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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Should the MMR vaccine be compulsory?
Parents should be forced to have their children immunised against mumps, measles and rubella, say doctors.

A motion at the British Medical Association's annual meeting suggests that baby and childhood vaccination should be compulsory for all unless there are clear medical reasons not to.

Despite Government insistence that the MMR injection is safe, many parents have refused to give their child the vaccine after a study suggested it may be linked to autism.

The vaccine is already compulsory in some countries like the US, where children are not allowed to attend school unless they have had the jab.

Should the MMR vaccine be mandatory for all children? Or should it be a parent's right to decide?


This debate is now closed. See below for a selection of your emails.


Why does everybody have to be vaccinated these days?

Phil, UK
It is the parents' absolute right to decide: MMR, single vaccines or none. I really don't understand the fuss about measles. We all got it when we were kids, along with chicken pox and mumps - the three diseases all junior school kids got. We all survived and are probably still carrying the antibodies. I know the disease is unpleasant while you've got it but why does everybody have to be vaccinated these days? Have these diseases suddenly become deadly?
Phil, UK

Yes it should be compulsory. It is a much needed vaccine that protects children from horrendous diseases. The link between MMR and autism/Crohn's disease is tenuous at best - and even given that miniscule risk I still vaccinated my three young children. I would much rather take that tiny risk, than risk them getting measles, mumps or rubella in later life. In my opinion people who choose not to vaccinate are being very selfish.
Jen, UK

No, it should NOT be mandatory. When will our officialdom start to understand who is paying? In this case it's the parents. If they want multiple jabs, then that's what they should get. They don't need a reason, they are the customers.
Derek Thornton, UK


I will pay for the separate jabs

Martin, UK
I won't let my child have the MMR vaccine. Instead I will pay for the separate jabs. I believe childhood vaccinations should be compulsory. Some parents are responsible others are not. For the irresponsible parents they should not be allowed to put their child's life at risk. However, if it's a case that the particular type of vaccination becomes compulsory I cannot agree. There is no way I should be forced to give my child the MMR jab as opposed to the separate vaccinations.
Martin, UK

What about my freedom to choose what I feel is right for my child? An absolute disgrace! I am appalled that it was even suggested!
Pete, England

Of course the MMR vaccine should be compulsory. Parents who refuse to have their offspring immunised should be charged with child endangerment and their children taken into long-term care. There is absolutely no point to any vaccination programme if it isn't compulsory. As for cost, if one treatment is as effective as another but less expensive to administer, why shouldn't the government use this to 'safeguard the public purse'?
Jonathan Martin, UK

 VOTE RESULTS
Should MMR be compulsory?

Yes
 42.95% 

No
 57.05% 

2773 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Full coverage of the BMA conference 2002

Day Three

Day Two

Day one

Personal stories

TALKING POINT
See also:

03 Jul 02 | BMA Conference
12 Jun 02 | Health
16 May 02 | Health
Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.


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