The research paper that triggered claims linking autism to the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was formally retracted by the Lancet, the medical journal that published it more than a decade ago.
Following a ruling last week by the General Medical Council that Dr Andrew Wakefield had breached his professional duties, the Lancet said in a statement on its website that he had made false claims in his 1998 paper and concluded: “We fully retract this paper from the published record.”
With Dr Wakefield until now able to boost his credibility by citing the Lancet paper, the journal’s action marks a symbolic step in the saga, which led many parents to refuse the MMR vaccine for their children and sparked a surge in infections and health problems…
Dr Wakefield’s subsequent calls for separate vaccines for the different infections – including an experimental product under development by a company in which he had an interest – came under sharp scrutiny as MMR vaccination rates fell sharply in some parts of the UK, and infections rose…
“The big flaw is that everyone takes the whole system on trust and if trust breaks down, everything collapses,” he said, adding that the Lancet now imposed much tougher peer review on controversial papers, withholding those judged likely to spark public misinterpretation.
How’s that for a back-asswards admission that publication was less subject to demanding standards and scrutiny in the past.
Meanwhile, we’ve had a decade of nutball non-science spin…based on what looked like approval.