Intended for healthcare professionals

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Editorials

Measles: neither gone nor forgotten

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3976 (Published 25 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3976

Rapid Response:

Re: Measles: neither gone nor forgotten, A few comments

Firstly, I have no doubt in my mind that measles should not be forgotten and that we should offer vaccination against the disease.

Secondly, “ anti-vaccine sentiment” is not the only problem.

The Public Health doctors and other on-medical specialists are failing to engage with the public. Naturally, the public wonders why they do not answer questions raised by the public about possible side-effects and attempts, if any, to collect data.

Thirdly, it is not enough for the public health doctors to tell the public that the GMC proceedings against a doctor, several years ago, proved that MMR is not guilty of causing autism. We do need to be told WHY there is increasing incidence of autism.

Fourthly, our language ought to be a bit more precise. To say, as Bedford and Elliman say, that “measles vaccine was replaced with the highly effective measles, mumps and rubella vaccine” leaves one with an unanswered question: was the measles vaccine NOT EFFECTIVE? Of course I know that measles vaccine was effective.

Bedford and Elliman should say (truthfully) that the government decided to ditch measles vaccine and to bring in MMR, for other reasons.

Fifthly, I am not the only person who knows that rubella immunity produced by vaccine is not life-long, but the immunity produced by the natural disease is life-long.

The government literature fails to say so. Any children arriving in the UK from war torn countries, who have had rubella, will be immune.

Q. Do we test these children for rubella immunity? If not, why not. What is the MEDICAL JUSTIFICATION for not following this path?

Sixthly, as recently as 1985, the BRITISH NATIONAL FORMULARY stated (page 385, column 2, para 1): Since mumps and its complications are very rarely serious there is little indication for the routine use of mumps vaccine.

I urge the medical personnel engaged in immunisatiion and vaccination to engage with the public.

Will they answer the points raised here?

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 October 2018
JK Anand
Retired doctor
Free spirit
Peterborough