Tag Archives: mmr

Investigator Planned to Make Vast Profit From Autism/MMR Vaccine Scare

Andrew Wakefield, the lead author on the 1998 study that reported a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and a new condition of regressive autism and bowel disease called autistic enterocolitis (AE), was planning to market a prestudy diagnostic testing kit with expected yearly sales of 28 million pounds (43 million US dollars), a new paper published online in the BMJ reports. Continue reading

U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine

In past blogs, I’ve exposed what I consider to be the unethical and unscrupulous actions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his so-called autism research. Here are just a few:

Wakefield’s now disproven 1998 study supposedly linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism. Unfortunately, this led to a dramatic drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world — causing who knows how many unnecessary childhood deaths.

Since then, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism.

And now, not only have the scientific methods of Wakefield been shown to be highly suspect, but so have his many financial conflicts. You can read more about these in a New York Times report.

Now, Britain’s top medical group has ruled that Wakefield can no longer practice in the U.K. Here are the details from an AP report:

The General Medical Council also found Dr. Andrew Wakefield guilty of “serious professional misconduct” as it struck him from the country’s medical register. The council was investigating HOW Wakefield and colleagues carried out their research, NOT the science behind it (the latter being long ago discredited).

When the research was published a dozen years ago, parents around the world abandoned the measles vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of the disease. Vaccination rates have never recovered and there are outbreaks of measles in the U.K. and the U.S. every year as a result.

In 1998, Wakefield and colleagues published a study alleging a link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Most of the study’s authors renounced its conclusions and it was retracted then by the journal, the Lancet, this last February.

Many other studies have been conducted since then and none have found a connection between autism and the vaccines. Wakefield moved to the U.S. several years ago and the ruling does not affect his right to practice medicine there or in other countries.

In 2005, Wakefield founded a nonprofit autism center in Austin, Texas, but quit earlier this year.

In January, Britain’s medical council ruled that Wakefield and two other doctors acted unethically and showed a “callous disregard” for the children in their study. The medical body said Wakefield took blood samples from children at his son’s birthday party, paying them 5 pounds (today worth $7.20) each and later joked about the incident.

In a statement then, Wakefield said the medical council’s investigation was an effort to “discredit and silence” him to “shield the government from exposure on the (measles) vaccine scandal.”

In Monday’s ruling, the medical council said Wakefield abused his position as a doctor and “brought the medical profession into disrepute.”

But, worse than this, who knows how many childhood deaths now rest at his doorstep?

Study indicates separate MMR, chickenpox shots may be safer

I hope you’re not getting too tired of all the vaccine-related blogs of today and Monday. Not to worry, on Friday I’ll post several blogs for adults and parents about sunscreens. Anyway, the Los Angeles Times is reporting, “Children who receive a single vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox appear to have an increased risk of fever-related seizures in the days after the shot than do children who receive two separate vaccinations.”

The Times notes that “a combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (commonly known as chicken pox) was approved for use in 2005, providing an option for parents who wanted to stick one fewer needle in their small children.”

But, “a new analysis from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center … hows that the four-illness combination vaccine doubles the risk of a fever-related seizure among 1- and 2-year-old children seven to 10 days after the shot.”

In fact, the CDC “last year changed its vaccine recommendations based on Klein’s preliminary findings.

“Although the CDC typically prefers to combine shots – partly to spare kids from extra needle sticks – it now recommends that children whose parents don’t have a strong preference get the chickenpox vaccine and the MMR shots separately.”

It’s important to note, as the New York Times reported, the risk for a “so-called febrile seizure after any measles vaccination is less than 1 seizure per 1,000 vaccinations; but among children who received the combined vaccine, there is (only) 1 additional seizure for every 2,300 vaccinated,” said Dr. Nicola Klein, the study’s lead investigator.

So, the risk, although “doubled” is still very, very low.

Nevertheless, as USA Today reports, “Parents who are concerned may want to ask for two separate shots – MMR and chickenpox – instead of taking the four-in-one combination called ProQuad, says Klein, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in California.”

Unvaccinated Children at Center of Measles Outbreak

Many parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, don’t realize the potential harm of this decision on both their children and the children in their community. The reason? Children whose parents refuse vaccinations for them provide fertile ground for the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. Here’s another case proving that point. This one is an investigation of a 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego. As one of the researchers reminds us, “It’s very important for parents to understand that the disease itself is always more serious than a true reaction to the vaccine.”

Action Points
Explain to interested patients that all 12 of the measles cases identified in this study were unvaccinated children, most of whose parents had refused the vaccine.

Here are the details, from a MedPage report:

Although the rate of two-dose immunization against measles was 95% in the area, a single case of measles from a 7-year-old child returning from overseas sparked an outbreak that exposed 839 people and sickened 11 other children, according to David Sugerman, MD, MPH, of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, and colleagues.

None of the 12 children, who ranged in age from 10 months to 9 years, had been vaccinated — nine because their parents had refused the vaccine and three because they were too young, the researchers reported in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Although the virus was not spread extensively, it came at a substantial cost of $176,980 for investigation, containment, and healthcare.

In San Diego, the overall rate of vaccine refusal — predominantly because of safety concerns — was low at 2.5% in 2008, but it had been rising since 2001.

The possibility that increasing rates of intentional undervaccination could lead to a rise in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases is “a monumental concern,” according to Anne Gershon, MD, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

“It’s very important for parents to understand that the disease itself is always more serious than a true reaction to the vaccine,” she said in an e-mail.

The endemic transmission of measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 because of widespread use of an effective vaccine, but the virus remains endemic in other parts of the world.

Occasionally, imported cases cause outbreaks. In 2008, there were 140 measles cases in the U.S., the largest number since 1996, when there were 508.

There are concerns that cases of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases will continue to increase as public focus shifts from the dangers of disease to vaccine safety.

To explore the effect of intentional undervaccination on an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness, Sugerman and his colleagues turned to the January 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego, sparked by a 7-year-old returning from a trip to Switzerland.

The child’s parents had signed a personal-beliefs exemption to refuse vaccination for their children.

The index patient directly infected his two siblings, two classmates, and four children who were treated at the same clinic.

The index patient’s sister then infected two of her classmates. One of the index patient’s classmates infected his brother, bringing the total number of cases to 12.

One child, a 10-month-old, was hospitalized, and received IV hydration for diarrhea.

A vigorous public health response, including quarantine of exposed children who had not been vaccinated, prevented the outbreak from progressing further.

In the study area, parents who refused vaccines for their children tended to be white, well-educated, and from the middle and upper classes.

There were clusters of vaccine refusal, occurring more often in public charter and private schools, as well as in public schools in upper-class areas.

William Schaffner, MD, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said in an interview that there is growing concern about these community clusters, because they create a pool of susceptible children who interact with each other on a daily basis.

Although high vaccination rates prevented the San Diego measles outbreak from extending into the general population, Schaffner said “you cannot rely upon herd immunity to protect each and every child.”

In discussion groups and surveys, most parents who refused vaccines for their children were concerned about possible adverse effects, including autism, ADD/ADHD, asthma, and allergies. They expressed skepticism about the government, pharmaceutical industry, and medical community.

In addition, “they believed vaccination was unnecessary, because most vaccine-preventable diseases had already been reduced to very low risk by improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene and were best prevented by ‘natural lifestyles,’ including prolonged breastfeeding and organic foods,” Sugerman and his colleagues wrote.

But, according to Schaffner, parents harboring those ideas are misguided.

“There’s nothing in that sentence that is correct,” he said. “You can have the purest water, eat the most natural food, be very healthy, and if exposed to measles, your child will get measles and can get a very severe case.”

He noted that people often forget that before vaccination was introduced in the U.S. in 1963, measles killed an average of 400 children a year in the U.S.

“People don’t recognize how potentially very serious these so-called childhood infections can be,” he said.

The best way to help inform parents about the importance of vaccination for their children remains the dissemination of science-based information through the media and doctors, Schaffner said, although he acknowledged that that approach does not seem to be working.

A longer-range solution, he said, would be to make sure school health curricula contain lessons on vaccines and the diseases they prevent. Schaffner said many current curricula are deficient in this area.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that when these teenagers in a few years become young adults and parents that they’re not very educated about vaccines.”

Court once again rejects theory that vaccines cause autism

A federal court has determined that the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism is “scientifically unsupportable,” and that the families of children diagnosed with the condition are not entitled to compensation. Three special masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined that the three families represented in the suit didn’t prove a link between the vaccines and autism. The three released more than 600 pages of findings after reviewing these test cases.

Hopefully, this court ruling will put to rest the persisting delusion that some have that vaccines are associated with autism. Whether it’s the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thiomersol, there is no compelling reason to believe that either are causing the increasing numbers of kids with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The New York Times reported, “In a further blow to the antivaccine movement, three judges ruled Friday in three separate cases that thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury, does not cause autism.”

The rulings “are the second step in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding begun in 2002 in the United States Court of Federal Claims,” which “combines the cases of 5,000 families with autistic children seeking compensation from the federal vaccine injury fund.”

The fund pays “families of children hurt by vaccines,” but it “has never accepted that vaccines cause autism.”

The Los Angeles Times reported, “The cases that three judges, called special masters, chose to rule on as test cases were considered among the strongest, so the outlook appears grim for others making the same claim.”

Special Master Denise K. Vowell wrote that “petitioners propose effects from mercury in [vaccines] that do not resemble mercury’s known effects in the brain, either behaviorally or at the cellular level.”

Although Special Master George Hastings was sympathetic with one of the families and believed they brought their claim in good faith, he found “the opinions provided by the petitioners’ experts in this case, advising the … family that there is a causal connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and Jordan’s autism, have been quite wrong.”

“The cases had been divided into three theories about a vaccine-autism relationship for the court to consider,” the AP reported. The court previously “rejected a theory that thimerasol can cause autism when combined with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine,” and “a theory that certain vaccines alone cause autism.”

Although, Friday’s “ruling doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the dispute … with appeals to other courts available,” hopefully this will allow physicians, researchers, parents, and child activists to work together to find the real cause(s) of autism, and quit chasing our tails over a theory that no longer holds water or credibility.

You can read some of my blogs on autism here:

Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism

U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link

One of the world’s most respected medical journals, The Lancet, is formally retracting an article that sparked a fierce debate and falsely linked autism to vaccines.

The 1998 study linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism which led to a drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world. In the meantime, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism.

The move “is part of a reassessment that has lasted for years of the scientific methods and financial conflicts of Dr. Andrew Wakefield,” whose “research showed that the … vaccine may be unsafe,” the New York Times reports.

Last week, the Times reports, “a British medical panel concluded … that Dr. Wakefield has been dishonest, violated basic research ethics rules, and showed a ‘callous disregard’ for the suffering of children involved in his research.”

A spokesman for the CDC said the retraction “builds on the overwhelming body of research … that concludes there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.”

The Washington Post reports, “The Lancet said that after the” panel’s “ruling, it was clear that parts of Wakefield’s paper were wrong.”

The journal “highlighted, for example, assertions that investigations of children for the study were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee.”

Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet, said the journal was especially concerned that Wakefield’s study specifically chose certain children to participate rather than testing those who arrived at the hospital as described in the study, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The AP reports, “The retraction … comes a day after a competing medical journal, BMJ, issued an embargoed commentary calling for The Lancet to formally retract the study.”

The BMJ “said once the study” was published, “the arguments were considered by many to be proven and the ghastly social drama of the demon vaccine took on a life of its own.”

“Despite multiple subsequent studies that have refuted the link, vaccination rates have remained lower than they were before” Wakefield’s study, the Los Angeles Times reported.

BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Goodless said the retraction “will help restore faith in” the vaccine “and in the integrity of the scientific literature.”

You can read my other blogs on the topic:

The argument should be over. This final action effectively puts the nail in the coffin to the now disproven theory that the MMR vaccine is associated with or causes autism. Period.

Now, all of who care for and love children should redouble our efforts to find the cause(s) of autism, and abandon the discredited notions that vaccines have a thing to do with this terrible group of disorders.

Child vaccination rates hit record levels

Even though there were many parents who, in the past, did not have their children vaccinated for the now disproven theory that vaccines cause autism, Reuters is reporting that U.S. toddlers got the recommended vaccinations against childhood diseases at record levels in 2007.

My Take? Continue reading

Doctors and Families Asked to “Just Say no to New Aborted Fetal Vaccine!”

LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that a pro-life group, Children of God for Life, is calling on the Medical Profession to “just say no” to the newly US licensed aborted fetal vaccine, Pentacel, made by Sanofi Pasteur. On June 26th the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the vaccine be added to the immunization schedule for children, despite the fact that moral alternatives have been used in the US for years.

My Take? Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #13: Vaccinations are made from aborted babies

This is the end of my 13-week series on Vaccine Myths. I hope the series has been helpful to you. Today, I’d like to address the fact that some people have questioned whether the use of fetal cells in the production of vaccines is moral and ethical. This question is timely due to a news story just out: Doctors and Families Asked to “Just Say no to New Aborted Fetal Vaccine!”

Continue reading

Should Parents Refuse Abortion-Based Vaccines?

There’s a news story out this week about a Coast Guard officer who was told that he must take a vaccine that was derived based on tissue from an unborn child that had been aborted. 

The officer refused the vaccine based upon his religious beliefs that abortion is wrong.

After a lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Coast Guard decided to allow a religious exemption.

“Members of our military should never have to choose between honoring their country and honoring their faith,” argued ADF attorneys in the case of Coast Guard officer Joseph Healy.

I agree with my friend, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, who said, “We applaud the military for recognizing that Healy is deserving of the same freedoms that he has spent his career defending.” 

But, what about parents who face this same decision when immunizing their children.

Is it true that there are vaccines derived from aborted babies?

And, if so, should parents who believe abortion is wrong refuse these vaccines?

Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #3: Vaccines Aren’t Necessary

A huge story is breaking today, about what the Washington Post is calling “the largest resurgence” of measles since 2001.

This story should, by itself, put this myth to rest.

And, the story is unfolding in 10 states, with at least 72 people ranging from infants to the elderly becoming ill. And all but one of them were unvaccinated. Continue reading

Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux.

The LA Times ran an article today about the ongoing controversy over the fear that the MMR vaccine may cause autism.

Because of this fear, there are parents who have chosen not to give their children this life-saving vaccine.

As a result, the Times reports that some in the research and medical community “are worried about” potential outbreaks that could be “fueled by clusters of people who are not vaccinated as a matter of choice, rather than access.” Continue reading