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Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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CPHVA Reiterates support for MMR Vaccine


The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) has again reiterated its support for the MMR vaccine in the wake of the continuing controversy about the programme.

The CPHVA, which represents health visitors and community nurses across the UK, said it was against the idea - promoted by some politicians - that parents should have the right to choose single vaccines of measles, mumps and rubella for their children.

The CPHVA believes that certain sections of the media, with their own libertarian agendas of individual choice and parents’ rights, are distorting the strong case for MMR.

The CPHVA has issued seven reasons why it supports MMR.

  • It is far better to give a child two MMR injections, rather than separate injections, which would amount to nine in total.

  • It has been proved that a combined MMR injection works better than single vaccines.

  • No measles or mumps single vaccines are currently licensed in this country. One such vaccine from Europe has been shown to be only 70% effective. Only rubella is currently available in a single vaccine in this country.

  • Single vaccines advocates argue that MMR has adverse reactions due to ‘overloading’ of the immune system. However, children can accommodate thousands of antigens – proteins that are foreign to the body - at one time and the MMR has only three antigens.

  • Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who kicked off the controversy about the adverse effects of MMR, argues that each separate vaccination should be given a year apart. This would mean a six-year period for the two separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines to be fully effective, with all the risks that this would entail, as opposed to the two MMR jabs over an 18-month period.

  • Where other countries have been forced to offer single vaccines because of supply problems, i.e. Japan immunisation rates have crashed.

May 2004