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At the heart of general practice since 1960

As a GP I know the MMR's safe, but I was still worried when my son was called for his jab

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Until very recently I thought I knew how I felt about Andrew Wakefield’s research and the combined MMR immunisation.

I agreed with a statement made by The Lancet that his research was ‘fatally flawed’ and that he had acted ‘dishonestly and irresponsibly’, as accused by the GMC.1

I was also impatient with those parents who listened to his nonsense and, in turn, put not only their own children but those around them in danger of contracting such potentially devastating infections.

That was until the letter arrived inviting our son for his MMR.

Instantly I felt a flutter of anxiety. That awful saying, ‘there’s no smoke without fire’, crept into my mind and I started to vaguely research the availability of single jabs.

Luckily my very sensible GP husband arrived home at that point and teased me mercilessly about being so irrational. I had not predicted that, when faced with the decision myself, I would ever question the generally accepted medical wisdom that the MMR is safe.

On my way into work recently I heard an interview with a Welsh public health consultant talking about the measles outbreak in Swansea. She spoke with true compassion about those parents who had felt they were doing the best for their children by declining the MMR a few years ago, but urged them to come forward now and protect them with the immunisation.

I had been so quick to criticise those parents as being irresponsible and unthinking that I had actually missed the whole point. The reason that Wakefield’s research was so damaging was that it preyed on one of the most insecure, anxious and paranoid groups in society: parents.

The vast majority of parents are driven almost purely by a desire to protect their children. You need only quickly browse the shelves of a few children’s shops to realise there is a large amount of money to be made through terrifying parents. Gadgets to avoid cot death, kitchen accidents, infections… The list is endless. Wakefield only needed to plant the smallest seed of doubt in the minds of UK parents for the inevitable consequences we see now to follow.

Rather than being careless and worthy of our derision, those parents whose children missed out on the MMR now need our understanding and beneficence.

We as a medical profession need to take some responsibility for the fact that perhaps we did not do enough to combat the anti-MMR machine when it was at its most destructive and powerful.

My son had his jab last week - not because I am a sensible medic, but because I want to protect him in every way I can.

MMR – Making Mums Regretful since 1998.

Dr Laura O’Loghlen is a GPST1 who lives in Devon and trains in Gloucestershire.

Reference

1 Brian Deer. The Lancet scnadal. 2010.http://briandeer.com/mmr-lancet.htm

Readers' comments (22)

  • Re: there being no smoke without fire, isn't it the case that there was no smoke and indeed no fire from Wakefield's discredited, falsified, unethical "research"?

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  • Mark Struthers

    In January 2001, Peter Hitchens wrote in his column for the Mail on Sunday,

    "Many mothers would die to save their children's lives, and many would kill anyone who threatened their young with danger. But now they are being asked to risk their own offspring for the sake of others. You may be worried about your own child, say the authorities, but your fears are groundless and actually rather selfish. Be responsible. Overcome them. Trust us, for we know better."

    http://bit.ly/18woLYX

    More recently, Peter Hitchens has written,

    "Is the state our servant or our master? If it is our servant, it should sympathise with our fears. Yet, while public money could not, apparently, be used for single jabs, it could be used to pay generous bonuses to doctors who increased the uptake of MMR, and it could be used for propaganda campaigns telling parents that all was well. Yet the Chief Minister of the government which used tax money for these purposes refused to reveal if his own small child had been given the MMR which his ministers and civil servants were vigorously pressing on everyone else."

    http://bit.ly/130vMLJ

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  • Mark Struthers

    Dr O'Loghlen says:

    "I was also impatient with those parents who listened to his nonsense and, in turn, put not only their own children but those around them in danger of contracting such potentially devastating infections".

    I'm unimpressed. Dr O'Loghlen spoils her case by overstating it. Measles was very rarely a serious illness and I don't expect Dr O'Loghlen has ever seen a patient with it. The last case I saw as a trainee was in 1985, though I did see a miserable child with a measly rash exactly ten days after the MMR. That was in the early 1990's. The following link to a rapid response in the BMJ provides some interesting thoughts on benefits of natural measles and the problems of the vaccine.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e3769/rr/591869

    Odd how there has been no challenge to such ideas from the great and the good in the vaccine establishment.

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  • Mark Struthers

    More information about measles, whooping cough, mumps ... and the effectiveness of the vaccines.

    http://bit.ly/12kzDUW

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  • What made you believe MMR was safe? Just because the powers that be told you so? Did you do any research? Did you seek the facts for yourself? Why is it that every time a new vaccine comes out one of the first things that is said about it is that IT IS SAFER than the previous vaccine. HELLLO - it means that the previous vaccine was not all that safe!!

    And what makes it worst is that we and the Governemt were lied to by the Joint Committee on vaccination and immunisation.
    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) was fully aware of MMR vaccine dangers as early as 1989, but covered them up!

    Freedom of Information Act has revealed what probably most people do not know and that is the fact that we have been LIED to for a long time and that this lie is being repeated daily through the media to hide the truth and cover up data to encourage vaccine compliance.

    The JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for 'herd immunity,' a concept which ... does not rest on solid scientific evidence," explains Dr. Tomljenovic in the introduction to
    her paper.

    Learn more:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/038598_vaccines_medical_hoax_government_documents.html#ixzz2QorMSgG4

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  • Perhaps you should read the package insert of the MMR vaccine, warning of serious adverse reactions, including death. Who wrote it? Merck, the manufacturer, and it can be found on their website.
    http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf
    Then, come back and tell me, and your patients, that the MMR is safe.

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  • Mark Struthers

    "As as GP I know the MMR's safe" ....

    Was the MMR/MR safe for Christopher Coulter?

    http://bit.ly/ZR4UAr

    Christopher was found dead in his bed a week before Christmas in 1994, 10 days after receiving the MR vaccine at school. He was 15 years old. An inquest held in 1995 concluded that Christopher had died from an epileptic fit, even though there had been no personal or family history of epilepsy.

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  • Mark Struthers

    Dr O'Loghlen says:

    "I was also impatient with those parents who listened to his [Wakefield's] nonsense and, in turn, put not only their own children but those around them in danger of contracting such potentially devastating infections".

    Mumps is a very minor infection for the vast majority of children. Here is some information about how the MMR makers have turned this minor illness into something more potentially devastating ... but highly lucrative.

    http://youtu.be/BASKGep-CH0

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  • Mark Struthers

    Please watch these videos and keep an open mind about the quality of information being imparted.

    1. http://videocast.nih.gov/Summary.asp?File=16828&bhcp=1

    2. http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=10824&bhcp=1

    3. http://www.vaccinesafetycoalition.com/event-video.html

    Who do you trust? Who is really interested in vaccine safety? Who has got children's best interests at heart?

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  • Mark Struthers

    Merck has a monopoly on selling mumps vaccine. The pharmaceutical giant is now mired in misinformation allegations:

    "Merck is the only manufacturer licensed by the FDA to sell the mumps vaccine in United States, and if it could not show that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, it risked losing its lucrative monopoly, according to the complaint"

    and,

    "Merck has known for a decade that its mumps vaccine is "far less effective" than it tells the government, and it falsified test results and sold millions of doses of "questionable efficacy," flooding and monopolizing the market" ...

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47851.htm

    The MMR is neither safe nor effective, as the evidence clearly shows. However, one can envisage a situation in the not too distant future when people will be required to have, in fact mandated to have, annual MMR vaccinations because the vaccine itself becomes less effective with time. MMR is a massive commercial success and destined to be even more so, precisely because it doesn't work. Of course, spreading fear and misinformation is very good for business.

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