The New York Times yesterday published an editorial on the current measles outbreak in Britain, pointing to the fact that this outbreak is mainly due to children not receiving the MMR (mumps, measles rubella) vaccine. Many parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children based on the ill-founded fears among parents that a widely used vaccine to combat measles, mumps and rubella might cause autism.
And these beliefs are largely due to the work done by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British researcher who claimed to have found this link. Although his work was discredited and labeled as an elaborate fraud, something which ACSH has been publicizing since it was first irresponsibly published by The Lancet in 1998, British parents continue to hold these negative beliefs about the MMR vaccine.
Ultimately, The New York Times editorial has, somewhat belatedly, concluded that because they shunned the vaccine, their children, now in their teens, are suffering the consequences. This is a statement that ACSH can get behind and really illustrates the importance of having children appropriately vaccinated, a public health benefit that ACSH has been advocating since our founding in 1978.