Doctor columnists and government officials in all the major papers in Britain lately have been whipping up vaccine fever, even before the measles epidemic, predicted to hit this autumn, has struck. Through a campaign of fear and distortion, parents a
In order to sell this concept, most doctors and officials have turned what used to be a largely harmless milestone of childhood into a killer disease. Every year, I watch as the statistics get more ludicrous. When the MMR vaccine was first launched, Dr Norman Begg, consultant epidemiologist of the Public Health Laboratory Service, which recommended the vaccine in Britain, cited the then official statistics that one in 5,000 children contracting wild measles will develop acute encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and one in 5,000 of those will develop SSPE.
This year, Dr Thomas Stuttaford, writing in the Times (2 August 1994), has shrunk that percentage to one in every 500 measles victims who go on to develop encephalitis. One in every 10 of these die and one of every four suffer permanent brain damage, he wrote.
Measles can be a killer, but it doesn't strike as randomly as medicine would have us believe. In America in 1990, at the height of a recent measles epidemic, among 27,000 cases of measles, 89 died mostly children of low income families, where poor nutrition played a part, as did failure to get complications treated. In Africa, where children are markedly vitamin A deficient, measles does kill children. However, as study after study demonstrates, even third world children with adequate stores of vitamin A or those given vitamin A supplementation are overwhelmingly likely to survive.
These statistics must be set against the serious and potentially deadly side effects of the vaccine, which have been demonstrated to occur in at least one in 400 children.
It is medicine that has turned measles into a killer disease. Dr Viera Schreibner's trawl through the medical literature has produced devastating proof that the measles vaccine programme has left us far worse off than we were before. Over 30 years, the vaccine has caused vicious mutations of the disease, transformed it into a disease of adults and infants, and left us with inadequate immunity to pass onto our children. Plus we now have substantial numbers of children damaged by the vaccine.
But this is only the merest inkling of the repercussions of our meddling. Dr Michel Odent and the Primal Health Research Centre in a study of long term breastfeeding examined the number of children with asthma. If children were immunized against whooping cough they were six times more likely to have asthma as those who hadn't been given the jab (The Lancet, 9 July 1994).
Measles may be misery, as the government has been putting it, but it is the easily defeated devil you know.