Swiss Campaign for Measles,
Mumps and Rubella
Immunization (Original title: Schweizerische Impfkampagne
gegen Masem, Mumps und Roeteln.
Merkurstab 1994; 47: 517-8. English by A. R.
Meuss, HL, MTA.)
JAM Vol. 12, Nr. 4
When the campaign was initiated in
1987, the USA was cited as an exam-
ple because 20 years of enforced vaccination
in the States had reduced the
incidence of measles by 99%. Recent
developments in the USA give pause
for thought, however.
Major measles epidemics have
developed repeatedly since 1982.
Adolescents are increasingly affected,
in spite of vaccination, and so are
infants, because mothers no longer
confer adequate immunity. Childhood
diseases are more dangerous
for both these age groups than for
other children. According to official
statements, measles mortality has
increased by a factor of 10 in the USA.
American experts refer to this as an
unexpected and partly inexplicable
development. Warning voices are
increasingly heard among vaccination
It may be said that the incidence
in the United States is still much lower
than in the period preceding the
mass immunization campaign. One
thing is abundantly clear, however:
there are compulsive elements to the
MMR immunization campaign that
inevitably intervene profoundly in
the sphere of the individual. When
obligatory immunization had enforced
high levels of compliance in
many places, the unexpected epidemics
necessitated rigorous measures including
quarantine, exclusion from
school, house-to-house immunization.
MMR re-immunization has already
been made obligatory. Similar
reports are coming from other countries
with high immunization rates.
Recent investigations in Switzerland
and other countries have also
shown that in practice it is impossible
to eradicate measles, rubella and
mumps. This deprives MMR vaccination
strategies based on mass immunization of
young children of any
kind of rational basis.
In Switzerland, measles, rubella
and mumps cannot be said to represent
an emergency situation that
would justify such rigorous government
intervention. Prevention of the
serious complications of these three
childhood diseases relates to three
entirely different spheres, and a single
combination vaccine cannot do
justice to these.
The Medical Group for Differentiated
MMR Immunization and the
Groupe Medical de Reflexion sur le
Vaccin ROR are not against immunization
as such. They do, however,
advocate a cautious approach, taking
account of the individual situation
and of the specific problems of each
of the three childhood diseases,
avoiding fundamental changes to
their epidemiology and respecting
parents' freedom of decision.
The critical studies of the Swiss
MMR immunization campaign published
in the two papers mentioned
below result from three years of fundamental
research done by the Medical Group
for Differentiated MMR
Immunization and the Groupe medi-
cal de Reflexion sur le Vaccin ROR.
Essentially they base on the following:
- Documents from the Swiss Federal
Department of Health (BAG) relating
to the MMR campaign, especially
information material for the
medical profession issued in 1987
- 30-page correspondence between
the Group and BAG.
- Detailed study of the specialist literature
on the subject.
- A. Tschumper and Th. Abelin's
study of the literature entitled Die
Impfstrategien gegen Masem, Mumps
und Roetein (MMR-Impfung) im
Lichte der epidemiologischen Literatur.
Bern, December 1988.
- Correspondence and discussions
with experts in Switzerland, Germany,
the USA - esp. the US Centers of
Disease Control (CDC) - on
the subject of protective immunization,
and Prof. Dr. D. Jachertz
in Bern (on matters of epidemiclogical
- The professional experience of the
c. 240 physicians in the two groups.
The Medical Group for Differentiated MMR
Immunization (est. in 1987) and the Groupe
Medical de Reflexion sur Ie Vaccin ROR (est. in
1988) include c. 240 Swiss medical
practitioners whose aim is to gain
acceptance for a differentiated MMR
The fundamental aspects are presented
in leaflets for parents published by
the groups which are entitled "Masem-,
Mumps- und Roeteln-
Impfung - Warum die Eitern
mitentscheiden sollen" and "Vaccination
ROR - Parents vous etes con-
ceme's" (MMR immunization - why
parents should have a part in the
decision). They may be obtained
from the Secretariat, Postfach 3009
Hansueli Albonico, MD
Albonico H, Klein P, Grob Ch, Pewsner D.
Schweizerische Impfkampagne gegen
Masern, Mumps, Roetein. Schweiz Zschr
Gamheitsmedizin 1994, Nos. 1 and 2.