Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Measles: neither gone nor forgotten

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

Rapid Response:

Re: We DO need a broad look at vaccination policies and programs

I am grateful to Allan Cunningham, who makes some excellent points [1].

I think it is is evident that measles mortality will depend on the condition of the exposed population plus the good sense and skill (or otherwise) with which the disease is treated, however I suspect his projections for mortality in the United States in the 1980s is rather high. For instance, according to CDC statistics prior to the introduction of measles vaccination in the 1960s there were about 4-500 deaths annually [2] at a time when almost everyone got it, and this would be in 1 in 5,000-10,000 range (of course I do not wish to make light of any deaths at all).

Also, I do not believe anyone should be sanguine about the rise in NDDs and autism which in population terms is much more serious than measles [3] and without credible official explanation, nor do I see that it is at all inherently implausible that vaccines might cause neurological injury [4] (the big question being how often). As to Mawson et al [5], they surely only really deserve praise for going where governments and health official will not. After all, it is scarcely a secure or lucrative career move.

[1] Allan S Cunningham, 'We DO need a broad look at vaccination policies and programs' , 8 November 2018


[3] John Stone, 'What about autism?' 21 August 2018,

[4] John Stone, 'Response to David Oliver II (Risks of Vaccines)' 28 August 2018,

[5] Anthony R Mawson, Brian D Ray, Azad R Bhuiyan, Binu Jacob 'Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children', Journal of Translational Science, 24 April 2017,

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 November 2018
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22