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New bid to push MMR jab

PUBLISHED: 11:02 27 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

A MAJOR drive has been launched to increase the number of parents giving their children the MMR vaccine.

Uptake for the controversial jab against measles, mumps and rubella has fallen across the country after a report linked it to autism in children, with the number of under-twos receiving the jab in Suffolk falling from over 90 per cent to less than 85pc.

A MAJOR drive has been launched to increase the number of parents giving their children the MMR vaccine.

Uptake for the controversial jab against measles, mumps and rubella has fallen across the country after a report linked it to autism in children, with the number of under-twos receiving the jab in Suffolk falling from over 90 per cent to less than 85pc.

Over the last week Suffolk Health Authority has tried to combat this by spending thousands of pounds to pay for adverts in the regional press, reassuring parents that MMR is safe and offers the best protection against measles.

The adverts take the form of the most commonly asked questions regarding the vaccine and state that there is definitely no link between the MMR and autism.

The information has also been sent to GPs and nurse practitioners in the county.

Dr Torbjorn Sundkvist, Locum Consultant in Communicable Diseases explained that over 90 countries rely on MMR vaccines to protect children against measles, and over 500 million doses have been given worldwide.

He said: "The World Health Organisation describes MMR as a highly effective vaccine with an outstanding safety record. The idea of giving the single antigen vaccines instead of the MMR vaccine would expose children to products with poorer safety records, some of which are unlicensed in this country."

Dr Sundkvist added that the alternative to MMR – three separate injections – did not offer the same level of protection and that Suffolk Health does not support its use.

He said: "Separating the vaccine into six single antigen injections would leave children unprotected for a longer period of time putting children at risk of contracting measles. Not a single country in the world advocates single antigen vaccinations to protect against these potentially serious childhood

diseases."

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