Parents Threaten to Quit Vaccine Inquiry
[By Eithne Donnellan.]
Parents who claim their children developed autism after getting MMR
vaccinations have threatened to withdraw from an investigation by a Dáil
committee into whether children should be vaccinated.
The parents say they will not participate in the inquiry, due to begin
tomorrow, if the joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children refuses
to call two experts whose research has claimed to link the MMR or
three-in-one vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella to autism.
The Oireachtas Committee, which decided to look at the issue of
childhood vaccination in response to public concern and poor take-up rates,
received more than 80 submissions from parents, the medical profession and
health agencies. The chairman of the committee, Mr Batt O'Keeffe TD, said
the committee had decided to first hear from those who made submissions and
it would then decide whether to call expert witnesses.
Ms Cecelia Young, the co-ordinator in the Republic of the Allergy
Induced Autism organisation, said parents were "very angry" that no decision
had been made to call Dr Andrew Wakefield of the Royal Free Hospital,
London, or Prof John O'Leary of the Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin, whose
research on a possible link between the vaccination and autism had been
Ms Young, the mother of a six-year-old autistic boy from James's Road,
Walkinstown, Dublin, said her organisation was not anti-vaccines. It wanted
children to be vaccinated safely.
Mr O'Keeffe insisted last night the committee would begin its
investigation with an open mind.
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