There is no "current" evidence that the combined MMR vaccine causes autism or bowel disorders, a report commissioned by the Scottish Executive has concluded.
The MMR Expert Group, whose report was commissioned eight months ago, said the immunisation programme did not need to be changed.
However, it also said there was no guarantee that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was 100 per cent safe and called for more research into the causes of autism and inflammatory bowel disease.
Since the uncertainty about the safety of the MMR vaccine has arisen, there has been a sharp decline in take-up and only 86 per cent of two-year-olds have received the inoculation.
In attempting to address parental fears, the committee – some members of which have shares in the company that makes the MMR vaccine – dismissed several alternative suggestions often put forward.
The panel of 19 experts said the suggestion that "no immunisation" should be provided was an "untenable argument", but the other extreme – compulsory inoculation – was also misguided because there was "no evidence it would lead to higher take-up".
The panel also said that to offer single vaccines was fraught with danger because it "would leave children unprotected for longer".
In welcoming the report, Malcolm Chisholm, Scotland's Minister for Health, confirmed that the executive would be "sticking with the tried-and-tested MMR programme".