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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Anti-vaxxers’ hero a fraud

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Doug Moss, Byron Bay.

In the interests of balance in the debate, I’ll offer a different perspective to that often stated by anti-vaxxers.

But first, it’s right to acknowledge that both sides of the debate are motivated by the well-being of their children. I don’t think anybody doubts the good intentions of parents on both sides.

But it’s in the interpretation of the evidence that I think the anti-vaxxers allow an un-scientific bias to influence them which leads them to the wrong conclusions, and therefore places their kids, and everybody else’s kids, in more danger from disease than is warranted by the risks of vaccination.

It is beyond doubt that vaccination works – smallpox completely eradicated from humans on planet Earth, polio nearly so, measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough and several other dangerous diseases greatly reduced in regions where vaccination is practiced.

The above is undeniable – vaccination works!

The flip side of that success is the risk of vaccination for the child. I think that everybody on the pro-vaccination side of the debate knows and accepts that any vaccine can have adverse side effects. In rare cases, very serious side effects, even death. Nobody is saying all these vaccines are perfect. But the risks are very well known – for example, see https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm. For many of the vaccines, the occurrence of severe problems is known to be tiny, less than 1 in a million in some cases. And it is the high-reward vaccines (ie. those protecting against particularly nasty diseases) that have a very low risk which are used in the global vaccination programmes.

All the above was accepted by parents until 1998 when Andrew Wakefield (formerly a doctor and medical researcher) and twelve other authors published an article in the prestigious UK journal The Lancet which purported to link autism to measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine in children. Panic around the world followed, and parents began refusing to allow their children to be vaccinated.

But it was later proven that Wakefield was a fraud, that he’d faked evidence for the Lancet article, he had abused disadvantaged (autistic) children during his research, and had acted dishonestly in submitting an article he knew to be not true for publication in Lancet. It was also found that Wakefield had conflicts of interest which he did not disclose to Lancet or its readers, of which I’ll say more in a minute. As a result of his many proven instances of professional misconduct, Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register and barred from medical practice. And in a very rare and unusual step, The Lancet fully retracted the 1998 article.

But unfortunately, the fear sparked by Wakefield continues to reverberate around the world. Well-intentioned parents, fearing that ‘where there’s smoke, there must be fire’, ignore, or are skeptical of, the evidence and continue to place theirs and other children (other people’s newborn babies who have not yet been vaccinated) at risk.

Part of the reason for the skepticism is the suspicion that ‘big-pharma’ has corrupted the independence of the independent watchdogs (e.g. the CDC), and so their statements cannot be trusted. I think that most sensible people, on both sides of this debate, have very well founded suspicions of ‘big-pharma’, of their self-serving lies and deceptions. ‘Big-pharma’ would certainly be trying to influence the CDC and the other watchdogs, and to think otherwise would be extremely naive, but common sense would indicate that any such corruption is not complete, that good people continue to do good work at those organisations, and that most of the information they publish, such as the website noted above is fairly accurate.

Before signing off, a final word about the role of ‘big-pharma’ in this debate. Andrew Wakefield was found to have applied for pharmaceutical patents himself for new vaccines he had invented which would have competed with the MMR vaccine attacked by his article, and to have personally received GBP435,643 from lawyers suing the manufacturers of MMR on behalf of his autistic research subjects. His research labs also received GBP55,000 from the same lawyers. None of this serious conflict of interest was disclosed by Wakefield.

So it’s good to keep a vigilant lookout for corruption, on both sides of this debate, and to view claims and counter-claims with appropriate skepticism. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater – vaccination is proven to work, the initial allegations against MMR have been absolutely refuted, and the ongoing echo’s of Wakefield’s misconduct should be ignored and replaced by common sense and careful attention to all the evidence.

DISCLOSURE: the writer of the above letter is not medically trained, but does have science degrees and continues to treat all evidence as equal, until it’s shown to be either factual or counter-factual with a good degree of certainty. He has spent the last 30 years doing risk management for a large organisation (not a medical one, or one with vested medical interests!). He understands that this letter is going to upset some people, and for that he is sorry. Hopefully it will be taken in the spirit of a true debate, and both sides can find more common ground in this area.

 


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17 COMMENTS

  1. Great commentary, and timely. I hate to admit it, but I was reading the Daily Telegraph while waiting for a coffee at the cafe this morning. There’s a well-written article about this very subject today, with statistics on immunisation rates around NSW. Byron/Ballina hasn’t fared so well lately on this measure, but across the country rates are up a wee bit in the past year.

  2. I was intreged as to what this article was a about in the vexxed question of vax, vaxxers and anti-vaxxers.
    I received a message on the fax and looked up some facts just to see what it could be about as i wanted to quibble.
    I was perplexed, with one “x” as I took the axe to the other “x”. To vax, is that a word associated to axe?
    I could not find any meaning in the dictionary as to vax as it does not end in “e” like axe does when it cuts to the quick. I quickly looked up “vaxxer” as I was not that lax as it lacked something in description.
    I upped the ante and also could not find anti-vaxxer. I thought of my auntie, and it if be Auntie Vaxxer? No not that either.
    Finally we got to vaxxxxination. i was so perplexed I decided it need a four-x.

  3. I do feel sad at the depressing state of journalism where facts are not checked:

    What the Wakefield critics don’t tell you is that a) the study was coauthored by 12 other scientists and b) the paper made no such conclusion whatsoever between MMR and autism.

    Wakefield’s paper was a “Case Series”, which is not a hypothesis testing paper. He simply took the doctors referrals, treated the disease and reported the information provided by the parents, the referring doctors and the outcomes of his investigations. Also, his 19 other papers were never retracted, and the investigations into gastrointestinal disease has been replicated multiple times around the world.

    The paper was a study involving a group of children who had presented with gastric complications, the parents of whom had approached Wakefield (the top gastroenterologist in the UK at the time) and his research team to try and assist them with their children’s condition, which is exactly what they did. During this investigation 8 of the 12 parents revealed that these symptoms, along with the so-called autistic regression had started coincidentally with the administering of the MMR vaccine and what the scientists discovered was that when they treated the bowel disorders, the neurological and behavioural aberrations were similarly ameliorated.

    Where in any of that does it show that Wakefied was making a causal link? It was simply never stated – ever. In fact, Wakefield was advocating vaccine alternatives – he was pro-vaccine but pro SAFE vaccines.

    It is of interest that the person that retracted the study, Sir Crispin Davis, was making a large salary in a non-executive director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. The “investigation” was funded by The Sunday Times whose owner at the time, Rupert Murdoch’s son James, was making a large salary in his director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. In the 1998 press conference Andrew Wakefield recommended using the monovalent measles vaccine option that had a safety record dating back to the late 60s, so he actually recommended vaccinating against measles. Unless you’re going to tell us that Andrew Wakefield was psychic, why isn’t the NHS for removing said option from the schedule over six months later at the request. Dr John Walker Smith who worked with Wakefield in the same capacity was exonerated of all charges
    The GMC proceeding was a multi-year, multi-million dollar prosecution against Drs. Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch. It related to a controversial 1998 study published in The Lancet suggesting a possible link between autism, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and bowel disease. Based on the GMC prosecution, both Drs. Walker-Smith and Wakefield lost their licenses to practice and the Lancet article was officially retracted. The GMC alleged that the physician-authors had failed to obtain necessary ethical clearances and that they had subjected the twelve children in the study to unnecessary medical procedures.
    Justice Mitting, reviewing Dr. Walker-Smith’s appeal in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, found that the GMC’s conclusions were “based on inadequate and superficial reasoning” and that “the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed.” See full text of the decision.
    Dr. Walker-Smith’s professional insurance coverage paid for his appeal; Dr. Wakefield’s insurance carrier would not.

    • So the Murdoch press and Fox etc cannot comment on any matter that relates to the doubtless vast holdings and interests of their owners? I hope the owners of the Echo or any of their staff do not own any property in the Byron Shire or its neighbours – they are always commenting on issues there. So much innuendo – so little time!

  4. It’s good Doug Moss’s science background urges him to treat all information equally. However, to do that one must examine ALL the information. His letter clearly shows he hasn’t. He’s looked at only the information supporting the mainstream narrative.
    That’s not science.

  5. People need to weigh the benefits and risks of vaccines. There is a problem with current vaccines not being effective and they do carry considerable risk of side effects:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/health/study-finds-vaccinated-baboons-can-still-carry-whooping-cough.html?emc=eta1&_r=1&

    http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/787.abstract
    The FDA published a study they had conducted on the pertussis vaccine, admitting that cases of whooping cough were increasing among a highly vaccinated public. They studied the effect of the vaccine on baboons, and found out that vaccinated baboons still carried around whooping cough in their throats, spreading it to others. The N.Y. Times actually reported on this in their “Health Section”.

    So both the CDC and the FDA were aware in 2013 that the whooping cough vaccine was not effective, and yet it is still part of the vaccine schedule. Why? Could it be because the vaccine is part of a combo vaccine, along with diphtheria and tetanus, and that it therefore represents too great of a financial loss for the drug manufacturers to stop using it?Also an epidemic of measles in the USA was spread by a fully vaccinated person. People should be aware that fully vaccinated people can shed the virus and stop blaming the unvaccinated. Vaccines are only lasting for a few years and more and more vaccines are being mandated each year.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/measles-outbreak-traced-fully-vaccinated-patient-first-time

    • How absurd to suggest that most people can assess the benefits. I worked for decades on epidemiological and medical research funding, including research related to malarial vaccinations, but when I came to vaccinating my kids I asked a professional – my GP. Even the makers of the anti-vax documentary warn watchers of the need to discuss their concerns with a Gp or like. Any good GP will be across the issues and they are unlikely to ne conspiracy theory junkies, even living in the Northern Rivers.

  6. New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro and Nano-contamination” published on January 23, 2017, in the peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination

    Drug Companies have no liability when it comes to vaccines. There have never been any vaxxed/unvaxxed studies. Because of lack of liability I believe they are getting away with very unsafe practices.
    A team of scientists in Italy decided to examine batches of vaccines, looking for contaminants not listed as ingredients. 44 types of vaccines manufactured in Italy and France were analyzed using an Environmental Electron Scanning Microscope. This method was chosen because the matter can be separated into either organic debris (called aggregates) or inorganic debris (called clusters). The identified particles were counted three times by three different operators, with an error rate of less than 10%. They found inorganic contaminants in every single one.

    The presence of micro- and nanosized particulate matter, composed of inorganic chemicals, metals and combination elements whose presence is inexplicable.

    The particles are foreign bodies, and can produce a chronic inflammatory reaction because the particles cannot be degraded. The tiny nanoparticles can enter the cell nuclei and interact with cellular DNA.

    • Thank you Goldy, for shining a powerful light on the fact that big Pharma has the capacity to hide the information that they want to keep secret. Whilst it is quite touching to see how many correspondents have unflinching trust in the ‘status quo’ I am pleased to see that residents of Byron are brave enough to speak out and do their homework and make decisions for themselves in spite of overwhelming pressure from the government and corporations. PS. I had whooping cough only 18 months after having received the booster shot a few years ago.

    • Geoff – According to an Australian study funded by the highly respected National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, researchers found 80% of cases were due to the bacteria’s mutation, most likely in response to the vaccine. The disease-causing bacteria responsible for whooping cough, pertussis, has stopped producing a key protein, called pertactin. Pertactin-free bacteria shot up from just 5% in 2008 to 78% in 2012. Somehow, the bacteria stopped producing pertactin, and this has caused havoc for the vaccine, which targets this protein. Pertussis decided to get clever, and it’s now one step ahead. Senior author of the study, Associate Professor Ruiting Lan, explained, “It’s like a game of hide and seek. It is harder for the antibodies made by the body’s immune system in response to vaccination to ‘search and destroy’ the whooping cough bacteria which lack pertactin.”

  7. Geoff – the whooping cough vaccine is mutating and is far less protective due to mutation and the fact that people can be asymptomatic carriers. Blame the vaccine not people who are ex-vaxxers (usually due to a bad reaction).
    According to an Australian study funded by the highly respected National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, researchers found 80% of cases were due to the bacteria’s mutation, most likely in response to the vaccine. The disease-causing bacteria responsible for whooping cough, pertussis, has stopped producing a key protein, called pertactin. Pertactin-free bacteria shot up from just 5% in 2008 to 78% in 2012. Somehow, the bacteria stopped producing pertactin, and this has caused havoc for the vaccine, which targets this protein. Pertussis decided to get clever, and it’s now one step ahead. Senior author of the study, Associate Professor Ruiting Lan, explained, “It’s like a game of hide and seek. It is harder for the antibodies made by the body’s immune system in response to vaccination to ‘search and destroy’ the whooping cough bacteria which lack pertactin.”

  8. Thanks Goldy for revealing the truth about Wakefield and media corruption and the whooping cough vaccine issue. Totally agree with you.

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