Thursday, 7 August 2008

The Great MMR Mistake  


Ever since Dr Andrew Wakefield decided to make a name for himself by frightening the bejeezus out of us with his facetious claim that the MMR jab could cause autism (, we have been waiting for the inevitable results; that the ensuing panic would result in a huge drop in measles vaccinations and that we would face the possibility of an epidemic.

The fact that this was nonsense and that the offending artcile was disowned by The Lancet (itself hardly the most respected of science journals) did nothing to assuage the fears of parents. Part of this is because of the society we now live in; a society saturated in fear and a desire to shelter our children from the world. However, the government did not do enough to publicise the need to take the MMR jab and, given the high chance of a measles epidemic, they should have spend far more on a campiagn to reassure parents and, perhaps, to make them fear for their children unless they do give them the jab.

We are now in a position where people are talking about forcing children to take the jab. This is clearly not realistic. However, even with a fresh campaign from the government it is unlikely to reap rewards unless people are really fearful of non-action.

After the media created the fear by publicising Wakefield's claims it is now the medicine required to cure this epidemic. One child has already died as a result of measles; it is vital that the media takes a strong role in scaring the bejeezus out of us again so that parents panic into giving their kids the jab. Fortunately, this is something they are well practiced in doing.

What next?

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