Two doctors present the opposing sides of the argument raging over the vaccine

FOR: Dr Brent Taylor

The MMR vaccine does not cause or trigger autism. It is just a coincidence that the symptoms of autism emerge at around the same age as the vaccination, but there is no direct link. For parents, it's always nice to have an external cause for autism, especially as it has a heavy genetic element. It is a terrible condition and we do need to try harder to understand the causes, but MMR is not one of them.

MMR has the safest profile of any vaccine used in the world. We need the MMR uptake to be over 95 per cent for it to be fully effective. At the moment it's not meeting this level and as a result there is a danger of a measles epidemic. It's an extremely worrying situation.

I would strongly advise all parents to give their children the MMR jab. It does not cause autism, regression or bowel problems.

* Dr Taylor is Professor of Community Child Health at the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London. An article of his on MMR is published in the 'British Medical Journal'.

AGAINST: Dr Peter Mansfield

I knew that MMR was a mistake from the start. Within 10 seconds I could see that it was a bad idea.

All the vaccinations prior to MMR could occur in nature; they had never been combined before. Normally, viruses can't infect at the same time, so if you put more than one virus into a body at once you are making a grave error. Surely the point of vaccination is to make it safer for children, but with MMR a child could be overwhelmed, and might not recover.

The deaths and severe reactions to MMR are just the tip of the iceberg. The Government should stop lying and recognise that MMR is one step too far. It's all nonsense. It's all about greed, and the gullibility of buyers at the Department of Health. These people are acting on behalf of the nation and they should be more sceptical.

* Dr Mansfield continues to offer individual vaccines at the Good HealthKeeping Centre in Louth, Lincolnshire. A GMC case against his policy of providing the vaccines collapsed last year.