PARENTS' £340 BILL TO AVOID MMR WORRIES
12:00 - 31 May 2004
BY CHRIS MILLS
Source: this is exter
Parents have told of their worries over the triple MMR vaccination after forking out £340 for single jabs at a private health clinic in Exeter. All slots were booked at yesterday's clinic at the Natural Health Centre in Queen Street, run by Healthchoice UK.
The single jab session follows the continuing controversy over research linking the all-in-one measles, mumps and rubella vaccination to autism in young children.
Toddlers and their parents queued up for their first single measles jab costing £100.
The course of injections continues over the next three months with jabs for mumbs, costing £140, and rubella, £100.
Many parents opting for the single jabs said they no longer trusted the Government's assurances that the MMR vaccination was safe.
Liana Cane, from Mid Devon, took her 20-month-old son Alex for his first injection after insisting on single jabs for her three-year-old.
She said: "I can't trust the MMR jab. It's all government spin and I just don't believe what they say anymore.
"It costs the Government less money to do MMR rather than single jabs so they push it. But I am prepared to pay to have peace of mind."
Annelise Yard, from Tiverton, was having her 20-month-old son Dominic vaccinated.
She said: "There's a lot of misinformation about MMR and while there is an element of doubt, I am not prepared to run the risk with my child's health.
"You may think you are saving £300 by having the MMR jab but you would never forgive yourself if your child became ill."
Terry and Fiona Parker, from Bradninch, brought their two-year-old daughter Alice for her jab.
They said: "We decided we weren't prepared to accept the risk of the MMR jab.
"If there is even one per cent risk. we won't take it even if it means spending £200 or £300 on single jabs."
Healthchoice UK says its clinics continue to be fully booked despite recent doubts cast on the reliability of research linking the triple injection to neurological damage.
Managing director Kathryn Durnford said: "We had 150 children booked in to the clinic in Exeter, which is our largest yet, and shows the demand is there."
A Health Department spokesman confirmed that single jabs were not available at NHS doctors in Exeter.
He added: "The Government stance is still that the MMR jab is safe and there is no proof that it is connected to autism or any other illness.
"We would advise parents to take up the triple MMR jab on behalf of their children to prevent the risk of any spread of measles or mumps."