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Assembly backs off measles jab

The Assembly Government has promised to look into compulsory vaccinations against measles for pre-school children.

Lynne Neagle, Assembly Member for Torfaen, called for a similar scheme to that in America, where unvaccinated children are not allowed to start school. Public support for the plan is growing.

But Edwina Hart, the health minister, said such a move could prove controversial on ethical, political and religious grounds and would infringe children's right to an education. Instead, she promised to "explore" the issue further.

Andrew RT Davies, the shadow health minister, said parents should be given more facts about the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, not coerced into taking the jab.

As TES Cymru went to press, there were 253 confirmed measles cases in Wales, with 32 people hospitalised. It is estimated that 80,000 unvaccinated pupils in Wales remain at risk of catching measles.

The British Medical Association will debate making the jab compulsory at its conference this month.

MMR scare, page 8.

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