Media Censorship of Vaccine News
On 8th July 2008, the Daily Mail website featured an article about shortages of single mumps vaccine, entitled 'Parents must choose MMR or no protection after 'suspicious' shortage of single vaccine.'
The article was pro a parent's choice and mentioned the MMR and autism connection and the fact that the government may be trying to force parents to accept the MMR.
It was later pulled off the website and replaced with 'No choice but MMR as supplies of single mumps vaccine run out.'
The revised article towed the party line and included a quote from David Salisbury, the Government Director of Immunisation.
Here is the original article that was on the Daily Mail website:
Parents must choose MMR or no protection after 'suspicious' shortage of single vaccine.
Parents who have opted against the MMR for their toddlers face a nightmare choice as supplies of the single jab for mumps look set to run dry in weeks.
Tens of thousands of toddlers could go unprotected against the disease as it emerged that the world's only supplier has halted production of the single vaccine.
British clinics say their existing stocks are running low and have been told they will not receive new supplies of the single vaccine Mumpsvax for up to 12 months.
Doctors have voiced concern that the Government may have pressured the sole producer of the single vaccine to reduce stock as a way of encouraging uptake of the MMR jab.
Many parents opted to pay up to £400 for single measles, mumps and rubella jabs after the triple MMR vaccine - provided free on the NHS - was controversially linked to autism.
It emerged today that the world's only Mumpsvax manufacturer, American pharmaceutical giant Merck, has mysteriously halted production until at least 2009.
The firm - which also supplies the UK with the MMR vaccine - has stopped making the drug twice before, but never for more than three months at a time.
For many parents it now means an agonising choice of whether to risk the MMR jab - or not to inoculate their children at all.
There is widespread suspicion among private clinics that the shortage is due to a Government policy to force parents to have the MMR.
They suspect Merck could be under pressure from Whitehall to restrict Mumpsvax supply because it also has separate multi-million pound deal to supply the NHS with MMR.
Dr John Oakley, who runs a private GP clinic in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, said: 'There is pressure on Merck not to supply Mumpsvax to European markets.
'This pressure is from the government and also from the EU, which are threatening not to buy Merck's MMR triple vaccine - it's not the only supplier of it - if the firm continues supplying Mumpsvax.'
Dr Oakley, whose private GP practice supplies the Mumpsvax vaccine, said halting the drug's import was possible because, unlike measles and rubella, mumps is not fatal.
'By not allowing Mumpsvax into Britain, the politicians appear to think they can boost uptake of the MMR, without really affecting the general health of the nation,' he said.
'Mumps vaccine is unique because its made in America and only by one company. Also, mumps is not lethal, like Measles and Rubella, which can cause deaths.
'Certainly the decision to stop exporting it was not made because it's too expensive to make - Mumpsvax is an ingredient in the triple MMR vaccine, which the company already sends to the UK.'
The combined jab for measles, mumps and rubella - given to babies for free from the age of 13 months - was approved in Britain in 1988, despite concerns about its side effects.
Single vaccines for the diseases remained available free of charge on the NHS until 1997, when the Government pulled the plug on their licence.
Now single inoculations for measles, mumps and rubella are only available through a handful of registered providers.
While there is still no conclusive evidence, independent studies appear to show that the triple jab could be linked with cases of autism and bowel disease.
Last year 540,000 babies had the MMR - around 83 per cent of the total - with an estimated 20,000 having single jabs.
While mumps - a viral infection spread by a cough or sneeze - is relatively harmless in childhood, some babies can contract mumps meningitis and it can cause sterility and infertility in adults.
The only effective vaccine is made exclusively by Merck, which is also the world's largest supplier of the MMR triple jab.
It sells the drug to a network of approved suppliers, who in turn sell it to clinics across the UK, which charge parents up to £130 for each jab.
It is also the Government's sole supplier of MMR, a contract worth millions of pounds.
Martha Cox, director of Wellcare, a nationwide network of private health clinics, was told she would not receive new supplies of the Mumpsvax vaccine until next September.
She believes the government is forcing the MMR jab on parents in a bid to increase its uptake.
'There is feeling among registered clinics, and of course parents, that the Government is trying to force people to have the MMR,' she said.
'I find it quite amazing that production can just be stopped like this and we haven't been told why.
"Everyone is running low on supplies. We will be getting one more load next week and then that's it.
"This is a political issue as well as an emotive one. The government has not licensed the single vaccine in this country to offer people a choice, as it should have done years ago." Dr Julia Piper, a private GP based in Leicestershire, slammed "interference" in the supply of vaccinations.
Dr Piper, who has offered single jabs at her clinic for some years, said: "I think its really appalling that a multi-million pound company has a monopoly on this vaccine, and has no contractual obligations to ensure the supply.
'I've only found out production has been halted in the last few days and it's very disruptive.
"The Department of Health does not encourage regular supply of Mumpsvax as it is not licensed here.
"We have a government that is interventionist in healthcare, and if this shortage is due to some sort of interference that is very wrong." Suppliers of Mumpsvax confirmed the shortage was creating havoc for parents.
Pharmacist Barry Mickle, managing director of the London-based medical supplier Jolinda, said his company had run out of Mumpsvax a month ago.
He said: "My understanding is the Merck is not manufacturing Mumpsvax at the moment until 2009, so it could be a year before UK clinics will have any." Alister Monro (doub-corr), the managing director of the Breakspear allergy hospital in Hertfordshire, said he has been inundated with requests from worried parents about single jabs.
The hospital, which immunises around 250 children per month with single jabs, said the politicians were afraid to licence single vaccines as this would suggest the MMR is dangerous.
Mr Monro said: "The Government doesn't want to licence single vaccines because this could imply there is something wrong with the MMR, because that would cause an outcry, when in fact the risk is very small.
"We've had a lot of calls from parents who have tried elsewhere to have the single jabs and been turned away. I would say there's been a 10 per cent rise in appointments." Dr Richard Halvorsen, who runs the Babyjabs clinic in Harley Street, London, and the author of 'The Truth about Vaccines', said he would not recommend the MMR to parents.
Dr Halvorsen added: "Luckily I still have stocks of Mumpsvax, but when shortages have happened before, I have told parents that measles is the most important vaccine, and just to wait until Mumpsvax is available again.
"I would not recommend parents give their children the MMR instead.
"I find it very puzzling that Merck must be producing Mumpsvax as a component of the MMR, but that it can't produce any more of it for the single vaccinations." Yesterday, Merck refused to comment about the shortage of Mumpsvax in the UK and defended the safety of MMR.
A spokesman said: ""MMR contains the same mumps antigen contained in Mumpsvax and also provides the measles and rubella components.
"MMR has been administered to millions of infants worldwide - over 500 million doses distributed to date - and has a well established safety and efficacy profile." The Department of Health said there was "no truth" behind suggestions that it was restricting the supply of mumps jabs.
A spokesman said: "Lets be very clear, there is simply no truth in the suggestion that the Government has put pressure on Merck to suspend production of Mumpvax."
And here is the censored article, which was changed from the original article a day later on 9th July 2008
No choice but MMR as supplies of single mumps vaccine run out
Parents worried about the MMR jab could soon have no alternative but to give it to their babies because supplies of the single injection vaccine for mumps are running out.
Clinics say stocks are running low and they have been told they will not receive new supplies for up to 12 months after the world's only manufacturer - American pharmaceutical giant Merck - halted production.
Mumpsvax is used to vaccinate children whose parents opt out of the triple measles, mumps and rubella jab which was once suspected of links to autism and bowel disease.
Yesterday suppliers confirmed the shortage of Mumpsvax was worrying some parents who still do not trust MMR.
Pharmacist Barry Mickle, of London-based medical supplier Jolinda, said his company had run out of Mumpsvax a month ago.
He added: 'My understanding is that Merck is not manufacturing Mumpsvax at the moment until 2009, so it could be a year before UK clinics will have any.'
Single vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella were free on the NHS until 1997, but are now only available through registered providers at a combined cost of around £400.
While mumps - a viral infection - is relatively harmless in childhood, some babies can contract mumps meningitis. It can also cause sterility and infertility in adults.
Merck is also the world's largest supplier of the MMR triple jab which was linked to autism by Dr Andrew Wakefield a decade ago.
His claims, which have since been discredited, caused a dramatic drop in immunisations.
Merck has stopped making Mumpsvax twice before, but never for more than three months.
A Department of Health spokesman said: 'Merck is a private company and any commercial-decisions it makes are entirely separate from the work of the Government.'
She added: 'MMR is the safest and most effective way of protecting children from measles, mumps and rubella.'
Professor David Salisbury, the Government's director of immunisation, said: 'All available evidence points to the safety of MMR - it does not cause autism, bowel disease or any of the other scare stories that have circulated over recent years, and nor does it overload children's immune systems.'
Department of Health figures show that 83 per cent of parents immunised their children with the MMR jab in 2006.
The number of measles cases in England and Wales hit 971 last year, the highest since its incidence began being recorded in 1995.
Experts say at least 95 per cent of children need to have MMR to create a 'herd immunity' that stops measles spreading.
The Government has refused to make single measles vaccines available as an alternative for worried parents.
Another Article Changed - 'I helped my son beat autism by making him give up Weetabix' to 'I helped my son cope better with autism by changing his diet.'
The article describes a mother who put her autistic child on a milk, gluten and wheat free diet and began to cure him of autism:
'Then, one day, a leaflet dropped through my door explaining how a wheat and dairy-free diet could help autistic children. Jon was sceptical, but I thought it was worth a try.
I replaced cow's milk with rice milk and began baking gluten-free biscuits, which I gave him instead of Weetabix. Billy starved himself for a few days then began eating the biscuits - and, amazingly, his gut problems started to get better.
That really woke Jon up, because he thought if Billy could improve just by making a change to his diet, what else could be done? He found an organisation called Allergy Induced Autism, and through them we met other people who were doing things to help autistic children.'
The title of the article was probably changed because health professionals don't want to admit that autistic children can recover. Why not? Because then their genetic theory of causation would be proved nonsense and the environmental and chemical causes would become obvious, and that is the last thing they want people to know when they are busily defending the MMR.
Autistic children aren't even treated by GP's or in A+E unless they are critical because doctors don't want to be 'political'!
To see the original article, see the Child Health Safety website, to see the revised title, go to the Mail Online, 26th June 2009.
Joanna's Popcorn, Fluoride and Vaccines Article BANNED by Editor for Being 'Dangerous'
Here's the letter from an editor of mine (not my usual one):
Thank you for submitting this article.
However, though it is well written and an interesting read, I am taking it offline as I consider it to present a one-sided view of the vaccination issue.
Suite101 publishes many articles on "alternative" medicine, but all health-care advice, whether alternative or conventional, must be backed by evidence. At the present time, there is a large body of research supporting the need for vaccination, and to appear to recommend that children not be vaccinated could be construed as potentially dangerous guidance.
I appreciate the work you have put into this piece and am sure you will find a home for it elsewhere.
W A.M. Prosser
General Medicine Topic Editor, Suite101.com
VAN UK'S COMMENT: This was despite the fact that the article had CDC, JAMA etc as sources!! Here's what I wrote back:
I would like to say it is backed by evidence as my sources were CDC, JAMA etc. There was only one source on there that was a news report so I find that a little unfair. It seems to be that you mean the medical sources all have to contain good information about vaccines in them. It rather illustrates my point about journalists being used as tools to promote vaccines because if we try to show the other side of the story, we get censored. If my sources were not medical, I could understand the point about being one sided, but they are medical, so I think every parent has the right to know the risks as well as the benefits and in the current climate, it seems only the benefits are allowed to be discussed. Vaccination is a medical procedure so parents need to know both sides in order to give informed consent, otherwise their consent isn't informed. There are plenty of journal articles in support of vaccination, but likewise, there are just as many showing concern. As a parent who has been studying the journal articles on this subject for 17 years, I know this. In fact, I was invited as an infectious disease expert to speak at a JCVI meeting in 2006, so even the NHS in my country know this.
All medical authorities of the world heavily push vaccinations and the benefits side - this article attempted to re-dress the balance and show the other side to parents, which is just as important. Children die of infectious diseases, yes, but the CDC have said vaccines increase the disease severity, and children can also die from vaccines (I work as a counsellor to parents who have lost or injured their children this way), as the 'vaccine court' in the US and the UK vaccine damage payment's unit have awarded payouts to such families, so I feel that to deny parents this information is a bit one sided of Suite 101. I recognise you're not going to change your mind but I felt I had to say that.
I am not a freelance journalist who will ever be bought and I will not be afraid to write about truth and real issues of today even if it risks my career. Principles are more important than money.
I then got the article published with Yahoo: http://voices.yahoo.com/popcorn-fluoride-spotlight-as-vaccines-11323546.html?cat=5