Now let's get this straight, courtesy of the UK's Department of Health. The triple MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is perfectly safe. It does not lead to autism. There is no need, therefore, for parents to seek out the single vaccine.
So it's surprising to hear that virologist Prof Greg Atkins from Trinity College, Dublin has been awarded a government grant to develop a new MMR vaccine that does not use the three live viruses.
Prof Atkins is an ideal choice. Apart from being an eminent scientist, he also seems to handle medico-political hot potatoes pretty well. While he is adamant that the current triple vaccine is safe, and that there is no connection with autism, Prof Atkins does not rule out the possibility that it could be risky for a small group of children.
This stance may cause some embarrassment in the corridors of Trinity after Atkins's colleague Prof John O'Leary published a paper in a medical journal that reported the finding of measles at the sites of inflammation in the guts of children with autism.
Meantime, UK parents who have so far resisted the triple jab for their children may soon come under increasing pressure. The take-up of the MMR vaccine will now form part of the star-rating scheme at doctors' surgeries that determine the amount of cash the government awards the family doctor. Parents who refuse the vaccine may affect the three-star rating of their local surgery, thus jeopardizing their doctor's pay-out.
*Readers interested in the MMR debate must read our Vaccine Bible and our Special MMR Update Report. It's become essential reading for many concerned parents. So, if you would like to order a copy for yourself, click here to begin the process.