Letter: Children and MMR

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a national charity which has spent the last 43 years helping people born deafblind, very often as a result of mothers catching the rubella virus while pregnant, Sense would agree with your editorial that parents should decide for themselves whether to get their child immunised.

Parents should ask for, and expect, information and reassurance about concerns and treatments that are in the family's and children's best interest. The MMR vaccine is a case in point.

Rubella is not an insignificant condition. Pregnant mothers who have caught rubella, very often from their other children, can tell you for themselves what it means - children can be born deaf, blind, brain damaged and with a variety of other health problems.

We do not believe that more people would be vaccinated if the vaccines were offered separately. It would require several separate injections to be administered over a period of time and during this time the child is not protected against all three diseases. There is also the possibility that not all parents would complete the programme and some would miss rubella out altogether.

Sense believes that MMR is the safest and clinically most effective way to protect against the devastating effects of rubella and that the Government is right in continuing to promote it.


Director of Policy and National Services, Sense

London N4