§ Mr. Moonman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has yet received the Report of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation about whooping-cough vaccine; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ennals
The report is published today and copies have been placed in the Library. Copies are being sent to all doctors and nurses with an interest in vaccination and immunisation.
As the House will know, I asked the joint committee earlier this year to prepare a report setting out the evidence about whooping-cough vaccine and the basis of its advice to me. I am most grateful to the committee for having produced it so quickly. The committee emphasises the need to keep the position under review and will do this as results of studies now in progress or planned become available. It makes clear, however, that it fully supports the continued use of whooping-cough vaccine. I welcome this conclusion, based as it is on a very thorough examination of all the relevant data, and I hope that it will allay the anxieties which have arisen. In view of the committee's re-affirmation that the benefits of whooping-cough vaccine outweigh the risks the way 624W is now clear for a major effort to increase the level of protection in the community against this and other infectious diseases, some of which are potentially very serious; and I am proposing that there should soon be a campaign to draw parents' attention to this important matter.