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ABC Radio interviews Brian Deer

Posted Feb 25 2010 2:02pm

RearVision, an ABC (Australia) radio news program, has an interview with Brian Deer titled The MMR vaccine scare . They have both audio and transcript available.

Even before Keri Phillips of ABC gets to Mr. Deer, she makes it clear that this isn’t going to be some fluff piece with faux-balance:

What Richard Horton didn’t know at the time, and neither did some of Wakefield’s 13 co-authors, was that some of the claims in the paper were false. It wasn’t bad science but rather outright fraud that ultimately led to the finding of misconduct against Andrew Wakefield. We’ll come to that in a moment, but first, what really set this story running was a press conference that Wakefield held at the Royal Free Hospital where he worked as a gastroenterologist.

My guess is that most readers here know the Wakefield story, so I won’t quote discussion of that. I will note the suggestion of moving away from anonymous peer review made by Trisha Greenhalgh. I, for one, am not in favor of that. I feel that referees will be less critical if they know that the authors will know the referees names.

Here is a closing statement by Brian Deer:

The thing that really concerns me is that there’ve been three kinds of victim in all of this. Firstly there’ve been children who’ve developed measles, and we’ve had children in the UK who’ve died of measles as a result of this. They’re the first victims. The second victims are parents who really agonised and gone through hell over whether they should vaccinate their child. But there’s a third kind of victim, which I think people often forget, and these are parents who blame themselves for their child having autism because they took that child to be vaccinated. And you can imagine the nightmare that these parents go through, and I’ve spoken with some of them, and I’ve had mothers just collapse sobbing saying, ‘Not a day goes past when I don’t blame myself for taking my child to be vaccinated. It’s my fault that he’s got autism, it’s my fault that his life will never be the same as that of other children.’ And I really feel for those parents, and I think we should remember these victims of this scare because these mothers have suffered.

Then there are those of us who have seen 12 years of “autism” advocacy groups who can’t concentrate on anything but vaccines and 12 years of useless research trying to support what Keri Phillips calls not “...bad science but outright fraud.”

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