New plans for the national vaccination programme following concerns at the falling numbers of children being vaccinated.

Like many parents of children on the autism spectrum, Caroline McCabe believes her son Adam developed autism as a result of receiving the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

It does seem to coincide with the...timing and the multiple vaccines that are being given to children.

The link between autism spectrum condition and MMR is sometimes made because autism emerges around the child's second birthday, the same time as the vaccine is given.

A research project known as the Wakefield Report published in the world’s leading independent medical journal 'The Lancet' in 1998 suggested a link between measles and autism, but did not prove an association, and,

Called for further research which was carried out but none of it proved any link.

Further research published in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal in 1999 and 2001 found the incidence of autism did not correspond to the uptake of MMR vaccines in children.

Bray based doctor Rita Doyle believes this information is getting lost in the current scare around the MMR vaccine. A family doctor is the person best placed to talk to a mother about the health of her child.

If she is armed with good information from her general practitioner...she will then be able to make an informed decision.

Parents and doctors in Britain and Northern Ireland receive an information pack about the MMR vaccine produced by the NHS (National Health Service) prior to their children’s vaccinations, but no such information is currently available in Ireland.

Until something like this is available here, the confusion will remain.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 January 2002. The reporter is Aileen O’Meara.