After the Wakefield publication, panic ensued and vaccine rates in the UK plummeted. By the time it came to vaccinating A three years later, the panic had calmed. Subsequent media campaigns from the NHS followed and charged parents with recklessness and implored them to vaccinate their child lest a measles epidemic spread again. The decision to immunise children, in my view is influenced by three things: the parents' willingness, the doctor/health visitor’s attitude and input toward guiding the decision, and the vaccine's availability. Since there was no supply shortage during the study period, the decline can only be attributed to either the parents' or the health care provider's reluctance to vaccinate. Given that the science part is complicated, I was intrigued by the public panic at the time. The study didn't state that the vaccine caused autism but that in 8 of the 12 children studies post vaccination had exhibited a type of autism that was coupled with severe intestinal problems. I read the report at the time and was confused by it's findings and it's conclusion and thought nothing of it until the next day when splashed all over the newspapers and television was a report that giving your child the MMR vaccine could cause autism. The story ran in varying degrees for weeks. A public panic is never generated by one man alone, no matter how elaborate his fraud. Many factors, beyond Wakefield’s designs, contributed to the anti-MMR madness. There was the weakened state of the medical elite, battered by the Bristol and Alder Hey scandals, which felt incapable and/or unwilling to assert its authority over Wakefield’s theories. And there was media cynicism, the media’s desperate search for an anti-government hero whom they could hold up as a beautiful, principled contrast to the dark, ugly forces that govern our lives. Thus did respectable publications get all hot under the collar over Wakefield, with one describing him as a handsome, glossy-haired hero.
Right folks, I put the above question to you to vaccinate or not and would love your feedback. Whether you have normal or Neuro-Typical children, kids on the spectrum, with Aspergers or otherwise I would love to hear what you think about the MMR scare and its subsequent press. Did it influence your decision to vaccinate your children? Was it something that you ignored? We all panicked in the beginning and then shook our heads as the findings were discredited and the offending scientist struck off but I want to know what you REALLY think. This is something that I've been meaning to post about for a while but I was propelled into writing by a BBC programme last night that asked the question 'do we trust science any more?'. While this question is potentially misleading and it really should have been do we trust the scientists, the MMR debate is only one of a number of recent scares that has weakened the general public's faith in the medical establishment.