Second school bans rubella vaccine

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The Independent Online
A second top Catholic boys' school has withdrawn from the Government's immunisation campaign because it uses a combined measles/rubella vaccine derived from aborted foetal-cell tissue.

Stonyhurst College in Lancashire has followed Ampleforth College in north Yorkshire in banning the vaccine, despite the 'deep concern' of Dr Kenneth Calman, the chief medical officer.

Dr Calman yesterday wrote to Fr Leo Chamberlain, headmaster of Ampleforth, challenging his decision to offer a measles-only vaccine to 420 pupils under 16, after discovering the rubella portion of the combined injection was derived from cells taken from an aborted male foetus in 1966. The cells were grown to produce a 'cell line' used to develop a number of vaccines in the 1970s. Fr Chamberlain said use of the vaccine could be viewed as condoning abortion. 'If you murder someone 20 years ago, it is still murder,' he said.

But Fr Chamberlain has accepted that rubella vaccination is important for girls. 'In my letter to parents, I am acknowledging that for those with daughters, the best way forward is probably to accept this vaccine . . . '

In a letter to the school, Dr Calman said that outbreaks of rubella among older boys led to 23 pregnant women becoming infected last year and 'around half' had abortions.