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Misled and confused? Telling the public about MMR vaccine safety
  1. C J Clements1,
  2. S Ratzan2
  1. 1Department of Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. 2US Agency for International Development, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C J Clements, Department of Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland;


The extraordinary events surrounding the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in the United Kingdom have not only placed in jeopardy the use of this triple vaccine but have also spread concern to other parts of the world. Examination of the public’s worry about MMR vaccine reveals they have been exposed to a range of conflicting views resulting in the feeling of having been misled about the safety of the vaccine. There are various groups and individuals who have legitimate roles in informing the public about such subjects. But is each one behaving in an ethically responsible way? And if confidence falters, vaccine coverage dips, and an outbreak of measles, mumps, or rubella ensues, who, if anyone, will stand and say “I misled them, I confused them, this is my responsibility”? We examine the ethical issues of each group with a voice in the debate about vaccine safety.

  • MMR vaccine
  • vaccine safety
  • public health
  • immunisation
  • WHO

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