Letter: Autism and MMR jab

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IT WILL cost more, in the long run, to pay for care of our autistic children for life, than to give the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination as separate injections, rather than the current combined one, as suggested by Dr Andrew Wakefield ("Doctors link autism to MMR vaccination", 27 February).

I quite agree that measles is a killer and no one wishes to see a return of this disease but, I, for one, would not have given my son the combined MMR vaccine if I had been aware that there was any chance of him becoming autistic.

My "normal" developing, very easy-going, responsive child is now shut away in his own world, needing 24-hour attention and assistance. Our family life is totally split; rarely do we venture out, all four of us together, as Michael's needs have to be considered to prevent ourtbursts of anger and frustration. We're not able to do things other families take for granted: playing board-games, going to the cinema, or to the pantomime at Christmas. Michael couldn't cope with these, becoming agitated and confused by the noise and crowds.

We should fund further immediate research and stop giving the combined MMR vaccines until it can be proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. I applaud Dr Wakefield and all the research team for taking the first step, and making people aware of this condition.

KAREN GOODALL

Cambridge

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