Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Medicine and the Media

The Daily Mail’s U turn on MMR vaccination

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 20 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6487
  1. Ingrid Torjesen, journalist, London
  1. Ingrid_torjesen{at}

Commentators are criticising the paper for hypocrisy, given its previous opposition to the vaccine even after the Lancet retracted the now discredited work that linked it to autism, finds Ingrid Torjesen

Although once overwhelmingly opposed to the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, last month the Daily Mail launched a campaign to urge the government “to reassure parents that vaccines, particularly MMR, are safe and vital.”1

MMR vaccination rates in the UK have slipped to their lowest levels in five years, and the incidence of measles is soaring, the Mail reported. Its 10 October front page said, “Health experts fear parents are being turned against inoculation by fake science put on social media by the ‘anti-vaxx lobby.’ Busy modern lifestyles and public complacency has also been cited for the crisis, with many adults forgetting that measles is a killer.”

Inside the issue, the Mail acknowledged that fears associated with MMR were triggered in February 1998 when Andrew Wakefield and colleagues fraudulently linked the vaccine to autism and inflammatory bowel disease, in work now retracted by the Lancet.2 The newspaper said, “Like …

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