Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Concerns about immunisation

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:240

Concerns about immunisation

Bedford and Elliman' s paper(1) is a welcome start to the debate on
immunisation concerns of the parents. They acknowledge that underreporting
of adverse reactions is a major problem. It follows that the reassurance
they suggest in Box 1 about monitoring is a little premature. The
Committee on Safety of Medicines as well as those responsible for
administering the vaccines should construct better systems of monitoring.
Currently immunisation attracts a fee per item of service. Perhaps we
should consider an additional fee for collection of adverse
effects. Goldberg (2) suggests the creation of nation-wide data base of
children with autism and their familial, social, health and immunisation
variables. This should be easy - surely every child health department
already holds the relevant data on computer. All that is needed is to make
the anonymised data available to any statistician. (Restricting the data
to any particular set of workers may well lead to the charge of bias.)

Given that poliomyelitis due to the wild virus is now extinct in the
UK, perhaps it is time we switched to the inactivated vaccine. This would
extinguish the risk, howsoever small, of vaccine-virus induced paralysis.


Retired public health physician


1. Bedford H, Elliman D. Concerns about immunisation.BMJ 2000;320:240

2. Goldberg D. Personal view MMR, autism, and Adam. BMJ 2000;320:389

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 February 2000
J K Anand