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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Vaccination - Who Should We Trust?

Increasing numbers of concerned parents in the UK are rebelling against MMR as theonly 'safe' vaccination alternative for their children. According to the results of a recent Guardian/ICM opinion poll (1), some 75 per cent of parents interviewed would like the UK Government to provide free separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations for their children. The overall results of the poll suggest that all the recent efforts made by the Government have had little or no impact in reducing popular anxiety over this matter. Only 20 per cent of those included in the survey said they would "trust a lot" the advice given by politicians and their officials, with a worrying 30 per cent disregarding it altogether. So is this a new crisis of trust in the governing bodies or are we facing the same problems over and over again? With the number of measles cases rising not only in the UK but in other European countries such as Germany - in some incidents to the point of epidemic clusters - we should all be reminded of the potential horrors of the infections being prevented by mass vaccination: a wider incidence of diseases striking the population, in some cases with potentially fatal results.


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By Dr Ian Gibson, Member of Parliament for Norwich North and Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee

Dr Ian Gibson was educated at Dumfries Academy and later attended Edinburgh University, where he was awarded a BSc and a PhD. He was a Royal Society Fellow at Edinburgh, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University. Ian was also a visiting Professor at the University of Washington before joining the University of East Anglia (UEA) as a Lecturer in 1965. He was made a Senior Lecturer at UEA in 1970 and served as Dean of the School of Biological Sciences from 1991 to 1997. At UEA Ian was the head of a research team investigating various forms of cancer. In 1997 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Norwich North, a seat he kept after the 2001 election. In Parliament Ian specialised in science issues, particularly those relating to cancer research, founding the All Party Group on Cancer. During the last Parliament he was a member of the Commons Science and Technology select Committee, which he currently chairs, and was elected Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, a position he still holds.

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