Tom Chivers, The Telegraph, on how lower vaccination rates caused by unsubstantiated autism scares led to a recent UK outbreak of measles.
Dr Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Pharma, who has written extensively about autism and vaccination, says: “Health scares are like toothpaste: once they’re out, it’s very hard to get them back in the tube. They catch fire fast, because they’re so seductive to journalists. And they don’t go away, because once you’ve planted fear and doubt in the mind, people become almost superstitious. Even doctors I know feel worried about MMR, knowing it’s irrational.”
It’s sad, and scary, that anti-intellectual, anti-science superstition about common vaccines has made it more likely that our children will contract and spread these diseases than when we were younger. Anytime we make the world less safe against easily solvable problems, we need to seriously evaluate what we’re doing.