Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Careless talk cost lives (Mr Livingstone)

It was reported by the BBC today that almost 300 children have been diagnosed with measles in a epidemic that is sweeping through Hackney. The average yearly infection rate is between 10 and 20 cases.

Of course, the reason that there is a measles epidemic is that MMR vaccination rates are low in London. Rates are down ever since Dr Andrew Wakefield linked the MMR vaccine to an increased chance of autism despite the lack of an evidence supporting is claim (and the considerable amount of evidence that the MMR vaccine is safe). In an attempt to boost vaccination rates in Hackney and help reduce the number of cases of measles, the local Primary Care Trust is resorting to a mobile unit traveling around the borough. The PCT alarm at the pick up in measles is in part due to the serious complications.

Now what is the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, doing to help his fellow Londoners. Nothing has been reported, which is strange given that in 2002, Ken was more than happy to comment about MMR. In an interview broadcast on Radio 5, Ken questioned the safety of the MMR vaccine, saying that there is ""no way would I inflict on a child that risk". His comments, based on no evidence or obvious knowledge have supporting the fear that has led to the fewer vaccinations which has led to Hackney's epidemic. This might now be the time for Ken to say he was a prat, he was wrong and the MMR is safe.