The current measles outbreak is in large part down to parents not getting their children vaccinated in the late nineties/early noughties because of misinformation about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Not everyone has learnt from past mistakes, either.
The current measles outbreak is in large part down to parents not getting their children vaccinated in the late nineties/early noughties because of misinformation about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
One of the things which led to the spread of misinformation was media pundits and concerned parents being given media exposure as if they were experts in the area of vaccination. In the end it became one giant feedback loop. The media ran scare campaigns, parents read them and then the media fed back the concerns of parents for another round of sensationalist scaremongering.
Very often a ‘concerned parent’ was brought before the cameras as if their concerns were of equal weight to a large body of scientific evidence. ‘Balance’ became a nonsense whereby the equivalent of the Flat Earth Society was given equal weight to the Royal Geographical Society.
It’s depressing to notice today, then, that not everyone has learnt from past mistakes.
Sometimes being an ‘elitist’ is good. Informed experts are the people to take part in an influential debate (it will presumably be broadcast to several million people, after all) on the safety of the MMR vaccine, not, with all due respect, concerned mums and dads.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.