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Scotland: Vaccine crisis? Experts warn of deadly measles comeback if vaccine levels keep falling

23 Jun, 2019
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Experts say they have seen reports showing syringes stuffed with aluminium foil and children who have allegedly become paralysed after vaccinations on official-looking websites, which promote other anti-vaccination messages.

The birth of the modern anti-vaccination movement came in 1998, following the publication of a report by Dr Andrew Wakefield linking the new MMR jab to autism.

The study, published in The Lancet journal, was later widely discredited and Wakefield himself described as “abusing his position of trust” by the General Medical Council. The uptake for the MMR jab fell to as low as 60% in some parts of England and Wales, and in Scotland dropped to around 86%.

In 2006, a 13-year-old boy became the first in Britain to die from measles in 14 years.

One parent spoke to The Herald on Sunday on the condition of anonymity, afraid they would be targeted for admitting they did not believe vaccines were safe.

The 35-year-old woman from Fife said her first child had been vaccinated but became unwell after receiving the MMR jab, and so she decided against jabs for her second child. She also didn’t give her first child any further vaccinations.

“I know this is not a popular opinion, but when you’re parent and faced with the possibility that you could be putting your child at risk …. it’s just not worth it for me. How can I give my child, who is unable to understand or choose for themselves, something that could potentially kill them or make them ill?

“They will be able to choose when they’re older, even a teenager. They can still get vaccinated then, and I would fully support them if they wanted to do that. I understand the issue of herd immunity, but luckily in Scotland we have a high level of vaccinations and it isn’t a concern right now.

I know other people who are really strongly-minded about anti-vaccination. I’m not like that. I don’t think vaccines are a conspiracy or some sort of pharmaceutical propaganda, like some other people I know, but I will say I’m sceptical.”

Dr Gillian Prentice, a public health consultant at NHS Greater Glasgowand Clyde said that those who are not vaccinated can still do so when they get older.

She said: “Its never too late. If an adult discovers they’ve not been vaccinated because their parents didn’t want them for example, they can have a dose of MMR and then a second another month later. There are only two doses which will protect people for life.

“Measles is one of the most infectious diseases, much more than the cold. If someone comes into your office with a cold, one or two folk will get it. If someone with measles goes in, then practically everyone will get it. It is very infectious and not just a few spots. The hospitalisation rate is incredibly high. People get really unwell, there are horrendous complications and there have been deaths.

“Unfortunately some people just put the blinkers on and just don’t seem to see that. Because of the internet, media and anti-vaccinators information on the internet, there is an anti-vax hesitancy culture out there. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist in Scotland, we are seeing a bit of it, but there are concerted efforts by all NHS staff to provide as much information as possible and to support people.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 at 9:14 pm and is filed under Latest News.

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Emilie Karafillakis, research fellow for the Vaccine Confidence Project, speaks to France 24 about the rising anti-vaccination sentiment that is rising throughout Europe, especially in France where a recent study revealed 1 in 3 citizens believe vaccines are unsafe.

In this episode of Take as Directed, J. Stephen Morrison speaks with Dr. Heidi Larson on why vaccine confidence is currently in crisis, and how this has fueled outbreaks such as measles and the persistence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prof Larson discusses vaccine hesitancy and its implications across global health in this webinar.

Literature Literature archive

Sabahelzain MM et al. 2019 PLoS ONE VOl 14 (6): e0213882.
KT Paul, K Loer 2019 Journal of Public Health Policy Volume 40, Issue 2
J Kennedy 2019 The European Journal of Public Health Vol. 29, No. 3, 512–516
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