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The MMR controversy

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Maria Mac
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The MMR controversy

#1 Post by Maria Mac » August 14th, 2008, 5:42 pm

...is covered in this thread:

Should parents have the right to refuse....

What started out as discussion on parental rights about vaccination has inevitably evolved into one more about the evidence for and against the claims made about vaccines. But the two topics are intertwined and, rather than split the thread and move the more sciencey posts here, I thought I'd just signpost it here in case anyone interested in the subject has missed it.

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Alan H
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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#2 Post by Alan H » December 19th, 2008, 9:56 pm

Came across this on the Thinking Is Dangerous blog:
This is the tenth year of the MMR Hoax.

Of course, the media - who according to Dr Ben Goldacre in the above link are largely responsible - have switched allegiances and act as if their constant publishing of nonsense and scare stories relating to MMR never happened.

At least, after ten years, the media will now admit (in accordance with what respectable health practitioners have been saying for a decade) that it was a hoax - the NHS website on MMR states the site is no longer being updated and the Department of Health has announced an MMR vaccine catch-up campaign.

The media, that is, apart from the Telegraph, but it's quality of science reporting has diminished so fantastically over the last while, this isn't surprising.

Levels of measles have been rising over the last decade, but perhaps we are at a turning point, as this week, in Scotland the percentage of under fives having received the first dose stands at 95%, for the first time.

Nonetheless, one of the many hangovers to come-out of the MMR booze-up was JABS - Justice Awareness, Basic Support. This is a 'support-group' for vaccine-damaged children, or to put it cynically, people whose children have developed problems, which the parents put down to vaccines, irrespective of the evidence. JABS became synonymous with an anti-MMR stance (indeed anti-vaccine in general), and so no amount of evidence would ever convince them of its relative safety. Many articles and blogs have criticised JABS for its terrible 'science' or its abusive nature towards anyone who dares suggest that MMR and autism are not connected.

The BBC have stopped linking to JABS after being made aware of the site's contents and there has even been a piss-take set-up. I wrote about their odd ways and their connection with the truly out-of-this-planet-utterly-bananas site, Whale.to earlier this year.

With your monitor set to 'Weird Mode' have a look at a JABS conversation here.

Indeed.

The Science Museum is one of London's great free museums, holding over 300,00 artefacts of scientific and medical significance. The website also contains a section called 'Antenna' which is the Science News section, with a special section on MMR:
For three months you've been telling the Science Museum your concerns about MMR - the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine.

Armed with your questions, fears and arguments a team from the Museum set off to interrogate the major players in the controversy.
Controversy? Not for a long time. Hoax would be a better choice of word.

Clicking on "What about single jabs?" and then "Where can I get them?", the Science Museum website happily suggests emailing JABS for some advice. The Science museum suggests contacting an anti-vaccine pressure group on advice for vaccines. Perhaps the Science Museum should be weighing up government advice and making a decision on the evidence rather sending parents, who are trying to do the best by their kids, to rather odd inhabitants of JABS-world.

The JABS website itself states:
JABS is not primarily a provider of vaccine information but a support group of parents who feel their children have suffered a reaction or have been severely damaged by a vaccine
... so what is the point of sending people there who are trying to find out about single vaccines? Despite this website claim, the Science Museum has page with a photo of Jackie Fletcher (JABS co-ordinator) stating:
Jackie Fletcher of vaccine-damage support group JABS also offers advice for parents regardless of whether they are opting for single jabs or the full MMR.
How balanced an opinion do you think you will get from JABS on this issue?

It's clear the Science Museum needs to completely update and revamp its MMR site, and do its part to relegate the MMR hoax to science history.

EDITED 17/12/2008: If you would like to let the Science Museum know about their backwards stance on this issue, the contact details are here.
Hat-tip to Duck & Tristan @ Bad Science.

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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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Alan H
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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#3 Post by Alan H » December 19th, 2008, 10:45 pm

The article above mentions a Guardian article about JABS:
********************************************************************************
Jabs and junk science | Society | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/ ... eandhealth
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jabs and junk science
Parents-led anti-vaccination groups are becoming hugely influential. But the information they provide is often extremely dodgy, argues Michael Fitzpatrick

* Michael Fitzpatrick
* The Guardian, Wednesday 8 September 2004
* Article history

At the height of the recent furore over the new five-in-one jab for newborn babies, a mother came into our baby clinic with a 27-page document, downloaded from the internet, which recommended that she should refuse consent for any childhood immunisations. Closer inspection revealed that this document was a copy of the one submitted by Dr Jayne Donegan, a GP and homeopath, to last summer's court case arising from the conflict between estranged parents over whether their children should receive vaccinations.

The judge found this doctor guilty of using "selective quotations", of making "unsubstantiated claims", and of "being confused in her thinking, lacking logic, minimising the duration of a disease, making statements lacking valid facts, ignoring the facts, ignoring the conclusion of papers, making implications without any scientific validation, giving a superficial impression of a paper, not presenting the counter argument, quoting selectively from papers, and of providing in one instance no data and no facts to support her claim". It was Dr Donegan's evidence that Lord Justice Sedley dismissed as "junk science" at the subsequent appeal.

Yet 12 months later, thanks to the flourishing network of anti-immunisation parents' groups out there, Dr Donegan's junk science is readily available to anyone trying to make informed decisions about vaccinations. At a time when many parents are deeply distrustful of official advice, groups such as "The Informed Parent", "What doctors don't tell you" and "Jabs" (Justice, awareness and basic support) purport to offer the sort of impartial information parents are looking for, and they are being listened to. Their voices are tagged on to almost every news report about vaccinations. Sadly, considering how much impact they have, the information they offer is often suspect: Dr Donegan's evidence is far from the only dodgy information in circulation.

Take Jabs, whose founder, Jackie Fletcher, blames her son's autism and epilepsy on the MMR vaccine. Fletcher is a forceful campaigner, but the claim made on the Jabs website that "there is much anecdotal and scientific evidence to support a link between MMR vaccine, bowel disease and other neurological problems" is simply not true. There is in fact no validated scientific evidence of such a link, despite a six-year quest to find it, and a mountain of evidence against it (anecdote is not evidence). Nor is it true, as Jabs asserts, that Dr Andrew Wakefield's claims to have demonstrated the measles virus "in the inflamed tissues of the gut in children who have developed autism after the MMR vaccine", have been "substantiated" and "replicated" by other researchers. Numerous other errors of fact or interpretation lead to the proposal that MMR should be suspended in favour of separate vaccines - a recommendation that has already resulted in many children receiving inadequate protection against potentially serious diseases and may yet open the way to epidemics.

But my concerns go beyond all this misinformation. Any parent who looks to the anti-immunisation campaigns for information will readily find strident condemnations of the government, the medical establishment and the drug companies. Anybody who defends immunisation can expect abuse and allegations of corruption or conspiracy. The basic thrust of much of it is that the pro-vaccination party has commercial links with drugs companies. Yet, perhaps not surprisingly, these anti-vaccination groups often have their own links with commercial interests.

Since the mid-1990s, for example, Jabs has been closely associated with the litigation against MMR, led by the solicitor Richard Barr. The Jabs website still carries a link to the firm Alexander Harris, which Barr has now left - leaving several hundred claimants high and dry, without compensation or funded representation. According to the investigation carried out by Brian Deer for the Sunday Times, Alexander Harris cleared around £5m out of the total of £15m of legal-aid funding spent before the Legal Services Commission pulled the plug last October. Jabs' encouragement of parents to join this ill-conceived quest for compensation has had a demoralising effect, not only on the families involved, but on the parents of children with autism, who have been made to feel guilty that by giving their children MMR they may have caused their condition.

The anti-immunisation websites also provide links to private clinics offering separate vaccines as an alternative to MMR - and now "mercury-free" alternatives to other vaccinations. These clinics have been major beneficiaries of popular anxieties about immunisation, making "substantial" profits by providing inferior vaccines at inflated prices, to parents whose fears have been inflamed by misinformation and scare-mongering journalism. Dr David Pugh, whose clinics in Sheffield and Elstree, Hertfordshire, were closed down after allegations of insanitary and fraudulent practices, and who still faces trial on criminal charges, was endorsed by a number of parent groups.

If the support given by parent-led anti-immunisation groups has been reciprocated by the lawyers and private vaccine providers who have profited so handsomely from their association with them, the scope for abuse is apparent. Parent groups may be independent of government, but they are unrepresentative of the groups they claim to represent and accountable to nobody. They are also susceptible to manipulation by the numerous fringe practitioners who frequent the shady anti-immunisation world.

Parents who believe that their children have been damaged by vaccines are entitled to compensation, if this belief can be substantiated (in the case of the alleged MMR-autism link, the inescapable fact is that it cannot). But their experience does not give them the right to set themselves up as sources of authoritative information about immunisation, even less to foster unwarranted anxieties that may deter parents from having their children immunised, thus putting their health - and that of other, perhaps more vulnerable, children - at risk.

As the parent of an autistic child, I am well qualified to comment on the particular experience of being the parent of an autistic child. But this experience does not give me any special insights into the question of what causes autism, or into any other aspect of the condition. When a handful of parents criticise the arrogance of the government in refusing to concede to the demands arising from their personal experience, the real arrogance is theirs in disparaging the experience of millions, generalised in the studies on which immunisation policy is based.

People seem wary of criticising these groups - perhaps partly because it might seem cruel, given that their children have problems. But parents seeking information about immunisation would be well advised to shop elsewhere.

· Michael Fitzpatrick is a GP in Hackney, east London. His book MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know is published by Routledge at £14.99.

[Retrieved: Fri Dec 19 2008 22:43:40 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#4 Post by Alan H » December 19th, 2008, 11:19 pm

Following on from the bit about the Science Museum above, here's the letter the author wrote:
********************************************************************************
An Open Letter to the Science Museum Over Their MMR/JABS Blunder | The Lay Scientist
http://www.layscience.net/node/433
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An Open Letter to the Science Museum Over Their MMR/JABS Blunder

By Martin - Posted on 17 December 2008, 13:12 (GMT)

[BPSDB] Just when you thought that after 10 tedious years the MMR Hoax was finally dying a death, no less an authority than the Science Museum have managed to screw things up again. As reported over on Thinking is Dangerous, the Museum's staff have taken it upon themselves to recommend anti-vaccine campaigners JABS as an appropriate source of advice for concerned parents. If you haven't heard of JABS before and don't know why this is such a big deal, check out this Guardian piece on them.

So in the best British tradition I've written them a stern letter, which you can see below. First, here's a list of other bloggers writing about this. If you're a blogger and you've written a piece on this or a letter of complaint, please send me the link and I'll post it here. I also urge people to write to the Science Museum about this - you can e-mail them at feedback@nmsi.ac.uk.

Also at:
Thinking is Dangerous
JDC325

(HT: Duck and Tristan on the BadScience.net forums)
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Sir

I'm writing concerning a serious problem with your pages on "The MMR Files", particularly this URL, in which you advertise JABS, a group which claims to be a "support group".
(http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/antenna ... p4/128.asp)

I suspect that you haven't seen their website, or actually looked at the advice which is given to parents in JABS' support forums, because if you had you would realise that promoting these people is a grossly irresponsible - downright dangerous - act. You are placing the health of children in jeopardy by sending parents to them.

I strongly suggest at the JABS Forum (http://www.jabs.org.uk/forum) to understand just how bad this is, but I'll give you a couple of examples of the typical "advice" given to parents by JABS members.

Topic: BASICS TO KNOW ABOUT VACCINATIONS
"Vaccines are toxic. Vaccines contain substances poisonous to humans... Vaccination (injecting vaccines) depresses and disables brain and immune function. [...] The high rate of vaccine damage reactions is being ignored and denied by the conventional medicine."

Topic: SHOULD I VACCINATE MY CHILD?
"Vaccines are purported to work by triggering immunity. It is 'thunk' by the experts that by exposing our immune system to weak or dead infectious agents, such as measles or a flu virus, that it creates the appropriate immune defense. This logic has been used to defend the use of every vaccine to date. Yet, each vaccine has proven that the theory is nothing more than mental masturbation for nerdy scientists"

These are not unusual examples, they are typical responses from long-term JABS members to parents looking for support. To repeat, I strongly suggest you go and have a look at these people that you are promoting. JABS may have a reasonable-looking website, and they have been very good at getting publicity for themselves, but they are emphatically not an appropriate place to send parents for support, and I strongly suggest that you remove them from your site.

Yours,

[Retrieved: Fri Dec 19 2008 22:48:33 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#5 Post by getreal » December 20th, 2008, 5:01 pm

Wow!

I thought the old MMR/autism argument had been settled (ie there is no connection).

When my daughter was being immunised the scare of the moment was whooping cough vaccine/brain damage (yes, as vauge as that). I don't know where that one came from or how it died.

The distrust of the health service appears to be growing. In our area there was an attempt to rationalise A&E emergency treatment in one central hospital. This was where all the 'specialisms' were based, the outlying hospitals (comlete with A&E departments) had neither the staff nor the equipment to deal with the most serious emergencies.
The plan made complete sense, however, it did not progress due to lack of public support. There was an overwhealming belief that this was being implimented only to save money.

Now, if you are involved in an RTA and taken to one of these wee A&E departments, you will merely be patched up awaiting transfer to the cental hosptal where the MRI scanner, cardiology department, neurological staff etc. are based.
In the event of serious injury time is of the essence--but it's nae luck! because Mr and Mrs average think it's best to have lots of little, understaffed, underskilled, underequiped A&E units all over the area. That seems to make them feel all cosy and safe.

Oooo!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#6 Post by Alan H » December 20th, 2008, 5:22 pm

getreal wrote:I thought the old MMR/autism argument had been settled (ie there is no connection).
Well, yes, but not in the minds of those who think 'Big Pharma' is out to get them.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The MMR controversy

#7 Post by Alan H » January 21st, 2009, 1:15 pm

A victory for science over anti-science:
********************************************************************************
Thinking Is Dangerous: A tidying-up result - Science Museum remove JABS from their MMR pages.
http://thinking-is-dangerous.blogspot.c ... emove.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A tidying-up result - Science Museum remove JABS from their MMR pages.
In December, I blogged about the Science Museum's very out-of-date guide to the MMR hoax.

The website previously directed people inquiring about single vaccines and further information to the JABS, a anti-vaccine, anti-science, anti-sense site pressure group - see herefor regular updates on the lunacy of the inhabitants of JABSworld.

After a complaint to Science Museum in Dec, I received today a cordial email from Holly Cave at the Science Museum letting me know that the site was historic - suggesting (I think probably correctly) that JABS hadn't necessarily shown their true colours at that time and has since morphed into this bizarre world of conspiracy and unreason. She agrees that it is 'no longer appropriate' to link to JABS and will remove the link. The pages will all be clearly datestamped to show it is really archived material rather than a current position.

So that's all good news - another little positive change made; the BBC stopped linking to JABS some time ago, which is how it should be.

RIP MMR hoax.

[Retrieved: Wed Jan 21 2009 13:15:01 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: The MMR controversy

#8 Post by jdc » January 27th, 2009, 9:13 pm

I think the Science Museum deserve credit for their response (i.e., they stopped linking to JABS). Their MMR pages, on the whole, were pretty good - but there were a couple that needed updating. Thanks to Dr* T etc (and the folks at the Science Museum), it got done. Definitely a good result.
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Re: The MMR controversy

#9 Post by grammar king » January 28th, 2009, 6:26 pm

This takes me back. When I was a lad in religious studies class at school (less than 5 years ago), this topic came up, and the whole myth about the vaccinations causing autism was swallowed whole, including by myself, nobody even questioned it. Looks really stupid in hindsight, but then, so do a lot of things.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#10 Post by Alan H » January 28th, 2009, 6:35 pm

You were talking about vaccinations and autism in religious studies class? :shrug:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: The MMR controversy

#11 Post by jdc » January 30th, 2009, 2:03 pm

Alan H wrote:You were talking about vaccinations and autism in religious studies class? :shrug:
There's a wee bit about vaccination and religion on Wikipedia and some sects do have "religious objections" to vaccination - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination_and_religion - but I can't believe that an RS lesson was considered to be the appropriate place to discuss the non-existent link between vaccines and autism. RS classes should really be a place to discuss non-existent deities. I think it's very worrying that the 'vaccination causes autism' myth should be discussed by an RS teacher who, presumably, hasn't got a clue about the science relating to vaccination or autism.
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grammar king
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Re: The MMR controversy

#12 Post by grammar king » January 30th, 2009, 5:14 pm

Yeah, it was part of an ethics debate or something, is it ethical to get your child vaccined. IIRC he said it was good for society on the whole but could be disastrous for individuals, so the choice for parents was difficult.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#13 Post by tubataxidriver » January 30th, 2009, 8:15 pm

grammar king wrote: it was good for society on the whole but could be disastrous for individuals
I think that this is the key point. It has been shown (though the anti-vaccine brigade would disagree) that this vaccination cannot be disastrous for individuals because it doesn't cause harm such as autism, so the teacher putting that point was scientifically wrong. The general point about the competing interests of individuals and society at large is a worthy ethical discussion, but unfortunately the example chosen was the wrong one.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#14 Post by jdc » January 30th, 2009, 8:34 pm

tubataxidriver wrote:
grammar king wrote: it was good for society on the whole but could be disastrous for individuals
I think that this is the key point. It has been shown (though the anti-vaccine brigade would disagree) that this vaccination cannot be disastrous for individuals because it doesn't cause harm such as autism, so the teacher putting that point was scientifically wrong. The general point about the competing interests of individuals and society at large is a worthy ethical discussion, but unfortunately the example chosen was the wrong one.
Yep, I'd agree with that - I'm reading Paul Offit's book on vaccines at the moment and he does an excellent job of showing the potential harms to the individual of (a) vaccinating and (b) not vaccinating. It actually made me want to check my vaccine record to make sure I've had the recommended vaccinations.
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Re: The MMR controversy

#15 Post by Maria Mac » January 30th, 2009, 11:46 pm

jdc wrote: Yep, I'd agree with that - I'm reading Paul Offit's book on vaccines at the moment and he does an excellent job of showing the potential harms to the individual of (a) vaccinating and (b) not vaccinating. It actually made me want to check my vaccine record to make sure I've had the recommended vaccinations.
The last post in our book thread is my own review of that same book. I'd also recommend Michael Fitzpatrick's MMR & Autism - arguably even better. Now I'm reading Richard Horton's MMR Science & Fiction. It was Horton's decision to publish that damn Wakefield paper in the Lancet in the first place. I haven't yet decided whether he should be shot. At the moment I'm broadly in favour of shooting. As Fitzpatrick points out in his book, thousands of papers are submitted to the Lancet so why pick that one? I've yet to see how he acquits himself.

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Re: The pros and cons of immunisation discussion...

#16 Post by Maria Mac » January 31st, 2009, 12:14 am

getreal wrote: When my daughter was being immunised the scare of the moment was whooping cough vaccine/brain damage (yes, as vauge as that). I don't know where that one came from or how it died.
Yes, when my son had his dtp (dpt?) jab, I fully believed there was tiny risk of brain damage and I was playing russian roulette with my baby's health. I think it died after a court case brought by a bunch of parents against the vaccine manufacturers in 1986. I recall reading about how even the judge in the case had started the trial believing there was a causal connection but by the end of it he was convinced there wasn't. I also recall that amongst the children supposedly damaged by the vaccine, was one who hadn't even had the jab and another whose mother was found to have lied about when the child's fits or other symptoms had started.

My daughter was born a year later and I had no hesitation in getting her done.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#17 Post by Nick » January 31st, 2009, 11:59 am

tubataxidriver wrote:
grammar king wrote: it was good for society on the whole but could be disastrous for individuals
I think that this is the key point. It has been shown (though the anti-vaccine brigade would disagree) that this vaccination cannot be disastrous for individuals because it doesn't cause harm such as autism, so the teacher putting that point was scientifically wrong. The general point about the competing interests of individuals and society at large is a worthy ethical discussion, but unfortunately the example chosen was the wrong one.
Hmmm. Maybe I'm one of those who need to be updated on the facts, so feel free to update me :D but I don't think the statistics support your view, TTD, or at least how I have interpreted it.

I'm happy to accept that MMR does not cause autism. And I could not support anti-vaccination as a general policy because it would have disastrous for society as a whole. But sure it remains true that some people have bad, even disastrous, reactions to jabs? Was the teacher scientifically wrong? Statistically, the best result would be for everyone else to be jabbed, and not to be jabbed oneself. But looking at the data, because everyone else is not jabbed, you are better off being jabbed yourself.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#18 Post by grammar king » January 31st, 2009, 6:04 pm

Nick wrote:
tubataxidriver wrote:
grammar king wrote: it was good for society on the whole but could be disastrous for individuals
I think that this is the key point. It has been shown (though the anti-vaccine brigade would disagree) that this vaccination cannot be disastrous for individuals because it doesn't cause harm such as autism, so the teacher putting that point was scientifically wrong. The general point about the competing interests of individuals and society at large is a worthy ethical discussion, but unfortunately the example chosen was the wrong one.
Hmmm. Maybe I'm one of those who need to be updated on the facts, so feel free to update me :D but I don't think the statistics support your view, TTD, or at least how I have interpreted it.

I'm happy to accept that MMR does not cause autism. And I could not support anti-vaccination as a general policy because it would have disastrous for society as a whole. But sure it remains true that some people have bad, even disastrous, reactions to jabs? Was the teacher scientifically wrong? Statistically, the best result would be for everyone else to be jabbed, and not to be jabbed oneself. But looking at the data, because everyone else is not jabbed, you are better off being jabbed yourself.
By 'disastrous' I mean that he told us that in a small percentage of cases, getting jabbed causes autism. Not having bad reactions or anything like that. He was mistaken.

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Re: The MMR controversy

#19 Post by jdc » February 1st, 2009, 6:19 pm

Maria wrote:
jdc wrote: Yep, I'd agree with that - I'm reading Paul Offit's book on vaccines at the moment and he does an excellent job of showing the potential harms to the individual of (a) vaccinating and (b) not vaccinating. It actually made me want to check my vaccine record to make sure I've had the recommended vaccinations.
The last post in our book thread is my own review of that same book. I'd also recommend Michael Fitzpatrick's MMR & Autism - arguably even better. Now I'm reading Richard Horton's MMR Science & Fiction. It was Horton's decision to publish that damn Wakefield paper in the Lancet in the first place. I haven't yet decided whether he should be shot. At the moment I'm broadly in favour of shooting. As Fitzpatrick points out in his book, thousands of papers are submitted to the Lancet so why pick that one? I've yet to see how he acquits himself.
Thanks Maria - I'd not spotted the book thread. I've read some of Fitzpatrick's opinion pieces on MMR, but hadn't realised either he or Horton had books out.
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Re: The MMR controversy

#20 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 3rd, 2009, 4:03 pm

Ben Goldacre has posted a long (44-minute) segment from Jeni Barnett's show on LBC about MMR and related issues. I'm not sure when it was broadcast, but it must have been recently, because Barnett makes a reference to Darwin's 100th (sic) birthday. Ben writes:
It is my view that in this extended broadcast Jeni exemplifies every single canard ever uttered by the antivaccination movement ...
I'd be surprised if Jeni Barnett hasn't persuaded at least some parents not to have the MMR vaccine who would otherwise have done so. I just hope it's not too many.

Emma

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