BMA backs 'non-compulsory' triple MMR vaccine

A new BMA report has backed the practice of offering triple dose MMR vaccines to children and found that single dose treatment could leave patients open to greater risk of infection.

The report, 'Childhood Immunisation: a guide for healthcare professionals', has called on doctors and other healthcare professionals to emphasise to parents that vaccination "remains the safest and most effective way" of preventing infectious diseases - and to encourage parents to choose immunisation for their children.

Currently, two million children in the world die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dr Ian Bogle, BMA Chairman of Council and former GP, said that he understood parental concern about MMR but the BMA would stand by the triple vaccine as "the most effective and safest way to immunise a child against measles, mumps or rubella".

However, he said that the organisation would not support compulsory vaccination as it was "far preferable" for doctors to inform and educate parents about the benefits of vaccination.

Dr Bogle added: "The doctor-patient relationship is based on trust, choice and openness and we think introducing compulsory vaccination may be harmful to this."

The World Health Organisation currently advises against single vaccines as single vaccines leave children vulnerable to disease for longer and fewer children tend to complete the course of injections when single vaccines are used.

Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK in 1988 the number of suspected cases of measles has fallen from between 50,000 and 100,000 cases per year to less than 10,000. The number of deaths from acute measles has also fallen from an average of 13 per year to only four deaths between 1988 and 1996.


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