Disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield – whose fake anti-vax data has been blamed for the current measles epidemic – has set his sights on discrediting the mumps vaccine.
The 67-year-old, who fled to the US after being struck off in the UK for fraudulently connecting the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism, is seeking Hollywood fame with his first feature film Protocol-7, which claims the mumps jab causes serious long-term health issues.
The film’s extended trailer debuted at the Autism Health Summit in San Antonio, Texas last weekend, with Wakefield telling the conference’s 500 guests that the vaccine, which has been used for decades, is ‘dangerous’.
Attendees – who paid £310 each for the two-day event – gasped as scenes showed a child convulsing after receiving a mumps shot.
Disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield – whose fake anti-vax data has been blamed for the current measles epidemic – has set his sights on discrediting the mumps vaccine
Wakefield is seeking Hollywood fame with his first feature film Protocol-7, which claims the mumps jab causes serious long-term health issues
Wakefield, who divorced his wife of 35 years and later dated supermodel Elle Macpherson, told the crowd: ‘It’s not just a matter of this vaccine doesn’t work… the disease [mumps] has become more dangerous precisely because of the vaccine.’
The movie, which will be released on May 31 and is based on a ‘true story’, stars Julia Roberts’s brother Eric as an executive at Merck who goes up against two whistleblowers who claim the pharmaceutical company’s mumps vaccine is faulty.
British actor Matthew Marsden, who has appeared in Coronation Street and Rambo, plays Wakefield.
The trailer comes as cases of measles in the UK last week hit a ten-year high amid concerns that attempts to contain the outbreak – particularly in the West Midlands – are not working because of poor vaccination rates.
Wakefield’s now-disgraced paper, published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998, claimed the MMR jab caused autism and bowel disease in a study of just 12 children. The General Medical Council struck him off after ruling he behaved unethically by using children who showed signs of autism as ‘guinea pigs’ and subjected them to needless invasive procedures, including colonoscopies.
Since then, Wakefield has reinvented himself in the US as a podcast host and by doing lucrative speaking gigs at anti-vax conferences.
In promotional material for the conference, Wakefield was referred to as ‘doctor’, while a table bearing merchandise, including £15 ‘Wakefield was Right’ T-shirts, did brisk trade.
Wakefield told the audience: ‘Mumps in children is a trivial disease. We do not need a mumps vaccine.’
It is not known if Wakefield was paid for last Saturday’s appearance, which was made over Zoom rather than in person because he was sick.
A woman answering the door at an address linked to Wakefield in Austin, Texas, said the disgraced doctor was not giving interviews.
Dr Martin Scurr, a GP and the Mail’s Good Health columnist, said Wakefield was exploiting post-Covid fears about vaccines, adding: ‘Sadly he has a lot of followers on social media who believe these conspiracy theories.’