Intended for healthcare professionals


Measles: neither gone nor forgotten

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 25 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3976

Wild vs Artificial Exposure to Measles Are Not Equal

There is a fact rarely considered by public health officials: vaccination is not an intervention that eliminates disease exposure for individuals. Vaccination replaces wild exposure with artificial exposure, and they are not equal. We are many decades into mass vaccination campaigns, and it is alarming that instead of the medical and scientific community stepping back to examine the overall impact on public and individual health to see if current strategies should be reevaluated, the focus is on those who question or refuse vaccination.

Experts have acknowledged that the current measles vaccine cannot eradicate measles because of primary and secondary failure.[1] Studies have found that the concentration and duration of maternal antibody protection for infants with vaccinated mothers is lower and shorter than protection provided by non-vaccinated mothers [2] , and it has been found that a third dose of MMR cannot boost protection for any length of time [3] , leaving most adults unprotected. We have entered a vaccine-era of vulnerable infants and vulnerable older adults—populations that were protected when measles circulated naturally. It’s a messy conundrum, and it cannot be laid at the feet of those who opt out of vaccination. For the vast majority of healthy children who can easily handle a case of measles in childhood, vaccination provides no personal benefit and exposes them only to vaccine injury risk and vulnerability to measles in adulthood.

Since industry does not make a single measles vaccine available, that leaves just the controversial MMR that appears to not have had any clinical trials. MMR contains fragmented fetal DNA in the rubella portion, which some find morally objectionable and others medically problematic because of the potential for autoimmunity and insertional mutagenesis [4] . As well, the vaccine is highly contaminated with glyphosate from the gelatin [5] , and there are no studies showing injecting glyphosate to be safe or how it may alter the immune response to the other ingredients. Add that Merck has been accused of falsifying the efficacy of the mumps portion of their vaccine [6] and, Houston, we have a problem.

100% vaccination uptake would not alter the dilemma of vaccine failure or risk. The WHO chose a goal of global eradication before they had a safe tool able to achieve it. Rather than pushing for higher uptake, time and money would be far better spent on implementing rapid diagnosis and notification programs using new technologies to utilize good old-fashioned detection & isolation, researching best and safest measles treatments, and building the basics of healthy immunity in poor communities: clean water, proper sanitation, and adequate nutrition.

[1] Poland, Gregory A and Robert M Jacobson. “The re-emergence of measles in developed countries: time to develop the next-generation measles vaccines?” Vaccine vol. 30,2 (2012): 103-4.

[2] Waaijenborg, et al. “Waning of Maternal Antibodies Against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella in Communities With Contrasting Vaccination Coverage.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 8 May 2013,

[3] Fiebelkorn AP, Coleman LA, Belongia EA, et al. Measles virus neutralizing antibody response, cell-mediated immunity, and IgG antibody avidity before and after a third dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in young adults. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2016;213(7):1115-1123. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiv555.

[4] Deisher, T A, et al. “Epidemiologic and Molecular Relationship Between Vaccine Manufacture and Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence.” Issues in Law & Medicine., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015,

[5] Honeycutt, Zen. “Glyphosate in Childhood Vaccines.” Moms Across America,

[6] Solomon, Lawrence. “Merck Has Some Explaining To Do Over Its MMR Vaccine Claims.” HuffPost Canada, HuffPost Canada, 27 Nov. 2014,

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 November 2018
Bernadette Pajer
Informed Choice WA
Washington State, USA