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'My worries over MMR'
MMR vaccine
As the MMR vaccine debate rages on, BBC News Online's Christine McCarthy talks of her fears as her one-year-old son faces his call-up for the controversial jab.


At each drop of the mail on the mat I'm bracing myself for the letter which arrives telling me it's time for my son's MMR.

Miles has just turned one and after the celebrations of this major childhood milestone I'm getting ready to face the next, with a far less pleasant form of anticipation.

The MMR triple vaccine is in the news again and there's no getting away from the anxiety over what action you as a parent should take.

If you're not a medical expert, choosing whether or not to vaccinate your child in this way is one of the hardest decisions you will have to face right now.


I've read it all, digested all the evidence, the arguments and the heartfelt stories and still it's not going to be any easier

And it's hardly as if you've got nothing else to worry about when you have children.

I've read it all, digested all the evidence, the arguments and the heartfelt stories and still it's not going to be any easier.

You find yourself wishing you could just stick your head in the sand and somehow it would all magically be resolved.

Potentially-fatal

But that's not why you're a parent and you have to take responsibility for a little being whose future depends on you.

This situation is not all new to me either, three years ago I was at the same stage with my older son Owen, who did eventually have the MMR some three months after his first birthday.

Measles
Even the medical profession differs over MMR

I've talked to parents who have not vaccinated their children and have not intention of doing so until the government provides three separate vaccines.

"There's too much of a risk, I'd rather he/she had measles than autism," they say.

As for the medical profession, there's not much hope of unity there. Some are MMR supporters, but some favour the single vaccine, so that's no help to confused parents.

Single vaccines?

All I know is for the next few weeks, if not months I'll be getting more and more anxious about the risk of autism.


Even if I do decide to go ahead with the triple vaccine, any parent will tell you it doesn't stop there

How could I forgive myself if Miles later went down with this tragic condition?

At the other end of the scale, my fears even go as basic as fearing him having a needle jab in the first place - inflicting pain for the so-called gain.

There are some people who say if I'm so worried why not seek out the single vaccines and pay for less anxiety.

But then am I just succumbing to the scare stories - which have precious little proven evidence behind them as far as I can tell?

You don't have to be a paranoid mother/father to find yourself thinking each time MMR is in the news about whether or not you've done the right thing.


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06 Feb 02 | UK Politics
05 Feb 02 | Health
05 Feb 02 | Health
04 Jan 01 | Health
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