Vaccines much safer today

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A letter writer (I Still Have Doubts Over Vaccines, June 27) questions the MMR jab as she saw a “most beautiful toddler” who “changed after an injection... to a complete wreck”.

However, she mentions that this was “over 50 years ago”.

This sad story roughly coincides with the Thalidomide scandal. Thalidomide was widely used to alleviate morning sickness from 1957 until 1962, when it was withdrawn after it caused a huge range and number of birth defects.

Its horrific effects led to the development of stricter regulations for the development and use of drugs, such as have always governed the MMR

vaccinations.

The single article questioning MMR was quickly discredited, along with the media scare stories that seized upon it, which have now resulted in Swansea’s measles epidemic. The letter also said autism had made this child a “complete wreck”.

I have worked with young people with complex physical and learning disabilities for several years, and appreciate that their mums and dads must sometimes despair amid the wide range of extra challenges they face, especially with the £28.3 billion government cuts campaigning organisation Scope has identified.

However, all their children have amazed me with what they achieve when given the right support – on computers, in artistic endeavours, in work, helping others in our community. I’d just reassure your correspondent that since the 1960s, society has slowly been waking up to respect and include people with disabilities as equals. It’s a long journey but we’re on it.

Jeremy Bateman

Regency Court

Queen Street

Lancaster