Posts Tagged mmr

Skeptics in the Pub: Brian Deer

MMR and Autism: An Elaborate Fraud

How the Case Against the Vaccine Was Built

Brian Deer

by Brian Deer
When: Thursday, June 16, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool

As the Wirral becomes the latest area of the UK to suffer a measles outbreak in an unvaccinated population, investigative journalist Brian Deer visits Liverpool to speak about how he uncovered the “elaborate fraud” behind the MMR scare.

In February 1998, the Lancet medical journal triggered a global alarm with research proposing a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. The researchers’ leader, Andrew Wakefield called for the vaccine to be “suspended”. But all was not as it appeared to be. Following investigations over a period of 7 years for The Sunday Times, the British Medical Journal in January denounced Wakefield’s research as “an elaborate fraud”.

The story raced round the world. A Harris poll in the United States found that 47% of Americans had heard Deer’s story. The New York Times said his work was “extraordinary.” Now, on 16th June, he comes to Merseyside Skeptics Society to talk about how Wakefield rigged the research linking MMR with autism, how he did it, who paid him for it, how much money he expected to make out of it, and the years-long investigation which finally nailed him. This is one of the big science stories of today.

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

NHS Highland ends support for homeopathy

10:23 Campaign

The 10:23 Campaign

In light of the recommendation by Dr Margaret Somerville to end support for homeopathy on the NHS in Scotland, the 10:23 Campaign reiterate our stance that NHS support for this disproven quackery must be withdrawn immediately.

Speaking in response to an investigation by the BBC, which included the exposure of three homeopaths willing to treat patients with ineffective homeopathic ‘alternatives’ to the life-saving MMR vaccine, Dr Somerville described a “settled, clear and unambiguous clinical opinion” that homeopathy should not be used in the NHS and advised support be ended immediately – advice which has been taken on board by the NHS Highland, who opted to cease funding for the treatments today.

Michael Marshall, speaking on behalf of the 10:23 Campaign, today offered support for Dr Somerville’s statement:

“It’s immensely encouraging to see the Director of Public Health for the NHS Highland making so categorical and clear a statement, and to see the board follow through with decisive action. The evidence for the use of homeopathy is at best poor, and at worst non-existent. While belief may exist amongst practitioners that further studies are needed, such studies should be undertaken at their expense, rather than supporting the ineffective therapy with funding from taxpayer’s money in the meantime.

Speaking of the revelations in the BBC investigation, Mr Marshall continued:

“That the BBC found homeopaths willing to partake in some highly dubious and downright dangerous practices is little surprise to those of us familiar with the system of homeopathy. While homeopathic treatments themselves are often harmless – indeed, they’re chemically indistinguishable from simple sugar pills – the associated anti-scientific philosophy is often a breeding ground for poor health information and anti-vaccination propaganda.

This isn’t the first time such dangerous advice given by homeopaths has been exposed – a previous BBC investigation revealed homeopaths willing to offer ineffective replacements for anti-malarial drugs, and our own investigations have found countless tales of other homeopaths willing to offer treatments for AIDS, cancer and all manner of genuinely serious illnesses, based on no proof of efficacy and no reason to believe homeopathy to be useful.

This investigation didn’t reveal merely three rotten apples in an otherwise sound barrel, it exposed symptoms of a rotten system – teaching anti-science and actively promoting dangerous health information. It’s for these reasons that we applaud Dr Somerville, and all who similarly campaign for sense to triuph over nonsense, and it’s for these reasons that we strongly applaud the action from the NHS Highland and urge other areas of the NHS to follow suit”.

, , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Compulsory Ignorance: More Anti-Vax Propaganda From The AVN

Anti-Vax Propaganda from the AVN

Anti-Vax Propaganda from the AVN

A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the Australian Skeptics and their battle with the Australian Vaccination Network.  The AVN are a ‘pro-choice’ organisation which promotes the spread of information and debate on vaccines. No, wait, sorry, I’ve got that completely wrong – they’re a deceitful, weaselly organisation spreading misinformation, rumour and lies when it comes to vaccination. Led by Meryl Dorey, the AVN have made dangerous and deceitful claims that nobody dies of whooping cough, that the swine flu pandemic was planned and deliberate and that  the MMR vaccine causes autism.

The latest ignorant and dangerous pseudomedical crap from AVN’s website is this presentation, a 46-page PDF of hateful anti-vax propaganda. It’s so blood-boilingly, insultingly and pathetically manipulative it really has to be taken piece-by-piece, so permit me to do so.

Page 1 declares, in gaudy, sensationalist, fear-mongeringly red block capitals:

Compulsory Vaccination: IT’S HERE!

Erm, yes, true enough. It is here, admittedly in some very specific circumstances, but I’m with you so far. What next, Meryl?

February 2007, NSW became the first state to mandate full vaccination (10 required vaccines) for all medical staff and allied health students. Failure to comply will result in expulsion from school or loss of employment/transfer to another area of the facility if that area exists.

July 2007 – jump on the bandwagon
All other Australian states and territories have now introduced similar policies for their health students. Hospital policies will follow shortly

OK, so far so innocuous – although a successful scheme to raise vaccination rates and therefore lower rates of infection, injury and death from some very nasty diseases is somewhat flippantly dismissed as a ‘bandwagon’. And if it is a bandwagon – fuck it, it’s precisely the kind of bandwagon there should be more of. If there were a pro-condom bandwagon in South Africa, I’d welcome that too.

What does this mean?
- 5 out of the 10 required vaccines contain live viruses which will put vulnerable hospital patients at risk.- Staff and students who can think for themselves and who question authority will no longer be in the health system.
- The list of required vaccines is sure to increase – just as the childhood vaccination schedule is increasing. How many vaccines will be enough?

Ah, here we go, now begins the weasel-wording and the utter utter bullshit. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,

12 Comments

Australian Skeptics vs AVN Propaganda

Immunization: Get the Facts

Immunization: Get the Facts (click to enlarge)

Businessman, aviator, and explorer, Dick Smith, has funded an Australian Skeptics’ advertisement to urge parents to access factual information on vaccination, in the wake of the country’s largest Whooping Cough epidemic.

The advertisement, placed in the Thursday, August 6 edition of The Australian newspaper, directly addresses the Australian Vaccination Networks’ stated position of being ‘pro-choice’ on vaccines – when realistically they’re actually very much anti-vaccine.

The AVN is headed up by Meryl Dorey – who says vaccinations are dangerous, who says no one dies of pertussis, who says that it’s better not to vaccinate and who insinuates that doctors only vaccinate children because it’s profitable for them. This, of course, is total bullshit – in fact this year alone three children in Australia have died of pertussis, some too young to vaccinate – such as Dana McCaffrey, the four-week old infant who caught pertussis and died due to vaccination rates in her home town of Lennox Head, New South Wales dropping too low and compromising herd immunity.

The advert from the Australian Skeptics is a great, emotive piece showing how to reach the public with real information – at a time when here in the UK herd immunity has been severely damaged due to the MMR hoaxes, with the most serious outbreak of measles in Wales since the time the MMR vaccine was introduced, there’s a lesson here for us in the UK too.

Well done to the Australian Skeptics and to Dick Smith for speaking out against this dangerous propaganda.

, , ,

3 Comments

Express yourself: MMR, autism and mitochondrial dysfunction

Yesterday, the Daily Express ran another scaremongering story on the manufactroversy that won’t quit – MMR and autism.

The basis of this story appears to be the upcoming publication of a new edition of Richard Halvorsen’s 2007 book, “The Truth About Vaccines”. Halvorsen, a London-based GP, uses this new edition to reject unscientific claims about the purported link between vaccines and autism.  He takes the time to explain to worried parents that claims of a link are unfounded and that the scientific evidence does not support the vaccine-autism hypothesis.

Nah, I’m only fooling.  He probably just wheels out the same old canards.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , ,

5 Comments

Measles Myths

Sir Sandy Macara, the former chairman of the British Medical Association, suggested last week that the MMR vaccine should be made compulsory in the UK, for children wishing to take advantage of a state education.  This follows a huge increase in measles cases, which is directly attributable to the decline in vaccination rates, in turn attributable to uncritical reporting of the discredited Wakefield study which linked the MMR vaccine to autism.

As part of their coverage, the BBC’s regular “Have Your Say” feature posed the question “Should the MMR jab be compulsory?”.  The comments which followed made my blood boil and my toes curl.  So, for your delectation, here is a list of myths I’ve picked up from HYS – with responses.

If it helps, I could hear Mark Crislip’s voice in my head as I wrote this.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,

7 Comments