Parent body attacks MMR jab proposals

The leading parents' voice in Scotland yesterday criticised a call to the British medical establishment to introduce compulsory MMR vaccinations for young children.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council said that parents must retain the right to choose if their child receives the combined measles, mumps and rubella inoculation. The jab was at the centre of a health scare in the 1990s after a medical study claimed it could be linked to autism, a theory which has now been widely discredited.

Eleanor Coner, of the SPTC, said that parents now needed clearer information about the consequences of taking or disregarding the vaccine, adding that a compulsory programme would be more fitting in a "dictatorship".

Her comments came as the British Medical Association prepare to debate compulsory vaccinations for youngsters who are entering the state education system.

Ms Coner said: "As attractive as it can be to the medical profession, you cannot impose a compulsory inoculation programme for children.

"Not only are parents confused and concerned about the reports, you have also got parents with a wide range of religious beliefs. We don't live in a dictatorship."

The issue has been raised again by Sir Sandy Macara, former chairman of the British Medical Association. He said that attempts to persuade parents to permit the jab for their children had "failed".

His comments came in light of a measles outbreak in Wales that has infected more than 230 children.