Observations Medicine and the Media

The private clinics that advertise unlicensed measles jabs

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2830 (Published 01 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2830
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow

Some private clinics advertising the single measles jab to parents have upped their activity since the measles outbreak in south Wales, even though the combined MMR vaccine is safe and effective. Margaret McCartney reports

In the midst of the measles outbreak in Swansea, the Children’s Immunisation Centre, a private company with clinics in several UK cities, set up a temporary clinic in the city over the weekend of 20 April; it is still advertising availability in Swansea. Unlike the free mass vaccination offered by Public Health Wales, the centre offers single measles vaccinations at £110 (€130; $170) each.

On its website it says that the single vaccination is for children “whose parents had concerns regarding the safety of the MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccination offered to them by their NHS GPs.” The website goes on to say that single vaccination is the “only safe way for MMR.”1 Under the question “Does the MMR jab cause autism?” the site links to three newspaper reports that allege a link between autism and MMR2 3 4 5 but not to NHS or Cochrane review advice about safety. Beneath these links is the line “for peace of mind.”

Use of the single measles vaccine comes with potential problems. It …

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