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Service told to remove jab claims

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 22, 2013

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A CHILDREN’s immunisation service has been ordered to remove single jab claims deemed “likely to cause fear and distress” that appeared during the measles outbreak in Swansea.

The Children’s Immunisation Centre website promoted separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines in place of the single MMR jab with the statement: “All our thousands of patients are healthy, with no autism, no hospitalisations or fits, no febrile convulsions,” and “we have a 100 per cent safety record and have given over 70,000 vaccinations (over 18,000 patients).”

A linked page titled Autism said: “Some parents cite vaccination as a cause of their child’s autism. As they noticed their child’s behaviour changed after a vaccination against the three diseases of MMR.

“These parents have had payouts for vaccine damage and a recent high court case in Italy proved their child’s autism could be traced to a vaccine containing all three viruses in one injection given against the three diseases of MMR as the direct cause.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received six complaints, including concerns that the website advertised prescription-only medicines and misleadingly implied that there was a link between single MMR vaccine and autism. Three complainants, including a GP, challenged whether the 100 per cent safety claim was misleading and could be substantiated, while two said the ad was irresponsible and could cause fear and distress because it appeared during a measles outbreak in Wales.

The ASA said: “Because Children’s Immunisation Centre did not have a 100 per cent safety record, we concluded the claim was misleading.” It added: “We considered the website had probably been live for some time before the outbreak of measles in Wales during April and May 2013. We noted two links referenced the Welsh measles outbreak.”

The ASA said it had not seen robust evidence that linked a single MMR vaccine with autism, concluding that that website was misleading. It ruled: “The ad must not appear in its current form. We told (the) Children’s Immunisation Centre not to promote prescription-only medicines and to remove claims not supported by objective scientific evidence.”

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