Andrew Wakefield and the British media created a baseless scare around the MMR vaccine. They’ve since moved on. Wakefield’s paper has been retracted by the Lancet (and referred to by the BMJ as “fraudulent“), and he has been struck off by the GMC. Wakefield now appears to be promoting a Facebook page collating anecdotes from parents worried that vaccination may have had adverse effects on their children.
What about the parents who fell for the scare propagated by Wakefield and the media? What about the effects of the scaremongering? Well, in England vaccine coverage dropped and we saw the first deaths from acute measles since 1992.
It’s been reported this week that in Minnesota, there have been six measles cases in a month:
“We had six cases prior to this year, over the past five years,” Lynfield said. “And now we’ve had six cases in a month.”
Half of the cases so far have been in Somali children who were not immunized. Some Somali parents told the Health Department they didn’t vaccinate their kids because they were worried that they would develop autism.
It looks like, as well as the damage caused in this country, Wakefield and the British media may be at least partly responsible for the hospitalisation of four children from Minnesota. Once again we are exporting counterknowledge. Rather depressing, isn’t it?
Edited to add: this has also been covered by leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk.