80pc are opposed to MMR triple jab
By Hamida Ghafour
(Filed: 04/02/2002)
The Telegraph, United Kingdom

CONTROVERSY over the MMR vaccine continued to plague the Government
yesterday, as an NOP poll revealed that eight out of 10 people believed
parents should be given an alternative to the triple jab.

Of those surveyed, 38 per cent were not happy with how the Government has
handled the campaign to get parents to vaccinate children against measles,
mumps and rubella.

The findings come as Tony Blair faces growing criticism for refusing to
reveal whether his son Leo has had the triple jab. An admission by Mr Blair
that Leo had had the MMR vaccine could boost shrinking public confidence and
help to prevent an outbreak of measles.

The Public Health Laboratory has warned that take-up of MMR has dropped
below 85 per cent, but experts say that 95 per cent of the population must
be vaccinated to prevent an epidemic.

According to the poll, commissioned by ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald,
to be broadcast this evening, parents believe they are being "condescended
to" and "patronised" by Mr Blair.

Carol Vorderman, the television presenter who refused to give her
four-year-old son the jab because her daughter had become ill after
receiving the vaccine, will say on the programme: "It is a scandal that we
are not given the option of single vaccinations. It's a simple thing."

In the survey, 55 per cent of 1,000 respondents also said Mr Blair should
say whether his son was given the jab, and 85 per cent said the health
service should offer a choice between the triple vaccine, and separate

Dr Kenneth Aitken, a specialist in the treatment of autism, believes there
is a clear link between autism and the MMR jab.

"When I was training, one in 2,500 [children were autistic]. Now it is one
in 250. At the moment, the only logical explanation for this is MMR," he

But there are fears that reluctance to vaccinate could lead to an outbreak
of measles. Three children in south London developed measles last week and
another 22 are being investigated.

Meanwhile, a Scottish Executive study on the apparent rise in autism among
children who have had the MMR jab has been delayed by a "matter of weeks".