Andy Burnham the MP for Leigh seems set to reignite the debate on MMR in parliament by asking Andrew Lansley, health minister, a question regarding the recent Italian vaccination ruling.
Judges in Rimini, north-east Italy, awarded the Bocca family, who believe the MMR vaccine caused their sons autism, 174,000 Euros (£140,000) and now expect 100 similar cases to be raised. Burnham stated that the ruling in Italy was a significant development and wishes to meet with Jackie Fletcher who setup the infamous anti-vaccine group “Jabs" who believe there is a link between Autism and the MMR jab.
Fletcher is reported as saying:
“Whenever anyone has contacted the UK’s Vaccine Damage Unit and mentioned autism it has gone straight in the bin. It is so difficult to get past the grey suits when autism is involved but this case deserves to be investigated, not dismissed.”
Which ignores the large body of evidence that has singularly failed to find any link between the MMR jab and the development of Autistic spectrum disorders in the UK.
The news also comes at a time where measles outbreaks in the North of England are remarkably high and more effort is required to ensure vaccination programs succeed in producing herd immunity.
In fairness, Burnham did go on to say:
“We only ever act on medical evidence and if that evidence changes then we have an obligation to look at an issue again.”
So there is hope that he hasn’t aligned himself with the ranks of the anti-MMR crowd and tyhat he will review the evidence for the MMR-Autism link and act accordingly not give into misguided single issue pressure groups with a somewhat loose grasp of medicine and science.