23 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 35

Parents' choice

From Mr Paul R. Taylor Sir: Anonymous 'government scientists' and Doctor Andrew Wakefield continue to dispute the 'safety' of MMR (Leading article, 9 February), but with no prospect of consensus between them. Meanwhile, justifiably concerned parents are pilloried for putting the lives of their children at risk while the government, as encouraged by your leading article, is standing firm. The fact is, there is probably no scientific evidence to prove the absolute safety of MMR. So why not offer concerned parents a choice? Why risk political damage when all that parents want is choice? It is pointless to argue that separate vaccination may not be as effective as the combined inoculation, if, as is the case, increasing numbers of parents are boycotting it. Parents who are sufficiently concerned to research the risks of MMR are not, as has been suggested, going to 'forget' to ensure that their children have the appropriate booster injections.

Paul R. Taylor

Orcheston. Wiltshire