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COMMENT: Zoe’s story should make us all think
10:42am Tuesday 26th June 2012 in News
IN 1998 measles was pretty much eradicated in Britain until a man called Andrew Wakefield got a research paper published in the medical journal The Lancet.
To call it research is stretching it a bit. Indeed, it has been described as “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years”.
At best it was plain bad science. It was damaging because it effectively brought a potential killer back to Britain.
Zoe Hayes is one of thousands and thousands of mothers who got a bit frightened by scare stories of a link between the MMR vaccination and autism.
Perhaps they were also taken in by the myth that measles is a few spots and a high temperature.
As Zoe can vouch, measles is nasty, particularly when you come face to face with it in the form of your five-year-old daughter streaming blood from her nose and mouth.
Measles is both highly infectious and also often leads to complications, including sometimes fits and brain swelling.
The irony is that we had it beaten through a simple and effective vaccination programme.
But because of the MMR scare, vaccination rates fell to a level that has allowed this disease to come back and blight young people’s lives.
Years after exposing Wakefield’s research to be a load of pernicious nonsense, vaccination rates have not recovered to previous levels and measles cases are rising among our children.
And the human consequences of that? Ask Zoe.
And, if you are a parent facing the MMR jab decision, read her story very, very carefully.