Search

Disgraced Royal Free MMR researcher is criticised for ‘one-sided’ film

PUBLISHED: 17:26 15 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:26 15 April 2016

Andrew Wakefield with his wife Carmen Wakefieldat the General Medical Council headquarters in 2010.

Andrew Wakefield with his wife Carmen Wakefieldat the General Medical Council headquarters in 2010.

PA/Press Association Images

A film directed by disgraced Royal Free doctor, Andrew Wakefield, has been slammed by film critics and pulled from Robert De Niro’s film festival.

Demonstrators supporting Andrew Wakefield.Demonstrators supporting Andrew Wakefield.

The documentary, named ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe’ is about the supposed plot to cover-up the link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Since its release at the start of the month, it has been described as “adding fuel to the fire” of “unfounded arguments”.

Wakefield, a former gastroenterologist and researcher at the Royal Free, caused a sensation when he published a paper in 1998 suggesting there was a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the appearance of autism.

Despite having much media attention, the paper was discovered to be fraught with misconduct and it was later retracted. Wakefield was also struck off from the medical register.

Actor Robert De Niro  kicking off the 1st Annual Tribeca Theatre Festival in 2001.Actor Robert De Niro kicking off the 1st Annual Tribeca Theatre Festival in 2001.

‘Vaxxed’ explores the continued doubts about the MMR vaccination and argues that the “link” between the two has been covered up by health authorities.

The documentary centres around Wakefield’s arguments and an apparent “whistleblower”, as well as showing emotional testimonials from parents who believe the vaccination caused autism in their children.

It was originally scheduled to be shown at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival, who has an autistic son and has questioned the safety of vaccinations in the past.

The actor decided to pull the controversial film, saying: “My intent on screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family.

“But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”

Film reviewers have heavily criticised the film for being “one-sided” and for not informing the viewer that Wakefield has had his medical licence revoked.

The Guardian accuses the film of relying on “circumstantial evidence” and adds: “there is something inherently fishy about a movie that claims our facts are drawn from an inefficient data set which then turns around and uses the same methodology.”

Another reviewer says the film contains “next to nothing in terms of real science” and “works overtime to mimic the look of a credible research project”.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Most Read

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express