The UK's Daily Mail (or the Daily Fail) continues to be a primary contributor to the outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease in the UK, and the thoroughly discredited notion that autism is somehow connected to recept of the measles vaccine.
An example of the Daily Mail's continuing malign influence popped up just today. There's a gullible, science-rejecting UK organization called Treating Autism, which has a Facebook page. Here's what they posted on Facebook today:
Sadly, the article posted is over 10 years old. One would expect that an organization called "Treating Autism" would have recognized Melanie Phillips's old, debunked spew, but perhaps the Facebook page is in the hands of a parent new to this issue.
Here's a clue. As I wrote two years ago, the Daily Mail does not accurately date-stamp articles online. It's the Daily Mail eternal present.
Here's an image of article that Treating Autism linked to.
A few seconds' research shows that Melanie Phillips' article was published the week of March 11, 2003.
Phillips' encouragement for the increasingly irrational and irresponsible anti-MMR campaign is likely to compound the unwarranted anxieties of parents whose infants are due to be immunised and result in a further decline in vaccine uptake. It will also intensify the distress of parents of autistic children, whose burden is now increased by feelings of guilt for having them immunised.
While ill-advised parents of autistic children pursue litigation against vaccine manufacturers - with negligible chances of success - doctors apprehensively await the return of serious infectious diseases that we only recently believed were on the verge of disappearance.
10 years on, and the measles epidemic in Wales shows that Dr. Fitzpatrick was right
Here are some questions for Melanie Phillips.
If Dr Wakefield has 'evidence that he thinks will prove that he was right all along', then why does he choose to disclose this in the Daily Mail rather than in a medical journal in which it can be properly evaluated by his peers?
Wakefield has repeatedly promoted claims in public - at congressional hearings in the USA, on a BBC Panorama programme in 2002 - which have not held up to subsequent scrutiny. It would appear that Wakefield, having consistently failed to convince his peers of his case, has decided to present it directly to the public, via compliant journalists who lack the scientific expertise to assess the validity of his claims. The result is that, while Wakefield is no longer taken seriously in the world of medical science, he is still effective in provoking public anxiety.