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MMR investigated: site visitor's views on the troubles of Andrew Wakefield (1)

This page is research from an investigation by Brian Deer for The Sunday Times of London and the UK's Channel 4 Television into a campaign linking the MMR children's vaccine with autism. | Go to part I: The Lancet scandal | Go to part II: The Wakefield factor

Following Brian Deer's reports in The Sunday Times on February 22 2004, visitors to this site had their say

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

Dear Mr Deer,

I would be more comfortable with your article if it mentioned that GPs were being paid public money, with productivity-style arrangements, to administer the MMR. Surely there is a conflict of interest there, too.

Yours sincerely,

Quentin L.

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

Hi Brian,

Was wondering how you came to the conclusion that the MMR was safe? It clearly is not. Mothers Know their children and it cannot be argued that regression following an MMR jab is pure coincidence. It is fact MMR is unsafe.

My worry is that I believe you are well known in undercover investigations regarding medicines. Therefore if pharmaceutical companies got wind of your involvement of this investigation your research is assumably flawed in that it is obviously in their favour.

It would be intersesting to know if you have any information on the DTP-hib vaccine. I have researched this for the past year and my findings are horrific.

Are you aware that the vaccine contains both mercury and alumminium?

which leads me to the question if we are being told not to eat tuna in pregnancy as it contains mercury (lethal poison) and to avoid using deodorants as the alumminium in them cause cancer then why is it considered safe to inject both toxins into the bloodstreams of our 2 month old children?

I have much more to say on the subject and an investigation into the safety of the DTP is urgently needed - are you the man for the job or are your true findings supressed and silenced in the financial favour of the government and pharmaceutical compamies as I'd suspect.

Dr's advocate vaccines as they have a financial gain. DTP-hib is the main cause of cotdeath (refer to Dr. Viera Schiebner) and dr's dismiss this as SIDS, a handy explanation I'm sure you'll agree.

please respond

Mrs Emma T

Sunday 22 February 2004

Mr Deer,

Your piece today is cynical and misleading. The way your paper has presented it dishonest. The funding issue does not touch upon the question as to whether there is a link between the vaccine and bowel disease however much you and your paper wish to establish in people's minds - through tabloid style reporting that gravely misuses words like 'truth' and 'facts' - that it does. The transparency of the campaign to discredit Mr Wakefield, and sustain those powerful interests who clearly would do anything to make this very real issue go away, only serves to make plain that there is an issue of science here that demands proper research. That is the way to allay parents' natural fears, not through sensationalism masquerading as serious investigative reporting. You have a fine track record we are told, but this piece is not responsible investigative reporting; it is playing the dirty game of others and your own reputation and that of your paper will in time suffer from having published it. It comes down to an issue of trust and from today I don't think I am able any more to trust the Sunday Times.

Yours sincerely

Kenneth M

Sunday 22 February 2004

Dear Sir,

Brian Deer's article on page 12, 22.2.04, threatens an epidemic of measles and states that the rates of regressive autism have remained constant since the introduction of MMR. But what is the incidence of autsim in children who have had only single inoculations against the three diseases? Perhaps they would write in with the date of inoculations and the date of onset so that we can complete the picture.

Surely it was in your colour supplement that I read an article recently championing Dr Wakefield's research?

Yours faithfully,

Jenny W, PhD

Sunday 22 February 2004

Dear Brian,

Please thank the Sunday Times for bringing the issue of MMR and Autism to the forefront of people's minds again. I expect you realise that every time the issue is raised more parents will decide not to take the risk of immunising their child with the MMR because any risk, no matter how small it is perceived, is too great, when it comes to your own child. No amount of mud-slinging from the media will convince parents that the jab is safe. As you well know; all scientific research is funded by someone, so it could be said that anyone funding research has something to prove, whether it be Legal Aid Services or vaccine manufacturers. (Did you fail to mention who funded the Finnish Epidemiological Study, which the Government used to "prove" the MMR was safe?) (In case you are interested, it was Merck Inc. manufacturer of the MMR vaccine). Perhaps in the interest of balanced journalism you would like to sling a little mud their way.

Yet again nothing you have written proves that the MMR does not cause Autism and gut related problems, but I suspect you know that already, don't you? The Government has tried to convince us, the Medical Establishment has tried to convince us and lowly journalists, like you have also tried but all have had to revert to a witch-hunt againts Andy Wakefield because that is all the evidence you have.

Still, carry on the good work - you do nothing but good for our cause.

Deborah N

Sunday 22 February 2004

Dear Brian,

I enclose the copy of a letter I have just fired off to the Sunday Times, for your information.

You are liable to start getting more mailings, from your article. I would like to get mine in there as well - for your information, as much as any other reason. You may not, eg, be aware of a lot of the material that is available on this subject (I don't know if your investigation was limited merely to Dr Wakefield and his study).

My main points:

(1) Please continue to investigate this matter, INCLUDING the role of thimerosal (the alleged role of thimerosal) in damage by vaccines. Which takes the matter beyond just the MMR shot. The DPT shot is the main culprit that should have been investigated years ago, as to all the damage it was wreaking. (See DPT: A Shot in the Dark by Barbara L. Fischer and Dr (PhD) Harris L Coulter (publ. 1985), eg; and Vaccination, Social Violence and Criminality by Dr Coulter, publ. 1990. Dr Coulter is arguably the US's foremost medical historian, having researched the medical literature for years.

(2) Please don't buy fully into the righteous indignation pose of the medical profession in this matter. They are too wedded to their wondrous medical modality to be truly open to ALL the facts about the damnable downsides of vaccines, which go far beyond just the Minimal Brain Damage havoc they are wreaking (ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc., besides the 'autism spectrum disorder' range). Vaccines are linked with arthritis/arthralgia (& other autoimmune diseases, like lupus), allergies/asthma, CFS/ME, type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, epilepsy/convulsions, multiple sclerosis - I could go on. This is NOT a clear-cut matter, of the benefits of vaccines "far outweighing" the risks. They do not.

And it is not a clear-cut matter of either vaccines or no protection. Besides generally a healthy diet, there is vitamin A/cod liver oil for measles, for one (though most modern, allopathic-trained doctors won't know of this remedy); and a number of natural anti-bacterials and -virals for the rest of the childhood diseases, including colloidal silver, olive leaf extract, grape seed & grapefruit seed extract, a number of mushrooms, garlic, etc etc - in short, Nature is full of preventive & protective & treatment measures. A good naturopath could put you on track in this investigation - if you're open to continuing on in the matter. Including, hopefully, finding out that there is considerable value in the childhood diseases, both in conferring lifelong immunity to the diseases (which the vaccines do not; in fact, they push the 'catching' of them up into adolescence and beyond, when the conditions can be more severe), and for mothers thereby to be able to confer immunity to their offspring via the placenta until their own immune systems are mature enough to begin to handle them themselves. So that all the evocative pictures of babies with whooping cough we are periodically bombarded with in a scare tactic are because of, not in spite of, the vaccine. And so forth.

There is a big subject here, that you could get yourself stuck into, as an investigative journalist. I would ask you to be willing to look beyond just the medical profession's rebuttal to the periodic charges of vaccine damage that are made. You could be doing all of us - or at least the public - a big favour, if you did. For in the end, truth must out. And the chips will have to fall where they may.

Yours for an open mind,

Stan S.

Dear Editor,

It is good that the Sunday Times has seen fit to put an investigative journalist onto the subject of the MMR-autism controversy. Presumably if he continues his research into the matter beyond his initial four-month's investigation, he will find out such facts as that:

* Vaccine strain measles virus has been independently identified in the inflamed GI tracts of children with regressive autism. (Eg: In a stufy of 22 children whose parents felt they had been made ill by MMR, Dr Arthur Kingsman of the New York University School of Medicine made the same findings as Dr Wakefield's group at the London's Royal Free Hospital; and there a number of other similar examples.)

* Measles virus antibodies have been found in the CSF of children with regressive autism.

Are these points evidence of causality? No. But they provide a plausible biomolecular mechanism for brain damage, from harmful chemicals and other substances getting into the blood stream (including the mercury from the thimerosal that at least used to be in the MMR shot here, and still is in the US). Why isn't it accepted by the health authorities as worthy of investigation? Shall we guess - and speaking of "conflict of interest"? There is a built-in conflict of interest when the same authorities promoting vaccination are also the ones monitoring the safety of vaccines.

There is also the little matter of the likes of US House of Representatives David Weldon, who is also an MD, in testifying at a hearing on the MMR-autism controversy before that country's Institute of Medicine recently, revealing that he had found out that altered datasets, exonerating the MMR, were provided to the IOM, but not made available to independent researchers. So what's going on? Hopefully, people like the Sunday Times's investigative journalist will continue their digging into the matter for the public, which has a right to know the true story about the safety of the vaccines they are strongly encouraged to have their children submit to. And then let's see what the real answer is to the Sunday Times's editorial position; to wit: "What is best for our children should be settled by facts and transparency not by modern-day superstition."

Yours sincerely,

Stan S.

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

As a former Chief Executive in the NHS I have been absolutely appalled at the credance given until now to the Wakefield 'evidence', and the potential public health hazard that its mass-publicity attracted. I am so pleased that you have done such good work on getting behind this story and just wish that the real evidence shown in your article was given still more emphasis to parents making the key diecisions on their childrens' health. One final point, I wonder whether Wakefield ever submitted his work for the necessary ethical approval, if indeed it was 'research', and whether in consequence he duly declared the financial and contractual commitments he was signed into ? If you have not reviewed this it may be another angle to view in terms of this man's honesty and ethical stance.

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

Dear Brian,

Having reopened the MMR debate in regard to Andrew Wakefield, why not continue and broaden your research into the context and role the government has played in the publication of vaccination stasticis?

Some of which are:

1) Data from epidemics ever since the late 1870' s show that in percentage terms, more vaccinated people than unvaccinated come down with the epidemic illness. A recent BBC email news report indicated that in the USA this winter, that of 93 deaths from flu only 33 were unvaccinated.

Here in England there is no such break down of data such as the local epidemic of measles in Wandsworth last year as to how many were or were not vaccinated.

2) The health department graphs, in its vaccination campaigns, regarding the benefits of vaccination only show the trends for measles and mumps since such vaccinations began in the late 1950's and then the subsequent MMR jabs. If the graphs showed the as these have evolved since 1900, one would see that measles, mumps, etc were on a continuous declining trend throughout the 20th century. Such that the decline may well have continued without vaccinations since the 1950šs.

3) Another area that is not considered is in regard to the arbitrary cutoff dates by which serious vaccination reactions are excluded from being linked to a vaccination. Given this arbitrary and non standardised exclusion criteria, there is no way of knowing how serious the issue of MMR vaccination reaction really is.

The answers and data relating to the above if brought out into the wider public domain would serve to bring out a more rational debate both from the governmental health bodies as well as from those who oppose governmental health policies.

Yours sincerely,

Jerome W.

Sunday 22 February 2004

Dear Mr Deer,

Your thorough and persistent investigation into the MMR scare is likely to save more lives than you may think. (Sunday Times February 22nd 2004)

As you will know Measles is one of the five leading causes of death in children under five years of age in Sub Saharan Africa.

Last autumn, I was asked to attend, as President of the World Medical Association Press Conference arranged by the Ugandan Medical Association The Ugandan Ministry of Health in active partnership with the Ugandan Medical Association were mounting a measles vaccination campaign. They wanted to achieve the highest uptake possible and sought publicity for this. It was felt that the support of the 'world's doctors' might add some weight to their life saving initiative.

The Ugandan Press reflected the concerns of the local communities which had been intensified by the MMR scare in the UK and had apparently contributed to the lower uptake of the measles vaccine.

The disproportionate 'scare' promulgated by a group of doctors and apparently validated by the "Lancet " which has been one of the most respected international medical journals, caused alarm, professional conflict and uncertainty. This must have resulted in significant damage to the trust that the public place in the medical profession's advice about the need to protect children against the hazards of measles.

It will take some time to restore that trust. By exposing the lack of scientific evidence, the conflict of interest and emphasising the absence of a proven causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism, you will help create an environment in which parents and their physicians will make more informed decisions to ensure the welfare of children not only in the UK but throughout the world.

I am very grateful for the work that you have done.

Thank you very much


President of the World Medical Association

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

There is a conspiracy which the Government has instigated over the last 8 years against Dr Wakefield and his findings regarding MMR. It has over the last few months cost my son and thousands of other children with Autism and Crohn's disease a right to dispute the drug companies and the Government's case by taking away Legal Aid just before the cases are due to be heard in court.

I was advised in 1995 that my son could have Legal aid so that a case could be made against the drug companies. The case is stronger now than it was then but the Government lead Legal Aid have questioned whether there is a case that can be won.They judged it was a waste of funding as the case could not be won, or so they said. But surely this is not even justice as the Government are one of the interested parties in the cases as they are as much to do with the NHS as the drug companies. Our solicitors representing other children were already in contact in 1995 with Dr Wakefield and he did not have any such funding.

I had lengthy discussions with him in 1996 as we were trying to get samples of my son's biopsy to him as he was visiting Leeds to talk about his initial findings.

Even then he told me that his superiors at the London Free Hospital had told him their funding, which was how the Hospital was able to function ,was obtained from the very drug companies he was researching against. He had been warned several times about this , even before his findings were published , but he chose to continue for the sake of these children.

He told me he had found a strain of measles in all the samples of biopsies from children with Autism and Crohn's , his goal was to prove that the strain was that from the vaccine.This would ask the question how was it there and why was it in an area where these diseases had begun.

In 2002 Dr Wakefield, having been hounded out of this country by the Government and their lapdogs in the Medical profession, attended a Congressional hearing in Washington and along with an independent Irish doctor who was able to source the exact strain of measles as the MMR with no involvement from Dr Wakefield.

The British government official at Congress objected to the findings but it was a major success to all of us fighting for justice for our children.

Even then the witchhunt has continued against Dr Wakefield ,he is not Dr Frankenstein, more Mother Teresa, but neither is Tony Blair , Solomon.

Alastair B.

Sunday 22 Feb 2004

Dear Mr Deer,

I read with great interest your article in today's Sunday Times, headlined "MMR: THE TRUTH BEHIND THE CRISIS".

I believed upon reading the headline that the article would give some conclusive proof about whether the three in one jab was really safe or not, an issue that, to my mind, remains unresolved. What was printed was actually a complete discreditation of Dr Wakefield's work, upon the basis of a conflict of interest, as he was receiving legal aid to support a number of parents looking to sue the drug companies who produce the innoculations.

I agree that Dr Wakefield was, at best, naive to believe that the legal aid he received was irrelevant to his research, but does it completely discredit his findings? You ask the question "Do these findings stand in the wake of The Sunday Times investigation" and answer "The Editor of The Lancet said yesterday the MMR/autism link was "entirely flawed" and should never have been published". Again, this only highlights Wakefield's conflict of interest, it does not conclusively prove that his findings were totally incorrect.

I can only tell you my personal story:

I have twin boys, Thomas and Jack, who were born 28th May 1993. Up until the age they were immunised, they developed completely normally, developing language and playing with toys appropriately (e.g..pushing a car along a window ledge, turning the pages of a book in sequence). For 24 hours after they were immunised with MMR both children were quite ill. Jack, in particular, was very poorly and drifted in and out of consciousness for the following 24 hours. He was very pale and feverish and we were so concerned we called the doctor to him. He told us it was a normal reaction to the jab.

In a matter of weeks after the innoculation, both children regressed alarmingly. Jack's behaviour was a cause for great concern. He simply screamed all day, pirouetted on the spot until he fell down, or banged his head on the window. Both myself and his mother had no reason to make an association with MAR as this was 1995 and there had been no controversy surrounding the jab at all. We were both completely aware though, that his behaviour was dramatically changing.

When The Lancet paper was published I did sit up and take note, as I had always found it unusual that both my children had reacted so badly to receiving the jab. By this time, the children were 5 years old and had both been diagnosed as autistic. Jack severely so, as he had no language (still doesn't today, aged 10). What also intrigued me about the report was the fact that both children suffered from severe bowel problems, Jack more so, and he is also more severely autistic. This seemed to be too coincidental to me.

I personally made a number of attempts to contact Andrew Wakefield to find out more. Finally I went to see his team in the Autumn of 1999. When I visited the Royal Free Dr Wakefield was very much in the background. Dr Simon Murch was infinitely more passionate about the proposed link between my children's autism and MMR. I do find it quite surprising that Dr Murch has since discredited Dr Wakefield's research.

My children were both X-Rayed. Lumps of hard waste were found to be blocking their bowels. It was as if their systems couldn't break down their food. The gastroenterology department were astonished that my local hospital had never X-Rayed the children, despite the fact that both had visited the doctor several times with bowel problems and, indeed, Jack had been admitted to hospital at one point, as he had not passed any waste for fourteen days.

Tom and Jack were admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in late January 2000, for further investigation. They were given an enema, to totally clear their system and then were given a colonoscopy. I did not deem this to be "invasive" as you put it, as I simply hoped the findings might help make them better. When I was shown the pictures of my children's colons, I was astonished. They were presented to me along side a picture of what a healthy colon should look like. My children's were ruptured and blistered. What caused this condition? I still have no idea. Before the colonoscopy I was asked if I would mind if the medical staff took some tissues from my children's guts during their internal. They said they were looking for evidence that the measles virus was still in their system. I was told the results would take about six months. Every time I have phoned the Royal Free since I have been told they cannot find any results of this test. Usually I'm told someone will call me back, no one does.

I can only say that following the colonoscopy and internal clear out Jack's behaviour immediately improved. His eye contact improved beyond all recognition and he was much happier in himself, undoubtedly because he felt so much better. You will see, therefore, why I do not feel as negative about the colonoscopy as you may. Having a difficult disabled child become even 5% easier is priceless.

The children's mother heard of the Alexander Harris case after we came back from the Royal Free. They suggested that she contact her GP to find out the batch details of the MMR that the boys had received. These could be obtained from Trafford General Hospital, who would have distributed the vaccine. When we contacted Trafford General we were told that the records were lost.

Today, Jack and Tom are ten years old. Tom is high functioning, but has the emotional age of a five year old. Jack has no language, is still largely incontinent and breaks out in a severe blistering rash, akin to measles, at least twice a year. The GP cannot diagnose this rash, they are totally baffled.

As a parent struggling to raise two severely autistic children, I find it quite upsetting when people criticise Dr Wakefield's work. This is not because I have had any personal dealings with him (as I said, I was only in his company for a matter of minutes, during which he said very little). It is because, as yet, people cannot prove that it was inaccurate, only that there was some underlying bias.

No one in the media or government ever seeks to clear up the issue of MMR, Autism and Bowel Disease. You are an investigative journalist Mr Deer, so perhaps you could tell me why:

My children were developing perfectly until having MMR, yet now have severe bowel problems and autism?

I am unable to attain the results of the biopsies taken at the Royal Free?

Why the batch records of the vaccine administered to my boys have been lost?

Why Jack breaks out in a Measles like rash twice a year, every year?

I've seen many column inches written in support of MMR and many millions of pounds being spent on promoting it's use, but never anything being done to answer the questions I have. My life has been totally shattered.

I would appreciate your response.

Yours Sincerely

Tony G.

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