MMR campaigner to protest at GMC

March 2008

A Telford mother will lead a heartfelt protest against Government vaccine policy when a hearing about claims of a link between childhood autism and the controversial MMR jab begins.

Allison Edwards, of Muxton Lane, Muxton, believes the jab is responsible for her son Jonathan’s autism and is preparing to support Dr Andrew Wakefield when he appears before the General Medical Council tomorrow.

Dr Wakefield was the lead author of a 1998 report into the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

His research on 12 children, published in medical journal The Lancet, suggested there might be a link between the vaccine, autism and bowel disease. It led to falling numbers of parents immunising their children in the late 1990s and a row over whether the then Prime Minister Tony Blair had vaccinated his son Leo.

The Health Protection Agency issued a warning last year after the number of reported measles cases shot up over the summer.

Now Mrs Edwards, who once accosted Tony Blair on Channel Five’s The Wright Stuff, will lead demonstrators to show their support for Dr Wakefield - who now works in the USA - by holding placards, clapping and cheering as he walks in to the hearing to face professional misconduct charges relating to how he carried out his research.

Mrs Edwards’s 10-year-old son Jonathan was diagnosed with autism aged two after having the jab. He will not join his mother at the demonstration because, she says, his condition means he “could not cope on the streets of London”.

Mrs Edwards, 44, said today: “Dr Wakefield is the focus of a witch-hunt.

“My son was born the day Labour came into power in 1997 and I want the vaccine policy to be changed. It’s a national disaster.

“I want my son’s case and what happened to him to be fully investigated. If this policy harms children then something has to be done.”

Government officials say there is no link between MMR and autism, citing other studies.