Vaccination campaign launches with hope of halting measles outbreak

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A £20m vaccination campaign is launched today to catch school-agechildren in England who have not been immunised against measles because of misplaced fears of the MMR jab and who are now at risk of the disease.


The catch-up campaign is aimed at 10-to-14-year-olds who as babies either had only the first of the two shots of the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab, or neither. It is aimed at vaccinating nearly 1m children as they get older, mix more and are more likely to come into contact with the disease. Measles has swept through Swansea in south Wales.

Immunisation rates have dropped as low as 70% in parts of London and south-west England – when 95% is necessary to prevent measles outbreaks. Unvaccinated children are at risk of the measles virus, which is one of the most infectious in the world.

Public Health England said there were 587 confirmed cases of measles in England in the first three months of this year, with the greatest number in the 10-to-14-year age group. That is three times more than the same quarter of 2012, the year with the highest number of cases (1,902) since the MMR booster was introduced in 1996.

At the campaign launch Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: "The situation in Swansea, I believe, is a wake-up call for parents who, for whatever reason, quite a few years ago chose not to vaccinate their children and for whom vaccinations are these days not things they think about very much. But what is happening in Swansea could happen anywhere in England.

Written By: Sarah Boseley and James Meikle
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

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      • In reply to #13 by Sue Blue:

        She and her book should be regarded (and treated) the same way as authors who write books about how to build pipe bombs or how to get away with murder.

        In reply to #7 by zeerust2000:

        I wonder what the author of this book, “written to educate children on the benefits of having measles”, has to say….

        Discussing pipe bombs and getting away with murder might actually lead to better legitimate academic knowledge of explosive physics and psychopathy. She belongs in a different category entirely.

        I am heartened though how Stephanie Messenger’s plain, pure pseudoscientific bollocks has been received on e.g. Amazon – every 1-star review is slating it, and every 5-star review is asking her to write the sequel ‘Peter’s Perfect Polio’ :)

        Such bad taste that she plays on the title of Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine when his daughter died of measles complications

        • Yes, she’s a vile, reprehensible accomplice to murder, in my opinion. There’s free speech, and then there’s the kind of shit which causes the innocent to die and should be a felony.
          In reply to #18 by Docjitters:

          In reply to #13 by Sue Blue:

          She and her book should be regarded (and treated) the same way as authors who write books about how to build pipe bombs or how to get away with murder.

          In reply to #7 by zeerust2000:

          I wonder what the author of this book, “written to educate children on the benefits o…

          • In reply to #19 by Sue Blue:

            Yes, she’s a vile, reprehensible accomplice to murder, in my opinion. There’s free speech, and then there’s the kind of shit which causes the innocent to die and should be a felony.

            I’m going to stop short of saying that – what she says is vile and reprehensible but she may actually believe it. She has a hang-up over the death of her child and is picking a target for her grief. Perhaps I’m being generous.

            Andrew Wakefield on the other hand was a medical doctor who knew what he was doing when he set out to discredit the MMR for profit (link to Sunday Times article at http://briandeer.com/mmr/st-dec-2006.htm). Whilst he cannot solely, directly be blamed for the conspiracy explosion surrounding MMR/Autism, he has done more damage through propounding his ‘work’ than one crazy lady with a personal tragedy likely ever will.

  1. I thought there was a policy whereby a child was refused admission to school unless they could show they had been vaccinated. One can easily imagine a faith based school claiming exemption, only to find out later that an outbreak of measles could be directly linked to such schools. A small boost for science, albeit at the risk to the affected children.

    • There are such policies in most US states, but they’re next to worthless because most states also have extremely lax exemption policies. For instance, parents in my state can opt out of vaccinations for religious reasons, no questions asked. They can opt out for legitimate reasons, including serious health problems or allergies that preclude vaccination, by getting an affadavit from a doctor, but these kinds of exemptions are actually rare. Religion is the only exemption that doesn’t require “proof”, and it’s used all the time by all kinds of cranks. In my opinion, parents who use religion as an opt-out should be forced to homeschool their kids or send them to private religious schools. They should also get flagged for attention from CPS, as these children may also be missing out on basic healthcare and suffering other forms of neglect common to religious fundamentalism.
      In reply to #8 by rod-the-farmer:

      I thought there was a policy whereby a child was refused admission to school unless they could show they had been vaccinated. One can easily imagine a faith based school claiming exemption, only to find out later that an outbreak of measles could be directly linked to such schools. A small boost f…

  2. @ Rod the Farmer “I thought there was a policy whereby a child was refused admission to school unless they could show they had been vaccinated.”

    I had heard that they recently considered this but were dissuaded on the chance that parents would wait until the last minute, i.e. the year before their kids started school before vaccinating them, thus putting them at risk for their first 4 years. And with the exception of the odd scare campaign there is a suitable 95% uptake, which is enough to ensure herd immunity, thus elliminating the need to make it mandatory. Making it mandatory could cause a backlash with the opposite desired effect.

    (For some reason the ‘reply’ button isn’t working for me)

      • In reply to #16 by bluebird:

        In reply to #12 by ConnedCatholic:

        Why is this article filed under “pseudoscience”?

        I’m guessing it’s because this problematic situation can be traced back to one Andrew Wakefield

        Yes, but this article is Actualscience, nor Pseudoscience. I agree that it shouldn’t be labelled Pseudoscience. It might cause the ignorant stray reader to think that vaccines are Pseudoscience, which is an idea that seems to be highly contagious among certain communities. <– (You like how I tied in back in with virology?)

  3. This issue is actually one that really bothers me, both as a nurse and a mother. I am friends with parents whose 8-yr.-old son died of complications of measles that he contracted as an infant from an unvaccinated child in a daycare center. The 8-yr.-old suffered from SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), an always-fatal degeneration of the brain caused by latent measles virus activation. He died no longer able to see, hear, walk, eat, speak or recognize his parents – all because some other parents thought their child didn’t need to get vaccinated (the child who died contracted measles when he himself was too young to get the vaccination). I am just appalled at the selfish attitude of some of these parents. They claim the remote chance of complications from the vaccination (or stupid conspiracy theories and quack ideas about vaccines causing disease) to their child outweighs the right to health, safety and life of every other child. Unbelievable.

  4. The long-suffering Mrs Pogle is a Practice Nurse working in a GPs’ Practice in the south of England. One of her specialisms is children’s immunisation. It is truly incredible the number of parents Mrs Pogle sees who are reluctant to get their children vaccinated, or adamant that they will not. Even now with the measles outbreaks in the UK.

    When challenged as to why, the reason most often given is that they have “researched the matter thoroughly on the internet”. Clearly the ‘research’ involved here is a process of finding any old tosh, from ill-informed contributors, which supports the opinions that the ‘researcher’ has already formed.

    Mrs Pogle takes all this in her stride is and considers it her job to educate and explain. She is, of course, armed with the facts provided by the UK Department of Health, and often does manage to persuade parents to change their mind. I am very proud of her for doing this.

    But whilst more parents are now accepting the need to vaccinate their children, the next problem is that parents are challenging the safety of the 3-in-1 MMR vaccine. Some are now demanding separate vaccinations. In the UK the separate vaccines are unlicensed and parents resort to importing them; with not insignificant risks.

    Certainly not in the best interests of the children.

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