Streisand effect again, anyone?
I haven’t mentioned the whole “MMR vaccines cause autism” shite here, mainly because others have covered it before, and mainly because Wakefield was declared fraudulent before I started blogging. Well, it turns out that he’s going to sue Brian Deer for libel.
Wakefield falsified data for his own gain, and he helped rates of measles, mumps and rubella shoot right up in the UK and elsewhere. Measels can be fatal, and the worst part of that is that it is so easily preventable by taking a vaccine. And that’s the thing that really bugs me about the anti-vaccination crowd: they give the impression it is better for kids to die of easily preventable childhood diseases than to be autistic. As somebody who actually has Asperger’s, I find that offensive.
Orac has dished up some (dis)Respectful Insolence, as always. One point he makes that is particularly strong is that it has been about a year since Brian Deer wrote an article explaining how the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed, so why has he waited until now? Simple: like most cranks, he prefers to use the courts than science to shut opponents up – and we know how well that worked out for the Burzynski Clinic. Wakefield failed the last time he sued them for libel, and that was in the UK, which is notoriously libel-friendly. Frankly, the whole idea is dead in the water.
One final point: Penn & Teller explain why you should vaccinate your children. Enough said.