British research casts doubt on MMR vaccine


Further doubts about the safety of the controversial MMR vaccine were raised today with the publication of research claiming trials of the jab were inadequate and did not address fears about its long-term effects.

There was not "adequate evidence of safety" of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, Dr Andrew Wakefield, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London claimed.

"Trials of the vaccine were too small and did not follow children up for a long enough period to gauge potential problems," he said in an article published in the medical journal Adverse Drug Reactions.

The study also said the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine did not address fears about its long-term effects.

But the British Department of Health and Medicines Control Agency have rejected suggestions that the vaccines were licensed prematurely.

A spokesman said: "We have carried out a review of the licensing of MMR vaccines and can assure the public that the licensing followed normal procedure and was based on robust studies."

He added that the safety of the combined vaccines had been reviewed repeatedly by the Government's independent expert advisory committees, which had concluded that the evidence did not support any link between the MMR vaccine and inflammation of the bowel or autism.