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Friday 8 August 2003

Jab, parry, thrust, JAB!!

This whole furore about the MMR vaccination really gets my goat. It's a typical case of a media fed paranoia whipped up by certain sensational newspapers under the pretence of a "public interest" story.

Somebody alleged that the MMR vaccination might result in an increased risk of autism or bowel disease. Numerous subsequent studies have failed to find a link but the mere suggestion caused a media feeding frenzy and resulted in many parents refusing to give their child the jab.

The fact of the matter is that, even if there is a link to autism, the risks involved in giving your child the MMR jab are massively outweighed by the risks involved in not being vaccinated. Measles especially can result in disability or even death.

And now, because of the falling vaccination rates, a possible measles epidemic is on the cards, vastly increasing the risks involved in failing to vaccinate your children.

Some MPs are demanding that single vaccinations be made available to those parents who don't wish their children to have the MMR. There are numerous reasons that this cannot, and should not, be done. No single vaccinations are licensed for use in this country and licensing take time and means testing. Every vaccination carries a risk including infection from the vaccination itself. More jabs means a greater risk of infection with the complications that entails. Finally, the increased number of jabs over a longer time period increases the possibility that some will be missed.

The problem is that very little of this makes it into the popular press. Whilst the imagined risks of MMR allow for that very British sport of bashing those in power, the benefits don't make for such good copy.

August 8, 2003 1:29 PM | Stuff of Interest

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