Andrew Wakefield published a research paper in The Lancet in 1998 which describes research done involving a correlation with autism and the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Wakefield’s research was conducted on twelve children with developmental disorders. His paper described how the children’s vaccination caused these developmental disorders, including what he called autistic entercolitis. This paper put fear into people and caused a sharp decrease in the vaccine records in the UK and Ireland. This decrease in vaccines was then followed by a sharp increase of the cases of measles and mumps which in turn caused deaths and permanent injuries caused by the lack of herd immunity.
In 2004, an investigation showed that Wakefield received almost $75,000 to find evidence to discourage vaccine usage. Wakefield’s research paper was found to be unreliable and according to the medical journal he published his paper in, The Lancet, was “entirely flawed”. In 2009, Brian Deer reported that Wakefield had “manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella was linked to [autism]”. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention did a study that showed that vaccines do not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The public health was deeply affected by this fraudulent study. My friend’s mom would not let her doctors vaccinate her and her siblings because of her fear of her children developing autism. Thankfully they did not get any of the diseases that could have been easily prevented because of the herd immunity and since she turned 18 she has gotten every vaccine that she can. Individuals contribute to this public health crisis of anti-vaccines by still citing Andrew Wakefield’s work in order to convince others of the “dangers” of vaccinating. This shows how lack of knowledge is still a large problem even with several reports and studies disproving Wakefield.