Blair attacks 'scare-mongering' over MMR vaccine

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Indy Politics

The Prime Minister today hit out at "scare-mongering" over the MMR vaccine, which he said was safer than using individual jabs and backed by leading health professionals.

"The scare-mongering, and it is scare-mongering, about this vaccine is wrong," Tony Blair said during Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons. "Often such scare-mongering doesn't matter. In this case it does."

He urged parents with doubts to look at the "full evidence," which was available.

As controversy over the triple jab continued, Labour's Andy King (Rugby and Kenilworth) raised the issue in the Commons.

"Have you had time to examine the scientific and medical opinion on the MMR vaccine?" he demanded.

"Whatever our views, this matter is so important it must not be allowed to become a political football."

Mr Blair replied: "I do urge people not to pay attention to what is sometimes called Government advice.

"The Government is giving this advice on the basis of advice given to it by independent experts.

"That advice, that the MMR vaccine is safe and best done in combination rather than in separate jabs, is supported not just by the Government's independent advisory committee.

"It is supported by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association and the Faculty of Public Health Medicine."

Mr Blair said 90 countries around the world used the MMR vaccine, including every major industrialised country, and 500 million doses had been administered since 1972.

"If anybody has any doubts the full evidence is available and can be given to any parent who wants it," he added.

Later, the Prime Minister said the "genuine safety of children" was at risk with parents refusing to allow the MMR vaccine.

He highlighted reports "from around the world" saying available evidence did not support claims the jab was linked to autism.

Japan had opted for separate vaccination between 1994 and 1999 and suffered 85 deaths compared with none in Britain.

"Every single piece of important research done around the world has found it is important to have the MMR jab in combination and not separate."

Tory George Osborne (Tatton) said tens of thousands of parents had not accepted the Government's assurances over the vaccine.

"Instead of calling them scaremongers should you not give them the choice of three separate vaccinations on the NHS?" he demanded.

Mr Blair said the MMR jab was a "serious issue" as the "genuine safety of children is at risk".