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Jeni Barnett spouting pure, unadulterated ignorance about the MMR Vaccine.

February 7, 2009

This entry has been pretty much written for me. I am a big fan of the Bad Science web site, Guardian column and the excellent book by Ben Goldacre.

Recently he posted on yet another example of the irresponsible, ill-informed, idiocy of the UK media and the anti-vaccination sheep, that flock behind a banner of ignorance that they do nothing to look beyond.

On this occasion, the ignorance being spouted was by UK radio presenter Jeni Barnett, and the hypocritical over-reaction to it by herself and her employers (LBC “News” Radio) was first reported here – Jeni Barnett MMR radio show.

This has been transcribed below, by the following excellent web sites…

Part 1 – Science Punk
Part 2 – The Lay Scientist
Part 3 – PodBlack Cat
Part 4 – The Skeptic’s Book
Part 5 – The Quackometer
Part 6 – Holford Watch

I apologise for the length of it, but please, read it, check what she says with real information sources based on the plethora of scientific evidence that shows her for the fool she is, blog about it and spread the word as far as you can Wikileaks, (follow this link); it is not hosted on this site. You can also listen to parts via YouTube here.

If it is removed from either of these locations, post a comment on this blog and I will post a link to where it can be located again.

The words I write and the transcript below just cannot convey the fervour of this dangerously ignorant mouthpiece of an even more ignorant herd.

At the end, she states that the “Department of Health frightens people”. Well people like her frighten me. She could very well cause deaths, not just one or two, but directly or indirectly she could cause very many indeed. She admits her ignorance, but it does not stop her…

Posted by Jeni in | 5 February 2009

I am not a scientist, I would not claim to be a scientist

When tested on the contents of the MMR vaccine I told the truth. I did not have the facts to hand.

Was I ill informed? Yes.

As a responsible broadcaster I should have been better prepared as a parent, however, I can fight my corner. I don’t know everything that goes into cigarettes but I do know they are harmful

As a professional should I have been better prepared – YES – but the discussion took off in a direction I hadn’t expected when I received a vicious phone call from a Nurse I was utterly thrown.

I won’t get thrown again.

I find it interesting that the vitriol that comes out of the pro MMR lobby is precisely why Allopathic medicine is struggling. Most of us who seek alternatives allow others their position but often the ‘others’ have a real problem allowing us ours.

Doesn’t change my mind though. The fact that I decided not to have my child jabbed was my decision alone. And it is a lonely decision. To be singled out and held totally responsible for a measles, mumps or rubella ‘epidemic’ is clearly ludicrous.

Single jabs on demand? Why is that a problem?

Injecting tiny babies with substances that may compromise their immune system needs to be looked at not shouted down.

And I do not accept that my position, as a radio broadcaster, is irresponsible if I should choose to share my own personal dilemma.

I would like some of my critics to try and run a three hour programme.

I am interested in the debate not a witch hunt.

Should anybody from BAD SCIENCE read this I urge you to continue the debate, and if it gets too heated there is always the option of turning me off.

Jeni Barnett, February 5th 2009.

If you want the truth behind the MMR vaccine debate, I’m not going to reprint it here, every decent evidence/science-based web site and their derivatives have got the story, check it out here…

Sense About Science – MMR Vaccines

And now the transcript…

DISCLAIMER: This is a transcript pulled together by the considerable efforts of a number of people (see above). There are some mistakes, so use it to scan the contents of the show, then listen.

The transcript cannot prepare you for the vehemence she expresses in the ignorance of her position.


Jeni Barnett = JB


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?


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 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…

Tracy the homeopath’s call

JB: 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. Tracy in Olympia, talk to me.

Tracy: Hi Jeni. Yes, I’d like to totally agree with you the fact that immunisation is totally unnecessary, especially in this day and age when hygiene has changed so much since how it used to be.

I have 4 children. The oldest being 12, the youngest being 3. [Infant noises.] You can probably hear in the background right now.

JB: Don’t talk to me, just talk to her for a second.

Tracy: [Soothes child.] My eldest is 12, my youngest is 3, none of them have ever been vaccinated, immunised. And they’re all very healthy children. They don’t have any auto-immune diseases. They don’t suffer asthma, eczema. I just think [vaccination] is total abuse of the immune system.

JB: Now, now, now. I want to do this slowly because you’re going to have people phoning in saying you’re utterly irresponsible. Twelve years ago when you had your first baby, why did you not have them inoculated?

Tracy: It started off, I went on a short course about, it was a choice, making a choice about vaccination. And it was run by a homeopath.

JB: But why did you go on that course in the first place?

Tracy: Because I had a feeling inside, I inherently knew, that it must be wrong to be putting toxins and poisonous material into a young baby’s body.

JB: Right.

Tracy: It’s as simple as that. Mercury, formaldehyde, you know – live viruses that are cured (?) in monkeys’ kidneys. How can that be right for your child?

JB: Now, are you, by any stretch of the imagination, described as a crank by your friends?

Tracy: No. They all know me too well now.

JB: So, when you made that decision, and when I made that decision 22 years ago, it is about the loneliest decision you’re ever going to make.

Tracy: Oh, absolutely! Even your family, you’ll have people standing up saying, “Why? Aren’t you being irresponsible?”. You’ve got the doctors, you’ve got the health authorities…You know you’ve just got to take the bull by the horns and confront that on a daily basis.

People at the school would frown upon me as if my child was in some way was gonna infect their child by not being vaccinated.

But I’m a very strong-willed person anyway. And from what I learned from my first son being born I decided, yeah, I want to take this further, and investigated it a bit more and went on to college and trained to become a homeopath.

JB: Really?

Tracy: Yes. It all came from initially just thinking, “Do I want to so this?” and it all started with that very first thought. And you know what? The more you investigate it, the more you find out about it. And anyone, right now, this moment in time can go on the internet, they can go on sites. They can find out the dangers of vaccination and make their own informed decision.

I’m not saying that for everybody it’s going to be as straightforward and as straight cut as I was able to make that decision myself. But I just knew, from the beginning, that it was the wrong thing to do.

JB: This is fascinating.

Tracy, let me ask you this. When measles-if there’s a case of measles at the kids’ school, or if there’s a case of mumps or chickenpox-what do you do?

Tracy: I say, “Great! Come on kids – let’s go get it”. Because children get childhood diseases for a reason. It’s to boost their immune system so that later on in life when they come into contact with those diseases, it doesn’t affect them so severely. And that is why they are called childhood diseases.

The only reason children get really, really ill and perhaps, you know, suffer serious side-effects are if: a) their immune system is not strong enough to fight off the virus, or b) they are being suppressed by drugs or in some other way. Suppressant drugs or given too much antibiotics or…

JB: Now, now, you see, Tracy. People will hear what you’re saying and they’ll say, “It’s all right for you”. As you’ve (quite rightly) said, your kids-Thank God, touch wood and I’m touching it as we speak-they have run through this. But you are saying it is an individual decision, aren’t you?

Tracy: Absolutely, yeah, yeah. I would never, even in my job, I would never say to people, “You mustn’t do that”. I would give them the facts and say, “This is what I’ve come across. Go on these websites-and there are thousands out there-do your own investigations, don’t take my word for it. You know, everything I say, it may be my truth, it may not be yours. But you must investigate it yourself and don’t take the easy way out”.

I’ve had doctors ringing me at home. I’ve had Health Visitors having angry conversations with me. And now, what I say to those people-whose minds I’m not going to change anyway-that’s fine-I just say, “That’s my choice I’m making and I am making an informed decision”. And every parent has the right to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, not many people do want to do that.

JB: Tracy, I think that with you inspiring them they may jolly well want to after that.

Fantastic. 2:15 and [going to travel segment].

JB: You just heard from Tracey, four kids, became a homeopath on the back of thinking of whether she should have her first child immunised.

And this is on the back of us being the ‘Dirty Land’, really. We are the dirty land of Europe; a new study has documented that we are now up there with the best of the them, with more cases of measles than we should have. They wanted to banish measles from Europe by 2010.

“There are many other ways of doing it, rather than jabbing people! And I am a responsible parent!” This is from Kay (that was the mail address) – “my son was fully immunised with MMR; I did not let my younger daughter have the MMR booster. They have been fine until this summer.

My fully immunised son got the mumps, mildly and everyone thought that my daughter would get it worse – guess what, she didn’t get a single symptom! Interesting – that the doctors did not know what to do with the mumps, it had been so long since they’d seen it – they had to look up in their computers or in the manuals to answer my questions about incubation or staying out of circulation.”

Now, you heard what our young homeopath said – you’ve always got to hear two sides, you’ve got to make an informed decision – your children will not be the same as anybody else’s children. But I can remember my brother getting mumps and him getting swollen glands and him being given jelly and ice-cream and I can remember running around and NOT getting mumps! And I can remember my mother saying ‘we’ve got to be careful, because he’s a boy and you know what happens with mumps …’ – I didn’t know what happened with mumps, who knew? Something to do with the testicular region, well, I didn’t know.

But the fact is that the more we sanitise society and the more we become absolutely – what’s the word – hypocritical about stuff – you cannot support letting our children run riot and not converse with each other and not play and all the other stuff that we’re doing… and then get up in high dudgeon when we don’t put drugs into their body!

Stick the kids out running in air, ban cars on the road, make them have six hours a day PE at school give them an hour every single day where they’re running around playing rounders and walls and not just – a few! My daughter’s beautiful boy Nathan, he’s a footballer and he gets an infection and he falls over – he gets better, because he’s always running and jumping and doing star-jumps or whatever you do!

We have to look at the source of this, and it’s not good for you – you listened to that clip from Nick Ferrari’s program – if you scare-monger, people don’t know how to make clear decisions about some things.

Do you want your kids to have an inoculation or don’t you? Don’t make people feel guilty if you make the decision that they don’t want to have drugs put into them; when I was out in American, eighteen months ago, the only cases of polio that were coming across were the ones where the children had the polio vaccine. And most doctors who were out in the States were not letting their children have it! What does that say to you?

It’s empirical! Empirical wisdom! Experience! 0-8-4-5-6-0-6-0-9-7-3 How do you make decisions on behalf of your children?

John in Epsom doesn’t say what she wants to hear

John in Epsom – talk to me.

John: Afternoon Jenny. I’m not a medical expert, but I listen to the radio and I listen to LBC – I listen to your competitors quite a lot. Every single medical expert that you’ve ever had on LBC, always said MMRs are a good thing and all the evidence against them have been refuted.

JB: …yeah.

John: So?

JB: Does that make it right??

John: Well, yeah! I pretty much think it does, actually! Yeah!

JB: How come?

John: Well, you sound like… when you say ‘My four kids, this ladies’ four kids’ – you sound like one of those people who say ‘My Aunty Flo lived to be a hundred and ten and she smoked a hundred cigarettes a day’! There’s always going to be someone, but in general…

JB: Uh, but wasn’t Aunty Flo ALLOWED to do that?

John: She was, but would she have done it and would you have let her do it, and would the world been happy for her to do it, if we knew now…

JB: What we knew then?

John: What we know now?

JB: But that’s precisely why I didn’t want my kids and my granddaughter and I don’t know what Zowie’s choice is going to be, but that’s precisely because we do know what we know now, that I don’t want to go anywhere near drugs! I’m sixty in eight months time and people ask if I’ll go on HRT – no! Do I want plastic surgery? No! But the media and the drug companies would like to make me unusual!

John: Do you not feel that all this information that’s out there, it is being weighted in a certain direction…

JB: Yeah, to frighten us!

John: No, not to frighten us – look there’s this fellow who was on James O’Brian’s program this week, who’s written a book called ‘BAD SCIENCE’…

JB: Right.

John: …and he went on about all the things – like, your previous lady was a homeopath, and with all due respect, the guy talking about BAD SCIENCE was talking about all kinds of things that people regard as remedies, and this guy who is a doctor was laughing at the, um…

JB: [interrupts] Listen, let me put this to you…

John: …the lack of evidence…

JB: John, let me put this to you – there’s a good point and I take your point. But let me put this to you – my nan, if you had an ear infection, would have put salt in a sock, heated it up, somehow (she didn’t have a microwave), put it behind your ear and good golly, Miss Molly, that ear infection would slow down in some way.

Now, there’s not a lot of science in it, but it blooming well worked!

John: You don’t know that there’s a lot of science in it Jeni?

JB: No, but what I’m saying is that

John: It might be down to heat on the back of the ear…

JB: … of course it is! But you said it yourself, John, scientific evidence and the media, we all weigh things in a particular way, so that we come up with the answer that we want to come up with – if you are funding a vaccine as a drug company, you are going to want to frighten people into having to take it! Because somebody wants to make the money out of it! And it’s all about – it’s all about economics.

And I’m delighted that you listen to LBC, it’s wonderful, because it means that you are listening to both sides.

‘Bad Science’? Absolutely! And you know, Darwin was born a hundred years ago this week and there’s a lot of people who thought Darwin had it wrong.

Things change, John!

Amanda in Hayward’s Heath

Amanda’s in Hayward’s Heath, talk to me, Amanda….

JB: Amanda, talk to me.

Amanda: Hello! Um, I’ve got eight children,

JB: Mazel-tov! Are you still sane?

Amanda: No! Anyway, and I started off, young, about twenty – did all the things you were supposed to do and presented my daughter and she had all her vaccinations and my second daughter had all her vaccinations. Then my son was born and he reacted very badly to the first, and what I think then was the double or triple jab.

Um, so he then didn’t have any more, although he did then have the MMR, well, he did have some more, but he didn’t have any more Whooping Cough. He then had the MMR, um… and then when he was three he was diagnosed with autism. And so I got quite involved in vaccines, because I wasn’t sure, um, my paediatrician was quite sure that it was the cause of the autism, but I mean, I didn’t know.

And from then on, I decided not to have my children vaccinated – I just thought ‘better be on the safe side’ – I mean, my paediatrician thought it was great, my GPs weren’t; they were always very unhappy that I didn’t have them vaccinated.

JB: Why, why though, that the GPs won’t take on what the paediatrician did??

Amanda: I don’t know! I mean, my paediatrician is great, she’s a very holistic paediatrician – she was the of big chief consultants at a hospital down on the south coast, so she’s a very good paediatrician, but she very much believed in … in just sort of holistically looking after the child. Um, she didn’t like giving drugs for things if you didn’t need it.

JB: But you know, people do throw ‘guilt things’, at you, don’t they? They must say to you ‘all right, for you, Amanda’.

Amanda: Um…

JB: How do you cope with that?

Amanda: Well, yeah, they probably do, um, … the main thing I found is that my eldest who has everything, she actually had a really bad case of Whooping Cough, about two years ago. And we did get quite a lot of things thrown at us then but she was the one who had been vaccinated. None of my other children picked it up.

JB: Now what would you say – I mean, it’s not my job to say to people ‘don’t do it’, it’s not my job to do any of that. But you’re allowed to have your say. What would you say to people as a mum of eight little lives that you’re deeply responsible for? What would you say to people who are in two minds about it?

Amanda: Um. Well, I would never recommend having children vaccinated, and people think I’m very strange. But all my younger children who have never been vaccinated have been very, very healthy. Um, the youngest had measles, um, now three months ago. And he was fine, he wasn’t very well for about a week, ten days – and then he was fine, and none of my others picked it up. So, I think they must have a certain amount of natural immunity – and I’m far, far happier for them to have developed that ‘natural immunity’ – than to be constantly filled with artificial substances.

JB: Well, thank you so much, my darling, that was Amanda in Hayword’s Heath.

“I was just listening to your show, if people took the time to look at what’s in vaccines, they would think twice about giving them to their children. As well as not being a hundred percent effective, they also have cancer-causing agents.

“Also a child’s immune system takes approximately two to three months to fully get up and running from birth. Also, if we look at the countries that have the highest population vaccinated, you will notice that they have the most allergies. I’m not totally against immunisations, but we should be giving children at least a year to develop their own immune system to deal with the onslaught.”

I didn’t say that – I wish you’d given me your name? There’s a third way, says somebody else who’s nameless: “Why don’t we allow children to have the jabs individually?” Why not? It’s half-past two!

[Sound bytes + introduction for next guest]

I’ve just got one or two announcements, and there are many of you who want to talk about this measles thing – I get so impassioned about it, because I think it’s about freedom – and I think that self responsibility for your body and children and health is top of the list! You know, early to bed, early to rise, makes you HEALTHY, wealthy and wise! The four-square of life: health, wealth, love, and perfect surface expression!

Where do you go from there? About being healthy – and YOU have to make a decision, don’t you, on behalf of your children! It’s the WORST decision you’ll have to make – should you / shouldn’t you! It’s alright when you’re making it for yourself – but I want you to tell me, why you think we have to have this measles jab and why I’ve got several things I’m going to read out in a minute, why you think it’s not necessary!

And I’ll be talking to a doctor in a moment, and somebody who is pro-jabs, I just have to make two announcements…

[More sound bytes + advertising for a band and an event announcement]

Geraldine from Hampstead

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.

“Dr. Rob” who loses a bit of credibility in my book, by admitting he performs acupuncture…

ROB: Good afternoon Jennie

JB: Good afternoon sir.

ROB: The very last point that you made, the answer to that is that it’s a geopolitical thing, it’s got nothing to do with the facts of medicine and measles and how measles affects individuals and indeed how the vaccine affects individuals. Let me give you just a few very basic facts for your listeners.

My background, I’m quite happy to tell you what I do, I was a paediatrician for a while and then I became a GP, I also do some acupuncture and some complementary medicine so I’m [unclear] to most arguments and can listen to most points that I can during my day. And the facts of measles are that most people’s experience of measles if their child gets measles is that it’s a mild illness, gives them fever and a rash and mum has to take a few days off work to look after their child, and they get better.

That’s because that’s what happens with most children with measles. Some children however, get very very very serious complications of measles and because the measles rate in the UK is lower – although is now on the increase – most people’s experience is of the mild illness.

All you need to do is meet one family whose normal child, they took the decision not to vaccinate their child, they got measles, and they got a devastating complication such as inflammation of the brain which we call encephalitis, or they died, then your opinion changes.

JB: Not necessarily.

ROB: Well it may change your-

JB: But you see Rob let me just-

ROB: A different level to your-

JB: It’s a different level, I completely take what you’re saying, but I can counter that with: ‘Gave my son MMR, and then watched him shut down for a week as autism took hold, went from chatty little boy to no speech at all, now lives in his own world, I live with guilt’ – that’s from Paul.

Now I can counter an emotional argument-

ROB: Of course I completely appreciate that and people are, and still are, very worried about the links between MMR and even though as Jen, one of your listeners said ‘Every GP who comes on the phone says all of that evidence has been disproved’, it still lingers as a concern, and I meet parents every day who are concerned about that, and it’s very hard to dispel that.

JB: What do you say to them though, what’s your advice?

ROB: Well I think, what I take them through is the facts that I started off this conversation with. The other fact I just want to tie in and I know you’re busy-

JB: No!, you can talk.

ROB: Is that vaccination, with vaccinations, some children don’t respond to a vaccination, so some people phone up and they say ‘Look my child’s had this vaccine and still got measles.’ That’s because of the science of the vaccine, after one vaccine of MMR about 90% of children will mount a response to protect them from measles. After the booster – so the second vaccine of MMR – that figure goes to about 95-96%. That’s about 4% children who’ve had both doses who’ll still be vulnerable.

JB: But there are those [unclear] and if you were [unclear] are you sneezing?!

ROB: Yeah; I’m still here.

JB: God bless you darling, gezundheit, how lovely to have you sneezing on air. If you were my doctor, and I brought in my daughter, I would want to know what side effects there were of these things, and then I would then have to make my decision based on that, wouldn’t I?

ROB: Well of course, of course, the other-

JB: And that’s what I think- go on.

ROB: The other complicating factor [unclear] vaccine is that, if you’re [unclear] is, as you said through your show, you can make an automous informed decision for yourself once you’re over sixteen. One your making for your child is a completely different thought process, isn’t it?

JB: Well absolutely, but Paul has said-

ROB: [sneezes]

JB: God bless you again my darling, you’re sneezing [unclear]

ROB: Yeah, everyone’s given me a cold, people cough in my face and I get a cold-

JB: But you see there’s a point, I’m going to ask you something here.

Have you had the flu jab?

ROB: Yes I have.

JB: And still you’ve got the cold?

ROB: I’ve got a cold but I haven’t got the flu, I’m not in bed unable to get out for a week.

JB: But why-

ROB: That vaccine protects you from influenza, it doesn’t protect you from colds.

JB: You see, I, would there ever be, I mean you say that you give acupuncture and you give all sorts of complementary things, why is measles, in the 21st century, such a hot topic?

JB: Because, I think one of the problems Jennie, the honest [unclear] is that people like – because the measles, mumps and rubella comes as one, people think about each of the individual diseases.

Now rubella really is only a problem in early pregnancy, as you talked about on your show, and mumps, OK, it can lead to some complications for boys, with their testicles if they get involved, but measles is the one that really does kill.

And it does kill children, and it’s just because the numbers in Western Europe and the States and Australia are lower that we don’t see this so often.

And in fact a few years ago there were children dying in Ireland of measles, I think there were two children, died in Ireland.

JB: And what causes measles?

ROB: Measles is caused by a virus, and it’s spread by coughing, it’s spread by sneezing, it’s spread by close contact-

JB: So let me ask you this, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I want to squeeze it out of you, if it’s viral, if childrens’ immune systems are strong-

ROB: [sneezes]

JB: God bless you again! If it’s a viral thing and childrens’ immune systems are strong, what’s the problem?

Is it because our childrens’ immune systems are now so shot that they cannot deal with an ordinary childhood illness?

ROB: I don’t believe that to be true, you have three children in a class, one gets a cold, and that child sneezes in his class, over his two classmates, one of them may get a cold and one of them may not, but all three of those children are perfectly healthy, that’s just the nature of disease.

JB: I didn’t say that though. I asking you as a medic, and you’ve got an -ology, and I’ve only got half an -ology,

ROB: I have got an -ology [laughs]

JB: [laughs] and an allergy, it sounds like too – if all three childrens’ immune system were very very strong, they would deal with it differently, wouldn’t they? Who’s done that test? Who’s done that scientific test?

ROB: Well I can’t quote you a scientific paper about that, but it’s an observation, isn’t it, that people seem to think that a sanitised country, and the sanitised parts that we live in, is weakening children, that’s why there’s more eczema, there’s more allergies and this kind of thing, it’s a theory, it’s not-

JB: It’s not science-

ROB: You can dig out papers to prove that, you can dig out papers to disprove that, but that’s the same with modern medicine, that you have to weigh it in the balance, and my ending argument really would be, it’s a numbers game, and the numbers are that most children who get measles will get over it, a very few minority get very serious


JB: That’s what needs to be said, and I bless you, Dr Rob in Bermondsey, and actually, he has to go because we’re going to Travel.

[More sound bytes and travel news before the discussion continues]

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.

Yasmin in Chelsea – is the nurse JB refers to as “vicious” in the blog post above. I fail to see the bits where she was vicious, but whatever, she’s transmitted a programme full of misinformation and downright garbage, so what’s a blog post?

I, however, am not like Yasmin in Chelsea. You would – what would you have done in that situation?

JB: 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.

Yasmin: I’m just wondering how much longer your programme is on air. Because I give hundreds of MMR vaccines and all the work that we do in general practice is probably being undone by your programme in 15 minutes and I think it’s very irresponsible.

JB: Why. [Indistinct]

Yasmin: It doesn’t seem to be based on any facts. I’m very sorry to hear that your child had autism but if you…

JB: My child. Yasmin – [not] my child – somebody else’s child had autism.

Yasmin: Somebody else’s child, I’m very sorry to hear that. But if they read the Wakefield study in the Lancet in 1998, Dr Wakefield actually said that he didn’t prove an association between MMR and…

JB: Well he wasn’t really allowed to have his say, was he, Yasmin. He was kinda…

Yasmin: I think he was. I think he said it recently in court.

JB: But you’re not…

Yasmin: I think he’s being tried for medical negligence. I think that your programme is extremely irresponsible. You’re talking…

JB: Ah, let me just ask this…Let me ask you this before you go on with that.

How, if you are so certain that your MMR jab is correct, how can 15 minutes on LBC 97.3 rock what people are thinking?

Yasmin: Well, you’d be surprised. And at the moment we are expecting a measles epidemic and it’s because of people like Ken Livingstone and people like yourself.

You talk about young mothers who have a very difficult decision to make and, I agree, they do, and I spend a lot of time talking to them. But people like you don’t really make it any easier for them.

And you were just talking about somebody with an ear infection. I’ve been talking to somebody I know who had a child who woke up with the contents of their ear on the pillow and that was down to the rubella virus.

So you really need to think about what you’re doing here and why you’re doing it.

JB: Well, you see, I could argue, Yasmin, that you have to think about it, too. I’m allowed…

Yasmin: I do, every day.

JB: And so do I, as a parent, and that’s what I’m saying.

Yasmin: I’m a parent. And one of my children has had 3 doses of measles [sic. Possibly meant MMR – I have heard the MMR vaccine injection referred to as “measles” by nurses and doctors as a form of professional slang – The Milligan] and there’s no problem with it. You could have a hundred doses of measles [sic. Possibly meant MMR] and it would do nothing.

[Yasmin and JB talk over each other]

JB: But why give them the vaccine if they get the measles? I never can understand that.

Yasmin: We don’t give vaccines to children who have had measles. They need a combined vaccine of measles, mumps and rubella.

If they have one dose the studies show that they possibly need to be revaccinated within a couple of years to make sure that that protection carries on for life.

JB: Do you not think, though, that as a parent, I am allowed to make a decision about what I put in my kid’s body?

Yasmin: Yes. And do you not think that a parent whose child has cancer and is having chemotherapy and has a much lower resistance to things like measles, mumps and rubella, has a right for their child to go to normal Primary…

JB: Absolutely, absolutely.

Yasmin: A normal Primary School. But because there may be one child in the class, such as yours, who is lucky to have the immunity, that child might get measles, mumps or rubella and die.

JB: Yasmin, my daughter did not have decent immunity which is exactly why I did not have her inoculated.

Yasmin: We don’t. We wait until your child is well and fit enough to give the MMR.

JB: But I don’t want my child to be fiddled with with all sorts of stuff that’s in a vaccine. Now why…

[JB and Yasmin talk over each other]

Let me finish.

Yasmin: Could you tell me what’s in the vaccine? What do you think is in the vaccine?

JB: No, I can’t.

Yasmin: Then how can you make a decision for your child? You’re taking about parents having to make decisions for the child but if you go into any secondary school, which I have done, we’ve been asked to vaccinate kids against MMR, they all say they want it.

If you’re deny immunisation then you’re denying health to your child and other children.

JB: No, no, no. My child is absolutely strong and healthy in many ways…

Yasmin: Then you’re one of the lucky ones aren’t you? If your kid had chemotherapy…

JB: Listen, listen, listen. Yasmin will you stop…Stop.

Yasmin: You’d want your child to be protected, wouldn’t you?

JB: Stop being so dramatic about it. If you

[JB and Yasmin talk over each other.]

Yasmin: You should think about what you’re doing in this programme. You’re doing a lot of damage. A lot of damage.

JB: Well, maybe. I don’t think so.

Yasmin: You don’t know what you’re talking about. You can’t even tell me what’s in an MMR vaccine so you shouldn’t be talking about it.

JB: Well, I can get it…Shall I get it off the internet, Yasmin?

Yasmin: Yeah, get it off the internet, from a reliable source, the such as the Department of Health

JB: Really?

Yasmin: and then I might listen to you, yeah.

JB: The Department of Health frightens people.

Thanks, Yasmin, for your call.

I think it’s quite interesting. When I was told I had a high blood sugar, I was told in that room I had diabetes. I don’t have diabetes, I have high blood sugar. My blood sugar’s normal now but they frightened me. Which is what people like Yasmin does.


This ignorance is broadcast to a lot of people. The DoH doesn’t frighten me, but the idiot Barnett scares me a lot. Thankfully my three kids have been vaccinated, and with every passing day, I vaccinate their minds against people like her.


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2009 3:19 am

    Thanks for posting the transcript! I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand listening to an endless mp3, but I thought I’d be able to skim the transcript.


    The twaddle is trowelled on so thick, I had to start skipping after four paragraphs.

  2. themilligan permalink*
    February 8, 2009 11:58 am

    I can only agree. Listening to this broadcast was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had in years! And the transcript was only marginally better.

    The fervour of Jeni B’s ignorance and the frequent stupidity is outrageous…

    “You’ve had the flu vaccine and you’ve still got a cold?”

    Er, yes, because a cold isn’t the flu.

    “Do you have any idea what’s in the vaccine?”

    “No, I haven’t.”

    For that alone, for going on-air as a broadcaster, completely unprepared for such a basic, simple question, this woman should be suspended at least.

    Brand and Ross left a stupid, tasteless, answerphone message and the BBC took decisive action.

    Jeni Barnett fails to do the basics of her job, endangers lives and her employers protect her with threats of legal action.


  1. Jeni Barnett and the LBC Radio MMR Vaccine Segment: Updated with links of blog coverage « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

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