Upper, Middle Class Families Shun MMR Vacine

Vienna, Virginia http://www.nvic.org

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"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."

"From the day he got MMR, he more or less went into a coma," Mr Files said.
"He doesn't want to play with anyone, he doesn't want to talk to anyone."

   Mr Files said they noticed a change in Geoffrey straight after he was
vaccinated. He suffered ear infections and had to take a lot of antibiotics.
"Before the jab, he was starting to feed himself. Now he has to be watched
to make sure he is eating. He has gone backwards," he said."

BL Fisher Note:

   Once again, the real life experience of parents, who watch their children
regress after vaccination, trumps the denials of doctors that it is all just
a "coincidence" when healthy children become chronically ill and disabled
after vaccination.

   It is not surprising that well educated upper and middle class families
are making independent vaccination choices for their children. When health
care consumers become informed about a medical intervention that carries a
risk of injury or death, such as vaccination, they are more likely to engage
in informed decision making rather than blindly trust the "experts." An
enlightened society is one which allows all citizens, regardless of economic
status, to become fully informed about all risks associated with a medical
intervention and make educated, voluntary decisions about which risks they
are willing to take with their own health or the health of their children.

   The medical "experts" are not infallible and they are not immune from the
desire for power, money and fame. There is every reason to question their
reasoning and their motives when they refuse to acknowledge or deal with
vaccine complications leading to permanent brain and immune system
dysfunction in some children. The failure to value the life of each
individual child by writing off some children as expendable in service to
the rest, is at the root of much of the distrust educated parents have for
the mass vaccination system and those who operate it.

The Scotsman
Tue 25 Apr 2006

Families in middle-class areas shun MMR vaccine

Increase in number of parents opting against MMR vaccine Families from most
deprived and most affluent areas at highest risk Recent spate of measles in
Scotland renewed fears of outbreak Key quote

"Although early vaccination is best, we would much rather people vaccinated
late than not at all" - DR CLAIRE CAMERON

   THE number of Scottish children who are not vaccinated against
measles, mumps and rubella has increased - and middle-class parents might be
to blame, a report claims.

A study published today by Health Protection Scotland reveals that 25
postcode districts in Scotland have more than 20 per cent of nursery school
children at risk of catching measles because they have not had the MMR jab.

This is up from just three postcode areas in 1998, when controversial
research linked the MMR vaccine to autism, causing parents to abandon the

Health Protection Scotland is looking at whether the falling uptake is
chiefly due to affluent parents declining the jab, or if rates are falling
across all social groups.

Researchers said it was not just deprived areas where MMR uptake was low,
but recent studies suggested affluent parents were also rejecting the
vaccine. The latest research, published in the Archives of Disease in
Childhood, found that the most affluent parents tended to vaccinate their
children with the MMR promptly or not at all. Those in deprived areas were
more likely to delay vaccination.

Figures from the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) website also showed
that many well-off areas were recording MMR uptake below the national
average, leaving many children unprotected against these potentially serious

A recent spate of 12 cases of measles in Dumfries and Galloway has renewed
fears that outbreaks of the disease might spread.

Dr Claire Cameron, one of the researchers involved in the study, said the 25
areas found to have a high risk of measles included the most deprived and
most affluent sectors. She said the social groups between these extremes
tended to have the highest uptake.

But the reasons for these differences remained unclear and further research
was being carried out to identify what factors might be involved.

Dr Cameron said those from more affluent backgrounds might be more likely to
make their own decision, rather than take the advice of a doctor. . Affluent
parents might also be able to pay for single vaccinations, which are not
available on the NHS, although no figures are collected on single-jab

Dr Cameron, an expert in the epidemiology of immunisation, said it was
important to increase MMR uptake, not just in deprived areas but also in the
more affluent ones.

"Although early vaccination is best, we would much rather people vaccinated
late than not at all," she said.

The most recent figures from the Executive - covering the last quarter of
2005 - show uptake of MMR by age two across Scotland is 90.7 per cent - a
slight increase on the previous quarter.

Experts believe uptake of 95 per cent is needed for "herd immunity" - where
a population is resistant to infection because so many are immune. But the
SNS website shows that many areas lag well below this level.

In affluent Barnton, in Edinburgh, MMR uptake is just 62.5 per cent. The
better-off areas of Kelvinside in Glasgow and parts of Morningside in
Edinburgh had 80 per cent uptake, while some had 100 per cent.

More deprived areas also showed mixed results. Craigmillar in Edinburgh had
86.7 per cent uptake, while Wester Hailes had 50 per cent. But other
deprived areas, such as Pilton and Niddrie, had 100 per cent uptake,
possibly due to high-profile local health campaigns.

Dr Cameron said Health Protection Scotland supported the use of the MMR jab
and was pleased uptake was increasing.

"We want as many children as possible to be protected against measles, mumps
and rubella, and the best way to do that is with the MMR," she said.

'He more or less went into a coma after jab'

ANGUS and Lucy Files have four children, but only two have had the MMR

The couple from Oban have decided that their youngest children - Angus, two,
and Arabella, five months - will receive no vaccines until their safety can
be assured. They believe that Tom, ten, and Geoffrey, eight, were affected
by the jab.

"After Tom was vaccinated at 13 months, he went from being a very sociable
little boy to losing his communication skills, completely shunning us.
Thankfully, his social development improved by three," Mr Files said.

But the couple believe Geoffrey's autism was the result of his vaccination.
"From the day he got MMR, he more or less went into a coma," Mr Files said.
"He doesn't want to play with anyone, he doesn't want to talk to anyone."

Mr Files said they noticed a change in Geoffrey straight after he was
vaccinated. He suffered ear infections and had to take a lot of antibiotics.
"Before the jab, he was starting to feed himself. Now he has to be watched
to make sure he is eating. He has gone backwards," he said.

Mr Files said there was "no way" his other children would be given
vaccinations. "But our health visitor has criticised us for that, says we
are irresponsible and taking advantage of the herd immunity," he said.


The Herald, UK
April 27 2006

MMR: it's a gamble we have the right to refuse

   Unlike Tony Blair, I am happy to come clean on the MMR vaccine. Yes, I
sure my daughter got the jab.

   That does not mean I can say with any authority that I believe it to be
100% safe for all children. It might be. Evidence shows it to be safe for
the vast majority of children. But without extensive clinical research many
people will continue to opt-out - particularly when they feel they are being
"bounced" into the jab and refused alternatives; ie, single

   It is just too easy to tut at the families central to the recent measles
outbreak in Dumfries and Galloway. Though several adults and children, the
youngest aged three, have contracted the disease, their parents continue to
refuse inoculations for the rest of their offspring. Presumably, they
recognised the risk when they took the original decision and now accept the

   I went ahead because I believe the dangers of not vaccinating are too
for the community as a whole. I have no personal knowledge of anyone who
believes their child was damaged as a result of it. Not even friends of
friends of acquaintances. There was also a strong guilt factor, a feeling
that it is somehow antisocial to refuse something that would protect other
people's children as well as my own. Say, for example, a baby contracted a
fatal dose of measles from my child. Who could live with that knowledge?

   So I took my unsuspecting baby to the GP's surgery, with the tiniest of
doubts niggling the back of my mind. It was put there, of course, by the
findings of Dr Andrew Wakefield, an expert in gastro-intestinal problems,
who suggested in 1998 that a link between autism, bowel disease and MMR
could not be discounted and merited further clinical examination. Wakefield
was later accused of using a skewed sample of patients for his research and
compromising himself by taking money from the lawyers representing damaged

   Two years ago, I wrote a column defending the doctor, believing him to
been unfairly maligned. I wrote that some government advisers on medical
matters were more seriously compromised - by accepting money from companies
which make the vaccine. The authorities, it seemed to me, were too quick to
rubbish Wakefield's findings.

   I continue to believe this, even though several highly reputable
studies -
some very extensive indeed - have found no link between the rise in autism
and the introduction of MMR. But these are epidemiological studies, based on
looking at statistics across the population. We should also fund clinical
research such as further examination of tissue samples from autistic

   It has been suggested their condition could have been triggered by
in vaccines or the live measles virus itself. Further laboratory work might
completely discount these theories and encourage further MMR take-up. So
what is the government afraid of? After all, anything that will prevent the
spread of infectious disease is surely good.

   Though many of us will remember measles as a mild inconvenience that gave
us a nice break from school, it can have horrific side-effects. These
include pneumonia, hepatitis and
encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain which occurs in about one in
5000 cases. A quarter of those who develop encephalitis will suffer
permanent brain damage.

   In sub-Saharan Africa, 454,000 children under five died from measles in
2004. While unacceptable, this was almost half the fatalities in 1999,
to an extensive vaccination programme led by the World Health Organisation.
African children are more susceptible to the side-effects because their
systems are weakened by poor nutrition.

   But even in this country, a serious outbreak could kill. One unvaccinated
13-year-old boy recently died from the disease in England, the first
fatality in 14 years.
Fortunately, no vulnerable third parties - ie, infants under one year or
people with weakened immune systems - are caught up in the current Scottish
outbreak and no complications are so far reported among the sick.

  But that may well change. Parts of Scotland are extremely vulnerable to
mumps or rubella outbreaks. Health Protection Scotland says one in five
nursery pupils is at risk in some places. Many of the postcode areas with
the highest number of unprotected children are affluent, such as the G11 and
G12 sections of the west end of Glasgow. These postcodes include the
highly-educated residents of the Hillhead and Hyndland districts.

 No doubt some will dismiss the refusniks as trendy earth-mothers or "women
who think
too much." That will not do. The majority of the population might happily
government reassurances that the vaccine is completely safe. It is
significant that well-educated people are more sceptical.

   So how can they be convinced? The government could have made single
available to those who insisted on it, while still urging parents to use the
triple jab, listing its advantages. By offering no alternative - in fact,
blocking its availability - it appeared bullying and defensive. It could
also have used some of the money it spent urging MMR take-up to
investigate the 1700 British children whose parents were convinced had been
damaged by the vaccine. This would have reassured campaigners that their
concerns were taken seriously. If there was an environmental trigger for
their condition, perhaps something completely unrelated to MMR, it might
have been discovered. Even scientists who undertook some of the the
epidemiological surveys that cleared MMR have said they cannot rule out the
possibility of a genetically susceptible sub-group who could be affected by
vaccine. We should conduct research to find out if, indeed, this sub-group
exists, and how to identify it.

   This is the view of parents in the Jabs campaign group. But instead of
help, they receive abuse. They have been vilified and isolated. The few
doctors willing to give them the time of day are ostracised by their
professional peers. Even their legal aid was withdrawn in 2003, a spiteful
step that suggests the government has something to hide.

    Interestingly, these parents have found a new champion - someone the
establishment might find it difficult to dismiss. He is Dr Peter Fletcher,
formerly chief scientific
official at the Department of Health in London. Dr Fletcher, who has being
advising the families' lawyers, has accused the government of "utter,
inexplicable complacency". Now retired, he was once medical assessor to the
committee on the safety of medicines. He believed trials before MMR's
introduction in Britain were inadequate.

   After reading documents relating to autistic children, he says his
earlier doubts may have been justified. He is concerned particularly at
damage to the siblings of children who already have an immune disorder.
Might these families, asks Fletcher, be more sensitive to vaccine and, if
so, why does the government not investigate?

   Dr Fletcher believes he knows the answer. "There are very powerful people
positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their
reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do
almost anything to protect themselves."

   If this has, indeed, been the tactic of the authorities, it has
backfired, as the current measles outbreak proves. In the 21st century,
well-read, internet-savvy people are not going to accept arrogant
reassurances from "the experts". We could have avoided this crisis it we had
given parents individual choice and treated them as thinking adults.

   I staked the health of my child on MMR and it paid off. But I refuse to
ridicule the refusniks.

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