Anti-vaxxer whose daughter nearly killed by measles begs parents to give their children MMR jab

A former anti-vaxxer has begged parents to give their children the MMR jab after her daughter nearly died to measles. 

Debbie Roscoe, of Birmingham, who appeared on This Morning, revealed daughter Ellie was almost struck down with the virus in 2017 aged 23.

She decided against giving Ellie, now 25, the second vaccination before she started school after bogus studies linked the jab to autism.  

The decision appeared to have no effect on Ellie’s life until December 2017, when she suddenly broke out in red blotches and her temperature soared to 39C (102.2F).

She was initially misdiagnosed with chicken pox, prescribed antibiotics and sent home by her local GP.

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Debbie Roscoe, from Birmingham, appeared on This Morning earlier today to warn other parents against skipping out on the MMR jab

Debbie Roscoe, from Birmingham, appeared on This Morning earlier today to warn other parents against skipping out on the MMR jab

She revealed her daughter Ellie was almost struck down with the virus in 2017 aged 23 after missing out on the second dose of it

She revealed her daughter Ellie was almost struck down with the virus in 2017 aged 23 after missing out on the second dose of it

The decision appeared to have no effect on Ellie's life until December 2017, when she suddenly broke out in red blotches (pictured) and her temperature soared to 39C (102.2F)

The decision appeared to have no effect on Ellie’s life until December 2017, when she suddenly broke out in red blotches (pictured) and her temperature soared to 39C (102.2F)

It wasn’t until she went to Heartlands Hospital and was transferred to the infectious diseases ward that she was properly diagnosed.

A specialist asked to inspect her mouth and noticed silver spots – a tell-tale sign of measles – and realised she had the illness, once thought to be eradicated. 

Her mother is now speaking out about the dangers of skipping out on vaccinations.

‘Another 24 hours and she possibly wouldn’t be here today,’ she told Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning earlier today.

Ellie was given her first MMR vaccination at three months old in 1994. But the following year a now-discredited study was published linking the jab to autism. It prompted her mother to choose against giving her daughter the second jab

Ellie was given her first MMR vaccination at three months old in 1994. But the following year a now-discredited study was published linking the jab to autism. It prompted her mother to choose against giving her daughter the second jab

Asked about why she chose not to give her daughter her second MMR, she said: ‘Autism was in the newspapers at the time.

‘It was a great fear of mine because I had seen what autism could do. The facts were not really available at that time cos we’re going back many moons ago. 

WHAT IS MEASLES, WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND HOW CAN YOU CATCH IT?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or even just breathing.

Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection, and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, a fever and a rash.

The rash appears as red and blotchy marks on the hairline that travel down over several days, turning brown and eventually fading. 

Some children complain of disliking bright lights or develop white spots with red backgrounds on their tongue.

In one in 15 cases, measles can cause life-threatening complications including pneumonia, convulsions and encephalitis.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society told MailOnline: ‘Measles can be very serious. 

‘[It] can cause encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain. 

‘Encephalitis can result in death or disability.’

Treatment focuses on staying hydrated, resting and taking painkillers, if necessary.

Measles can be prevented by receiving two vaccinations, the first at 13 months old and the second at three years and four months to five years old.

Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital 

 

‘Now you can get the full facts, you can go and ask GPs. You can go and ask medical professionals.’

Ellie was given her first MMR vaccination at three months old in 1994. But the following year a now-discredited study was published linking the jab to autism.

Dr Andrew Wakefield published a second paper in 1998 which he claimed backed up his initial study. 

The research received widespread media coverage and contributed to the birth of the anti-vaccination movement.

Mrs Roscoe was put off giving Ellie the second dose of MMR in 1998 before she started school on the back of the controversial studies. 

But, as it appeared to have no impact on her daughter’s life, it never occurred to Mrs Roscoe that her daughter could have the virus when she took ill in 2017. 

In the same year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that Britain had eradicated measles. 

Mrs Roscoe told the This Morning programme: ‘[We thought] measles had been eradicated. But because the vaccination levels have dropped considerably, it started becoming more prevalent.’ 

Coverage of the MMR jab, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, fell for the fifth year in a row last year.

It means one in ten children are now not receiving their first dose of the vaccine. 

Measles also increased to 301 cases over the same period, with nearly 266 of those in unvaccinated people aged 15 or over.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged ‘bold action’ to combat the plummeting vaccination rates. 

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was considering a range of options to combat the decline – including mandatory vaccination.

This could force parents to prove their four or five-year-old has had their vaccinations before they can start school.

Mr Hancock has said he cannot rule out the possibility of banning unvaccinated children from schools and nurseries.

But there are concerns such a policy could mean vulnerable children are excluded from mainstream education.

IS ANDREW WAKEFIELD’S DISCREDITED AUTISM RESEARCH TO BLAME FOR LOW MEASLES VACCINATION RATES?

Andrew Wakefield's discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates

Andrew Wakefield’s discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates

In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.

He speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue, leading to both of the disorders.

After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: ‘The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.’

At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and was therefore accused of having a conflict of interest.

Nonetheless, MMR vaccination rates in the US and the UK plummeted, until, in 2004, the editor of The Lancet Dr Richard Horton described Wakefield’s research as ‘fundamentally flawed’, adding he was paid by a group pursuing lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

The Lancet formally retracted Wakefield’s research paper in 2010.

Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine in Britain, stating his research had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s health.

On January 6 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that of the 12 children included in Wakefield’s 1995 study, at most two had autistic symptoms post vaccination, rather than the eight he claimed.

At least two of the children also had developmental delays before they were vaccinated, yet Wakefield’s paper claimed they were all ‘previously normal’.

Further findings revealed none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, yet the study claimed six of the participants suffered all three.

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