A FEW weeks ago, I wrote about my outrage at discovering that a jab given to millions of British babies contained thiomersal, a mercury-based substance that makes infants twice as likely to develop speech impediments and six times more prone to autism.
Thiomersal, I learned, was banned in America five years ago. Health officials in this country promised to phase the toxin out in 1999, but it emerged that the NHS was still buying millions of mercury-laced DTwP vaccines from France.
How miraculous, then, that last week the Department of Health suddenly announced that new jabs will be free of thiomersal. Better late than never, but the handling of the case shows just why our trust in vaccines is so damaged.
The public is frequently ticked off by politicians for being "hysterical", yet where there is a proven risk, as with mercury, officials move with a magisterial slowness that betrays everyone they serve.
Yes, parents must get their children vaccinated for their own sake, as well as for the sake of the pregnant woman whose baby could end up blind and deaf if she catches measles.
Keeping your precious baby unvaccinated, just in case, while expecting the masses to have their sprogs vaccinated is morally repellent.
Equally revolting, though, is the Government's attitude, which was inadvertently revealed when I asked my son's health visitor why babies were given jabs earlier and earlier.
"Oh," she said, "that's because they stop bringing the babies in after a few weeks, so we need to get them while we can."
In other words, multiple jabs are given to tiny babies, not because it is better for them to have them in that form, at that age, but because the Government wants to get the vaccines into them come what may.
In the light of this patronising attitude, parents are probably right to wonder what other things they aren't being told.
For their own good, you understand
I'M sure that some of the criticism of Madonna's new show is justified, but for long-time fans it still stings.
Madge, 46 this week, bless her, can still bend over three boys backwards, when some of us have to call the osteopath every time we bend down to pick up the kids' socks. For this alone, she deserves our undying admiration.
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