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Parents' views shifting on MMR

Parents are becoming much more accepting of the MMR vaccine but there is still a hard core who will not be persuaded it is safe, Department of Health research reveals.

The proportion of parents who believe MMR poses a greater risk than the diseases it protects against has fallen sharply in recent years, from 24 per cent in 2002 to 14 per cent in 2006.

But the proportion who remain completely opposed to MMR has remained steady at 6 per cent, according to the study, published online by Vaccine.

Study leader Dr David Salisbury, head of the immunisation programme at the Department of Health, said the 6 per cent was 'currently difficult to shift' but that he was positive about the future.

'I am optimistic, given the continuing appearance of evidence showing there are no safety concerns and the replacement of parents exposed to that media coverage.'

Dr Salisbury said he did not think allowing GPs to exception report parents who refused MMR was a 'good idea'.

He insisted GPs had put in a lot of effort persuading parents face to face and the efforts were paying off, with uptake levels increasing.

'This has been a hard slog and credit has to be given to the healthcare professionals.'

Dr George Kassianos, spokesperson on immunisation for the RCGP and a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, said: 'The feeling I have going around the country is that really there's nobody I speak to that worries about MMR.

'On occasions we have been informed about parents who have not vaccinated their child, we have shown them evidence and they have vaccinated the child.'

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