HC Deb 24 April 1998 vol 310 c733W
Mr. Letwin

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instigate an independent inquiry into the effects of the MMR vaccination. [39650]

Ms Jowell

The effects of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation have been carefully examined by two groups of independent experts: the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the Committee on Safety of Medicines. In addition, following the recent publicity about possible adverse reactions to MMR, a group of 37 independent experts was convened by the Medical Research Council (MRC) on 23 March under the chairmanship of Professor Sir John Pattison. The group examined published and unpublished research into a suggested association between MMR vaccine and Crohn's disease and autism. The independent experts concludedThe available virological and epidemiological evidence does not support a causal role for persistent measles virus infection in Crohn's disease. There is no evidence to indicate any link between MMR vaccination and bowel disease or autism. There is therefore no reason for a change in the current MMR vaccination policy.

As a result, the Chief Medical Officer has advised that: Based on the previous material that I have seen, and on the opinions of experts present at the MRC meeting, I have concluded that there is no link between measles, measles vaccine or MMR immunisation, Crohn's disease and autistic spectrum disorders. Together with others at the meeting, I was not convinced that any of the studies support suggestions that measles or MMR vaccines are implicated in Crohn's disease or in autism. I therefore recommend that children should receive MMR vaccine at the appropriate times, and should not be given the separate component vaccines, since there is no evidence that doing this has any benefit and it may even be harmful.