activists repeatedly equate autism with encephalitis, it’s probably worth recalling the 1:1000 encephalitis rate pre vaccine, around 4,000 a year.

  18. #18 Catherina
    May 31, 2016

    one not insignificant gripe:

    there are no measles specific antibodies past the immediate postnatal period (we are talking a couple of weeks). See PMID: 15601649
    Fifty-five colostrum samples from the same mothers and 347 breastmilk samples collected at various periods of breastfeeding also showed that anti-measles IgA had dropped below the protective cut-off within the first 2 weeks of birth.
    ***
    it is not insignificant to get this right, because the perpetuation of the (like false) idea that breastfeeding will protect from measles for any length of time will contribute to more mothers delaying the first MMR (because they are still breastfeeding).

  19. #19 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    May 31, 2016

    Brian Deer says (#1),

    I don’t think he’s anti-vaccine “to the core”, as you put it.

    MJD says,

    It appears Andrew Wakefield may have abandoned his efforts as a “vaccine safety advocate” based on deliberate avoidance of vaccine benefits in his communications.

    I agree with Orac, Andrew Wakefield is now antivaccine to the core.

    Although, an “antivaccine” Andrew Wakefield may provide heightened awareness of forced-immunity and thereafter be a catalyst for future vaccine improvements.

    Is Andrew Wakefield fulfilling a great public service?

  20. #20 Dorit reiss
    May 31, 2016

    Re: Chicken pox –
    “However, vaccinated children who don’t get chickenpox, thanks to the vaccine, will never have to worry about getting shingles.”

    I don’t think we can say it that strongly (talking about nuances). After all, the vaccine is a weakened live virus vaccine. I think all we can say is that if there’s going to be a virus in your central nervous system that might reawaken you are better off having the much, much weakened vaccine virus there than the virulent wild virus – the chances of shingles are less.

  21. #21 ScienceMonkey
    May 31, 2016

    I’m going to use the same example I usually use.

    Where are the populations with their natural herd immunity to rabies? Are there any?

  22. #22 Helianthus
    May 31, 2016

    @ Angela

    Can there really be herd immunity from just the disease?

    Actually yes, whenever enough individuals from a given population have been sick and developed immunity. At some point, the spreading of the illness could drop to a trickle, because the remaining susceptible people are few and far between.

    As Lawrence #14 explained, that only lasts until enough people are added to the population and the bugs have again plenty of fresh hosts to jump into.

    The new individuals could be newborns, or a displaced population. Or people staying isolated from the outbreak, but coming back too early, and catching the disease en masse. There is a story/urban legend like this in a city next to my parents’ place, about one of the black plague pandemia.

    Or it could be a visited population. The visiting people are immune and fine, with sub-clinical symptoms, but the visited people are susceptible and outbreaks occur quickly. Like the various American indigenous people suddenly meeting Genoese explorers, Portuguese adventurers, Dutch merchants, French privateers and other European riffraff, and all their fancy pathogens. In some cases, in the form of a poisoned blanket.

  23. #23 palindrom
    May 31, 2016

    Is Andrew Wakefield fulfilling a great public service?

    There must be some corollary to Betteridge’s law of headlines that can be invoked here.

  24. #24 Helianthus
    May 31, 2016

    @ ScienceMonkey

    Where are the populations with their natural herd immunity to rabies? Are there any?

    I should have thought of this in my previous response.

    The concept of natural herd immunity is only viable with illnesses which are survivable and leaving a working immunity (tetanus usually fails on both).
    One reason there is no-one left to infect could be because there is no-one left….

  25. #25 Roger Kulp
    May 31, 2016

    irenedelse@5
    I had shingles in my 30s,twice.I had chicken pox,at age seven that was acute enough cause cardiac complications,and put me in the hospital for a couple weeks. Things may have changed in recent years,but most doctors are not willing to give the shingles vaccine to a person under the age of 60 or so,who has not been diagnosed with a disease compromised immunity.I have since been diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disease,that does include a degree of innate immune deficiency.

  26. #26 Frequent Lurker
    May 31, 2016

    #2 Well, actually, I believe a regular here got natural measles and her all-natural illness also failed to provide lasting immunity.

    I lost my chicken pox immunity. I was tested for work to a whole slew of things, didn’t have for that one. And I had it, bad, when I was five. So, no immunity, but I can stick get shingles! Yay!

    Actually I have immunity now, you better believe I got the vaccine. Eff catching chicken pox from a patient with shingles.

    #6 I don’t understand the objection to the term ‘herd immunity’ – I’ve even heard antivax mothers saying that we might win more of them over if we didn’t compare their kids to cattle.

    How DARE you compare one of their special snowflakes to cattle!!!1!!11!!one!1!

  27. #27 Frequent Lurker
    May 31, 2016

    Is Andrew Wakefield fulfilling a great public service?

    That’s a hard NEGATORY.

  28. #28 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 31, 2016

    The morbidity and mortality from measles had come down by 99.6% before vaccines were introduced.

    Oh, Andy, you magnificent liar, you. As Orac notes, mortality had fallen before the vaccine was introduced, but it leveled off around 1-2 deaths per 1,000 cases to around 1 death per 3,000 cases. And it should be noted, that’s for acute measles deaths and does not include things like SSPE.

    Morbidity (i.e., getting sick with the measles), on the other hand, didn’t drop at all until the vaccine was introduced.

    This post is rather timely, as I am working on a post about measles deaths.

  29. #29 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    May 31, 2016

    In the early 20th Century, measles killed up to 15,000 kids per year. Actually, most deaths were from opportunistic secondary bacterial pneumonia and malnutrition, mainly B vitamin deficiencies. With the advent of antibiotics, together with better nutrition, the death rates plummeted to, in the 1950s, around 400 to 500 kids per year. However, 50,000 were hospitalized, and up to 2,000 suffered irreversible damage, e.g., deafness, seizure disorder, mental retardation. And almost all kids suffered and missed school. Nowadays, both parents in two-parent homes need to work to make ends meet and there are many single-parent families, so staying home to take care of a sick child could impose economic problems.

    Measles is just as contagious today as it was in the 1950s. The US population has more than doubled and there is no treatment that I know of that has been scientifically validated. In addition, with the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, it is possible that it would be much more difficult to treat the opportunistic secondary bacterial pneumonias, so, without vaccination, we could see up to 1,000 deaths or more, 3 – 4,000 permanent disabilities, etc.

    Yes, measles rates had come down significantly, but reached an asymptote and though deaths were way down, suffering wasn’t.

    As for Wakefield’s patent for a monovalent measles vaccine, the patent was actually submitted by The Royal Free Hospital. Wakefield was listed as the developer. It may be, as in the US, that inventors are given a generous share of royalties by whoever owns the patent as in the US; but, just to be clear, Wakefield did not apply for the patent. However, as the developer/inventor and as researcher at a hospital in financial difficulties, it would still have been in his best interest to further the use of the monovalent vaccine and, as mentioned, he probably did anticipate a share of the royalties.

    Just setting the record straight, definitely NOT taking Wakefield’s side.

  30. #30 Brian Deer
    May 31, 2016

    Joel Harrison: “As for Wakefield’s patent for a monovalent measles vaccine, the patent was actually submitted by The Royal Free Hospital. Wakefield was listed as the developer. It may be, as in the US, that inventors are given a generous share of royalties by whoever owns the patent as in the US; but, just to be clear, Wakefield did not apply for the patent.”

    You think a medical school would apply for a vaccine based on the technology therein. I don’t think so.

    You’re facts are wrong. Wakefield applied for the vaccine patent personally, His employer was unaware of it. It later found out. So, to correct you: just to be clear, Wakefield did apply for the patent.

  31. #31 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    May 31, 2016

    Didn’t Wakefield file the patent in the name of the Royal Free, but without the Royal Free’s knowledge?

  32. #32 Brian Deer
    May 31, 2016

    Correction: “Your” facts are wrong!

  33. #33 Brian Deer
    May 31, 2016

    Rebecca: exactamente.

  34. #34 Richard Smith
    May 31, 2016

    (e.g. low vitamins A, D, and C)

    My mild CDO is making me want to rewrite that as “low vitamins A, C, and D”…

    mothers conferred good passive immunity on their infants by transplacental…transfer

    The best passive immunity, of course, is when the mother is “immunized” with rubella while pregnant.

  35. #35 Denice Walter
    May 31, 2016

    I wonder why AJW didn’t put the patent in his own name…
    why wouldn’t he want to be connected with his own work?

  36. #36 Politicalguineapig
    May 31, 2016

    Angela: Except for saying that morbidity and mortality can be assumed to be the same, which makes no sense.

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. To an anti-vaxxer, disabled is the same as dead, doesn’t matter if it’s deafness, blindness, autism or sterility.

    MJD:Is Andrew Wakefield fulfilling a great public service?

    Only if his crazy persuades people to stay away from the anti-vax movement.

    Sciencemom: If I remember correctly, non-mammals can’t get rabies. If you meant human populations, I can’t think of any.

  37. #37 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    May 31, 2016

    I wonder why AJW didn’t put the patent in his own name…
    why wouldn’t he want to be connected with his own work?

    I would guess that he didn’t want to be accused of a massive COI flitting about vilifying the triple jab whilst developing his own single jab. Guess that didn’t work out too well for him except for his pathetic acolytes’ belief in his silly lies.

  38. #38 Denice Walter
    May 31, 2016

    @ Science Mom:

    OF COURSE, I’m not really that clueless- I wanted to see what kind of replies ( including frivolity) would occur.

    e.g. perhaps he was SO selfless, he wanted a worthy institution to get the credit.

  39. #39 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    May 31, 2016

    @ Brian Deer

    On your own website, under heading “Wakefield filed for a patent on vaccine products before unleashing MMR crisis” you give a patent application which reads:

    Title PHARMACEUTICAL COMPOSITION FOR TREATMENT OF IBD AND RBD

    Applicant (s)

    Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine

    In addition, I found another: UK Patent Application GB 2 325 856 A (can’t remember how I found it; but I have the complete pdf).

    Applicant(s) Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Neuroimmuno Therapeutics Research Foundation

    Inventors Andrew Jeremy Wakefield
    Hugh Fundenberg

    So, the example from your own website lists only the Royal Free; but, on looking at the other patent page I found, it gives the Royal Free and Neuroimmuno Therapeutics, which Wakefield I believe Wakefield had an interest in. I don’t have the time to look into this. So, the Royal Free definitely did submit a patent application; but, Wakefield may also have, through Neuroimmuno Therapeutics, submitted one.

    It is usual in the US for Institutions to submit patent applications for discoveries made by their researchers and share the royalties. Whether the Royal Free would or would not submit a patent based on Transfer Factor is a moot question because they did!

    Whether Wakefield stood to gain directly, based on one of the patents, to royalties, or indirectly through the Royal Free sharing royalties with him, it is clear that the Royal Free did submit patent applications.

    Regardless, Wakefield’s biases and dishonesty, remain. Even if a patent had not been submitted, he was reimbursed generously by the Dawbarn law firm, instrumental in getting money from Legal Aid where the application clearly stated it was to prove the causative relationship between MMR and autism, and recruiting of many of the 12 kids in his 1998 article.

  40. #40 Brian Deer
    May 31, 2016

    Joel: You found the other one by downloading it from my site! Otherwise, I refer you to the answer I’ve previously given.

    I repeat my previous answer. The Royal Free did not submit the patent application.

  41. #41 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    May 31, 2016

    @ Brian

    You may be right that the Royal Free didn’t submit the application in that Wakefield may have submitted it on their behalf. If he did, without their agreeing to or awareness of it, just adds another strike against him; but, still, one of the applications listed by you only lists the Royal Free and the other both the Royal Free and Neuroimmuno. I just found the second one on your website, http://briandeer.com/mmr/1998-vaccine-patent.pdf

    This is one of the things I really appreciate about you as an investigative journalist, your thoroughness in documenting the bases for your reports. You are truly one of my heroes.

    In any case, my first comment also addressed Wakefield’s claim of natural disease and herd immunity. Yes, if one doesn’t mind the immense suffering, those who survive do have better immunity, stronger and longer lasting that from vaccines; but since, despite what antivaccinationists believe, the risks from vaccines are exponentially less than from the natural diseases, even with the need from boosters, Wakefield is just NUTS!

  42. #42 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    May 31, 2016

    @ Joel Harrison, Wakefield filed the patents without the knowledge of Royal Free. This was documented at the GMC and available on the transcripts. Neuroimmuno is a Wakefield company put (I believe) in his wife’s maiden name.

  43. #43 Denice Walter
    May 31, 2016

    @ Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH:

    “.. despite what antivaccinationists believe, the risks from vaccines are exponentially less than from the natural diseases…”

    But you see, they’ve been instructed by their own experts!

    If the real risk of vaccine injury is about one in a million and the risk from the disease itself is about one in a thousand, it makes sense to vaccinate

    HOWEVER ( big however) these folks believe that vaccination carries a risk of autism at a rate of one in a hundred ( or even one in fifty recently)

    So the (imagined) risk is one in a million plus one in a hundred ( or one in fifty) which is worse than one in a thousand.

    Unfortunately, I understand how their minds work a bit.

  44. #44 Chris
    May 31, 2016

    Though not as bad as MI Dawn, I got mumps twice as a child. The second time was during the 1968 mumps epidemic (just after the vaccine came out).

    My mother was surprised I had caught it, and apparently I was not the only child that got again the second time. So she repeated a common explanation that was going around: that mumps can affect only one side, and you can get it again on the other side. Which is wrong… I was miserable and had it on both sides.

    It turns out that it was not a coincidence that I got mumps again during an epidemic year. Apparently “suggest that intense exposures, particularly among boys in schools, facilitated transmission and overcame vaccine-induced protection in these patients”. Since I was surrounded by mumps virus, I assume it overcame my “natural” immunity.

    Also, there is no permanent immunity to pertussis, diphtheria or tetanus. You can get pertussis again in as short a time as five years, and there is no immunity to the bacteria of the other two (which is why the vaccines only help with the toxins they create).

  45. #45 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    May 31, 2016

    Brian Deer writes (#30),

    Wakefield did apply for the patent.

    MJD says,

    The Applicants in your “secret” 1997 document is as follows:

    Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Neuroimmuno Therapeutics.

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/vaccine-patent.htm

    Legally, the Applicant stated above (not Andrew Wakefield) is responsible for Patent Application Number 9711663.6

    In continuation, Andrew J. Wakefield isn’t an assignee\inventor for a patent application in the United States.

    A quick search in the USPTO Patent Application Full-Text and Images Database using the words below:

    Wakefield (Assignee name/inventor); and
    Vaccine (All Fields).

    Results – No application publications have matched your query.

    Brian Deer writes (#30),

    Wakefield applied for the vaccine patent personally, His employer was unaware of it. It later found out.

    MJD says,

    If this is true Andrew J. Wakefield may be a Maverick that follows:

    Never ask for permission only forgiveness.

    Amazing how some geniuses operate.

  46. #46 Ellie
    Still on the green side of the grass
    May 31, 2016

    @34
    After listening to and reading about some moron anti-vaxxers (and no, I don’t apologize for the epithet), it is my belief that most of them don’t give a toss for fetuses, especially if the fetuses are in someone else’s body. As long as they can declare they are doing The Good Mommy Thing, all else is irrelevant.

  47. #47 Troels
    May 31, 2016

    #45,
    Try searching for US Patent 6,534,259.

  48. #48 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    May 31, 2016

    @ Chris

    You are right that some of the diseases that we vaccinate for do not confer long term immunity from the natural disease. Since these diseases, e.g. tetanus and diphtheria, are deadly, all the more reason to vaccinate. You are also right that even natural immunity is not 100%. Whether one gets a disease or not depends on several factors:

    Virulence of the disease
    Exposure, both dose and duration
    Ones own immune system

    Just as a kevlar vest protects against bullets; but not all bullets, e.g. velocity, steel jacket, etc. immunity doesn’t always protect. But, natural immunity from many childhood diseases does confer an extremely high level of immunity. And many believe that natural boosters, that is, exposure to the disease from future outbreaks, helps keep one immunity level high. So, either way, we need some type of booster. And, as I wrote, for the vast majority, the natural disease represents far greater risk of suffering and adverse outcomes.

    @ Denice

    Yes, the antivaccinationist believe that we are in the midst of an epidemic of autism. Unfortunately, they refuse to even consider that there is not one autism; but many that have been subsumed under a more general diagnostic category. They also refuse to even acknowledge what we know from early studies, going back to the 1920s, that kids were seen with the same problems later diagnosed as autism. We even have today senior citizens finally diagnosed with Aspberger’s after a lifetime of wondering why they were different. There are a number of reasons for the increased numbers:

    Broadened definition. Aspberger’s wasn’t even included until a couple of decades ago. Studies have found an almost perfect negative correlation between diagnoses of retardation and autism spectrum disorders
    Increased awareness
    Development of diagnostic instruments that can be used by school and other personnel, instead of more subjective diagnostics by individual psychiatrists
    Monies available. In bordeline cases, whether conscious or unconscious, diagnoses made to benefit child, so if more money available for autism than “retardation,” kid gets autism diagnosis.
    More low birth weight and very low birth weight children surviving and we know they often have both physical and mental problems
    Over 100,000 chemicals synthesized and released into our environment since World War II
    Children being born to older parents

    Numerous studies have found no association between vaccines and autism. We have removed thimerosal in vaccines, except flu vaccine and there are thimerosal free versions, and yet the numbers keep increasing. As for MMR vaccine, doesn’t make much biological sense, except in Wakefield’s mind. Since almost all kids got these diseases, sometimes one after the other, how could severely weakened microbes cause somethng that the full blown natural disease didn’t. Wakefield’s hypothesis that the combined vaccine somehow causes permeability in the intestinal epithelia, allowing measles to get to the brain, has not been shown valid in numerous studies.

    If we didn’t have vaccines, not even the smallpox, life would be much much different. About 1/3 of children would not have made it to 5. There would be much more disability.

    I guess if one were callous, the population of the US would probably be half or less than what it is, average life expectancy would be much less; but we wouldn’t be taxing our environment, water, air, natural resources. However, I, for one, think life has an intrinsic worth and dignity and would not want a world that randomly allowed people, especially children to suffer, become disabled, and even die.

  49. #49 Chris
    May 31, 2016

    Joel: “If we didn’t have vaccines, not even the smallpox, life would be much much different. About 1/3 of children would not have made it to 5. There would be much more disability.”

    Someone on another blog asked if vaccine makers were making sure people became ill later on so they would buy more pharmaceuticals. Well, of course! With the average American lifespan going from just under fifty in 1900 to now almost eighty years old, there are more older people who need meds!

    If Olivia Dahl had not died from measles, she would be about my age. And here I am with age related high blood pressure taking a ridiculously cheap medication for it.

    Remember parents, before you take your child to see the new movie The BFG, make sure you read the book to your child and explain why it is dedicated to Olivia.

    “I guess if one were callous, the population of the US would probably be half or less than what it is, average life expectancy would be much less; but we wouldn’t be taxing our environment, water, air, natural resources.”

    Unfortunately that does not really work. Families would be bigger trying to make sure at least one or two children grow up to be adults:
    https://www.gapminder.org/videos/will-saving-poor-children-lead-to-overpopulation/

  50. #50 Narad
    May 31, 2016

    If Olivia Dahl had not died from measles, she would be about my age.

    Cynthia Parker has recently ascribed the death to aspirin (despite the fact that encephalitis isn’t a hallmark of Reye syndrome), I sh*t you not. I linked the comment over at Reuben’s, but I haven’t had time to follow up since.

  51. #51 Lawrence
    May 31, 2016

    There is something very fundamentally wrong with Ms. Parker….

  52. #52 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    May 31, 2016

    MJD, if you’d bother to read Wakefraud’s patent you’d see it was for both therapeutic and pre-prophylaxis measles vaccine, even going so far as to claim a “vaccine replacement”. Instead of course, having your lips attached to Wakefraud’s bum. Wakefield is a liar, scammer, fraud, loathsome charlatan and not even an expert in any of his autism-related endeavors. It’s pathetic that anyone would walk across the street for the scumbag.

  53. #53 capnkrunch
    May 31, 2016

    Frequent Lurker@26

    I lost my chicken pox immunity. I was tested for work to a whole slew of things, didn’t have for that one. And I had it, bad, when I was five. So, no immunity, but I can stick get shingles! Yay!

    Actually I have immunity now, you better believe I got the vaccine. Eff catching chicken pox from a patient with shingles.

    Same here.

    “Children should get chickenpox so adults don’t need to get the shingles vaccine” is sooo terrible. Especially since shingles was still around when chickenpox was endemic, there was just less of it. “Children should get chickenpox so that fewer adults who choose not to get the shingles vaccine get shingles” is what this viewpoint actually is and that’s amazingly even worse…

  54. #54 Narad
    May 31, 2016

    A related, recent doozy from AoA crank par excellence Linda1/LZ:

    The CDC has published their opinion (below) that the vaccine has caused pertussis and related pathogens to become much more virulent just like [sic] antibiotics have created superbugs.

    I know you’ve seen this article, but for anyone else who hasn’t:

    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/8/08-1511_article

    The money quote from the paper:

    “We propose that the crucial event, which shifted the competitive balance between ptxP1 and ptxP3 strains, was the removal by vaccination of immunologically naive infants as the major source for transmission, selecting for strains, which are more efficiently transmitted by primed hosts. Recent studies and historical data indicate an important role of naïve infants in transmission in unvaccinated populations. In a previously unvaccinated population, infant vaccination resulted in a reduction in pertussis in the vaccinated and unvaccinated parts of the population (37). Furthermore, in unvaccinated populations, 60%–80% of the pertussis cases were found in children 0–5 years of age, most of whom were probably immunologically naive (32,38). In most countries infants receive their first vaccination at the age of 2 or 3 months, essentially eliminating transmission by immunologically naive hosts.”

  55. #55 Politicalguineapig
    May 31, 2016

    Capn’ krunch:
    “Children should get chickenpox so adults don’t need to get the shingles vaccine” is sooo terrible. Especially since shingles was still around when chickenpox was endemic, there was just less of it. “Children should get chickenpox so that fewer adults who choose not to get the shingles vaccine get shingles” is what this viewpoint actually is and that’s amazingly even worse…

    I gave two younger siblings chicken pox. We were all miserable. What kind of a parent wants their kids to be miserable, feverish and itchyfor a week? And that’s the best case scenario- what if the kid gets Bell’s Palsy, or he pox gets into some unfortunate place and causes permanent disability? I developed Bell’s Palsy as an adult, and I was freakin’ terrified, I wouldn’t wish that on a kid, especially up here. (After the palsy, I developed an awful sensitivity to cold.)

  56. #56 Richard Smith
    May 31, 2016

    What kind of a parent wants their kids to be miserable, feverish and itchyfor a week?

    Siblings, on the other hand…

    My older brother caught it first, and then my younger brother caught it from him, who then proceeded to deliberately cough in my direction at almost every opportunity. Not surprisingly, I caught it too, just before the end of summer. I won’t wish it upon him directly, but if one of us has to develop shingles…

  57. #57 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    May 31, 2016

    @ Chris

    When children have a chance to survive, historically families had fewer children, especially in cultures where the attainment of middle class was possible. However, prior to vaccinations, families did have many more children; but world population increased at a much slower rate than it is currently increasing. Smallpox alone killed at least 1/3 of children and most others died before being able to procreate. Yes, without vaccines there would be a population increase; but not near that we are experiencing.

    Note. I have books and many articles on the rise in population. I wouldn’t rely on one webpage.

    @ Narad

    First, you cite one article. While the findings of pertussis virulence are interesting, until additional studies confirm their findings, it is just one study and the finding may, despite methodological soundness, be due to “random chance.”

    Second, their conclusion states: “ The effect of pathogen adaptation on disease impact
    may depend on factors such as vaccine coverage and the quality of the vaccine used, which may differ between countries. A relatively weak vaccine used in the Netherlands may have exacerbated the effect of the emergence of ptxP3 strains on disease impact. Our results underline the important role of Ptx in the transmission of B. pertussis and suggest that an effective way to control pertussis is the improvement of current vaccines”

    Starting with the “weak vaccine”, they are probably referring to the TDaP which uses an acellular form of pertussis. This vaccine was developed due to early reports of serious adverse events from the whole cell pertussis vaccine. Numerous follow-up studies have found these reports to have been grossly exaggerated. The whole cell vaccine confers both a stronger and longer lasting immunity, is being used in several countries and being considered for re-introduction in the US. If the study’s findings are correct, that is, that younger kids are protected by the vaccine but as its protection wanes older kids can get the new more virulent strain, booster vaccination should stop or reduce this significantly. The TDaP’s protection wanes and as long as the bacteria still exists, it will mutate. If the whole cell vaccine is re-introduced or boosters given, it is quite possible that the new strain will die out or become less prevalent. All, of course, depending on whether the study you cite is confirmed by additional studies.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, vaccination rates fell and, for instance, diphtheria cases rose, including new variants, some which we may not be as well protected against. The fewer the people who get a disease, the less probability of mutations.

    In any case, thanks for the reference. I downloaded the article and added it to my electronic database, now approaching 10,000 articles, filed in different folders.

  58. #58 Denice Walter
    May 31, 2016

    Oh joy.
    Believe it or not, some of the individuals I see on twitter
    ( e.g. Kim Stagliano/ twit and Tanner’s Dad Tim) are attempting to bring two of Orac’s absolute fave woos together
    by lobbyng for Andy W to appear on Bill Maher’s show.

    Consider the possibilities:
    a black hole of anti-vax live televised, two aging hipsters trying to get their fans excited, enough to make rational guests shriek or high ratings for the audience who get high ( Bill admirers) ?

  59. #59 Orac
    May 31, 2016

    Oh, bloody hell. If that were to happen, I promise an epic rant. It probably won’t, though. Maher is an antivaxer, but he can’t afford to go full on tinfoil hat.

  60. #60 Rich Bly
    Ocean shores
    May 31, 2016

    I’ve had all the childhood illnesses (all before vaccines became available except polio) except for mumps to which I’ve been exposed at least 13 times.

    Measles I’ve had twice, the last time was in the late 70’s when I was coaching a 3rd/4th grade basketball team. The little snots gave the measles. I guess natural head immunity really works.

    I was in Nepal in 96 and the population was about 22 million, most of which was rural. Thirty years before Nepal’s population was in the 2 to 4 million range.

    Families were large for two reasons: hand labor farms require as many (and cheap) hands as possible; 2. the child mortality rate was high. Enter childhood vaccinations: many children who would’ve died survived and the need for cheap farm labor remained. Families remained large and the population boomed.

  61. #61 Chris Hickie
    May 31, 2016

    Meanwhile a new measles outbreak is happening in AZ at a detention center for people who’ve illegally entered the US (and in AZ, those people come from all over the globe, not just from the south of the US) that has caused 11 cases (7 detainees and 4 workers–http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/health-officials-now-confirm-11-cases-measles-arizona-39487756 ).

    Maybe Wakefraud and Dillweed will take a break from their busy schedule to go ask those 11 people if it was worth it catching measles.

  62. #62 Ryan A Rognas
    May 31, 2016

    This man (and as usual in his case I use that term loosely) disgusts me. He and his propaganda mill are responsible for who knows how many infections, deaths, and unquantifiable levels of suffering. I really wish there was a way to prosecute him for this crap. Then again, his cult would just use that to get more press coverage. They’ll probably do the same thing when he dies too, regardless of how it happens.

  63. #63 DrRJM
    Oz
    May 31, 2016

    I wonder if the good “Dr” Wakefield has ever actually dealt with a case of measles.

    I wonder if he has ever cared for a patient with measles pneumonitis or encephalitis, where there is no specific therapy and you essentially have to hope for the best and then deal with the aftermath.

    I wonder if he has ever dealt with the absolute chaos that occurs when a case of measles is imported and transmits to a large, unprotected population (eg a paediatric ED with infants too young or too immunosuppressed to be immunised).

    i wonder whether he has dealt with a case of SSPE caused by measles, and explained to the patients wife and children that their father is going to slowly deteriorate and die from a completely preventable infection.

    I have done all of these things.

    Once you have experienced this, any lingering concerns or doubts you may have about the seriousness of measles or the value of measles immunisation evaporate.

    This man is directly responsible for morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable disease. He should be held to account for his dangerous actions.

  64. #64 Bob
    May 31, 2016

    Reading Wakefield’s nonsense only reminds me of the fact that the rate of head injuries in WWI rose dramatically after the British reintroduced metal helmets.

  65. #65 Bob
    May 31, 2016

    For a little more context, this happened because if you died from a head wound, you were listed in records as “dead”, not “head injury”. It’s an interesting example of how you can selectively report statistics to make a very stupid claim.

    In this case of course, Wakefield is fixated on measles death rates and ignoring incidence data.

  66. #66 Chris Preston
    May 31, 2016

    I wonder if the good “Dr” Wakefield has ever actually dealt with a case of measles.

    The answer is no – other than perhaps his own children. Wakefield was a researcher, not a GP or a clinician. Even during his time as a gastroenterologist he was researching transplant rejection.

  67. #67 Politicalguineapig
    May 31, 2016

    Richard Smith:Siblings, on the other hand…

    My older brother caught it first, and then my younger brother caught it from him, who then proceeded to deliberately cough in my direction at almost every opportunity

    Heh. I had an awful younger brother myself, so I sympathize. I didn’t deliberately infect my siblings, but we had a small house. (Younger brother did lock me and the cat out of the house once, but that was when we were both older.

    CP: The answer is no – other than perhaps his own children.

    I didn’t know he had any. That’s terrible. Though since he and his wife seem to be traveling all the time, one hopes the children are being raised by better people. Seriously, Wakey should not be given responsibility for so much as a goldfish. How did people ever mistake him for a responsible adult?
    (Also, isn’t there something his old medical school can do? Sue him or rescind his degree?

  68. #68 Chris
    May 31, 2016

    I wish I could give DrRJM a thousand and one upvotes for his righteous rant.

  69. #69 DrRJM
    Oz
    May 31, 2016

    Chris @68,

    Thanks.

    As an infection doc, I spend half my time diagnosing/treating infections and half of my time trying to prevent them.

    I get paid the same whether I treat 1,000 infections a day or none, so I don’t have a conflict of interest in that regard.

    Having to deal with the fallout of ignorant decision-making resulting in preventable infections is not only frustrating, but it diverts valuable resources away from other important issues.

    I can (somewhat) forgive non-medical professionals for spouting rubbish about infection, but this is an allegedly well trained, well educated man.

    I think he knows the truth. I think he knows he is wrong. But he is too invested financially and emotionally to back out.

  70. #70 Liz Ditz
    United States
    June 1, 2016

    (somewhat off topic)

    Dr. Harrison a #57

    However, prior to vaccinations, families did have many more children;

    With all due respect, Dr. Harrison: as a woman who became sexually active in the era when reliable chemical birth control (“the pill”) became available, I would assert that the biggest difference in average live births per woman had to do with women being able to control their own fertility.

    The vaccine era came first, making it both desirable and necessary for women to reduce the number of children birthed.

  71. #71 Chris Preston
    June 1, 2016

    I didn’t know he had any.

    The famous bloody birthday party was for his son’s 10th birthday

    This occurred in 1998, making his son an adult now.

  72. #72 Narad
    June 1, 2016

    Maybe Wakefraud and Dillweed will take a break from their busy schedule to go ask those 11 people if it was worth it catching measles.

    It’s OK, the infected guard was vaccinated.

  73. #73 Politicalguineapig
    June 1, 2016

    Chris Preston: Oh, somehow I had forgotten about that. Still, I’m glad at least one of his kids can now escape his orbit.

  74. #74 Helianthus
    June 1, 2016

    @ Joel A. Harrison #48

    Tangential nitpicking:

    I guess if one were callous, the population of the US would probably be half or less than what it is, average life expectancy would be much less; but we wouldn’t be taxing our environment, water, air, natural resources.

    In your scenario, I would say less taxing – or differently taxing – rather than no taxing of environment.
    The industrial revolution started before the modern vaccine era and we were already going full speed on the exploitation of mining and natural resources.
    Also, pre-industrial societies were already plenty able to heavily modify their environment, be it the Roman empire and its mines of lead and silver, or in pre-Colombian time, the Amerindian societies sculpting the Amazonian basin the way it is now through their agricultural practice.

    tl;dr: in a America without vaccines, buffalo would still have been hunted to extinction.
    But I agree, the world over would also have a lot less people and a lot more of tiny graves.

  75. #75 has
    June 1, 2016

    DrRJM@69:

    I think he knows the truth. I think he knows he is wrong. But he is too invested financially and emotionally to back out.

    Quite. I agree with Brian Deer on this: Andrew Wakefield is not anti-vaccine, he is pro-Andrew Wakefield. And there is nothing and no-one he won’t throw under the bus in service to that cause. Your standard high-functioning psychopath, in other words, playing the paranoid narcissists of the anti-vax cult as his personal fiddle. Abused autistics and preventable deaths are just a vehicle to profit and power for such people – they are just fundamentally irreparably broken as social animals. Vampires, literally.

  76. #76 Denice Walter
    June 1, 2016

    @ PGP:

    Andy and Carmel have four children- as Chris mentioned, at least one is an adult. IIRC there are three boys and one girl, who was a teenager a few years ago. One son graduated from the University of Colorado recently.

    He says that he had all of them vaccinated as infants but perhaps wouldn’t do that if he knew then what he knows now,

  77. #77 Denice Walter
    June 1, 2016

    @ has:

    I have to agree about AJW:
    he has a lot in common with the other mercenary woo-meisters I survey. They may partially believe in their woo but they exaggerate its power in order to sell to their marks- and they’ll say anything.

    Remember I listen to an idiot who tells customers he can cure cancer, MS, AD, ASD, CVD etc. if the mark only follows his highly complicated, expensive and difficult protocol- since no one can – except the Master himself- the fact that they aren’t cured is their own fault.

    All of these creatures have a plan:
    frighten the audience, scare them away from SB experts, give them hope and then SELL, SELL. SELL.

    IIRC Andy had a few products in his armamentarium – a safe vaccine, a test and a cure.

  78. #78 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    June 1, 2016

    Of course he would. the actual not vaccinating part of being an anti-vaxer is strictly for the little people.

  79. #79 Can't remember my nym
    or where I am
    June 1, 2016

    Re: passive immunity to measles – sorry if this has already been said.

    It is (as previously mentioned) placental transfer not breastmilk. Bub will have mum’s antibodies circulating for 6-12 months, this is why the MMR is given at 12 months of age, as at 6 months there is usually still enough of mum’s antibodies to prevent a decent response to the vaccine.
    It can be given at 6 months if there has been exposure or there will be travel to an endemic area, as some vaccine response is better than none if the risk of exposure is high.

  80. #80 Helianthus
    June 1, 2016

    @ Can’t remember my nym

    Bub will have mum’s antibodies circulating for 6-12 months

    Something about passive immunity advocacy is annoying me: it’s passive. Passive immunity is borrowed time.
    It’s a form of ablative armor: it is great to stop one shell or two, but it’s consumed in the process, so at some point you end up butt-naked.

    I guess that, in a ideal situation, the infant will be protected by mom’s antibodies but still mount a immune response to measles (or any other visiting bug).
    But if mounting a correct immune response in presence of mom’s antibodies is an issue with the vaccine, I expect it’s not a guaranteed result with the wild virus, either.
    Actually, outbreaks in pre-vaccine era support the idea that passive immunity is not that good. Better than nothing, but not as optimal as acquired immunity.

  81. #81 Sarah A
    June 1, 2016

    Abused autistics and preventable deaths are just a vehicle to profit and power for such people – they are just fundamentally irreparably broken as social animals.

    Ironic, since that’s exactly how they characterize autistics. I wonder if that has anything to do with the extreme hyperbole such people use when describing the struggles of parenting an autistic child (they couldn’t care less about the challenges of being autistic.) Autism does superficially resemble narcissism – could Autism Speaks-style polemic actually be an expression of unconscious self-hatred?

  82. #82 Chris Hickie
    June 1, 2016

    @ Narad # 72

    “The three other employees with confirmed measles told public-health officials they received two doses of the MMR vaccine. However, public-health officials have not checked those employees’ immunization records, Pyritz said.” I wish they would check before discussing this. More concerning is the detainee they released before they knew they had measles in their center.” (http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/pinal/2016/05/31/arizona-public-health-officials-expect-measles-outbreak-grow/85215242/ )

    Drives me nuts when health dept officials give out partial information (given then they still don’t know the official vaccination history of the 3 staffers claiming two doses of MMR) that feeds the false fires of anti-vaccinationists who then go off spouting how this is “proofs” vaccines don’t work.

  83. #83 Dan Andrews
    Canada
    June 1, 2016

    O/T? In regards to Wakefield believing or not believing what he sells. It got me thinking of (Dr?) Andew Moulden. He met Wakefield, had his own brand of conspiracies going, anti-vaccine, denied germ theory, looked a pictures of faces and could diagnose ministrokes in children brought on by vaccines, felt he was persecuted by the establishment, was the new Galileo, etc etc etc. Too extreme and unstable for Wakefield.

    I think in his case, Drew did believe most of what he said. He was bipolar (according to his sister), and took his own life in Nov 2013. He was mentally ill and I wonder how do we distinguish between the charlatans and those who are delusional, and do we treat them differently? Obviously we have to refute their dangerous nonsense that can put children and others at risk, but….I don’t know what comes after “but”….

    Anyway, Drew and I were friends back in high school, hung out, got in trouble, did stupid things. He was high energy, always having ideas (which is why we often did some stupid things that could have landed us in juvie if we’d been caught), and in retrospect I can definitely see the signs of a bipolar personality.

    I moved away after high school. We met once again when we were in our 30s. He dropped by with his wife/girl-friend, brand new car, tales of scholarship money being thrown at him. He was again high energy, talking nearly non-stop, and it was good to see him again.

    So, guess I’m just processing news of his death (found out quite recently) and rambling away, and just wondering how many other quacks are mentally ill vs charlatans who knowingly lie for profit and fame.

  84. #84 Chris
    June 1, 2016

    Dan Andrews: “So, guess I’m just processing news of his death (found out quite recently) and rambling away, and just wondering how many other quacks are mentally ill vs charlatans who knowingly lie for profit and fame.”

    My sympathies for you finding out about your high school friend’s death. I can kind of relate since a few years ago I Google stalked my high school friends, and found out from one of them that my first boyfriend (her brother) had died of pancreatic cancer just a couple of years before.

    There are some very vocal anti-vax folks that seem to exhibit bipolar behavior. There is one who claims to have some kind of chronic fatigue disorder, but will pop up on some blogs and spew out anti-vax nonsense for hours. And she is not the only one. I try not to mock them, but when I have the energy and/or time just post the countering evidence.

    Our family has had to deal with mental health, and it is not an easy thing to experience. I feel very sympathetic to the Moulden family. I really do not know what comes after the “but.”

  85. #85 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    June 1, 2016

    @ Liz Ditz

    First, I would never claim that the sole reason for decreasing number of children was immunizations, which resulted in more children surviving. I also mentioned the ability to reach middle class. Amartya Sen, noble prize winner in economics, discusses Kerala State in India, where a socialized good health care system, education of women, and other economic factors played a significant role in achieving smaller families, actually doing as well or better than China with its punitive policies. And Kerala is NOT one of the wealthier States in India.

    However, have you NEVER heard of condoms? I know a number of people who managed to have small families prior to the birth control pill. A poor farmer in a Third World country with high infant mortality would probably not practice birth control, even if available.

  86. #86 Renate
    June 1, 2016

    Condoms are not easy available in all countries. I think Pakistan just has banned advertisements for condoms.

  87. #87 Richard Smith
    June 1, 2016

    Also regarding condoms, I’m sure all men are all equally willing to slip one on before every time, and to forego sex entirely if one is not right at hand, and will certainly not wheedle or make desperate promises to withdraw early only to forget shortly thereafter. Yes, women truly hold all the short and curlies!

  88. #88 Chemmomo
    Reality
    June 1, 2016

    Joel Harrison @85

    However, have you NEVER heard of condoms?

    Having a man put on a condom is not the same as a woman with control of her own fertility.

  89. #89 dingo199
    June 2, 2016

    @Narad #50.
    Cia Parker also says that Olivia Dahl died because she was given sodium amytal when she got to hospital.
    Ignore the fact that she was at that point quite encephalitic, mute, semiconscious and neuroirritable. She received (if I recall correctly) 30mg as a single dose to provide sedation. The maximum recommended single dose in an adult is 1000mg.

  90. #90 dingo199
    June 2, 2016

    @Dan Andrews #55

    The prevailing meme about Drew Moulden is that the establishment/BigPharma assasinated him, but made it look like suicide as part of their global campaign to eliminate medical personnel who are antivaccine.

  91. #91 dingo199
    June 2, 2016

    Regarding passive immunity to measles. Dorit has already cited the Netherlands studies on this – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4043230/

    The accompanying editorial explores the issues and suggests that we should be lowering the age of 1st measles vaccine shot. I know Dorit gave her child her 1st shot at 6 months (can’t recall why exactly but maybe because she was visiting a country with endemic measles??)
    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/208/1/1.long

    However, there has been another study from Belgium which indicated lower/less durable infant antibody levels in the vaccinated than the naturally immune.
    http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1626
    The median time to loss of protective antibody in infants was only 1 month in the vaccinated mothers, as opposed to nearly 4 months in the naturally immune mothers.

    • #92 Dorit Reiss
      June 2, 2016

      @dingo199 I gave my son his first MMR at 6 months because we traveled to endemic countries, yes.

      His first official dose is coming up soon.

      And thank you for that article.

  92. #93 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    June 2, 2016

    re: men’s reproduction

    If only there was a “Minutes Before Pill” men could take to make them sterile for, oh let’s say, the next few hours…!

  93. #94 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 2, 2016

    @Amethyst, according to the Pfft! of all knowledge, research into the male pill has turned up some promising candidates.

  94. #95 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2016

    More on Andy:

    I watch this so you needn’t.

    ( from jeffereyjaxxen.com)

    A 55 minute long video of the Autism One 2016 VAXXED! Q&A has surfaced wherein Andy, Del, Polly, Hooker, Moody and Dr Ross ( from the Doctors TV show) appear.

    – at 23 minutes, Jake Crosby asks Andy to seek out his licence; thunderous applause as Andy considers it
    – Hooker discusses toxins in vaccines and a study by the Geiers of vaxxed/ unvaxxed in Florida
    – Thompson’s new study attributes the high autism rate to socioeconomic factors.
    – Del talks about going to Cannes, international distribution of the film and its translation into other languages starting with Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese. Talk of a deal with China to show the film. Rants.
    – Andy mentions that the film is now going mainstream not just to its niche audience and will be shown around Canada.
    – also he can’t vote but guess which US candidate he likes.

  95. #96 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    June 2, 2016
  96. #97 Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    June 2, 2016

    @ Renate, Richard Smith, Chemmomo, Helanthius

    As I’ve made quite clear, none of my statements are meant to be absolutes, that is, apply to every single situation. However, it is not entirely true that because a man has to use a condom that a woman has NO control. Eons ago, in my youth, the women I was with insisted, either a condom, or no way. Some of them even supplied the condoms. Maybe not the best of situations. And even in countries where forbidden, as with many other things, people did get them. And condoms not as effective as the pill; but I did not claim that population increases did not happen, just the increase lessened where women, such as in Kerala, were empowered with better education, better public services, and lower infant mortality, due to clean water, better nutrition, better medical services, and, yes, to vaccinations. And there are other forms of birth control, not very efficient; but do lower the risk to some extent, e.g. withdrawal, avoiding certain times of the month, etc.

    Population began to increase, especially after the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th Century. However, had smallpox vaccine not been developed, the increase would have been far less. And the destruction of our environment accelerated; but even early civilizations damaged the environment. However, if the world’s population was half what it is today, more resources would be available, global warming would be less of an eminent threat, etc. Immunizations played a significant role. However, as I explained, there are, in my opinion, better ways to control population growth, e.g. empowering women, a recognition of the difference between public goods and market goods (as explained in most intro to economic texts) so people have access to education, medical care, clean water, electricity, safe work environments, quality day care, etc. And more.

    One of the major problems I have with antivaccinationists is their focusing on one thing they believe causative, their need to see the world in absolutes of either or, black and white. Seems the same problem exists with many who comment on this blog, ignoring what I actually write and choosing to focus on one aspect. One should also remember the saying that the exception proves the rule. While I don’t completely disagree with what the above people wrote, it in no way changes what I have written. I could say that once advanced rabies is a death sentence and someone could write that there are a couple of cases that survived. I can say that falling a couple thousand feet is a death sentence; but I know of a case of someone who skydived, their chute failed to open and they plunged through a bunch of trees and their branches, surviving with broken bones. Following Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman, condoms became available in the US long before the birth control pill. They have an additional advantage in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

    And our planet could handle an even larger population if resources were used in a different manner. For instance, raising of animals for meat uses and pollutes huge amounts of water, consumes grains that would supply 10 times the protein, creates vast amounts of methane (25 times more potent as greenhouse gas than CO2), results in destruction of large forest areas that create oxygen, function as CO2 sinks, and have innumerable plants that eventually may be found to have antibiotic or other properties. And many infectious diseases come from close contact with animals. Without the huge numbers of pigs, chickens, ducks raised in close proximity, the risk of flu pandemics would be almost zero. Without the wet markets where people buy live animals caught in the wild, the risk for new exotic diseases would be far less. And without the overuse of antibiotics, about 75% of those sold, in agribusiness, the development of antibiotic resistant microbes would have progressed at a much much slower rate.

    The bottom line, in my opinion, based on my values, is that once born, every human being has an intrinsic worth and dignity. As such, as a community dependent on each other, we should try to do the best to allow that child to grow up with the least suffering and risks in order to attain whatever potential they have. While the natural childhood diseases do confer often stronger and longer lasting immunity, the suffering and risks compared to the exponentially smaller risks from vaccines, counting boosters as well, makes vaccination, both for the individual and for the community the overwhelming choice of any rational person.

  97. #98 dingo199
    June 2, 2016

    Thanks, Dorit.
    Dingo (aka MS on Disqus btw)

  98. #99 capnkrunch
    June 2, 2016

    Thompson’s new study attributes the high autism rate to socioeconomic factors.

    Wait, did this study actually appear? Or are they trying to see just how far they can stretch the audience’s suspension of disbelief?

  99. #100 Sarah A
    June 2, 2016

    A quick PubMed search only turns up one 2016 paper, entitled “Population-Based Estimates of Decreases in Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy Associated with Unhealthy Body Mass Index.” So apparently he’s still doing research at the CDC, but I didn’t see any recent papers on autism.

  100. #101 Matt Carey
    June 2, 2016

    Thompson was a coauthor on two studies at the recent IMFAR (autism) conference.

    However, the study that Hooker claims is in the works has yet to be published (should it exist)

  101. #102 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2016

    What Matt says is correct .

    In addition, the Geier vaxxed/ unvaxxed’study’ uses data from the CDC.

  102. #103 brian
    June 2, 2016

    @Denise Walter

    Yes, Jake seems to be on a mission to goad Wakefield to apply to have his license reinstated. Jake has posted to that effect on his own blog, and he has asked from the back of the audience the same question at an earlier Wakefield Q&A (I believe following a presentation of Quaxxed in Plano, Texas.) Although it’s been pointed out here that Wakefield doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of having his license to practice medicine restored, it is good politics: Having his application rejected will certainly reinforce his status as a martyr and enhance his ability to dip into the pockets of vulnerable people.

    Dangerous Bacon linked on May 21 to material posted by Brian Deer regarding Wakefield’s potential application for reinstatement:

    “What factors do the medical practitioners tribunal take into account when considering the application for restoration?”

    “The tribunal will consider a number of factors, including the following:
    a The circumstances that led to erasure.
    b The reasons given by the previous tribunal (or committee) for the decision to
    direct erasure.
    c Whether you have any insight into the matters that led to erasure.
    d What you have done since your name was erased from the register.
    e The steps you have taken to keep your medical knowledge and skills up to date and the steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself professionally and socially.”

    One wonders whether parts c-e in particular would represent a significant stumbling block for Wakefield.

  103. #104 brian
    June 2, 2016

    Thompson’s new study attributes the high autism rate to socioeconomic factors.

    Should it actually exist, that study would be in agreement with other work on socioeconomic effects on vaccine uptake and ASD diagnoses that has been published since the DeStefano study appeared in 2004. Moreover, it would be in agreement with what Thompson and Brian Hooker acknowledged in a June 2014 telephone call that Hooker taped without Thompson’s knowledge.

    It’s interesting that Hooker chose to explicitly ignore a factor that he clearly understood influenced his cherry-picked findings. Here’s what Hooker and Thompson said on June 14, 2014

    Thompson: “among the blacks . . . the ones getting vaccinated earlier are the ones from higher-income backgrounds. . . . You could argue that it’s the educated black moms that are getting their kids vaccinated earlier and that’s why you found that effect.”
    Hooker: “And they’re getting that effect and the ones that are getting vaccinated later are underdiagnosed.”
    Thompson: “Yes.”

    Thompson’s co-authors believed that socioeconomic effects explained their anomalous finding. Subsequent works supports that interpretation. Hooker, who clearly understood that, chose to bury that factor in his retracted “reanalysis” of the CDC data.

  104. #105 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2016

    @ brian:

    I watched that video for 55 minutes – that I’ll never get back- there are several hilarious and/ or outlandish moments like that which nearly make it worthwhile.

    I usually listen or watch these woo-fraught extravaganzas while I do some other task- cook, comb the cat, go through mail- so I’m not entirely immersed in non-reality.

  105. #106 Chris Preston
    Australia
    June 2, 2016

    Although it’s been pointed out here that Wakefield doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of having his license to practice medicine restored, it is good politics: Having his application rejected will certainly reinforce his status as a martyr and enhance his ability to dip into the pockets of vulnerable people.

    However, Andrew Wakefield will not apply to have his license restored. Going through the motions of an application would mean a re-hash of why he was suspended and a discussion of Andrew Wakefield’s activities since being suspended. This would require Andrew Wakefield to humbly admit that he was in error. This is something Andrew Wakefield would never do. It would also mean that he would lose his current supporter base.

    Jake Crosby, as usual, has simply no idea. He is arguing that an application for licence restoration should be based on Walker-Smith getting off. However, that would require re-litigating Andrew Wakefield’s FTP hearing, something that is explicitly prohibited in restoration of license hearings.

    “You cannot ask the tribunal to reconsider the facts proved against you that led to your erasure. You had a right of appeal immediately after the original hearing. If you did not appeal, or appealed unsuccessfully, that was the end of the matter.”

  106. #107 herr doktor bimler
    June 2, 2016

    “Children should get chickenpox so adults don’t need to get the shingles vaccine”

    Also, we should harvest children for organs for our transplants. When they are old enough to miss the organs, they will be able to harvest the next generation.

  107. #108 Politicalguineapig
    June 3, 2016

    DW: Off-topic, I know, but do you have any recommendations for cat brushes? One fuzzbutt that I’m responsible for is beginning to develop knots, and I need something that she won’t attack.

  108. #109 sadmar
    June 3, 2016

    PGP:

    My cat has major matted-hair problems, and a brush won’t do. I’ve bought a small armory of knot-clearing devices, including the much ballyhooed Furminator, and the only one that works well for cutting through the matting w/o getting the cat to cut me to shreds is a (inexpensive!) two-sided dematting comb, like this: http://tinyurl.com/jmsfs5e What appears to be the same identical tool is sold under a variety of brand names at a variety of prices. Mine is an ‘Itery’ brand, no longer available on Amazon, but the one I linked looks like exactly the same thing. Good luck.

  109. #110 Helianthus
    June 3, 2016

    @ Chris Preston

    Jake Crosby, as usual, has simply no idea. He is arguing that an application for licence restoration should be based on Walker-Smith getting off.

    That’s beyond clueless.
    Since Walker-Smith “get off” by basically saying that Wakefield tricked him – IOW, that Walker-Smith’s case rested on admitting Wakefield’s misbehavior, that would be an interesting legal approach to get Wakefield’s licence back.

    I think Wakefield will have more chance with the Chewbacca defense. Or the Chewbacca tactic.

  110. #111 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    June 3, 2016

    Looks like Mr Fraudytrousers is shaping up for another round of “Wanking for Coins”. From a commenter on Jake’s site:

    I hope Dr. Wakefield knows that millions of us not only support him in this endeavor but would willingly donate to a legal fund if that would help.

    And people are agreeing that this would be a fine idea… 🙁

  111. #112 Politicalguineapig
    June 3, 2016

    Sadmar: Thanks.

    RF: It would be a ‘fine idea’, just not the way Jake thinks.Even in their present clueless state, I think the AAP would shoot him down fast. Then again, they do allow Jay Gordon and the Dr. Sears to practice, although they did shut down the Geiers- I guess those two were too much of an embarrassment.

  112. #113 Brian Deer
    June 3, 2016

    I should really have written a piece about Walker-Smith at the time, but I was caught up with other things. A few points, however.

    The Walker-Smith appeal succeeded as it did because a judgment was handed down in the court of appeal – a higher court than the one that heard his appeal – after the GMC panel gave their verdicts on the charges, but before they gave their sentence of striking him off. The appeal court judgment said, in short, that the GMC practice, dating back decades, of giving one-line of findings for each charge was unfair because, although the doctor concerned obviously knew he HAD been found guilty, he could always determine WHY.

    This is because the panel’s REASONING hadn’t been set out.

    The courts had long been critical of the GMC for this, and the GMC panel’s legal adviser should probably have warned it that they needed to say more about their thinking as to why they said Walker-Smith was doing research and not primarily offering clinical care.

    Anyhow, that was the substantive basis for Walker-Smith’s sentence being quashed by the court. This was combined with the fact that he was cleared of dishonesty, and that this conflicted with the verdict, because he would have to have been lying if what he said wasn’t true.

    The GMC panel was entitled to take the case back, after the court ruling, reconstitute the panel, or enroll another panel, and strike him off again. However, Walker-Smith was already 75 years old, and had had the case hanging over him for six years. It would have been a cruel and potentially dangerous course to revisit the matters, particularly when there was little wider public interest in pursuing him. He was long retired and gave up his license almost immediately after it was restored.

    Wakefield was not a clinician – and was contractually barred from patient care – and thus had no defense comparable to Walker-Smiths. He was found guilty of four counts of dishonesty, and any number of other charges Walker-Smith did not face. Wakefield’s recent claims that they were the same is just one of his duck-quacking lies that he tells.

    Wakefield appealed his striking off – pro se, or in person – after his own counsel, Kieran Coonan QC, recommended to his insurers (actually a defence society) that he was unlikely to prevail on appeal. His insurers were the same society which agreed to support Walker-Smith’s appeal.

    In the theoretical event that Wakefield had appealed, and succeeded, it is a 100% certainty that the GMC would have reconvened the panel, or enrolled a new panel, and a 100% certainty that he would have been struck off again.

    If he chose the pay the $10,000 fee to have his license reconsidered, it is a 100% certainty that the GMC will oppose this, and, given the public health issues as stake, along with all the rest, it is a 100% certainty that he will lose.

    Indeed, the recent discussion of this issue would, of itself, be compelling additional evidence that the public interest would be severely damaged by the restoration of his license.

    His chance are nil, and always have been since he was caught rigging his research. Sadly, the UK has no entity that deals with research fraud. A number of medical journal editors believe that it should be enshrined in statute as a criminal offense.

    As for Jake, he a silly and ignorant young man, as he has shown over his demands that Wakefield’s retracted paper be restored. Again, laughable. The editor is in record as stating that the journal was “deceived” and that had it known what it found out about the project, it would never have published Wakefield’s claims about MMR.

  113. #114 Brian Deer
    June 3, 2016

    I should add that Wakefield abandoned his pro se appeal, after about, I think, eight months.

  114. #115 Denice Walter
    June 3, 2016

    @ PGP:

    I don’t actually use a brush much- one of my friends bought him one of those groomer tools that are easy to clean but he hated it and it broke. He has short hair with a very dense undercoat that wafts about the house and settles in corners like grey/ brown/ black dust. If I leave him to his own devices, he develops problems from ingesting it.

    So I use a metal comb with very fine teeth or a cheap small plastic hairbrush ( imagine what a teenage girl might carry in her bag). He’s not always thrilled to be combed.

  115. #116 Denice Walter
    June 3, 2016

    @ Brian Deer:

    I listened to your interview with Justin Whoever:
    I imagine that that might have been an interesting experience. It’s posted at AoA.
    -btw- they are not amongst your biggest fans.

  116. #117 Roger Kulp
    June 3, 2016

    ORAC,I was hoping you would have been blogging about this “brave maverick doctor” today.

    Go to his blog,and read the post “Why did my child develop autism?” It’s a veritable arsenal of weapons grade burning stupid,especially for those of who follow research about inherited immune abnormalities in autism,and schizophrenia.The guy likes to cite Kent Heckenlively.

  117. #119 Roger Kulp
    June 3, 2016

    Denice Walker @ 102
    The Geiers are still partying like it’s 1999 in regards to vaccines and thimerosal.

  118. #120 Politicalguineapig
    June 3, 2016

    In other horrifying news, I found out Alex Jones has an eight year old daughter (by parthenogenesis, perhaps?).

  119. #121 Alain
    June 3, 2016

    I think he knows the truth. I think he knows he is wrong. But he is too invested financially and emotionally to back out.

    The question I’d ask myself is how do I cope with that; should I be in the same situation. Therein lie the biology (in my case, autism, which I see as a construct of the brain as opposed to a set of symptoms) and the resulting behavior (how autism and/or mental illnesses are diagnosed currently). In his (Wakefraud) case, his own particular brain biology make the consequences easier to deal…

    Al

  120. […] mean that Wakefield himself was exonerated and his research therefore rendered valid. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As Brian Deer explains, the Walker-Smith appeal succeeded largely because of some unique features […]

  121. #123 Keith Bell
    United States
    June 25, 2016

    There are studies about bacterial-viral interaction in polio and HIV, but not for measles. Still, the message is clear about certain bacteria protective against viruses and pathogenic bacteria. This is what divides people who fight measles easily and obtain lifelong immunity with those who succumb to the disease such as the daughter of Roald Dahl.
    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/roald-dahl-and-measles-factory

    Dawn, flora imbalance may explain your lack of immunity.

    A little known fact is that up to 95% of all polio cases are asymptomatic. Why would that be? Why do most people walk around with polio and don’t even know it? And why do the unfortunate few succumb to disease? Could it be their microbial makeup? Exposure to a gram-positive bacteria increased polio infectivity over 500%.

  122. #124 Chris
    June 25, 2016

    Only truly disgusting people treat the death of a little girl like you do, Mr. Bell. You should be ashamed of yourself, but you don’t even realize you are covered in porcine manure.

  123. #125 Narad
    June 29, 2016

    AoA has been a bonanza today. Wakefraud opines further about virology (emphasis added; sorry about the long quote):

    “So if you interfere with the natural process of infection, take measles as an example. By changing the strain of the virus that people are exposed to, changing the age at which people are exposed—because when there was natural exposure–the mean age was four, five, six, seven, when kids went to school, and you change that to 12 to 18 months, if you change the route by which you’re exposed to a virus, if you change the dose of the virus people are getting, if you change the way in which they’re exposed to other viruses at the same time, like [sic] mumps and rubella—if you change all of those things in a heartbeat effectively, then that is a massive change in the dynamic of that infection and its host, the human being. You must expect a huge consequence to come down the line.

    “Why? Because these viruses are geared up to adapt, geared up to survive and they’ll do so at any cost. They have an infinite capacity to mutate very rapidly to produce new variants of the virus that are capable of surviving …And they’ll produce new diseases as well, new manifestations of the same old disease.

    “That’s what’s happened with vaccination. In a very short period of time the entire way in which the human race sees the virus has been changed dramatically.

    “I say that because we’re seeing the consequence of that I believe in a pandemic of neurodevelopmental disorders in children.”

    Charitably assuming that this is supposed to be a logical construction, the best I can figure is that the (imagined)* selection pressure has caused a mutant measles strain that does not present as classic measles disease to begin to circulate in the population, which selectively targets people who have been vaccinated.

    Other analyses are welcome.

    * Wait, outbreaks are bestest way to bring this to bear?

  124. #126 Narad
    June 29, 2016

    ^ Oh, wait, it’s the self-inflicted coup de grâce:

    “I think one of the most interesting things is Polly’s camera was disabled by a hacker on her phone, so she could no longer broadcast. Now that tells us they are just terrified. And these stories are reaching—one story went to now…400,000. Those are numbers that are clearly terrifying the opposition, and they decided to take action and hack her phone. …[“]

  125. #127 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 29, 2016

    Other analyses are welcome.

    That had to be rhetorical for what else is needed to analyse that level of stupid beyond his own words.

  126. #128 Narad
    June 29, 2016

    That had to be rhetorical for what else is needed to analyse that level of stupid beyond his own words.

    Well, maybe it could be broken into component parts. For example, is influenza “geared up to survive and [willing to] do so at any cost” such that vaccination drove it to take refuge in swine while plotting its next step?

  127. #129 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 30, 2016

    Well, maybe it could be broken into component parts.

    Well okay I suppose if you want to be a masochist.

  128. #130 Narad
    June 30, 2016

    Well okay I suppose if you want to be a masochist.

    No, it could be like “Metamagical Themas” or something. For example, maybe there is a minimum spanning concept tree that includes both the vaccinology and the Attkisson cum dextromethorphan hacking element. Or at least a directed graph.

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