To be clear, this is about one person. It warms my heart to know that people want to come and start new lives as Americans. Some of the best doctors got their education and training overseas. Not only have I worked with many of them, I’m related to three by marriage. Most people have heard of Mr. Andrew Wakefield. He used to be a British doctor before being stripped of his license when his controversial paper linking the existing MMR vaccine to autism was found to be fraudulent. Especially scandalous was his filing of a patent for an alternative measles vaccine prior to publishing his paper. Well, he apparently lives in Texas now. Despite no longer being a physician, it would appear that he is still attempting to erode the efforts of the medical community for his own financial gain.
You probably heard about Vaxxed, the documentary directed by Mr. Wakefield which allegedly blows the lid off of the CDC and everything we know about vaccines. I haven’t seen it myself because I don’t want to give money to his cause; you’d think something apparently so important would be free for all to view.
Before you accuse me of being closed-minded, I have seen the CDC Whistleblower Revealed video narrated by Mr. Wakefield. (It’s free online.) In it, he discusses an alleged link between MMR and autism in African American boys in Georgia. This apparent link was supposedly “suppressed” by the CDC. However, it wasn’t found to be statistically significant, among many other critiques. That doesn’t matter to Mr. Wakefield. In his video, he draws a comparison to the unethical Tuskegee syphilis trials and goes so far as to say “… vile as the crimes of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler were, these men were not hypocrites, their motives ambiguous or their rhetoric glazed with apparent caring and compassion …”
What’s also free to browse is Vaxxed’s website. There’s a Vaxxed bus that travels around documenting thousands of testimonials of illnesses and “injuries” caused by vaccines. Forget MMR and autism. Now, any vaccine can cause any illness — one just has to believe it. Check out the list of where the bus will be next and they’ll film your story. I don’t mean to sound callous about parents grieving about their children’s illnesses. I’m just saying no evidence exists to support what they believe to be the cause. That doesn’t matter to Mr. Wakefield, though. The number of testimonials goes up week after week driving traffic to his site. There, you can stream Vaxxed for a fee, donate to his cause, and visit the Vaxxed store. You can purchase Vaxxed on DVD, buy $20 Vaxxed t-shirts, or splurge on a non-returnable $332 Vaxxed movie kit, plus $25 shipping, on sale for just $250. (However, it doesn’t come with the DVD or a code to stream online – you have to pay for those separately.)
It seems that Mr. Wakefield is fixated on one of the most American of virtues: capitalism. Whether it’s maligning an existing MMR vaccine while developing his own version, comparing the CDC to Hitler, or taking advantage of grieving parents, he’s gone to some length in its pursuit. He’s even got a bug in the ear of our president whose views on vaccination are unclear, for now. No matter how fatiguing it may be, it’s up to the medical community to publicly and firmly discredit the many untrue assertions made by the anti-vaccine community. With declining vaccination rates across the country, the health of our kids and nation depends on it. At a time where immigration is so controversial, it’s clear that Mr. Andrew Wakefield is one immigrant who has nothing good to contribute to the American story.
Sean Gallagher is a pediatric resident. He can be reached on Twitter @TheKidKidDoc.
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