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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
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A fifteen page story about the MMR vaccination controversy. As ever, I'm sure a few spelling errors have slipped past me. Feel free to point any out so I can correct them.

The reference links for the strip are in the next blog entry.

Now! Let's have a heated debate!

2013 update. Since I wrote this blog entry, this cartoon strip as well as many others on such subjects as homeopathy, chiropratic, evolution, and the supposed NASA Moon hoax landings, have been published in a book: Science Tales in the UK (Myriad Edtions) and How To Fake A Moon Landing in the US and Canada (Abrams). Here's the link to my main blog.

1 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

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Thank you for this incredible comic. It is good to see someone promoting the facts and casting science as a good guy rather than a bad guy.

I appreciate your efforts in presenting this material. There are some thoughts that you may find helpful to consider.

You state that, "Wakefield's theory was that both inflammatory bowel disease and autism were caused by the measles virus (found live as a normal part of the MMR vaccine."

I never heard any concern about MMR using a live measles virus, in connection with autism (until recently, in your work, and other works with similar statements). What I remember hearing, in concerns related to vaccines and autism, is a concern regarding the mercury levels of certain vaccines, especially MMR. Thimerosal is a preservative that was used in many vaccines that contained multiple doses in one container. The purpose of thimerosal is to prevent microbial (especially bacterial & fungal) contamination of the vaccines, as the same container is entered multiple times, giving vaccine doses to multiple people. Thimerosal contains mercury. Mercury is know to be capable of severely damaging the nervous system. The term "mad hatter" came from the people who used mercury to shape felt hats, in factories. There have also been concerns about mercury in tooth fillings. Tooth filling no longer contain mercury. The idea of reducing the number of MMR vaccinations from multiple doses to one dose was not to reduce the patient's exposure to the measles virus; it was to reduce the person's exposure to mercury. Even though many subsequent studies showed no link between thimerosal and autism, the FDA and CDC agreed to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines. That is why many vaccines are now available in single doses, with no thimerosal. There certainly is no evidence that mercury improves any body function, and there was concern that it may be linked to autism, when very tiny, quickly developing and changing humans were injected with even small doses of mercury. And the question was asked, why unnecessarily expose infants, children, pregnant women, or anyone else, for that matter, to multiple doses of mercury, from a series of MMR vaccinations, when you could give them one vaccination without mercury? A reasonable question, indeed. The response? Currently, most vaccines are available without mercury, because there is only one dose per container, so no thimerosal is necessary.

How much did the pharmaceutical company pay you???

Is it too much to ask that the entire science and medical community start policing each other and their so-called "tests"? Seriously, this just completely wiped out any trust I had in each of those sectors. Now I don't trust anything anymore.

They do police each other, it just takes time for bad studies to be discredited by good ones. The Lancet would have published hundreds of papers that year, and only one has been shown to have been so corrupted. This sort of unethical behaviour is rare, and when discovered, we stomp on it quite hard.

Unfortunately, it took far too long to properly discredit Wakefield, and the medical establishment has to bear some responsibility for that. But there's lots of amazing science out there that is done right and is improving your world in tiny steps - don't give up on fruit just because of one bad apple.

So true after all why let facts and science get in the way of a good story! even if it is a fairy tale. The papers and the media whip people up to a frenzy but very rarely set the record straight when the true facts are known, so the public only remember the wrong story.

Page 13 ~ "lackeys" is the correct spelling. Great strip!

This was awesome i grasped everything what a cool way to learn about things.

There was some inconsistency... First was said that Wakefield claimed that three-shot vaccines were safer, then that Wakefield had a patent for a single-shot vaccine which he considered safer. I'm all for vaccination, but details like this really bug me. Inconsistencies like this one may give ground to questioning the authors knowledge on the subject, thus questioning the claims themselves. Just sayin'... :)

This is not an inconsistency. The three-shot vaccine refers to the idea of giving three separate vaccine shots - one for measles, one for mumps, and one for rubella. MMR is a vaccine that contains all three. What the doc wanted to patent was his own single shot vaccine solely for measles.

If you tell me my autism was caused by my parents vaccinating me against deadly diseases, I will come to your house and stand around awkwardly and make you mildly uncomfortable with my erratic manners.

This x 1,000,000! Retweeting.

Thank you so very very much for this.

I didn't see any spelling errors. Just FYI.

Fantastic piece showing how crass Wakefield's "Research" was and the sensationalist British press are. They should all be ashamed of themselves!

This is fantastic. Great work Mr. Cunningham.