Dr Andrew Wakefield is guilty

It’s just been announced by the GMC that Dr Andrew Wakefield has been found guilty of unethical research practices. Along with some journalist’s bellows and the deafening silence of Leo Blair’s jab record, he fanned the flames of uncertainty about the safety of the MMR vaccine.

The GMC could not have found any other way: Dr Wakefield was in the pay of lawyers acting on behalf of families who were preparing a case against MMR, eventually receiving over £435,000 in fees. He undertook invasive testing on children that he said were in the interests of the children’s own clinical care, not for research. And he did not publish his researcher’s findings because they showed no evidence of any link between MMR and autism. Let me be clear – there never was any evidence of a link.

Although he did not jeopardise the health of our country’s children all by himself, he should now be struck off the GMC register. MMR vaccination rates plummeted, they are still very low in some areas of London, and as a result of the lack of scrutiny of his original publications by those reporting them which would have revealed the paucity of the data, thousands of children have contracted measles over the past few years because they didn’t receive their immunisation.

I still know parents who haven’t had their children immunised. The success of public health measures like vaccination mean that people don’t see the results of the illnesses they are protecting their children from. Measles can cause neurological and respiratory complications; mumps can cause sterility, deafness, meningitis and pancreatitis; congenital rubella syndrome can cause profound disabilities in the unborn.

What we need now is the same number of journalists and celebrities who jumped on the autism-MMR band-wagon to publicise that they have protected their children from these diseases, and perhaps we can put a stop to this contemporary, disastrous myth. And yes, both my children have had all their jabs.

About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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