Openness is key to winning the war over MMR

March 10, 2005

Openness and communication between experts and the public is key to winning the war over MMR, says an expert in this week's BMJ.

In 1998, MMR vaccinations in the United Kingdom reached 92% of its targets. Yet by 2002, after claims of a possible relation between MMR and autism, the United Kingdom lost considerable ground. One of the lowest levels of coverage of MMR is now found in London, at around 75%.

Parents who refused MMR vaccination for their children were not necessarily irrational, writes Professor Paul Bellaby. The high level of coverage achieved before that point had so far reduced the risk of contracting the diseases that parents began to see the vaccine itself as more of a threat to their children.

He believes that the explanation for the reversal lies not with Wakefield or even with parents who took his claims seriously, but with a failure of leadership by health professionals, lack of support for them from policy makers (including the prime minister), and mischief made by journalists.

The solution is not to affect distain for the bearers of false news but develop two-way communication about risk between experts and the public as equals, he says. If the United Kingdom has all but lost the battle for MMR, the war itself can still be won by openness.
-end-


BMJ

Related Leadership Articles from Brightsurf:

Women in leadership positions face more sexual harassment
Power in the workplace does not stop women's exposure to sexual harassment.

Collective leadership groups maintain cohesion and act decisively
Members of collective leadership groups can maintain cohesion and act decisively when faced with a crisis, in spite of lacking the formal authority to do so, according to new research from Cass Business School.

Leadership's in the blood for tiny fish
Leadership during cooperation runs in the family for tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies, new research shows.

Rice study assesses college leadership training programs
A new study from psychologists at Rice University found they teach students about leadership, but additional measures are needed to evaluate how they impact students' real-life leadership skills.

These four values lessen the power of transformational leadership
Transformational leadership is considered one of the most effective ways to motivate and inspire employees.

Preventing toxic work environments through ethical leadership
Recently published research from SDSU management professor, Dr. Gabi Eissa and University of Wisconsin -- Eau Claire management professor, Dr.

Women, your inner circle may be key to gaining leadership roles
According to a new Notre Dame study, women who communicate regularly with a female-dominated inner circle are more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions.

Feminine leadership traits: Nice but expendable frills?
The first study to examine tradeoffs in masculine versus feminine leadership traits reveals that stereotypically feminine traits -- like being tolerant and cooperative -- are viewed as desirable but ultimately superfluous add-ons.

Leadership and adaptive reserve are not associated with blood pressure control
Primary care leadership and practice resilience can strengthen organizational culture.

Values and gender shape young adults' entrepreneurial and leadership
Young adults who are driven by extrinsic rewards and money and less by a sense of security are more likely to want to become entrepreneurs and leaders, according to a recent study.

Read More: Leadership News and Leadership Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.