'Worrying' number of Welsh children have not had MMR jab - minister


Wales Minister Stephen Crabb has described the number of children in Wales who have still not received the MMR vaccine as "very worrying".

He added that "there is particular concern about a measles outbreak in Gwent" and that "the onus is now on the parents to go out and get their children vaccinated".

Four thousand children in Swansea and 10,000 in Gwent have not been vaccinated, Mr Crabb told MPs during questions on 15 May 2013.

He was responding to the Labour MP for Cardiff West, Kevin Brennan, who asked him to praise the response of NHS Wales.

Mr Crabb acknowledged: "It's absolutely right that Welsh government public health officials are doing everything they can."

James Gray, a Conservative MP, called on the government to "roundly condemn" the work of Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor who published fraudulent research linking the MMR vaccine to autism.

The minister confirmed Dr Wakefield's theories have been "discredited not just in this country but around the world" and that there was no reason for parents to feel alarmed about the MMR vaccine.

On 14 May, Public Health Wales reported measles cases in the Swansea epidemic have risen by 20 in the last five days to 1,094.

Health chiefs in Wales continue to warn the uptake of MMR is too low to eliminate the disease in Wales and that the outbreak may spread.

Public Health Wales says a 95% uptake of MMR would prevent further outbreaks.

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