Thanks to a sterling effort by a group of dedicated science bloggers and blog-readers, the whole Jeni Barnett MMR radio show has been transcribed for your reading pleasure.
Browse it, read it, blog it, be shocked, be amazed, tell your friends, etc etc.
OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: This is a transcript pulled together by lots of people working late into the night. There will be mistakes, I’m sure, so use it as a tool to skim the show before listening to the bits that interest you. A recording of the show is available on Wikileaks, see here. You can also listen to each part via YouTube here.
The timestamps demarcated are relative to individual clips the transcribers worked off (six in total), not the whole show or the YouTube clips. Use them for rough navigation within a particular clip, I’ve tried my best to make it easy to navigate between text and tape. Everything below the fold…
CLIP ONE, 0.00 – 7.00 minutes. Roughly equivalent to this segment on YouTube.
JB: Now, it’s cold, it’s miserable, lots of us are snuffling, lots of us have got viruses, some of us will be affected by it, some of us won’t. Every single time we come round again to ‘measles epidemic’ or ‘infection rates rise in Europe” my first thought is: I’m an independent, individual human being, I have raised a biological child and two logical children. Sometimes their responses to things were worse than others, sometimes children around them had a response that was worse than mine, than my kids. The fact is, the notion that we’re all the same, that you have to be inoculating children with this MMR jab, this debate is going to go on for ever and ever and always at the back of it, in my head is ‘hold on a minute, there’s a drug company that’s making lots of money out of it’. And I always get really anxious when I hear the you know now that we’ve got ‘Banishing measles
from Europe in 2010 may have been dashed by poor vaccinations rates in a handful of countries’. you cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot be putting rubbish and carp in food endlessly and looking at the rise of asthma and obesity and then turn round and not say look what’s happening with measles. You have to approach the whole thing at the health of our children and the health of our society. Now back in the day (and that’s an expression I’ve learned from my [unclear] son), back in the day, children got measles, children got mumps. I’m not suggesting – I am not suggesting – that we got backwards where some children, where we have one in fifteen children die of it. And that one person in fifteen is the one we have to be looking at and wondering why and dealing with it. But if, as a human being, you decide you do not want to give your child a vaccination, you should, in a democracy, have that right to day no.
There are some children – whether you like it or whether you do not – that have a response to that triple jabbing that is not good for them. We have evidence, however much people say we don’t, we have evidence that if a child’s immune system is weak; my daughter was one of them, she was very asthmatic as a child, she could not have received that triple vaccine, she couldn’t have done it so I made a calculated decision that I didn’t want to go there. and it isn’t a decision that’s made easily, it’s a lonely decision, if you’re not part of the herd, if your’ not mooing with the other cows or baaing with the other sheep, if you wanting to stand alone, it’s a very lonely business standing under a tree in a field all on your own saying ‘I don’t want to do that’. So I want you to phone me and tell me why you decided against the vaccine and how you’re coping with people saying ‘See! You’re the reason, you are the reason we haven’t banished measles’. I had that said to me by doctor in Canada: ‘You haven’t had your child vaccinated?
You’re-‘ he left me in the kitchen! He blamed me for the whole measles epidemic. 0-8-4-5-6-0-6-0-9-7-3 Why didn’t you have your child vaccinated, how are you coping with the fact that people don’t like you for it, how do you like it when you are, when the study is documenting that 12,000 cases of European measles in the two years spanning 2006 and 2007 means that we are one of the handful of countries in Britain that are not doing it right. Well maybe, maybe there are all sorts of other figures that have been withheld from us, and I don’t know what they are because they’ve been withheld! Measles is a contagious infection caused by a virus. Measles was once common but because of immunisation it’s now fortunately becoming very rare. I want to know from some kind of expert
what measles is and what is in the vaccine, and why people have a reaction to it, and really my question is: what is wrong with childhood illnesses? Is it – to hark back to the first hour – because we don’t have parents at home looking after the children? What’s going on? Is there something wrong with having mumps, is there something – you know is it – most people aren’t that one in fifteen. So if you did not have your child vaccinated, why? 0-8-4-5-6-0-6-0-9-7-3 Text me if you decided against having that triple M, and are now dealing with people saying ‘you are responsible for the rise in measles’. Text me on 8-4-8-5-0. We are living in the 21st century, we have running water, most of us have running water, most of us live in better situations than we did when I grew up – I grew up in two rooms with rats and mice in the
east end of London. I can remember it. And DON’T email me in – there’s a guy who emails me in to say ‘Oh you just want to be part of the east end’ no, I grew up in St Marks St, thank you very much, born in Mile End Road, and when I go there now I look at it and think blimey that’s my birthright and thank God for that I like it. my feet are rooted in the east end even though my parents were rehoused – rehoused – in council housing, social housing, [go to Youtube Clip 2] that welfare state looked after us poor little immigrant Jews. And we were sent to this lovely house and there we have it. Asthma runs in my family, asthma runs in my husband’s family so my daughter was not inoculated. I, however, have talked to many people over the years – 22 years I’ve lived with my daughter – and over the years many many people have said the same thing, that when we were little, chicken pox, you took your kid to get the chickenpox, you made sure your child was near somebody who had it. My brother got mumps,
he lived to tell the tale. I don’t know if we had measles. I was sitting next to Nick Owen on the settee at TV AM when his children were incubating rubella which is measles, and I was pregnant! Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be using science and medicine to make everybody healthy, but there’s an obsession now with trying to sanitise absolutely everything, and if your child’s immune system is strong enough it will fight and it will grow and it will be strong. Too many antibiotics and now we have MRSA and superbugs. I’m not an expert, this is what I have observed, phone me: 0-8-4-5-6-0-6-0-9-7-3. If you chose to stand under the tree in the field outside the herd. Tracey in Olympia talk to me…
This segment is hosted at The Lay Scientist
CLIP THREE, starts 6.43 into this clip
This segment is hosted at PodBlack Cat
CLIP FOUR, roughly equivalent to the second half of this segment
The segment is hosted at The Sceptics’ Book.
CLIP FIVE, 0.00 – 11.00 minutes. Starts 30 seconds into this segment
JB: -little band that didn’t do anything. Now they’ve just been signed by FM records – Mazel-tov! – fantastic and their debut EP is going to be released on the 26th of January. Well done Nylonski, fantastic. So the 31st of January if you want to go to the BreastFest it should be really really good. Now, that’s my little announcement – we’ll come back to the discussion. Geraldine in Hampstead, thank you very much for holding the line, you are absolutely pro the jabs, are you?
GH: I’m not absolutely pro or anti anything, but before I talk about that can I say I think you radio show is wonderful but isn’t it a little irresponsible to read out a text from somebody you don’t know at all?
JB: I keep saying! You know-
GH: Let me finish.
JB: Go on.
GH: – to say that the vaccinations have cancer-causing substances. Because you will scare new mothers.
JB: Well no no listen-
GH: You don’t know who wrote it-
JB: I don’t, well absolutely not, but it’s an articulate email and I do – you’re absolutely right Geraldine and I think people have to give their names,
but she was – whoever has written it was the second person to say it. You heard a homeopath saying, if you go to the same, if you go to a website you will find exactly what this email has been written. But I take your point, I don’t know that it’s irresponsible but I take your point. Anyway please continue.
GH: OK the only other thing I wanted to say I think it’s a luxury, it is a luxury that people can not vaccinate their children because the majority do.
JB: Absolutely, I’ll give you that.
GH: I have friends who’ve had polio, because they weren’t vaccinated, I have friends who’s children died of whooping cough, in Eastern Europe, because there were no vaccinations, these are very nasty illnesses.
JB: Are you a medic, Geraldine?
GH: My husband’s a medic, my daughter’s a medic and my grandfather was a medic. And the only other thing I wanted to say was it’s not the drug companies, of course the drugs companies are pushing it, it’s the doctors, it’s the GPs, who see the children that aren’t vaccinated, that do catch the illnesses.
JB: Do you see – I find this fascinating –
is this a mindset? I don’t come from medicine, you do, I don’t like anything to do with allopathic medicine, and you don’t have an issue with it. Now do you think it’s a mindset that cannot be changed?
GH: I think that science has proved more children survive childhood since the vaccinations have been enforced. Strongly. I’m sorry for the children that do get whooping cough because they were vaccinated and the seventh one that wasn’t vaccinated didn’t get whooping cough. But I do think that modern medicine saves lives. And I repeat what I said: I think it is a luxury of the few, the middle class few – and I couldn’t be more middle class if I tried – it’s a luxury of the middle class few to enjoy homeopathy and all the other things that are wonderful!
JB: Yes but why-
GH: – but alongside regular medicine. And it-
JB: Yes that’s right and I think that it has to be complementary, and I think that debate has to continue,
because if we’re looking at countries that aren’t as luxurious as ours – what do we do with them?
GH: But children are dying! From whooping cough and measles, or going blind-
JB: But that’s actually Geraldine, my problem, with the hypocrisy of it. If [feedback] – ooh, are you there?
GH: Yeah, I’m here.
JB: If the medical profession absolutely cared, it would be sending drugs freely to countries where they need it. If we’re having to pay for these drugs, it’s not an altruistic thing that’s happening.
GH: No, it’s not, I’m talking about this country.
JB: Yeah but I’m talking about the notion of a drug-fuelled world, where if we’re going to be using drugs, and if some of them are better than others, and some are beneficial and some aren’t, why isn’t it free?
GH: Because big business isn’t free. Because that’s the real world. Sadly, it’s wrong, I think 100% it’s wrong; but it’s not free.
JB: OK, thank you very much, and I’m taking Geraldine’s point,
do you know what I might not read out your emails ever again unless you give me your name. I think she’s made an absolutely important point and I don’t want to scaremonger. Just give me an initial, say who you are, and then Geraldine, she’s put her finger on it, she’s absolutely right. Rob in Bermondsey, please speak to me.
The rest of this segment is hosted at The Quackometer Blog
CLIP SIX, 37.00 – 44.00 minutes. Starts 2.43 minutes into this segment Note: it’s difficult in this section to discern between Jeni’s comments and points when she is reading other’s letters, exercise caution.
JB: It’s 10 to 3. The body is a really delicate organism. The tiniest bit of something can make you go weird. A little tiny bit of caffeine and you can be running up and down the stairs. A little bit of potassium sor…I don’t know-whatever they put in these drinks-can make you itch. The body is a finely-tuned animal. We are animals. Obi in Richmond was looking at his sister’s London County Council Public Health Department Immunisation Record Card from 1966. Between 2 and 4 months of age, she was injected for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. 2 to 4 months of age. 8 weeks. That little, tiny body was injected for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Between 6 and 8 months, she was injected for poliomyelitis.
15 months, diphtheria again. 16 months, the smallpox test. 5 years, diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis. “So, my question is”, says Obi, “When did the immunisation for the measles and mumps start? I know that I had an allergic reaction to whooping cough as a baby, so I had no further jabs, not even the BCG at Secondary School. It’s all government spin”, says Obi. “Children don’t need the triple jab.”
And Helen says, “If there’s such a fear of measles epidemic because of lack of take-up of the MMR, why don’t they make it easier to have the jabs individually? That way surely more children would be vaccinated. There seems to be an agenda for reaching a target to wipe out measles
by a certain date but at what cost to individuals?”. She concludes, “It’s so difficult for young mums now. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. It’s such a minefield and you have to live with the consequences of your decision whichever way you vote”.
And I think that the reason you fill up my telephone-there are no calls being able to come in at the minute- is because you’re phoning is because there isn’t a definitive answer. There is no absolute answer.
As a parent, whether you are male or female, you have to make a decision based on your family history. I took my daughter who kept getting ear infections when she was a kid and one of the doctors said to me, “If you do not give her an asthma spray, and do not do this, that and the other, she will die within a week”. You don’t say that to a young mum, well, I was an old mum but she was only a little person.
Since I had asthma and my mother in law died of asthma and I’ve told you this before, that doctor didn’t take into account where I was coming from. I required him to look in my child’s ear and give me some indication of what was going on so I could make an informed decision.
I, however, am not like Yasmin in Chelsea. You would – what would you have done in that situation?
The rest of this segment is hosted at Holford Watch