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Top doc backs 5-in-one vaccine.

SCOTLAND'S top doctor yesterday moved to reassure parents over the safety of a new five-in-one jab for babies.

Dr Mac Armstrong insisted the jab was a 'new and improved' formula.

The vaccine, to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib and polio, will replace existing jabs in September.

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Armstrong said: 'We have been immunising children against all of these diseases at the same time for many years.

'What is changing is that instead of the regime being one injection plus oral polio drops, it will be one injection.

'It is the same immunisations at the same time giving the same protection against the same diseases.'

He added: 'Research has shown that the immunological load a normal child can deal with is probably in the range of 10,000 challenges at a time.

'There is no evidence that five is anywhere near the challenge our immune systems can cope with.'

The new jab will not contain mercury in the whooping cough vaccine, unlike the current one.

And it will also contain a 'killed' version of the polio vaccine, which has less chance of side-effects.

Recent research in the US suggested that a mercury-based preservative, thiomersal, used in the current vaccine, could be linked to autism.

But Dr Armstrong said the decision to take the mercury out was due to a worldwide effort to reduce levels of the toxin present in the environment.

And he urged parents who are due to have their child immunised soon not to delay until the new jab is available.

He said: 'Remember that all of the studies that have been done taken together do not show any link between mercury in vaccines and autism and parents need to have no fears about that.'
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 10, 2004
Words:292
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