Jabs Writes



JABS welcomes the screening of tonight's Channel Five TV docu-drama "Hear the Silence" (9.00pm) which is based on real-life parents' stories about the MMR vaccination and the controversy surrounding Dr Andrew Wakefield and his research suggesting a possible link between the MMR vaccination and autism. A debate follows the programme which JABS had hoped would include the vaccine policy officials from the Department of Health. Unfortunately, those responsible for vaccination policy declined their invitation to appear. JABS is disappointed that the same people who openly criticise the research scientists like Dr Wakefield and parent groups did not have the courage and courtesy to put their case before the public in this debate.

Since our group was founded in 1994 JABS has been contacted by thousands of parents concerned about adverse events following childhood vaccinations many of whom have long term serious problems including autistic-like symptoms and bowel disorders following MMR vaccines. Some parents have informed us that their own GP or consultant was not being effective in treating the child's long-term diarrhoea/constipation and were desperate to be referred to a specialist clinic for diagnosis and treatment. Many of these parents were provided with information from JABS on how to contact Dr Wakefield at the Royal Free hospital.

JABS believes the Government's vaccine senior officers have failed to investigate the children believed to have been damaged. During the course of a one-hour meeting in 1997 (portrayed in the film) a full list of children, then affected, was presented by JABS and the legal representatives to the Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer and Principal Medical Officer . We asked that the Government should instigate a scientific investigation of the children believed to have been damaged which could have been useful on two fronts:

1. To answer the question of MMR safety.

2. If the vaccine was found to be causing harm it may have been possible to identify ''at-risk'' groups and this may have led to a screening programme which could have improved vaccine safety for all children.

The Health Minister at the time stated she was willing to look at all scientific evidence but as parents it is very difficult for us to produce this. That is why we believe the current claims by the vaccine policy-makers that there is no scientific evidence to show the MMR vaccine is unsafe will continue to be made. Until the Government investigates children believed to have been damaged, the ''scientific evidence'' from the DoH is unlikely to change.

The statement that the health secretary, John Reid, made on GMTV in November 03: "It is unequivocal that there is no evidence at all that MMR is linked to autism." needs to be challenged. World experts in the field of virology and pathology have replicated results found by Dr Wakefield's team when he was at the Royal Free Hospital, London and other independent Japanese scientists have also duplicated the findings.

John Reid should be reminded that the drug manufacturers of MMR vaccines have provided his senior medical advisers with a long list of the adverse reactions known to be associated with their products. These lists are virtually identical from each of the drug companies. They state the minor side effects which doctors are happy to share with parents: namely - rashes, raised temperature etc. These same sheets also state reactions only recently being publicly acknowledged by the Health Protection Agency e.g., febrile convulsions, blood disorders (ITP). The information sheets also state the severe adverse events: to name but a few - diarrhoea, nerve deafness, arthritis, Guillain Barre syndrome ( a paralysis syndrome), severe vision problems, seizures and encephalitis. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) can lead to a range of disabilities such as epilepsy, loss of speech and communication and acquired autism.

The MMR vaccine contains three live attenuated viruses; their major disadvantage is a danger of reversion of the virus strains to more reactive and virulent forms. In plain terms, if the wild virus can cause inflammation in the brain, joints, spine, eyes, ears and bowel then so can thevaccine-virus. Andto quote an extract from a letter published in the Times (February 9 2002) from Dr David Hall, President of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health : 'Some children develop encephalitis (brain swelling) when they catch measles, mumps or rubella viruses and may be left with a variety of handicaps, including physical and mental impairment, deafness, internal organ damage and autism.....'

Recent press stories have said that there is a parallel between the film of Erin Brockovich and Hear the Silence, however, Brockovich proved her case in court. Unfortunately, the MMR victims have had their legal aid stopped just six months before the cases were to be heard at the high court in April 2004. There is a case to be answered for the link between MMR and autism and bowel problems. In the interest of justice, these children deserve to have the issue of MMR safety resolved in court and for this we need the help of legal aid.

* Many parents believe that the withdrawal of legal aid prior to the court cases being heard is another way to delay or prevent access to justice for vaccine damaged children. The families' representatives were able to present to the legal aid appeal committee (the Funding Review Committee) evidence not only that measles virus had been found in cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) taken from three out of six of the test cases, but also that it had not been found in 19 out of 20 controls. If the measles virus is in the CSF then it must almost certainly be in the brain. Bearing in mind:
* that these children, like all autistic children, suffer from a form of brain damage,
* that measles is known to be able to cause brain damage and
* that no other cause of autism has been suggested for the overwhelming majority of the families we are trying to help

Politicians and their senior medical advisers need to stop playing politics with children's lives. If there is a potential for measles epidemics, they must provide measles vaccines. Critics of our group must think of this: If our members had been anti-vaccine lobbyists our children would not have been taken for vaccines and subsequently damaged. We are parents who put our faith in the system, our children have reacted usually in the time frame known to the manufacturer and, in the main, are living with long term problems also known to the manufacturer.

Background Information

1. The MMR vaccine was introduced into the Japanese health programme at about the same time as in the UK. Shortly after its introduction Japanese parents started to complain to the authorities that their children were suffering severe neurological damage. The Government failed to act. Other parents started to reject the MMR vaccination for their children and still the Government failed to act. Outbreaks of measles occurred and, unfortunately, it was the most vulnerable in society, the babies under twelve months of age and too young to receive a measles vaccine, that were hit hardest and 69 deaths were recorded. The Japanese Government then banned the MMR vaccine and introduced a policy of separate measles and rubella vaccines. (The single Urabe mumps vaccine would not have been accepted as it had been held responsible for the neurological damage when combined in the Japanese MMR vaccine.) The Japanese MMR court cases were heard in March 2003. Over 1,000 children were awarded
MMR damages against the Japanese government and the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases at Osaka University in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

2. The UK pre-introductory MMR trials were inadequate in that they failed to follow up adverse reactions for more than just a few weeks. Proof of inadequacy is in the knowledge that it took the DoH four years to identify and withdraw two of the three original MMR brands that had been introduced into the UK vaccination programme in 1988. These two brands, Pluserix and Immravax were withdrawn by September 1992 because they contained a mumps strain known as Urabe which caused mumps meningitis. Many of the JABS children have had these brands of MMR. It is also of concern that this problem must have been well known to the Government as an MMR vaccine containing the Urabe strain had been suspended in Canada six months before MMR was introduced in this country.

3. The Government's vaccine policy-makers have failed to provide an efficient monitoring system for adverse events following vaccination. The Health Protection Agency in its former role as Public Health Laboratory's Service is on record in the Lancet (Vol 345. March 4, 1995) stating ''....there is an urgent need to find more reliable methods of adverse event surveillance.'' The point being that unless all reactions are put forward to a central body instead of being dismissed as ''unrelated'' or ''just a coincidence'' the central database will never hold accurate information on adverse events. How many coincidences are needed before it becomes meaningful enough to warrant scientific, clinical investigation?

4. The Government is well aware that vaccines sometimes cause severe damage; there is a branch of the Department of Social Security known as the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit. It was set up in 1979 following the Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979. MMR vaccine damage payments have been awarded for various adverse effects including: epilepsy, Guillain-Barre syndrome (a paralysis condition), SSPE (a brain-wasting condition), profound deafness and death. We are aware of 24 cases where children have died after receiving MMR vaccines.

5. Any debate on vaccine damage will have DoH officials quoting the massive number of doses given to children in the United States. What is never stated by UK officials is that in the US they have a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme. In the last 12 years this programme has paid out over $1 billion in payments to vaccine damaged children of which a 14% share has been paid out for MMR or its components. The drug companies have to contribute to the programme and up to August 1997 they had to pay an excise tax on each dose using a risk-based formula. The DTP and MMR were taxed at $4.56 and $4.44 respectively, polio vaccines at $0.29 and DT (diphtheria/tetanus) vaccines at $0.06. This must surely give an indication of which vaccines carry the highest risk of a serious adverse reaction.

6. The problems associated with childhood vaccines is also being reflected in the United States as has been reported in the United Press International 13/11/03:

Washington,Nov.13(UPI) -- More states next year probably will follow the example of Texas and Arkansas and pass legislation making it easier for parents to exempt their children from mandatory vaccine requirements, health experts told United Press International.....The Texas and Arkansas laws -- driven largely by groups arguing that vaccines carry too many risks -- passed earlier this year. The laws allow parents to have their child exempted from the immunizations states require for school enrolment, such as measles, whooping cough and polio.

7. If outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella are feared and parents in their thousands want to vaccinate against these diseases, why are the DoH vaccine officials failing to order single injections from the very drug companies currently supplying the UK market with the MMR vaccines? JABS believes in a safe vaccination programme but the emphasis is on safe!

Contact Details:

Jackie Fletcher
JABS (Justice Awareness Basic Support)

email: jackie@jabs.org.uk
website: www.jabs.org.uk
Tel: 01942 713565

jackie@jabs.org.uk © John Fletcher 2012