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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 11:55 GMT
Blair's MMR statement in full
New born Leo Blair in the arms of his father
Leo Blair was born in May 2000
Tony Blair has hit out at Sunday newspapers that tried to find out whether his baby son, Leo, has been given the controversial MMR vaccine.

This is the full text of the statement released by Downing Street on Saturday.


In the light of what is a horrible and unjustified attempt by two Sunday newspapers to drag a member of my wife's family into the issue of MMR, I would like to say the following.

The reason we have refused to say whether Leo has had the MMR vaccine is because we never have commented on the medical health or treatment of our children.

The advice to parents to have the MMR jab is one of scores of pieces of advice or campaigns the government supports in matters ranging from underage sex to teenage alcohol abuse or smoking, to different types of advice for very young children on a huge range of activities from breastfeeding to safe play.


It is not true that we believe the MMR vaccine to be dangerous

Once we comment on one, it is hard to see how we can justify not commenting on them at all.

However, the suggestion that the government is advising parents to have the MMR jab whilst we are deliberately refraining from giving our child the treatment because we know it is dangerous, is offensive beyond belief.

For the record, Cherie and I both entirely support the advice as we have consistently said throughout.

It is not true that we believe the MMR vaccine to be dangerous or believe that it is better to have separate injections, as has been maliciously suggested in the press, or believe that it is linked to autism.

'Overwhelming advice'

On the contrary, the vaccine which is used throughout the world, helps prevent the spread of diseases that can, if contracted, cause very serious damage to children.

Parents, including ourselves, can rely not on the advice of the government's chief medical officer alone about the MMR vaccine, but on the overwhelming advice from virtually every reputable independent source, including the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Paediatricians.

They can rely also on the again overwhelming research that has found the alleged link between autism and MMR to be unfounded.

I am only sorry that my wife's family has had their privacy invaded in a way that is not only wrong in itself, but which because the facts have been so totally distorted, can only be corrected by invading their privacy still further.

See also:

23 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair speaks out on MMR furore
21 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair should tell about MMR - Labour MP
19 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair stays mum on Leo and MMR
02 Dec 01 | Wales
Support for MMR research doctor
13 Dec 01 | Health
MMR and autism 'not linked'
08 Sep 00 | UK Politics
New guidelines to protect Leo
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