The Gamble.

By Janine Roberts - >

Department of Health cost cuts put school children at serious risk

Cost cutting measures to save £143 million by the Department of Health, put at increased risk the 8 million children treated in the November 1994 measles and rubella vaccination campaign and the babies of any girls then pregnant. These measures may explain some of 200 reports from doctors and parents of suspected vaccine damage to children.

The Department saved by not having children checked by doctors to see if they could be safely inoculated as was the previous practice.. According to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth Calman, the government thus cut the cost of vaccination from a possible £18.50 a child down to just 62 pence. The responsibility of judging if a child was healthy enough to be vaccinated was instead left to parents. At the same time the Department of Health made this task difficult for parents by not passing on to them the warnings issued by the vaccine's manufacturers, Smithklein Beecham.

SmithKlein Beecham reported an association between a disease known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and the rubella component of both the the MR vaccine used last November and the MMR used for infants. Government scientists, in the Lancet of the 4th March, stated: "The estimated absolute risk of 1 in 24,000 was 5 times that ... reported by clinicians" They thus predicted last November's campaign would cause 333 children to fall victim to this disease.

Dawn Corrigan is the mother of a 1 year old son, George, who came down with ITP last December. She reports: "On Christmas Day, 10 days after he had the MMR, I found his nappy full of blood. His nose then started bleeding. The roof of his mouth was dark mauve. His skin was covered in spots. It was really frightening. He was 2 weeks in hospital and still is not fully recovered."

There were other warnings the Health Department did not pass on. One was that no child should be vaccinated who was allergic to neomycin, a constituent of the vaccine. Lizzie, a 4 year old who had won the Greater London August 1994 Miss Pears competition, collapsed in shock within 3 minutes of being inoculated last November due to an allergy to neomycin. Her mother, Annie Clough, an actress in "Causality", reported: " My daughter immediately vomited and then went unconscious. I was absolutely amazed and shocked. She is now totally scared of needles."

Tony Gregory's 9 year old daughter Amy immediately reacted. "She collapsed within an hour. Next day she was vomiting constantly, had diarrhea and was covered in a nettle rash. Many local children were affected. There were children still fainting in school a fortnight later. We wondered if the batch of vaccines was faulty. We have epilepsy in the family and on previous occasions the doctor has not let us have our daughter inoculated. This time we were wrongly told it was safe.. We are now discussing with our solicitor legal action for assault on our daughter. I have got my MP involved, Llew Smith. I will fight tooth and nail to find out why this happened to Amy." Smith, the Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, has organised an House of Commons adjournment debate for next Thursday evening.

The Department of Health should not be surprised that reports of suspected vaccine damage from parents are proving much more commen than expected when their own scientists have observed that doctors only reported one in five case of possible vaccine damage. Dr Nigel Hickson, the Chairman of the Primary Care Virology Group said, according to GP News, that the government failed to make GPs aware of the potential side effects. END


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