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BABIES are no longer to be given a vaccine containing mercury amid fears of a link between the toxic metal and autism.

Mercury had been contained in the whooping cough vaccine, which is given to babies when they are eight weeks old.

But a jab without mercury will now be given to children as part of a new five-in-one vaccine.

The move comes in the wake of recent research in the US suggesting that a mercury-based preservative used in some childhood vaccines was linked to autism-like damage in the brains of mice.

The Sunday Mercury reported last year how Claire Bothwell from Coventry had led the campaign against mercury jabs in America.

The mum, who now lives in Los Angeles, claims two of her three children developed autism because of mercury used in their jabs.

The Department of Health in Britain has always said there is no evidence of a link between mercury in vaccines and autism.

But in a statement Health Minister John Hutton confirmed that mercury was being removed from childhood vaccines.

'I can confirm that later this year we will be introducing a new form of childhood vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib and polio,' he said.

'Following advice from our expert committees we have decided that thiomersal - a mercury-based preservative - will be removed from the new combined vaccine.'


FIRST: how we reported fears last year
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 8, 2004
Previous Article:KIDS GET MMR JAB AGAINST PARENTS' WISHES; Doctor lifts lid on vaccines scandal.

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