Parents seek jabs bar

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Parents are demanding the withdrawal of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccination - known as MMR - after gathering details of almost 1,000 cases in which it is alleged to have caused adverse reactions, writes Jeremy Laurance.

Members of the pressure group Jabs, which represents parents of 400 affected children, are to meet the health minister, Tessa Jowell, on 10 September. They will say the triple vaccine must be withdrawn and single vaccines given separately until more is known about the risks of giving them in combination.

But government and independent health experts say the risks of the combined vaccine are far outweighed by the risks of diseases it prevents. Measles can lead to brain damage and cause death, mumps can lead to infertility, and rubella can cause blindness and deafness in the offspring of women who catch it during pregnancy.

Ann Coote, a co-founder of Jabs, said giving three vaccines in one injection was too much for a baby's developing immune system to cope with.