Ed Balls

Now that I’ve got your attention …

There’s currently a measles outbreak in South Wales, the reason for which is that a lot of parents didn’t vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine during the late 90s and early 2000s when the scare produced by Andrew Wakefield’s discredited and biased research was at its height. Many parents thought that these illnesses were mild, transient things that all children got and couldn’t do you any harm, least of all brain damage. In fact, measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) can cause encephalitis, which can lead to brain damage and death.

A boy with mumps, from WikimediaIf you’re an adult male who hasn’t had any children yet, mumps can harm you particularly — it causes inflammation of the testicles and that can make you sterile. So if you didn’t get vaccinated when you were a child, you are well-advised to go and get it done now. If you don’t have strong counter-indications (i.e. medical reasons not to get vaccinated) and you are healthy, you should get vaccinated because others who can’t rely on others’ immunity to stay clear of these diseases themselves (this is called herd immunity, and when I mentioned this to someone on Facebook, she haughtily told me “I’m not a heffer [sic] to be herded”, a prime example of the cluelessness of anti-vaccination activists).

I’ve mentioned some scare stories and misconceptions about vaccines and ME on this blog in the past. Although there have been cases of ME being triggered by vaccines, it can also be triggered by infections including mumps. Read the story of Emily Collingridge then put that scare story to the back of your mind.

(And here is the relevance of the title, if you were wondering. Image source: Wikipedia.)

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