Andrew Wakefield is one of the most significant figures in the autism field. Doctor Wakefield is a qualified surgeon and gastroenterologist, and his area of specialization lies in inflammatory illnesses. Wakefield research mainly based on the question of whether or not autism can be caused by the Mumps-Measles-Rubella vaccine. According to Edy et al. (20), his scientific method included asking questions, formulating a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, collecting data or observations and finally drawing conclusions. At the beginning of his career. Wakefield made an important observation that vastly impacted the medical world. He observed that the Mumps-Measles-Rubella vaccine had a potential of triggering autism. His main theory was that if this vaccine could lead to inflammation in child intestines, he or she could acquire “leaky gut syndrome,” allowing toxic patients to reach the child’s brain. If this was the case, Wakefield theorized that the measles’ vaccine could cause autism.
Doctor Wakefield came up with a hypothesis that the “Mumps-Measles-Rubella vaccine causes Autism.” His experimental design and process entailed observation where he observed sample size of twelve children, whose early signs of autism developed a month after being vaccinated using the MMR vaccine. The remarks made Wakefield concluded that the MMR vaccine resulted in autism and vastly impaired a child development pattern (Bennett et al. 50). Andrew’s subjects were referred to him and eight of them, who were the parents of these children, approached him and requested him to conduct the study relations to their children’s autistic symptoms. The term double-blind in a research study mention that both the experimenters and researchers are aware of the individuals getting a specific treatment. However, Wakefield failed to incorporate this approach in his research, and this is highly unethical for scientific inquiries. Wakefield’s research vastly influenced vaccine hesitancy today; for instance, it minimized the rates of the MMR vaccination, because parents fear the risks of autism.
Bennett, Matthew, et al. “Challenging the Public’s Perception of Life on Autism Spectrum: The
Impact of the Vaccination Myth.” Life on the Autism Spectrum. Springer, Singapore, 2018.
Edy, Jill A., and Erin Risley-Baird. “Misperceptions as Political Conflict: Using Schattschneider’s
Conflict Theory to Understand Rumor Dynamics.” International Journal of
Communication 10 (2016): 20.