This is analogous to the situation in south Wales, where in response to an outbreak of measles the government has set up a series of clinics offering the MMR vaccine, formulated to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.
Officials will continue to point out that the outbreak is due to declining uptake of the MMR vaccine, and they have a point. What we need to do, though, is look at why uptake is declining: the most obvious is the case made by Andrew Wakefield et al that MMR causes autism, amongst other conditions, in a significant minority of vaccinated children. His detractors – for example journalist Brian Deer, who accuses Wakefield of making up evidence – do not explain why The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical magazine, took 12 years to retract Wakefield’s 1998 article.
At the end of the day, though, this is not about personalities or politics. This is a measles epidemic. A single measles vaccine is available. However, NHS Direct says it’s not available on the NHS because of fears that "fewer children would receive all the necessary injections, increasing the levels of measles, mumps and rubella in the UK". Isn’t the measles outbreak an early warning that this is exactly what is happening because of the withdrawal of single vaccines from NHS doctors' prescription pads?