Start listening
Subject: See letters, Glasgow Herald today,
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 10:08:49 +0100

BILLY Briggs's informative report (June 24) included a statement from the
Scottish Executive that they continue to recommend MMR as safe and
effective. This should come as no surprise.

When I attended the meeting of the expert group set up by the Scottish
Executive last autumn, to give evidence as the parent of a child damaged by
MMR, it was very clear that the appointees of the executive on that panel
would be very unlikely to change their advice, come what may, regardless of
anything the parents might say happened to their children after MMR.

After the meeting, I spoke to one of the key advisers to the executive, and
asked her what she would do if the many hundreds of cases of children now
being taken to the High Court were successful (the cases come to court next
year). She replied that she "would continue to recommend MMR as the safest
and most effective vaccine". I pointed out to her that, by that time, her
minister would have had to resign, and the surgeries would be empty.

If we are to maintain public confidence in vaccination, and avoid the
return of infectious diseases, it is vital that the so-called "experts"
start listening. It is never too late to listen. The longer this is put
off, the greater the collapse in confidence will be if the parents are
proved right after all.

David Thrower, 49 Ackers Road, Stockton Heath, Warrington, Cheshire