Mother 's fears over vaccine

Bath Chronicle 30/01/2001

A BATH mother believes the controversial MMR vaccine may have caused autism in her daughter.

Now Hazel Fussell said she will not allow her two other children to receive the three-in-one vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella.

A public row has broken out over the vaccine, with a growing number of doctors and parents questioning its safety.

Former Bathonian Dr Andrew Wakefield has spearheaded the campaign against MMR, claiming that his research has shown it might cause autism and behavioural difficulties.

However, the Department of Health has claimed there are no health risks associated with MMR, and a number of other medical bodies, including Avon Health Authority, have supported this stance.

Ms Fussell, who lives in Wansdyke Road with her partner and three children, says the evidence against the vaccine has grown before her eyes.

Her three-year-old daughter Jessica has had the MMR vaccine, but her daughter Chloe, aged one, and son Lewis, also aged one, have not.

She explained: "My partner and I have three children, the eldest of which suffers from an autistic spectrum related disorder which we feel had been contributed to, if not caused by, the MMR vaccine in its presently available form.

"Although suffering from epilepsy since infancy, she developed perfectly normally until after her MMR.

"She now suffers from gastrointestinal problems and speech, behaviour and learning difficulties which will require her to attend a special school.

"Although I still believe in vaccination, I will not allow my other children to have the MMR vaccine as it is now.

"I do believe that some children have a genetic pre-disposition to have a reaction to the vaccine.

"Perhaps it would be in the best interest of the children and medics alike to offer both forms of the MMR and allow parents to make an informed choice, particularly if they have children where an older sibling has been affected by this syndrome."

The Chief Medical Officer Professor Liam Donaldson said: "The safety of combined MMR is supported by a much greater body of evidence than the individual vaccines.

"Scare stories clearly worry parents but giving children separate vaccines unnecessarily exposes them to the risk of life-threatening infection. MMR remains the safest way to protect our children."

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