A mother who claims her son was struck down with autism after having the MMR jab said today : "I have mourned for my little boy ever since.''
Jayne Anglesea-Barden, from Kingsteignton, has poured her heart out in the hope the three-in-one measles, mumps and rubella vaccine will be replaced by single-dose jabs.
"Please help us to help our children by ensuring this issue stays in the news until something is done,'' she said from her home in Sandygate Mill.
Son Joseph, now six, is autistic and registered disabled.
"I will not only continue in my fight for Joe but equally for the prevention of further unnecessary suffering that would be experienced by other parents and children,'' she claimed. Her comments come as the Government plans to spend 3 million persuading parents the MMR jab is safe, and much less of a risk than the deadly diseases youngsters risk catching without it.
Dr Geoffrey Thould, consultant in communicable disease control at South West Devon Health Authority, also repeated claims that that MMR jabs can be given without fear.
He said: "The cumulative data to emerge from many detailed studies, including the World Health Organisation, is that MMR is safe. It's the best way to give protection against mumps, measles and rubella. I am very, very convinced it's a safe vaccine.''
Herald Express columnist Dr Peter Moore agrees. He believes there is "absolutely no link' between the vaccine and the brain disease autism.
But Mrs Anglesea-Barden claimed: "Others and myself were not allowed the opportunity of being able to make an informed decision about the vaccine. This must stop.''



Battle: Mum Jayne with son Joseph

The campaign was boosted by the intervention of an eminent public health expert who believes the odds favour a link between the MMR jab and autism in children.
Canada-based Professor Walter Spitzer, whose word is respected throughout the medical world, says he will support the parents' action.
Mrs Anglesea-Barden has already written to Prime Minister Tony Blair about her own concerns.
She asked him whether his son Leo would have an MMR jab — but a response was not forthcoming.
"I poured out my heart to this man and asked valid relevant questions. In reply I received a seven line communication that did not even bear his name, signature, nor probably his own thoughts,'' she said.
Joseph is one of 850 alleged MMR-linked disabled children on a lawyer's list for compensation claims under the Consumer Protection Act.
"What chance do we all stand in making successful applications. If that happens it is an admission that the MMR vaccine is responsible for causing disability. This is not going to happen if our Government refuses to recognise the ever-growing evidence.''
She said of Joseph: "He has severe language problems, is not aware of danger, has sensitivity in all his senses, has inappropriate behaviour and does not understand anything that is not logical.
"It means he is a complete wizard on the computer but he does not understand the world around him.''
Mrs Anglesea-Barden, who also has daughters Ley, 19, and Charlie, eight, wrote to Department of Health saying: "Much of your work is based on statistics. When you are faced with ever-growing figures concerning those affected by the MMR vaccine just remember that each one of those statistics has a name, a family and a struggle for the rest of their life.''
She wondered where the freedom of choice was for parents who would prefer a single vaccine.
"It is said there is a greater risk of contracting these diseases in between the single dose vaccines. But parents should have the right to take that risk if they so choose.
"I know what I would have opted for if I had been given the choice for my son to receive the MMR, with the risk of contracting a lifelong disability, or having a single dose vaccine with the chance of a mild dose of measles.''