Chris Whitty is the Chief Medical Officer in England. Today, he retweeted a BBC article stating that Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine rates are the lowest they have been in a decade.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets a target of 95% coverage of the MMR vaccine in 5-year-olds to achieve and sustain measles elimination. Currently, the rates for the first dose have dropped to below 90% in 2-year-olds and 85.5% for the second dose in 5-year-olds.
In 2017, the WHO declared that the UK had eliminated measles but cases began rising again in 2018 so it lost its elimination status. We are now much further away from elimination status.
The UK Health Surveillance Agency (UKHSA) conducted a survey and reasons for parents not vaccinating their children (including not being aware that the illnesses can cause serious complications), included:
– A third of parents who expressed concern about the MMR vaccine said it is because they are worried about MMR side effects;
– 26% said they were more wary about vaccinations as a result of the COVID-19 vaccination roll out;
– 1 in 10 parents said they didn’t want to be a burden on the NHS during the pandemic;
– Almost 1 in 10 said they haven’t been able to get an appointment.
I have been selective in which answers from the survey I have included, so please read the survey for the whole picture. However, from the answers I have selected above, it is clear that public health policies, during this pandemic, have had the unintended consequence of actually making public health worse.
When public health becomes political, the public loses trust in it. When public health undertakes massive U-turns without adequate explanations, trust is further eroded. When public health quashes scientific debate and suppresses information, the trust is completely lost with some people. When they lose trust, they start to question other parts of their lives that they have unquestioningly taken part in, in the name of public health.
Public health was also a major influence in the advertising campaigns we were barraged with, scaring a large proportion of the population into believing that if they went to hospital, they would end up overwhelming the National Health Service (NHS) and killing people. These guilt tactics caused massive psychological harm to the country and a lot of people are still avoiding hospitals. These messages inevitably killed a lot of people as they stayed at home instead of going to a hospital for treatment.
Is it any wonder that 10% of parents are not vaccinating their children if they have been made to believe that going to hospital will overwhelm it? Furthermore, as most people who have tried to get a doctor’s appointment have probably noticed, face-to-face appointments have been discouraged, and getting an appointment takes forever. Again, is it surprising that 10% of parents haven’t been able to get an appointment?
From very early on it was known that COVID barely affected children, it was as deadly as flu, if not less. The unintended consequences of these public health measures will have inevitably harmed some children, who were kept away from hospitals and will inevitably harm them in the future if measles make a comeback.
Sticking with vaccinations, this is a spreadsheet of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccine uptake (frontline healthcare workers) in all NHS England Trusts. In 2020/2021 flu vaccine uptake was around 75% with 739,226 healthcare workers vaccinated. In 2021/2022 there is a huge drop with only 59% uptake and 518,890 workers vaccinated. Now maybe the data hasn’t fully been collated yet and more people get vaccinated in January and February. You would think, however, that if they were going to get vaccinated, they would have done so by now.
If the statistics are complete and correct then it is another unintended consequence. It turns out that if you push and prod people, coerce them into getting vaccinated and threaten them with their livelihoods, then they won’t behave how you want them to. They’ll just make their voices heard in another way and in the process actually make public health worse.
Both examples show that when public health gets too big for its own boots, when it tries to force people to do things, when it doesn’t answer the questions that people want answering, then citizens will react in a predictable way. When they no longer trust public health bodies, they will push back in any way that they are able to and in doing so, likely make other public health problems appear.
Public health officials should have remained apolitical from the very beginning. They should have been transparent with data and allayed people’s genuine concerns. Information should not have been suppressed but instead debated, as true science should be. They should have been honest, including with any concerns about where the virus originated and admitted any mistakes which resulted in U-turns. That way public trust in those institutions, when it was needed the most, would have remained high like it did in Sweden.
Above all, the general public should have been trusted to make the correct decisions for themselves, their loved ones and society as a whole. Instead, we were treated as selfish infants, who couldn’t be trusted to make sensible, informed decisions.Please consider supporting by sharing or making a donation.
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