The recent increase in cases of measles is being used to spread a pernicious collectivist message, based on a falsified, pro-government version of MMR controversy from some years ago. This was much in evidence on the BBC’s Question Time last week, where compulsory vaccination was discussed. Panel members were reluctant to support such a measure, but people in the audience, including at least one doctor, were quite happy to do so. Everybody seemed eager to vilify Dr Andrew Wakefield, who has become a kind of Goldsteinesque hate figure, via the official narrative. The message is: how foolish the public and how irresponsible the media for ever questioning the government and its experts – don’t do it again!
Amongst various objections to this view; firstly, the reduction in vaccination rates cannot be blamed on Dr Wakefield. It was the government’s decision to try to strong-arm parents into using the MMR which caused the drop-off. The government actively sought to prevent the alternative single vaccines entering the country. It also took various coercive measures with doctors who were offering the single shot. Had the government taken the approach that, whilst the MMR was safe, it was better that children received the single shot than nothing, then the problem would not have arisen.
Secondly, the treatment of Dr Wakefield has been closer to a medieval heresy trial than an objective appraisal of his work. A quick compare and contrast of the General Medical Council’s approach in this case with how they acted with Dr Harold Shipman, the most prolific serial killer in British criminal history, should indicate where they think their interests lie. They protect their own. For this reason they burned Wakefield.
Thirdly, although you’d never guess from the coverage this issue is getting at the moment, the MMR vaccine has been linked to autism in certain court decisions, such as one in Italy last year, where the family was awarded Euro 174,000. There have been various versions of the MMR vaccine, some of which have been withdrawn in different countries due to risks being identified. Overall it is true that risks are low, but it must be remembered that unless the child suffers an acute, almost instantaneous reaction, side-effects will most likely not be attributed to the vaccine.
Finally, as Alfred Russel Wallace noted a long time ago, the notion of compulsory vaccination is abhorrent. Trusting ‘experts’ and surrendering our free will to the Borg-like collective are not likely to result in a happy, disease-free society, but a society where individuals are sacrificed for the purported ‘greater good’. The maltreatment of elderly patients in many hospitals is a disturbing indication of this mentality. Proponents of vaccination must limit themselves to rational persuasion. We do not belong to the state, and neither do our children.