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Friday 2 November 2018

The MMR Vaccine. Less parents are getting their children vaccinated. And this is a problem both for conventional medicine, and our national media!

Professor Dame Sally Davis is an expert on health, Britain's 'top doctor', and the government appointed Chief Medical Officer. Or more accurately, perhaps, she is an expert in conventional medicine.
  • There is an important distinction!
On 1st November 2018 her statement about the MMR vaccine made all the mainstream media. Her comments came, apparently, on the 30th anniversary of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine being introduced in the UK. The vaccine is given, free of charge, on the NHS, as a single injection to babies, within a month of their first birthday. They then have a second injection before starting school, aged three years.

The expert professor was bemoaning the fact that less people are now taking up the vaccine - only 87% in England when the target is 95%.

So let's see what she had to say, and how the media (and particularly BBC News) reported it.

               "The MMR vaccine has dramatically reduced cases of measles, mumps and rubella and saved about 4,000 deaths from measles, resulting in the UK being declared "measles free" by the World Health Organization last year."

Measles was a killer disease in this country during the 18th and 19th century, alongside the upheaval and poverty of the agrarian and industrial revolutions. The incidence of measles declined progressively and rapidly from the second half of the 19th century right up to the introduction of the MMR vaccine. Graphs that track the incidence of measles show that the introduction of the vaccine made no impact whatsoever on the continuing decline of the disease.

Did Sally Davis mention this? Was she challenged by the BBC? No, this was allowed to pass - as a factual statement.

The Professor went on to say that the MMR vaccine was safe, and had been given to millions of children worldwide. Yet the patient information leaflet that comes with the MMR vaccine contradicts this statement. I have listed the long list of serious known 'side effects' in this blog, written in 2013. The side effects include seizures, encephalitis, and death (yes, death!)

Did Sally Davis qualify this statement that the MMR vaccine was safe? Did the BBC challenge her about the claim? No, it was allowed to pass - as a factual statement.

So why are 13% of parents refusing to take up the offer of this free vaccine? A vaccine that protects against a disease that no longer exists (!) A vaccine that causes death? 

Well, Dame Sally had the answer. I was to blame, alongside the many other anti-vaccine campaigners, all of us presenting our 'misinformation', and 'fake news'.
  • People who believe the myths spread by anti-vaccine campaigners "are absolutely wrong" she said.
  • She urged parents to get their children vaccinated and ignore "social media fake news".
  • She said myths peddled about the dangers of vaccines on social media was one reason parents weren't taking their children to get the MMR vaccine.
  • "Over these 30 years, we have vaccinated millions of children.
  • "It is a safe vaccination - we know that - and we've saved millions of lives across the world.
  • "People who spread these myths, when children die they will not be there to pick up the pieces or the blame."
This was her message, her unchallenged message, the one that everybody heard. The voice of a medical expert, an authority on the subject, someone who is not to be challenged, by anyone!

So what has my mistake been? Why have I erred? Why have I been attacked on the media? I suggest my mistake, and the mistake of all anti-vaxxers, has been twofold.
  1. We have read the evidence on the patient information leaflets and made the judgement that this level of child damage was unacceptable.
  2. We have listened to parents who once had healthy children, but whose development was normal up until they were vaccinate (either with DPT or MMR), and who subsequently became seriously ill.
Clearly, according to Britain's Chief Medical Officer, we should not have done so either of these things. We should accept her word, her statements, just as the media has done - after all she is a medical expert!

So was Sally Davis's challenged at all by the BBC? And did they, in line with the BBC's editorial guidelines, give time to anti-vaccine campaigners to put their position? No, she was not challenged. And no, no one was allowed to put the contrary case - that the MMR vaccine was,  in fact, dangerous, and parent were right to refuse to subject their children to its known side effects.

Instead, Dame Sally was allowed to bemoan the fact that there had been too many cases of measles in England this year - a grand total of 903 so far (!) - and that young people had missed out on the MMR vaccine "who had been particularly affected".

Any statistics on that, Sally? So perhaps the BBC asked her how many of the 903 children had been vaccinated? Unfortunately, they did not bother to ask.

And then, of course, the usual nonsense, routinely trotted out by the media whenever vaccines are brought into question.

               "In 1998, a study by former doctor Andrew Wakefield incorrectly linked the MMR vaccine to autism. The research is now completely discredited."

Actually, Andrew Wakefield's research has been replicated many times now. But we cannot expect the mainstream media to mention this. So did they challenge the statement? No, of course not. The job of the media, as seen by the media, is to support the conventional medical establishment, to act as an Echo Chamber for anything they want to say, without challenge or question, whilst at the same time bashing anyone who holds a contrary view, backed by contrary evidence.

So the result of Professor Dame Sally Davis's interview, and the vacillation of the mainstream media, will be that more parents are absolutely certain about the importance of vaccination, and the safety of vaccines, who have no knowledge of the warnings on the patient information leaflet, or the experience of parents whose young children have been seriously damaged.

So much for informed patient choice!