The Catch-up: Why has the measles crisis got so bad?

What happened?

New figures released today show that more than half a million children in the UK are at risk of death or disability as a result of not being vaccinated against measles. Experts have warned the country is facing a ‘growing public health timebomb’ as a result. Measles cases almost quadrupled in England in the past year. Globally an estimated 169 million children missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017.

Why aren’t parents vaccinating their children against measles?

Inaccurate and misleading anti-vaccination messages on social media are responsible for vaccination rates plummeting. Instagram and YouTube have been singled out in particular for spreading messages from so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’, who claim vaccinations are dangerous and the risks are being hidden from the public. In 1998, former doctor Andrew Wakefield published a now discredited study claiming the MMR vaccine causes autism in children. Despite the fact Mr Wakefield was found to have falsified evidence, he continues to espouse the theory. The anti-vax movement has gathered particular traction in the US, where measles cases are at the highest levels seen for 20 years.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said today: “Getting yourself and your children vaccinated against killer diseases is essential to staying healthy, and vaccine rejection is a serious and growing public health timebomb. With measles cases almost quadrupling in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero tolerance approach towards this dangerous content.”

Read more:
‘Startling evidence cases should spur us towards hardline action’ (The Independent)
US judge upholds mandatory measles vaccination order (Reuters)
Nearly 170m under-10s unvaccinated against measles worldwide (The Guardian)
Mother shares photos of baby girl with measles  (The Independent)

Senior Tories have voted against plans to change party rules to get rid of Theresa May within weeks. The influential 1922 Committee rejected the plans to allow a vote on Mrs May’s leadership as early as June – reportedly by a narrow margin of nine votes to seven. It now means that Prime Minister is safe until December – but she is being pressured to make it clearer when she intends to depart. When – if at all – do you believe Theresa May should step aside? Read the full story and have your say below:


Security driver admits stealing £1m from his own van 

A G4S driver has admitted stealing almost £1 million from one of the firm’s vans. Joel March is alleged to have fled with deposit boxes after abandoning the cash-in-transit vehicle in a leafy south London street on Tuesday morning. The blue armoured van, emblazoned with G4S logos, sat on a double yellow line on Larkhall Rise, Clapham, for eight hours before police were alerted. Read the full story here (HuffPost)

Rami Malek to star in new 007 film

Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek will star in the 25th James Bond film alongside Daniel Craig, it was confirmed today. Malek, 37, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, has been cast with Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch and Game Night actor Billy Magnussen for the untitled release, referred to as Bond 25. Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright will also return. Read the full story here (Telegraph)

Talks have officially begun between Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin as the pair met in Vladivostok for their first summit together. The Russian president said that the Kremlin would like to help support efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff.

40 metres

A pug has been rescued by firefighters after falling down a 130ft (40m) well in her owner’s garden. Three-year-old Kiki was tempted into a holdall filled with treats and hauled up the shaft with ropes by the firefighters. Despite apparently falling down the well from a significant height, the pet escaped without any major injuries and “bounced straight out of the bag and ran around the garden”, according to a Kent Fire and Rescue Service statement. (Yahoo News UK)