Choice of jabs should be offered for MMR, says poll

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

The vast majority of parents believe the NHS should offer an alternative to the MMR vaccine, which has been controversially linked to autism, according to a survey.

The vast majority of parents believe the NHS should offer an alternative to the MMR vaccine, which has been controversially linked to autism, according to a survey.

The results of the poll are likely to sustain the row over the vaccine after The Independent revealed on Saturday that the Prime Minister's 20-month-old son Leo had had the jab within the past fortnight.

The Prime Minister has refused to comment on the decision. The survey found that more than half of parents wanted him to speak publicly about his son's vaccination. The NOP poll, for ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald, found that 85 per cent of parents believed there should be a choice of single vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella instead of the three-in-one MMR jab.

Take-up of the MMR vaccine has declined sharply since a report linked it with the development of autism in young children, although leading medical bodies insist that it is safe.

Dr Kenneth Aitken, a specialist in the treatment of autism, said he believed there was a link. He said there was an increase in the number of cases being reported. "We've gone from, when I was training, one in 2,500, to now, where there is one in 250. At the moment the only logical explanation is MMR."

Patricia Troop, a government deputy chief medical officer, said evidence of a link had always been taken seriously. Any new research would be put before expert committees and could lead to a review of policy, she said. The Department of Health has repeatedly insisted that the combined MMR vaccine is the best way to protect children. However, about 2,000 families have taken legal action, claiming their children have been damaged by the jab.

There is concern that if 95 per cent vaccination rates are not achieved, there will be epidemics of the three childhood diseases.

The Public Health Laboratory Service revealed last week that take-up of the inoculation had dropped below 85 per cent across the country while in London it was 73.4 per cent.

A report, ordered by the Scottish Executive to look into the MMR jab and due to have been published at the end of this month, has been delayed. The delay follows reports that experts were divided over whether to offer a single vaccines. An Executive spokeswoman said the delay was "due to the huge remit of work".

Comments