[Wakefield's affair: 12 years of uncertainty whereas no link between autism and MMR vaccine has been proved]

Presse Med. 2012 Sep;41(9 Pt 1):827-34. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2012.03.022. Epub 2012 Jun 28.
[Article in French]


In 1998, a Lancet paper described 12 cases of children with autism, and having been vaccinated (MMR) in the United Kingdom; medias presented the information to the lay public, stating that a link was possible. In 2004, The Lancet published letters responding to allegations against the paper. Later, it was established that no link existed between MMR and autism; few years and many publications were necessary to conclude to the absence of evidence. In 2010, the General Medical Council published a report against Dr Wakefield, first author of the 1998 paper, and showing that the children hospital records did not contain the evidence; hospital records differed from the published paper; the Lancet retracted the 1998 paper. In 2011, Brian Deer, a journalist, published the complete story in theBMJ: in 1996, Wakefield was approached by lawyers representing an anti-vaccine lobby, and they supported the Wakefield research. Dr Wakefield left England; in 2012 he works in Texas, USA, for anti-vaccine lobbies.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology*
  • Colitis / etiology
  • France
  • Fraud
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Public Health
  • Research Design
  • Retraction of Publication as Topic
  • Scientific Misconduct* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Uncertainty*
  • United Kingdom


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine