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Fresh row over single mumps vaccine

The Government has been accused of making 'ham-fisted' attempts to discredit single vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella as private clinics struggle to source a single mumps vaccine and GPs are left to deal with the fallout.

Last month, the Medicines Control Agency suspended the import of the unlicensed single mumps vaccine Pavivac from the Czech Republic over concerns about the vaccine's safety and efficacy after initially allowing it to be imported for five months.

The MCA highlighted the importance of the problem by sending a briefing letter to every GP on how to respond to concerned parents, but the advice failed to give any reassurances except to recommend the combined MMR jab to patients worried about mumps protection.

Sarah Dean, managing

director of Direct Health 2000, a private company that offers parents single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, accused the MCA of making 'ham-fisted attempts to discredit single vaccines' by blocking the import of Pavivac and restricting the general supply of single vaccines to private clinics and GPs.

Mrs Dean told Pulse many of their clients had written to their MPs asking about single vaccines. She said they were told 30,000 single mumps vaccines were available in the UK which were not Pavivac.

But she added: 'Only 8,000 have been distributed, which means 22,000 are here somewhere and we now believe the Department of Health is responsible for the shortfall in supply.

'The impact on GP services is going to be huge because we are at a very acute time of the year in winter and we are going to have a massive influx of children with mumps going to their GP.'

A spokesman for the MCA said: 'We categorically reject the accusation that we are deliberately restricting the supply of single mumps vaccine to force parents to turn to the MMR vaccine.'

Dr Richard Halvorsen, a GP in London who gives single vaccines on the NHS, said: 'GPs will be faced with children who have had a random combination of the vaccinations, which is less than ideal. If they were licensed we would be able to ensure all those who went down the single vaccines route could get them. Government policy has created this haphazard situation.'

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