MMR is a three part vaccine which immunizes the child against Measles, Mumps and Rubella or German Measles. In the United Kingdom, children receive the MMR vaccination at 12-15 months with a follow up booster injection just before starting school.
The vaccination has proved controversial because claims have been made in medical papers suggesting that adverse side effects may occur. Critics argue that the MMR jab had not been properly researched and tested before the drug's launch in 1988.
It is important to recognise the fact that most drugs which we take into our bodies can have side effects. However, it has been claimed that the MMR vaccination can lead to an increased possibility of Autism or Crohn's Disease, a serious inflammatory bowel disease. The balance of medical evidence suggests that the vaccination is not dangerous. Finnish research which tracked 2 million children over a period of 14 years found no evidence to suggest that the vaccine caused problems in later life. The British government's stance is that the triple vaccine is perfectly safe. However, many parents naturally remain concerned for their child's health.
Only 80% of children in England approaching their 2nd birthday have received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinationthe lowest figure since 1989according to the latest UK Department of Health childhood immunisation statistics for 200304 (see the link below to the UK Department of Health).
Separate Single Vaccines
Some GPs and private clinics will offer individual vaccines separately, but this is a personal decision and is not supported by the government. Currently, none of the single vaccines for mumps or measles are manufactured for, or marketed in the United Kingdom. The case for giving single vaccinations is that it is only the combined vaccine that has been linked with Autism and Crohn's Disease. However, it can be argued that in the time between the vaccinations, children are not protected against the other diseases.
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