About 18 months ago it felt like I was in and out of my doctor’s surgery every couple of weeks.
I normally see the doc on average about once every two years, but at that point various things just seemed to be going a little awry and I needed help in getting them fixed.
I get on well with my GP. I trust her to give me the best advice and the right treatment, and that’s what she does. We have a good ol’ state-of-the-nation chat about my health and that’s that.
If I get a little green form to take to the pharmacy, off I’ll go. I’ll take the medication too, because that’s what I’ve been told to do by the doctor, who is someone we put our trust in.
So when we are told by an eminent doctor, talking in an eminent publication, not to take something, we listen just as hard, especially when we’re told that medication is putting our children at risk, not us.
So is it really surprising that when Andrew Wakefield wrote in The Lancet medical journal in 1998 that the MMR jab carried a risk of causing autism and bowel disease in children, many people paid attention?
Never mind that measles, as has been proven in Swansea, carries with it a risk of actual death. That’s too big a concept to worry about.
At the time we even asked then-PM Tony Blair whether he’d had his son Leo inoculated with the measles, mumps and rubella jab. He refused to comment because he was damned if he had (oh my God, your son’s going to be autistic and it’s all your fault) or damned if he hadn’t (oh my God what they’re saying about MMR is TRUE).
Now there’s a measles outbreak in Swansea, with more than 800 cases so far reported. That follows on from a similar outbreak in Merseyside in 2012, but now the finger-pointing begins in earnest.
Wakefield’s report has long been discredited, but still there are people who are not getting their children vaccinated.
Is it out of fear that he might have been right? Is it ignorance of the dangers?
I guess if a child dies from contracting measles, at least that child won’t have been autistic, eh? Or maybe the sensible thing would be for those kids to get that sharp scratch followed by a lollipop.