The reaction to the news that a baby in Devon had died after receiving MMR and Tamiflu (half the incidence in hospital childhood deaths for the last four years) really is one of outrage. It shows the mainstream medical establishment is panicking about vaccine uncertainty. The truth is that many families have had close calls before. As the mother of a nine-year-old with autism, a childhood that was defined by “hidden illness”, had “excited stomach discomfort” was standard. I have a photo of blood stains on her bottom.
We were first vaccinated when she was two-and-a-half but stopped when she was five. All the evidence said she needed one dose then one a year but that in fact it required only one month. The real risk was small, but in some of her friends who had enough time to do her own research, an MMR vaccine had associated with a diagnosis of autism, possibly because the symptoms were triggered by the vaccine. She’s now a happy, successful and confident older child.
I see this same sense of desperation in the mother and father of Patrick who was seven when he died. They also choose to believe the few small studies – which relied on self-reported data and had poor quality controls – that the London College of Medicine and the Royal College of Nursing had on their MMR vaccine risks, but aren’t able to use the findings in their updated advice.
It is time for Erin O’Toole and her colleagues to draw the line on vaccinations. If evidence is inconclusive, she should be issuing a call for better industry-funded, independent trials.
Dr Carrie Russell
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