The “Controversy” That Won’t Die

The controversy over the MMR vaccine should be dead. I mean, really, no-one who reads around the subject can be in any doubt that Wakefield’s study was flawed and he massively overstated his findings. However the British press got hold of the story and now refuses to let go.

A good example is Jeni Barnett’s recent piece on the London radio station LBC. In it she promotes the same tired old nonsense (dangerous old nonsense) about MMR being linked to autism. Ben Goldacre picked up on this and posted about it on his Bad Science blog. His article included the audio from the programme. His readers had some fun dissecting the piece.

Yesterday Ben was contacted by LBC’s lawyers asking him to remove the audio from his site. He has done so, but has also put out a call for a lawyer who could help him fight the case. Ben has removed the audio (but it’s currently available on WikiLeaks).

It’s appalling that the media are still repeating this discredited nonsense. But it’s worse that they are attempting to cover their tracks and prevent people from seeing just how misinformed they are. It’s also instructive to read Jeni Barnett’s two blog posts [both since removed] where she sounds, to me, very much like a creationist arguing that we should “teach the controversy”. If you’re feeling particularly brave you could also read the comments from her listeners and despair at the number of them who still seem to believe Wakefield’s nonsense and see any attempt to refute his ideas as the medical profession trying to stifle legitimate debate.

MMR is safe. Wakefield was wrong. The only people who don’t realise that is people who insist on getting their information about science from people who are not scientists.

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1 Comment

  1. I haven’t followed the media coverage of this, but it sounds particularly dumb because there are other more reasonable reasons to not give the MMR vaccine (like the small risks of getting an allergic reaction or catching the disease from the live vaccine…).- ask

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