And now, the antivax failure is complete: The Lancet withdraws Wakefield's paper

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 2 2010 12:30 PM

And now, the antivax failure is complete: The Lancet withdraws Wakefield's paper

Oh, this is wonderful to hear: The Lancet -- a leading UK professional medical research journal -- is retracting the paper published by Andrew Wakefield back in 1998 that linked vaccines with autism.

The paper has been found to be multiply and fatally flawed, with Wakefield and his work being thoroughly discredited. As the Lancet editorial itself states:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

Following the judgment of the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al. are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were “consecutively referred” and that investigations were “approved” by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.

That's great news, especially after Wakefield had his head handed to him last week by the GMC over his unethical and irresponsible behavior that led to this horrible paper being published in the first place.

The Lancet statement is a bit bloodless... but they are a professional research journal and not a blog, so it's not appropriate for them to call out Wakefield in more emotional -- and utterly deserved -- terms. It's up to the blogs to call out Wakefield for his tireless efforts in creating of the modern antivaccination movement, which is becoming so successful that measles, mumps, pertussis, and other preventable diseases are on the rise again. And to note that not only was his research wrong, but that he may have faked his data. And to say that he has a huge conflict of interest here, since at the time he was involved in creating an alternative to vaccination that would make him very, very rich if people became scared to vaccinate their kids. And to inform people that Wakefield was in the pocket of lawyers trying to sue the vaccine industry. And to basically call out the entire antivax movement for the incredible damage they have done and continue to do to public health.

All that's left now is for the GMC to officially sanction Wakefield, disbar him, essentially, to finish this all up officially.

Of course, that won't even slow Wakefield or the antivaxxers. They don't care for the real world, based on evidence and fact. They are, for all intents and purposes, religious zealots now, believing in Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, and the rest with such fervor that there is literally no amount of evidence that can ever sway them. And they will continue to spin, fold, and mutilate the truth, while we watch as diseases rise back from the dead, infecting hundreds of thousands of people, and killing many of them.

Never forget what's at stake here. Never.

My thanks to the many, many BABloggees who sent me email or tweeted about this.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.