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Independents' Day

Compulsory MMR rejected by BMA

The BMA has rejected calls from some of its members for mandatory MMR vaccination but condemned the Government's 'lamentable failure' to persuade parents the vaccine is safe.

A policy of compulsory childhood vaccination would harm the doctor-patient relationship and be impossible to police, the BMA warned in a report last week.

It was published as the association's annual representatives meeting demanded the abolition of GP vaccine target pay, claiming it undermined parents' confidence in immunisation advice from GPs.

The report pointed out that the only study assessing GPs' attitudes to compulsory vaccination, conducted in 1989, found 51 per cent were in favour of mandatory immunisation for at least some childhood vaccinations.

But it concluded that parents' right to decide on behalf of their children must take

legal precedence over GPs' duty of care.

The inquiry into the issue was conducted by the BMA board of science and education after last year's annual representatives meeting called for research on the merits and drawbacks of compulsory immunisation.

The report endorses the safety of all the vaccines in the UK childhood schedule and rejects single vaccines as an

alternative to MMR.

But BMA chair Dr Ian Bogle said: 'The doctor-

patient relationship is based on trust, choice and openness. Compulsory vaccination may be harmful to this.'

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