Showbusiness stars help controversial MMR jab doctor Andrew Wakefield relaunch career in America
The doctor whose research has been blamed for a slump in child vaccinations in Britain has relaunched his career in America with celebrity support.
Andrew Wakefield, 51, who is being investigated by the General Medical Council over his research linking the MMR vaccine to autism, has opened a clinic in Austin, Texas.
The centre, which caters for children with autism and other developmental disorders, boasts two members of pop band the Dixie Chicks as a board member and adviser.
Dr Wakefield's beliefs about the dangers of vaccines are gaining increasing currency in America.
Comedy film star Jim Carrey and his former Playboy model partner Jenny McCarthy have appeared on television to promote her book calling for fewer child vaccinations.
The celebrity couple believe Miss McCarthy's six-year-old son was 'vaccine damaged' two years ago, and say they want to stop the same happening to other children.
British opposition to the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, began in 1998 when Dr Wakefield and other researchers published a paper in The Lancet claiming evidence linked the injection to cases of autism in 12 children.
Parents began refusing to have their children vaccinated and in the decade since then the proportion of children receiving the MMR jab has fallen to 85 per cent.
Experts recommend an uptake rate of at least 95 per cent to prevent disease outbreaks. Measles in particular is becoming more common in London, studies show.
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