Thursday, January 6, 2011

FRAUD!!! ...allegedly

Andrew Wakefield is, as has long been suspected, a FRAUD. Allegedly. The British Medical Journal has had a number of scathing pieces about his culpability and questionable ethics and his contribution to the illness and deaths of so many children through his misinformation campaign, and now the BMJ has declared his link between autism and vaccinations to be fraudulent.

Phil Plait, ever the undickish diplomat, has this to say:
If the charges of fraud can be made to stick, then we might be able to make some progress toward reality once again, and lower the rate of outbreaks of measles, pertussis, and polio… and save a lot of lives in the process.

His entire blog entry is great, and moving, and I too hope that this declaration of fraud will give parents pause and encourage them to look at the scientific consensus and preponderance of evidence, rather than nonmedical quacks.

Ben Radford has a write-up in Discovery News: Vaccine-Autism Doctor Accused of 'Deliberate Fraud' Sadly, he is probably correct that "the anti-vaccination movement will march on despite the fact that the only scientific research that supports their position was conducted by a discredited, unethical researcher."

Science-Based Medicine (imagine that, SCIENCE!!) blogger David Gorski shares his thoughts here.

Skepchick and real mommy-warrior Elyse doesn't mince words: Andrew Wakefield is, she says he's a Straight up mother fucking liar. Word.

PZ Myers: It wasn't just shoddy, it was fraud.

Also, articles from NPR and the NY Times, and Brian Deer's writeup (check back for part 2).

Unfortunately, this won't change many minds. The rabid anti-vaxxers will continue to cry "martyr" and "conspiracy" and will continue to dispense misinformation and ignore the (quite clear) science. Misinformed parents will continue to be fear-mongered out of protecting their children from deadly and disfiguring diseases. People will continue to get medical information from Google searches and Oprah Winfrey. Children and babies will still die and be harmed when they could have been protected.
We can point out the short-comings of Wakefield's study and decry his questionable methods and ethics, but the damage has already been done. It's too late for a lot of people. But it's not too late or you!! Talk to your doctor about your vaccine schedule! Ensure that you've had your booster shots! Make sure your kids are protected. Get your flu shot, especially if you're around children or the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. Get the facts, and then get your shots. Vaccines save the world, kids. Like Superman, only of terrestrial origin.

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