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Monday, March 9, 2015

Wakefield and RFK, Jr. in Oregon

Saerom Yoo reports at The Statesman-Journal:
Oregon legislators have canceled a meeting to discuss a bill that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions from Oregon's school immunization law, after it became clear that a controversial vaccine researcher who linked the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine with autism was planning to testify.
The Statesman Journal reported Tuesday that Andrew Wakefield, whose 1998 study was retracted from The Lancet and refuted by subsequent studies, was planning a trip to Salem to testify against Senate Bill 442.
He said in a phone interview on Wednesday that he objected to allegations made by Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, the bill's sponsor, that he committed scientific fraud in his research.
Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, chairwoman of the Senate health care committee, said she canceled the March 9 informational meeting because she felt the first public hearing, on Feb. 18, provided enough information.
The March 9 meeting will only take invited testimony from constitutional law experts who will weigh in on the legality of SB 442, she said. During a work session, committee members can tweak the bill as well as vote on it.
Wakefield said his visit was requested by the Oregon Chiropractic Association. He said he planned to testify on vaccine safety, questionable science as well as ethical issues in the government and pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines.
Yoo also reports on RFK Jr.'s visit to rally opponents of the bill:
[The] longtime environmental activist Thursday stood before a small crowd of Oregon lawmakers, staffers and opponents of a bill that would eliminate personal-belief exemptions from school immunizations, speaking about vaccine toxicity, the trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, and a federal public health agency he calls corrupt and troubled.
Kennedy was accompanied by Brian Hooker, a California biomechanical engineer. Hooker wrote a reanalysis of a 2004 research that found no links between the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine and autism. In the paper, Hooker accuses the CDC of covering up data that showed black boys had a 3.4 times greater risk of autism associated with the MMR vaccine.
Hooker's study, which was published in Translational Neurodegeneration in October 2014, has been retracted. The retraction statement reads that "post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings."