An editorial article published on CNN.com yesterday provides reason for the prosecution of Andrew Wakefield, responsible for the widespread vaccine-autism myth. After 13 years of controversy, the British Medical Journal has deemed the vaccine-autism link an “elaborate fraud.” In 1998, Wakefield published a small study with 12 children that suggested a connection between autism in children and the MMR vaccine. It has been proven that he used false patient histories, but Wakefield maintains his claim of academic integrity.
The author condemns scientific fraud, elaborating on the dire consequences of data falsification and dishonesty in the scientific community, taking both monetary and public health standpoints. Fiscally, he considers the “squandering of limited financial resources” and the violation of trust in funding contributors. “Devastating personal consequences” have resulted from the refusal of vaccines, particularly by parents for their children, some of whom have since contracted and died of measles and pertussis. The false theory is also responsible for decreased administration of the annual influenza vaccine, impeding herd immunization techniques.
The author also blames Hollywood for propagating the vaccine-autism link, and hopes for a pro-vaccine actor.