Thursday, February 04, 2010

Globe Article on MMR Vaccination

Today's Globe has this interesting piece about the purported concerns of the MMR vaccination and how it plays into people's fear that science and medicine are ruled by greedy pharmaceutical companies intent on injecting toxins into our bodies to make profits. This fear, ignorance and suspicion comes at a hefty price- greater risk of fatal childhood diseases. Here is a sample:

...Before The Lancet article, the vaccination rate for MMR – the three-in-one shot for measles, mumps and rubella – had reached 91 per cent. A few years later, the rate had slipped to less than 50 per cent in some parts of London, and was far too low to prevent serious outbreaks. In 2008, measles was again declared endemic in the U.K.

....The Lancet article is said by some to have done more damage than anything published in a scientific journal in living memory. It came at a time when respect for expertise and medical authority (as for all authority) is on the wane, and when fears about the toxins around us are on the rise. It shows that science is no match for superstition, especially in an age when conspiracy-minded people can band together and stoke one another's paranoia on the Web.

That paranoia has spread to millions. Vaccines to wipe out deadly childhood diseases are among the greatest triumphs of public health. But a sizable number of parents I know wonder if they're really safe.