Misnamed anti-vaccine website Child Health Safety posted a blog recently in which a number of surprising claims were made with great certainty. I thought these claims sounded very dubious and it turned out that they were. It’s taken me a few days to get round to posting this debunking partly because, unlike Child Health Safety, I like to check my facts before I publish. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr Richard Halvorsen, Babyjabs, and Single Vaccines: Misleading Advertising, Exaggeration, Harm & Offence
Dr Richard Halvorsen is the founder of Babyjabs, a clinic that offers single vaccines and baseless scaremongering about the MMR vaccine. I took a look at some of the claims on the Babyjabs website and submitted a complaint to the ASA. Read the rest of this entry »
Vaccination is one of medicine’s great success stories, preventing deaths and serious ill health caused by infectious diseases – and almost always doing so without causing serious harm in the process. I will be discussing the lives saved and harm prevented by vaccination against diseases such as pertussis and measles in this post, but first a note on safety. As Rümke and Visser wrote: “During recent years a scala of diseases or symptoms have been associated with vaccination (presumed side effects). Careful and extensive investigations have shown that such hypotheses could not be supported. [...] The total number of cases where at least a possible relation between side effects and vaccination is observed–apart from local reactions and moderate general symptoms–is very rare (about 0.25 per 1000 vaccinations) and does not balance the benefits from vaccination.” Not everyone accepts that vaccination is safe and effective. Sadly, some of these people mislead others into thinking that vaccination is less effective or more dangerous than it actually is. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I wrote about the zombie Daily Mail article on MMR. I made a complaint to the PCC about the article in question, and have now received notice of their decision. Read the rest of this entry »
A guest blog post from a UK Doctor
New revelations and implications about Andrew Wakefield’s research work.
For anyone who doesn’t know about the ramifications of the Andrew Wakefield saga, here is a brief recap. In 1998 he published a paper in the Lancet journal along with 11 colleagues, detailing bowel changes found in a sequence of children supposedly consecutively referred to his department of Gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The suggestion was that these children’s parents had noticed behavioural or gastrointestinal abnormalities within a very short interval following MMR vaccination. The inference drawn was that MMR might damage the bowel, leading to neurological changes of autism. In a press conference called after the paper was published, Wakefield expressed no faith in the MMR vaccine, and called for single measles vaccines to be used as an alternative. Read the rest of this entry »
The BBC has reported on an increase in cases of measles in England and Wales. According to HPA figures, 275 confirmed cases of measles were reported between January and April. There were 33 cases for the same period in 2010. The HPA press release has notes with further details: a breakdown of cases by region; a note that the figure of 275 is provisional* and likely to be higher; and figures for uptake of MMR vaccine from September to December 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
April 23rd-30th is European Immunization Week. As the WHO website points out, thirty countries in WHO’s European Region have reported a marked increase in measles cases. There have been 6,500 cases so far this year, with France accounting for almost 5,000 of these. Measles is, as I will never tire of telling people, a disease that should be taken very seriously indeed. The complications of measles include diarrhoea, convulsion, encephalitis, and death. (Seriously France, faites-vous vacciner.)
Andrew Wakefield and the British media created a baseless scare around the MMR vaccine. They’ve since moved on. Wakefield’s paper has been retracted by the Lancet (and referred to by the BMJ as “fraudulent“), and he has been struck off by the GMC. Wakefield now appears to be promoting a Facebook page collating anecdotes from parents worried that vaccination may have had adverse effects on their children. Read the rest of this entry »
The BMJ has published a strongly-worded editorial on Andrew Wakefield and his claims regarding the MMR vaccine. I was a little surprised to see that the headline ran “Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent“. The use of this particular ‘f-word’ is quite rare in articles published in England, perhaps due to the nature of libel law in this country. Read the rest of this entry »
Guest blogpost from Peter Flegg, UK doctor.