Andrew Wakefield had planned to testify before the Oregon Senate on March 9 in opposition to Senate Bill 442, which would remove the option for parents to file non-medical exemptions to vaccination from the Oregon school immunization law. Wakefield was reportedly asked to testify at the hearing on the vaccination bill by the Oregon Chiropractic Association.
— Laura Fosmire (@fosmirel) February 26, 2015
The March 9 public hearing has been cancelled by Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, the chairwoman of the senate health care committee. The March 9 meeting will no longer be a public hearing, and the senators will only hear testimony from constitutional law experts for the purpose of learning the constitutionality of Oregon’s SB 442. Anderson said the first public hearing, which was held on February 18, provided the legislators with enough information and public feedback about the proposed changes to the school vaccination law, according to the Statesman Journal. Anderson specifically stated that the decision to cancel the March 9 hearing had nothing to do with Wakefield’s plans to testify against Oregon’s Senate Bill 442.
“I talked with caucus and we’re ready to have a work session and we don’t need to have the information and that’s the decision that I made.”
However, a KOIN-6 News reporter suggests that the public hearing was cancelled, because the Oregon senate was informed that Andrew Wakefield planned to testify.
“After calls from KOIN 6 News, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, the chair of the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care, then said Wakefield — and all the other panelists — were disinvited. That March 9 meeting will now be a regular work session.”
Andrew Wakefield is, of course, the controversial, former surgeon and gastroenterologist who was an author of a now-retracted 1998 paper in The Lancet. That paper is often reported to have fraudulently claimed that MMR vaccination causes autism, though it actually was very clear in stating, “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.” The paper suggested that more research should be done to look at environmental triggers for ASD.
Afterward, Wakefield said at a press conference, “Urgent further research is needed to determine whether MMR may give rise to this complication in a small number of people.”
— Skeptic History (@SkepticHistory) February 26, 2015
The paper is still online for anyone to read, it just has the word “retracted” written over it in a large red font. The General Medical Council revoked Wakefield’s licence to practice medicine for professional misconduct.
The Lancet aren’t taking any chances that people might not know that Andrew Wakefield’s papers have been retracted. pic.twitter.com/1ivO5ypvOQ
— Adam Tyson (@adamltyson) June 14, 2014
To this day, Wakefield stands by his work and recently objected to fraud allegations allegedly made against him by the Oregon vaccination bill’s sponsor, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward.
“There was no fraud at any stage,” Wakefield told the Statesman Journal. “I’ve never been involved in scientific fraud. The notion that I admitted to fraud is absolutely extraordinary… If that’s the quality of information informing the Oregon Senate and the people of Oregon, they’re being very badly served.”
Wakefield stated that he was not planning to testify with a specifically anti-vaccine viewpoint while in Oregon and has maintained that he is not anti-vaccination.
“It’s not about that. It’s about making the safest, most effective vaccination policy – protecting children from serious infectious disease. That’s what this is about.”
— KATUPolitics (@KATUPolitics) February 5, 2015
— Vaccination Trends (@Vaccinizer) February 22, 2015
Oregon keeps a very organized record of measles cases on the Oregon health department’s website. According to the Portland Business Journal, Oregon has a nine percent non-medical vaccination exemption rate, the highest in the country. According to Oregon Live, seven percent of Oregon’s children are un-vaccinated. According to KATU News, Dr. Cieslak, of the Oregon Health Authority, in some schools, 70 percent of Oregon’s children are not vaccinated.
It has been reported that Wakefield still plans to visit Oregon to discuss the vaccination bill in a town hall meeting in Portland, even though the senate public hearing has been canceled.
— Bulletin Graphics (@BulletinGrafx) February 27, 2014
Surprising (to me): requirements to get vaccine exemption in, e.g., Utah & Texas; Oregon has highest exemption rate. pic.twitter.com/tLxWRcwlzM
— dhayton (@dhayton) January 25, 2015
[Photo via Facebook]