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'Give your child something you never had' - MMR vaccination, United Kingdom, 1987-1999

The MMR vaccine or Measles, Mumps and Rubella combined vaccine was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1988. The vaccine is given to children at 13 months and again before they start school. A second dose was introduced in 1996. The vaccine temporarily became controversial when links to autism, since discredited, were suggested in February 1998. As vaccination is not compulsory in the United Kingdom, parents have a choice whether to immunise their children. Measles, mumps and rubella jabs can also be given as single vaccines.

Object number:

1999-241/23

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Glossary:

Glossary: poster

Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

Glossary: vaccination

The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

Glossary: measles

Disease caused by a virus most commonly found in children. Measles is spread through airborne fluids. In roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed 200 million people worldwide.

Glossary: rubella

A mild but highly contagious virus infection, causing swelling of glands in the neck and a widespread pink rash. Rubella is more common during childhood.

Glossary: MMR vaccine

Combined vaccination for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German measles). It is given to children aged 13 months, with a booster dose at 3-5 years. The vaccine is widely used. In the UK, the MMR vaccine was controversially but incorrectly linked with autism.

Glossary: mumps

Mumps is an infectious disease spread by airborne droplets from the nose or throat. Its symptoms include swelling of the glands in the neck, making it difficult to eat or swallow. The disease is most common in children, but if contracted in adults the effects can be more severe. An effective vaccine exists and is given in the UK as part of the MMR jab.

Glossary: autism

A psychiatric condition that begins in childhood. Its symptoms include difficulties forming relationships and communicating. Sometimes autism is marked with high intelligence in specific areas, but with learning difficulties in other areas. A person can suffer from different levels of autism, from minor to severe.