"A horrendous gap in research in this country"

By Janine Roberts - the Independent on Sunday has apologised to Professor Moxon and Dr Frith for mistakes introduced in editing the article below. It was agreed that the article as I submitted it to the paper accurately portrayed of their views.

So, to put the record right, here is the accurate version.<>

The Professor of Pediatrics at Oxford University, Richard Moxon , has given his support to the plea by parents last week for greatly improved research into the side effects of vaccines. [See my previous article "How the UK Health Authorities gambled to save costs with the health of 8 Million children."] These parents believe their children may have been damaged by measles and german measles (rubella) vaccinations last November. Over 200 had come forward since last Sunday.

Professor Moxon who is also the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group thought: "the concerns expressed by these parents are very sensible. The reports I heard were plausible even if there is no clear cut evidence of causality." He suggested that case-controlled studies into vaccine side effects were urgently required, including studies of children's health before and after vaccination.

Professor Moxon called for the tripling of vaccine research funding, remarking: "there is a horrendous gap in this country's research. Our own group is almost unique in this country in that we are not beholden to any one funder or drug company. We need similar groups at other colleges"

Dr. Richard Briggs, a consultant pediatrician at Warrington District General Hospital, backed the call for research and added . "I am currently reporting a child as possibly suffering from an illness caused by vaccination." The child in question, , had collapsed in a Cheshire school playground a month after taking part in last year's vaccination campaign. After brain-scans and lumbar punctures, which were so painful that she had to be held down, she was found to have atypical Guillian Barre Syndrome. Recently she has been suffering from spinal needle like pains. She deeply misses being able to tap dance. Dr Briggs is also treating another severely damaged child suspected of being damaged by vaccine.

Dr Peggy Frith, a consultant eye specialist at the Radcliffe Institute in Oxford, is reporting a child that had severe eye damage, with eyes so swelled they became fixed, as a possible victim of vaccine damage. The parents of another child received a letter from their consultant pediatrician that stated: "This is to confirm that Andrew seems to be suffering ... as a result of the previous vaccination. This appears to be a rare complication with no treatment." Both of these children fell ill after vaccinations last November.

Professor Michael Steward of the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine when told of the side effects reported by parents, commented to my surprise: "These are only what is to be expected from vaccination with a live virus." He added: "That is why I am heading a team to develop a synthetic measles vaccine without any living viral tissue."

Many doctors are reported by parents as quickly dismissing any suggestion that a vaccination could have caused their child's illness even when the vaccine's manufacturers list as possible but rare side effects the very illnesses diagnosed , such as encephalitis, arthritis and meningitis. A recently published study of the stomach illness Chrons concluded that doctors only report one fifth of the possible vaccine-induced cases.

The Department of Health insist that there are no children seriously ill because of the November vaccinations. Their spokesman also insist there are no current cases of serious illness caused by the MMR vaccine. Yet the Government's Vaccine Damage Unit made 876 awards between 1979-95 to children for being 80 percent incapacitated by vaccines including MMR.

Some children fell ill very soon after November's vaccination. Lisa-Jane Finlay's son Ashley became ill a day later and 2 weeks later was rushed to hospital with extreme swellings. He had Henock Schonlein Purpura and arthritis.He is still ill.

Jackie Fletcher, the secretary of the JABS support group for families with vaccine damaged children, said "It is extremely difficult for many parents to come forward. They are scared to alienate their doctors on whom they totally depend for the survival of their children."

Susan Botes,the professional officer of the Health Visitors Association, told of working on the November campaign. "There were waves of difficulty." One was over the need to warn girls to avoid pregnancy for a month after vaccination. "The advice was conflicting. The white paper [from the Chief Medical Officer] told us one thing, our reference works told us another." A spokesman for SmithKline Beecham, one of the two suppliers of the vaccine, said they would continue to issue the warning: 'we prefer to discuss with the physician and make a best judgment on a case by case basis" He added that the Department of Health considered the risk small. and so preferred not to warn girls for fear this might deter some from being vaccinated. Ms Boltes noted that children had the right to be informed and give consent under The Children's Act.

Cost cutting measures prevented individual assessment. Family doctors, although they held the health records of the children, were excluded from much work as too expensive according to Dr Kenneth Calman, the Chief Medical Officer. Instead school nurses were used at an cost of 62p a child. The policy of immunizing every child, no matter if already immunised, was also cost effective for it removed the need to check records.

Janet Ellis had learnt that natural measles gave life long immunity so she saw the November vaccination as unnecessary for her son, Ashley, and refused consent. Ashley, then 11, had natural measles at 3 months as well as measles vaccinations at 15 months and again at 6 years, But she was persuaded to consent by a health visitor. "I could do more than kick myself now. Six weeks later he fell horrendously ill with encephalitis".

Parents who did not have their children vaccinated in November were labeled "non-compliers" and targeted in "mopping up" operations according to the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre. The purpose was to achieve an "herd immunity" that would be as high as possible. Objections were seen as based solely on "misinformation, family tradition or anxiety." The result of this pressure, Jackie Fletcher said, "was that many parents felt bullied into giving consent."

Richard Barr, a solicitor who was contacted by over 40 families this week, stated: "I have been instructed to investigate legal action of behalf of a number of parents who believe that they were not properly informed of the risks when their consent was sought for their child's vaccination" .

by Janine Roberts of Impact Investigative Media Productions

Saturday, October 07, 1995

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