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MMR overload fears 'unfounded'

Fears the MMR vaccine can overload children's immune systems and make them more vulnerable to bacterial infections are unfounded, research from the Public Health Laboratory Service has concluded.

The study examined cases of pneumococcal pneumonia and serious bacterial infection in children aged 12-23 months newly admitted to selected hospitals in southern England over the 90 days following MMR immunisation.

Pneumonia admissions were 30 per cent lower in vaccina-ted infants than predicted from the background prevalence of the disease. The rate of invasive bacterial infections was 7 per cent lower.

'These results provide no support for the concept of "immunological overload" induced by multiple antigen vaccinations, nor calls for single antigen vaccines,' the researchers reported in Archives of Disease in Childhood (March). 'There was no evidence that MMR increased the risk of serious infection.

'In fact, it seemed to

protect against the risk of pneumonia.'

The study covered 116 cases of invasive bacterial infection and 279 of pneumoccocal pneumonia.

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