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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
diversion sign
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

2 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

3 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

4 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

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6 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 7 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 8 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 9 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 10 Vaccination Scandal Story

mmr 11 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 12 Vaccination Scandal Story

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MMR 14 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 15 Vaccination Scandal Story

I am Darryl Cunningham and this is my main blog.

Page 13: "lackies" should be "lackeys".

Well, WELL done. Thank you for qualifying that Wakefield is seen as a hero -by the anti-vax- people in the US.

I'd love for him to be turfed from the US. But we also have a segment of credulous people who embrace Dr. Phil, who is also not licensed to practice because of unethical behavior (and hasn't been licensed for 20 years), so I don't have a lot of hope.

Right to not Vaccinate

That may be so, but then, what about the children who are too young to vaccinate and who die? They are infected by someone whose parents decided to exercise that right. They, being older, usually recover. The babies die.

Great summary! Very valuable, and I hope it makes the rounds on the internet.

Quick note/question: In the 3rd set of panels, it says Wakefield said in a press conference that 3 doses would be safer than a single vaccination. But then in the 8th set of panels, it says Wakefield called for single vaccines in the press conference (the same one or no?) and had patented his own single vaccine. This seems contradictory. If he said 3 doses were safer than 1, why would he call for and patent a 1-dose vaccine?

My apologies if someone has already noted this. I didn't have time to read through all 223 comments. ;)

Keep up the great work!

MMR is a combined vaccine, against 3 diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. What Dr Wakefield implied in the press conference was that three separate, single-dose vaccines would be safer: a single-dose measles vaccine, given separately from a single-dose mumps, and single-dose rubella, rather than all 3 combined in one shot (i.e., the MMR). There is, as noted, no evidence for this, but a lot of people (particularly in the UK) switched over to this method of doing it - thereby increasing demand for single-dose versions like the one he patented.

Also. the reason for inceasing autism is the fact that several disorders once classified as something else, is now classified as autism or autistic relate.. more kids do not have autism, rather.. the diagnosis was changed over the past 20 years.

An excellent comic and article! If you didn't know, you got posted on Boing Boing, so kudos to you! Good luck, and good work!

This is brilliant. Well done. Passing the link around now.

YES YES YES thank you YES. I am so glad the GMC has come through on this. Unfortunately, it's so hard to fight the culture of celebrity and "I read it on the Internet!" The impassioned anti-vax brigade will likely never be convinced no matter what evidence is presented, but hopefully some parents who were uncertain will be reassured by this coming on top of the Lancet's retraction and other evidence.

(Now if you feel like doing one about the "Liberation Procedure"... ;)

Nicely done... Only thing I think you missed was the babies who have died from measles because they were around un-vaccinated kids. That's blood on his hands.

Also now that the vaccine "genie" is out of the bottle, there will always be lots of people who still think vaccines cause autism, no matter how many studies show different. And all the studies to prove vaccines aren't causing autism take money away from other possibly helpful studies.

And this shall be mem'd under "FUCKING AWESOME". *defers to icon*

You are officially an idiot

Anyone that states there are no studies which support Wakefield's theories is as much an idiot as anyone that states they haven't been refuted.

There are at least 28 studies which support various parts of his study, here are just a few:

  • Medical Hypotheses August 1998;51:133-144.

  • Journal of Child Neurology July 2000; ;15(7):429-35

  • Lancet. 1972;2:883–884.

  • Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia January-March 1971;1:48-62

  • Journal of Pediatrics March 2001;138:366-372

  • Molecular Psychiatry 2002;7:375-382

  • American Journal of Gastroenterolgy April 2004;598-605.

  • Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003;23:504-517.

  • Neuroimmunology April 2006;173(1-2):126-34.

  • Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol Biol. Psychiatry December 30 2006;30:1472-1477.

  • Clinical Infectious Diseases September 1 2002;35(Suppl 1):S6-S16 

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2004;70(11):6459-6465 

  • Journal of Medical Microbiology October 2005;54:987-991

  • Archivos venezolanos de puericultura y pediatría 2006; Vol 69 (1): 19-25.

  • Gastroenterology. 2005:128 (Suppl 2);Abstract-303

  • The truth of the matter is there are "facts" on both sides, we are so far from knowing the truth it isn't even funny. And autism isn't the reason many parents decline some or all vaccines, or break them up, space them out, whatever.

    Re: You are officially an idiot

    There are at least 28 studies which support various parts of his study

    "Support parts of his study" is a lot weaker than "supports his theory". If I theorise that John F. Kennedy was killed by Elvis Presley because the Devil told him to slay Catholics, parts of that theory are very well-supported by evidence - JFK is definitely dead, and he definitely was a Catholic.

    But if I find 28 reliable witnesses who saw his confirmation ceremony, and another 28 reliable witnesses who saw him die... it would still be a bit of a stretch to claim that that evidence "supports my theory".

    Here, we have plenty of references that support the part of his theory where autism is correlated with gastrointestinal abnormalities, and precious little to support anything else (including the leap from correlation to causation).

    This was truly excellent. Lovely cartoon work crisply explaining the facts of the non-relationship between vaccines and autism. Maybe next you can tackle the "debate" between evolution and intelligent design. ... or .. so many others ""debates."

    This is a really great series of comics, both for the subject matter and the cute drawing style!

    Here from a link by Roger Ebert.



    Some ten years ago almost I looked into the study and was appalled at how poorly it had been run. It's a same that the anti-vaccine camp don't look at the facts like this - or that autism rates have continued to climb even in countries like Japan where they've been using separate shots forever.

    Hope this gets to at least one anti-vaccine person and makes them think!