Dr. Andrew Wakefield is the man behind the 1998 controversy saying that the MMR vaccine caused autism. The weekly produced medical journal, The Lancet supported the claim that autism and vaccines were linked, but it was later discredited. Dr. Andrew Wakefield is the doctor who gave birth to the fraudulent claim.
His “proof” encouraged parents not to vaccinate their children for the deadly diseases they prevent because of the autism claim. Many parents followed this fake news and did not vaccinate their children. As a result, we started hearing of cases of measles cropping up from this revelation of a medical travesty. Dr. Andrew Wakefield was investigated by several medical sources and his claim was found to false. The doctor was charged with medical misconduct in May 2010 and was removed from the medical register which meant he could no longer practice medicine in the UK.
The results of the investigation for the vaccine were that it does not cause autism, and getting it outweighed the risks. Lawyers that were filing suit for parents of children with autism were rejected on the premise of the fraudulent paper put forth by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. In a 2011 journal article, this hoax was called the most damaging hoax in 100 years in the UK.
After the measles outbreaks in 1992 England, British authorities showed a rise in measles in school age children. In 1994 Britain began a vigorous country-wide campaign to vaccinate every child against measles, mumps, and rubella. Every school, age child up to the age of 16 was given the vaccine. From this time on, children were vaccinated.
This “controversy” reached the United States and parents also stopped vaccinations. But in the US, if a child is not vaccinated they are denied entry to school, preschool included because of the risk of spreading the disease to others. In the wake of this fraud in the UK, many legal actions have taken place including ethics reviews. Besides the US and Britain, Italy and Japan were also affected.
Autism diagnoses increased in the 1990s and 2000s but this is due to changes in the way it is diagnosed. And advances in medical tools, used for discovering the abnormality. The outbreaks from the non-vaccinated children were in all of the affected countries and the paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The panic that ensued was directly related to his false information and fear mongering.
Concerned parents do their best to protect their children from avoidable instances and they were protecting their children, albeit based on poor information, they thought since he is a doctor it has to be true. Any parent would do this, but once it was proven that the vaccine did NOT cause autism, lawsuits were filed by parents of children who had autism after receiving the shot. The suits were dismissed once the official results of the testing and discovery were finished.
This controversial and false report is still quoted today, in 2017 as a reason for not vaccinating children so to those who refuse to be educated are still perpetuating the autism claims as real.