March 28th 2008, 12:10It's all unravelling badly for our health guardians who have been trying their upmost to convince us that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is perfectly safe.
In the past few weeks we've heard from the US that a court has awarded substantial damages to a family whose child developed autism after being vaccinated, and this week Dr Andrew Wakefield - the man who started the controversy about the autism link - began his defence against charges of professional misconduct.
Dr Wakefield's case is an own-goal by health regulators who clearly wanted revenge for a study that they considered was damaging to their aim of achieving mass immunity from vaccination. Either way they can't win. If they succeed in getting Dr Wakefield struck off, they'll be accused of staging a witch hunt against a doctor who was trying to help parents. If Wakefield successfully defends the charge, his research will be vindicated. And all the time the MMR debate - and Wakefield's claims - continues to get a public airing.