‘Baloney’ – the Mail’s campaign against life saving MMR vaccine

MMR safe? Baloney, according to Melanie Phillips.

MMR safe? Baloney, according to Melanie Phillips.

The consequences of this sort of scaremongering about MMR and autism are currently being felt in Wales. 900 people have been infected with measles in Swansea alone – measles is a disease that can cause brain damage and death in children – and there are fears that London could be the next city to suffer an outbreak.

The reemergence of measles as a threat to human health is due to parents not getting their children vaccinated in the past 15 years. And why haven’t parents been getting their children vaccinated? As the Times reports today: “one million children may not have received the full course of the MMR vaccine, in large part because of discredited fears it leads to autism“.

Now who would have spread such nonsense?

In her 2005 article (where the ‘baloney’ headline comes from), Melanie Phillips referred to “a frenzy of gloating by Wakefield’s discredited enemies” and “ripe denunciations of those like this newspaper who took his concerns seriously and demands that we apologise for creating a scare that left children unvaccinated and at risk of measles, mumps and rubella”.

I haven’t noticed much gloating. What is there to gloat about? Measles can kill. It’s not about political point scoring, it’s about what’s true and what isn’t, and the responsibility the press has not to mislead the public on such grave issues.

An apology would be appropriate, though – an apology for promoting discredited nonsense long after it has been discredited, putting the lives of children at risk.

Disclaimer: To give them some credit, the Mail has taken the measles outbreak seriously enough to look for someone to blame.

Mail blame the French

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