By Colin George
DOCTORS are warning Bracknell parents to be on the look out for a grey-market mumps vaccine which could be useless against the contagious disease.
The single jab imported from the Czech Republic is not used by the NHS, but may have been injected into children at private clinics in the area.
And youngsters who received the faulty cure may now have to take the controversial combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which some claim to be linked to autism.
Medical experts also believe nearly 6,000 doses of the drug Pavivac - which is not licensed by the Government's Medicines Control Agency - are sitting in surgeries waiting to be used.
If the vaccine is not kept at a precise temperature it can break down, leaving children unprotected from a range of symptoms including swollen glands, sore throats and fever.
In extreme cases the infection can go on to cause deafness, viral meningitis and sterility in adults.
Medicine safety committee chairman Professor Alasdair Breckenridge said: "There are a number of major questions about the manufacture, testing and storage of the unlicensed vaccine Pavivac which are not answered by the information currently available.
"Because of this lack of information we are advising its importation and use should be halted as a precautionary measure, and we have also urgently asked for further information and clarification."
Bracknell GP George Kassianos said children who received the suspect vaccine should be given the controversial MMR jab to ensure they are protected.
He said: "It is perfectly safe to repeat the dose. Children or adults who have had a single vaccine previously are either immune and unlikely to suffer side effects, or are not immune and need the vaccine."