MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine

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Held by the Wellcome Collection
Copyright: Wellcome Collection
Maurice Hillman (1919-2005), an American microbiologist, first developed the vaccine for mumps in 1967. This vaccine is still part of the combination measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine given to infants worldwide.

In 1998, a research paper was published in a medical journal, which suggested a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. The paper was later withdrawn by the journal and is now discredited as fraudulent. Although research to date shows no link between autism and MMR, the false claims created confusion and impacted public confidence in vaccination. This led to a drop in the take-up of the vaccine, resulting in several outbreaks of measles.

Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe:
There is no way that the vaccines would have been approved for millions of people if there was any doubt over its safety, quality or effectiveness. These rigorous standards are set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency, who make sure that all medicines used in the UK are safe. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was tested on over 11,000 people. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was tested on 43,500 people.

Vaccination has come a long way since its initial discovery. It is much safer than it was during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, we also have a lot more access to accurate information about vaccines, allowing us to separate myths from facts. See our Covid-19 FAQs:
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