Friday, 6 February 2009

MMR is safe. Tell your friends.

Bad Science writer Ben Goldacre recently reported on a stunningly ignorant radio broadcast by Jeni Barnett perpetuating the MMR vaccine scare. Ten years after a peer-reviewed paper didn't say there's a connection between MMR and autism but one of the authors told the media that it did, we're still going in circles. We can point fingers in all sorts of directions, including at ourselves, but the data has shown time and again that MMR is safe.

Ben posted the radio slot up to demonstrate that he was not cherrypicking the most stupid parts just to make Jeni look bad. But apparently this is legally not okay and so, because scientific debate has long ceased to matter in the MMR scare, the lawyers swooped in. Personally, I don't think any of us should allow fear to prevail when the cost is so great. The MMR scare is based on crap science and it's putting kids at risk. It has to stop.

Discuss it on Bad Science (there may even be some links to the radio programme): http://www.badscience.net/

On Jeni Barnett's blog: http://www.jenibarnett.com/2009/02/mmr_and_me.php

Update 16:52: Coincidentally, the BBC today announced that Measles cases rose yet again for the third year running. The cause is the reduction in MMR uptake and the result is going to be deaths. Not many deaths, but some.

Update 08 February 2009: And evidence has just emerged that the man behind the scare, Dr. Wakefield, falsified some of the original data showing a temporal association between MMR and autism. Far from there being even that correlation, it appears that some of the kids were showing documented autism characteristics prior to MMR vaccination and others displayed them much much later than was stated in Wakefield et al. (1998).


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