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Measles: The First Panic Narrative of 2024? Are twin measles outbreaks on both sides of the Atlantic laying the groundwork for a new vaccine push?

Kit Knightly

Measles outbreaks hit the headlines in the both the US and UK this week.

The UK is allegedly in the middle of a serious measles outbreak centred on Birmingham. The BBC reports:

Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been inundated with the highest number in decades of youngsters with measles

The West Midlands has reportedly seen as many as 167 measles cases in total, the BBC claiming “low vaccination rate has been attributed to the rise.” (pretty sure they mean “the rise has been attributed to the low vaccination rate” but you never go to the BBC for accuracy.)

167 cases may not seem like a lot, but it towers over Philadelphia’s “outbreak”, where 8 WHOLE ENTIRE PEOPLE have tested positive for measles, according to NBC:

At least eight people have been diagnosed with measles in an outbreak that started last month in the Philadelphia area. The most recent two cases were confirmed on Monday.

Just like the BBC, NBC is quick off the mark when it comes to assigning blame:

“None of the people in Philadelphia who’ve been diagnosed [ever] got a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine”.

The NB and BBC reports were published just hours apart, about two different “outbreaks” in two different countries, yet both hit the exact same talking points.

To ram the message home, here’s a headline from Sky News:

Measles cases surge in England and Wales fuelled by vaccine hesitancy over MMR jab

…and another one from the Daily Mail:

Measles outbreak in Philly may have spread to Delaware as vaccine hesitancy creates breeding ground for outbreak

…and one from Forbes:

Measles Outbreak In Philadelphia Suggests Growing Problem Of Vaccine Hesitancy

…and the Evening Standard:

London’s vaccination rates are terrible and measles is on the rise — it’s time to act

It’s not hard to see where it’s going, is it?

But the Blame Game isn’t just being played one way. A healthy subset of people are turning fire on illegal immigrants, who have brought measles into the country.

Both the BBC and NBC reports gently add fuel to that fire.

Anything to make sure people don’t ask the important questions, such as “Why should we be scared of a mostly harmless disease?”, “what’s the propaganda angle here?” or even “Is there really a measles outbreak at all?”

The UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) actually sent out letters warning of a measles “resurgence” back in October. The letter predicted as many as 160,000 thousand cases in London alone.

That would be five times as many as recorded across the whole of Europe last year. And that was already a 30-fold increase on the year before.

Headline stories for minuscule “outbreaks”? Massively overstated predictions? The WHO calling for “urgent action”?

Seems the signs are there that the “measles outbreak” story might be destined to hang around for a while yet.

So where’s the story going? What’s the point of the narrative?

Well, there’s always compulsory vaccination. It’s not been officially mooted yet, but there is chatter on social media about it. Chatter it would be rather naïve to think totally organic.

Compulsory measles vaccination is not a new idea, it was briefly pushed in the UK as recently as 2019, when “experts” called for it, but it never went anywhere.

In 2020 Germany passed a new law requiring all children to be fully vaccinated against measles before attending school.

Since then, of course, Covid has changed the conversation on vaccination, normalising words like “compulsory” and “mandate”.

So, it could happen. But there’s also something else.

In October 2023 the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a new paper from a team at the medical school of Ohio State University, titled:

A next-generation intranasal trivalent MMS vaccine induces durable and broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern

The paper concerns a new trivalent vaccine combining vaccines against measles, mumps AND Covid variants into a single nasal spray.

Will we see a new Covid/Measles joint vaccine rolled out soon? Perhaps due to some emergency?

Watch this space I guess.

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