The Scotsman Newspaper is reporting that leading health experts warn that "more unnecessary deaths" would occur because of unfounded fears that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism.

In an open letter, 28 UK paediatricians and vaccination experts say the UK faces a "potentially serious situation" which would lead to outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella without urgent action to boost vaccination rates.

They call for a line to be drawn under the question of "any association between MMR and autism" in the light of "overwhelming" evidence that the vaccine was safe.

"Years of low uptake mean large numbers of unprotected children are now entering school. Unless this is rectified urgently, and children are immunised, there will be further outbreaks and we will see more unnecessary deaths", the letter says.

"It is not too late to avert this predictable tragedy. It is time that due weight is given to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence in favour of the vaccine."