By Marika Sboros

The strategies that critics use to persuade the public that doctors like Prof Tim Noakes are “anti-vaxx” are becoming transparent. Also transparent is likely their real target: Noakes’s promotion of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) to treat and prevent serious disease.

One strategy appears to be to bring up the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. They do so whenever the opportunity arises – and even when it doesn’t.

Another is to link Noakes’s views to that of a “discredited, disgraced” doctor. That’s a reference, of course, to Dr Andrew Wakefield, the UK gastroenterologist who lost his licence to practice medicine in that country.

Wakefield co-authored a study series the Lancet published in 1998. It showed an associational link between gastrointestinal disease, autism and MMR vaccines. The journal eventually retracted the study. And in the fallout, the British regulatory body, the GMC (General Medical Council), stripped Wakefield of his licence to practise medicine.

Many continue to report, wrongly, that Wakefield lost his licence because he fraudulently claimed that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Yet the Lancet study does not make that claim. Instead, Wakefield’s sole claim in that study was an associational (thus, not causal) link between the MMR vaccine n a single combination and the subsequent development of autism. And that was in a small case series of affected children.