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Vaccination is essential for the safety of our children

04 April, 2019

‘Don’t be confused; be informed – and get your children vaccinated’

• SORRY to read of Greg Carson’s confusion about the value of vaccination, (The vaccinations question is vexing, March 28).

For decades there have been lies about this issue: I first came across them over 50 years ago, when the Anti-Vaccination League was claiming that more people died from vaccinations than from the relevant disease; which is like saying some people die from being strangled by seat belts in cars, without acknowledging the thousands of lives they save.

More recently, we had the disgusting claims from Dr Andrew Wakefield, a gastro-intestinal specialist, linking the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine and autism.

And although his work was later utterly discredited, and he was struck off the medical register, some damage had been done and parents across the UK and in the USA did not get their children vaccinated. And Wakefield’s claims that the vaccine is harmful have contributed to a climate of distrust of all vaccines.

Again, back half a century I lived in Trinidad in the West Indies and my wife helped in a deaf school with dozens of children made deaf after contracting measles; and they were the lucky ones, other children had died or suffered even worse damage from this dangerous disease.

Greg Carson, and all of us, should realise that measles isn’t just a few spots, it is truly life-threatening. Wikipedia tells me that in 1980, 2.6 million people died of it but, as vaccination spread around the world, by 1990 “only” 545,000 died; and by 2014, global vaccination programmes had reduced the number of deaths from measles to 73,000.

Don’t be confused; be informed! Vaccination is essential for the safety of all our children.

DAVID REED
Eton Avenue, NW3

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