Thanks Mel

I have a shameful confession to make. 

Some years ago, I vaccinated my son with separate measles, mumps and rubella shots. I went to a private doctor – a very nice chap who is apparently Romeo Beckham’s paediatrician – to have it done. 

Why did I do that? Simple. I was worried that the MMR vaccine might “turn him autistic”. 

Why did I think that? 

Because a gastro-enterologist  Andrew Wakefield claimed to have evidence of a link. There were articles in serious – and less serious – newspapers, which took those claims seriously. Some columnists, in particular Melanie Phillips, turned Wakefield into a cause celebre. 

My thinking was this. Either there’s a link between MMR or not. If there’s a link, separate vaccinations are the right way to go. If there’s no link, well, the kid is still vaccinated.

Except, of course, it took me an extra 6 months to get round to organising the separate vaccinations. Still, no harm done.


The undermining of MMR has had a real and tangible effect on public health:

Health chiefs in Wales are dealing with a “massive” measles outbreak, with numbers already four times the highest figure recorded over the past 13 years.

Four children were treated in hospital as part of 127 cases across mid and west Wales, while a separate outbreak in Llandudno, Conwy, has reached 35.

The National Public Health Service (NPHS) in Wales saw 39 cases last year. Its highest figure in 2003 was 44.

Officials appealed for parents to take up the MMR vaccine. 

Basically, I was a fool. It was cretinous for me to have delayed my son’s vaccination, and I will not do so with my second child.