By Steve Nowottny
Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first suggested a link between the MMR vaccination and autism, was today struck off the medical register by the GMC.
The decision comes after a GMC panel ruled in January that Dr Wakefield had behaved unethically and had ‘failed in his duties as a responsible consultant.’
The suggestion of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in Dr Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study prompted widespread national newspaper coverage and was followed by a sharp decline in vaccination uptake, although it was later retracted by the Lancet.
But in January the GMC ruled Dr Wakefield had shown a ‘callous disregard for the distress and pain’ of the children he studied, and said he had abused his trust as a medical practitioner and brought the medical profession into disrepute.
Professor Terence Stephenson, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said Dr Wakefield had done ‘utold damage’ to the UK MMR vaccination programme.
‘We cannot stress too strongly that all children and young people should have the MMR vaccine. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that it is safe,’ he said.