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Misleading media reporting? The MMR story

Abstract

The well publicised controversy about the safety of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine in 2002 could have real consequences for public health, as the drop in take up of the vaccine has increased the risk of disease. What role has the media had in this process? To what extent — as some have claimed — did the media mislead the public about the risks of MMR, and precipitate the decline in public confidence? We try to answer these questions, exploring the relationship between media coverage and the public understanding of MMR.

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Figure 1: Frequency of messages in MMR stories.
Figure 2: Perceived link between the MMR vaccine and medical disorders
Figure 3: Public awareness of the Prime Minister's position on the vaccination of his son.
Figure 4: Public opinion on the amount of research for and against the link between the MMRvaccine and autism.
Figure 5: If you were making a decision on whether to vaccinate your child against measles, mumps and rubella, what would you choose?

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Correspondence to Justin Lewis.

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Lewis, J., Speers, T. Misleading media reporting? The MMR story. Nat Rev Immunol 3, 913–918 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nri1228

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