Single-jab vaccine has strong response

HINTLESHAM GP Mike Debenham has had more than 1,000 contacts in the ten months he has been offering the single vaccine alternative to the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab.

HINTLESHAM GP Mike Debenham has had more than 1,000 contacts in the ten months he has been offering the single vaccine alternative to the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab.

Despite Government efforts to boost the combined jab, demand for the single vaccines has grown alongside fears of a possible link between the combined MMR jab and autism.

Clients have come from America, Ireland, Canada and Hong Kong after hearing about Dr Debenham from relatives and friends in Suffolk.

Dr Debenham, 50, set up in private practice in Hintlesham early this year after 25 years as a NHS GP in Hadleigh and then Boxford.

He said he had become increasingly disillusioned with the NHS over the years, as bureaucracy and political interference escalated, but did still believe in the ideal of quality health care being available to all.

Dr Debenham said: "When I moved into private practice I didn't anticipate the level of demand there would be for the separate vaccination alternatives to MMR. Given recent developments I can only hope that our Government will rethink its stance on the issue and allow separate vaccinations via the NHS but this seems unlikely. Providing separate vaccinations and ensuring that we have sufficient supplies has become a very significant part of what we do."

Most Read

Although there was not enough evidence to argue that the MMR vaccine was dangerous, the GP said he was a firm believer in informed parental choice and has put information on his website to help people make up their own minds.

He is thought to be the only GP in Suffolk to offer the single vaccination.

Dr Torbjorn Sundkvist consultant in communicable disease control, said the picture was much the same for east Suffolk and although there had been no epidemics so far he warned one was possible if take-up continued at this level.

He said: "You need at least 95 per cent for the population to be immune. Measles is one of the world's most contagious diseases.

"The single vaccine leaves children vulnerable to the disease for a longer period of time. Parents are free to do what they want but we don't recommend the single vaccine."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter