Some anniversary

Would you believe it’s been 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his disgraceful paper? It was retracted for undisclosed conflicts of interest, unethical treatment of children, and dishonest data manipulation. So Wakefield ought to be commemorating the destruction of his career from a nice ditch somewhere with a bottle of Thunderbird, right?


Wakefield got to celebrate the death by neglect of children with celebrity appearances on a tour for an anti-vaccination movie, the spawn of his bad study, and he attended an inaugural ball for Donald Trump. Last year, he was invited back for another round of talks in Europe.

Last week, Wakefield did not speak at a working men’s club, but at the supposedly reputable Regent’s University in London. To top that, he was invited to the European parliament, not by a neofascist know-nothing, but by an MEP from a Green party, which readers who have not been paying attention may think is filled with decent people.

And now he lives in a nice house near Austin, Texas, profiting off the conspiracy theory he instigated.

There is no justice in the world.


  1. blf says

    WHO warns over measles immunisation rates as cases rise 400% across Europe:

    2017 saw more than 21,000 cases and 35 deaths, with large outbreaks in one in four countries, says World Health Organisation
    “Every new person affected by measles in Europe reminds us that unvaccinated children and adults, regardless of where they live, remain at risk of catching the disease and spreading it to others who may not be able to get vaccinated,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe. “Over 20,000 cases of measles, and 35 lives lost in 2017 alone, are a tragedy we simply cannot accept.”

    Measles can kill or cause long-term damage. One in every thousand children affected develops encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain and can lead to deafness or learning difficulties.


    Confidence in the MMR — measles, mumps and rubella — vaccine and in immunisation generally has been an issue in Europe and in the United States following the discredited claims of the researcher [sic] Andrew Wakefield, who linked the MMR to the development of autism.

    Andrew Wakefield, killer of 35. At least. In one year.

  2. jacksprocket says

    I’d never heard of Regent’s Universtity, and I’m not surprised. It’s a private business college, and has nothing to do with medicine apart from telling people how to make money from it.

  3. Michael says

    Apparently the Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate, who started the Spiritualism movement (seances), had their own private hell in that they were stuck having to deal almost exclusively with the company of believers, while they themselves knew they were frauds. Once can only hope that Wakefield has similar burdens.

  4. Matt G says

    I don’t know how people like Wakefield can live with themselves. They are either evil or have thoroughly convinced themselves that they are heroes. Never underestimate people’s capacity to deceive themselves.

  5. Matrim says

    Speaking of shitty pseudoscience stuff, I’m sitting in the theater waiting for Black Panther to start and have already seen an ad for “Is Genesis History” (a creationist “documentary”) and Kirk Cameron’s “documentary” about kids and smart phones. Whee…

  6. MHiggo says

    Matrim @5 — You have me beat. All I got was a trailer for the next God’s Not Dead movie (from the makers of The Case for Christ! Coming this Easter!).

  7. birgerjohansson says

    (sits down with Photoshop creating an image of Wakefield burning a stack of Qurans. Next Project: Wakefield holding a sign saying “North Korean leaders have ugly hairstyles!” )

  8. blf says

    The Case for Christ! Coming this Easter!

    Another zombie movie?
    Let me guess… All those statues and paintings of a guy nailed to tree come to life and start trying to insert brains into the heads of the tithepayers. (Comic interlude here as the ex-statues produce enough brains by a variation on Ye Olde Fish Sandwich Feeds Multitude trick.) Back to what remains of the main plot, where the brain-adding, of course, threatens the tithetakers†, or at least their income and privileges, so they arouse those tithepayers who either have not been brained, or whose brains have fallen out, to match on the rampaging hordes of tortured ex-statues. There is much carnage and bloodshed, especially after it is discovered the usual WMD, the shotgunvaccine, isn’t working (for unclear reasons, this seems to be a plothole, or possibly a prelude to the next installment). Hence the tithepayerarmy must resort to peas sprinkled with holely water. This makes the ex-statues explode with lots of flames, albeit weirdly all the explosions seem the same. Anyways, things are going good for preserving tithe-paying, until the only factory making the water runs out of holes… The closing credits now roll, apparently the filmmakers ran out of money in addition to ideas.

      † When typing this, I made the amusing typo “tithefakers”, which, whilst on-point, is perhaps too obscure…

  9. latsot says

    It’s easy to blame Wakefield (and we should, I do!) but we should also reserve an enormous slab of hatred for the media who shamelessly promoted him, both at the time and for long after he had been discredited. Here in the UK, Wakefield was on the BBC news every five minutes for years after he was exposed to provide the non-existent ‘other side’. By then, they knew perfectly well that he was a fraud and that there was no other side, but that didn’t stop them for a moment.

    The BBC eventually admitted they’d got it wrong, but by then the damage was done. The BBC are by no means the only culprits, but as far as I know, they’re the only ones who kinda-sorta apologised for it, for whatever that’s worth.

  10. Dr Sarah says

    Twenty years?? This makes me feel old. I remember the MMR controversy being the hot topic du jour when I was sitting my membership exams for the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) as a junior doctor; somewhere I still have the list of studies that were done recruiting Wakefield’s work and my notes on them.

  11. chrislawson says

    Speaking of people who were never held accountable for their role in the Wakefield scandal, why is Rich Horton still editor of the Lancet?