SUNDAY EXPRESS MAY 14 2006
FRONT PAGE STORY
ALERT OVER NEW 5-IN-1 BABY JABS
EXCLUSIVE By Lucy Johnston
Brain damage fears after trial results show that two-thirds of patients experience bad reaction
Babies given the new five-in-one jab face a risk of convulsions, brain damage or even death. Results of medical trials by the firm which makes the vaccine have revealed that the "superdose" vaccination, which was introduced 18 months ago, can have serious side-effects. The five-in-one is designed to protect children against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib influenza and polio in a single shot.
Evidence from the vaccine's manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur, shows that in clinical trials 64 per cent of 451 babies given the Pediacel jab experienced bad reactions. Ten per cent of these were "moderate to severe". These included convulsions, loss of consciousness and high-pitched or persistent inconsolable crying. Other studies showed that components of the vaccine can cause breathing difficulties, blue discolouration of the skin due to lack of oxygen, swelling of the brain, low blood pressure and extreme allergic shock.
The document prepared for the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority and publicised by What Doctors Don't Tell You, a monthly newsletter that questions conventional medicine, has angered doctors
and MPs. Professor Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, criticised the Government saying: "I am very concerned that these apparently wide spread side-effects have not been disclosed. The Government should investigate these concerns urgently".
Dr Richard Halvorsen, a London GP who specialises in innoculations said: "I'm concerned that this five-in-one is overloading a child's immune system. "The risks of vaccinations have been played down by the Government and parents have been fobbed off with bland reassurances". And Dr Peter Mansfield, who won a case against the doctor's governing body, the General Medical Council, for refusing to give the combined controversial measles, mumps and rubella to infants, said: "This is scandalous. We're vaccinating babies when their immune systems are not ready".
Jackie Fletcher from the vaccine damage support group JABS, is also concerned. She said: "The Department of Health is failing to acknowledge the dangers of the vaccines and the damage they can
cause. It claims the five-in-one is perfectly safe, but clearly it is not. "The only person taking a risk here is the baby and parents are not being given correct information about it". Health officials claim it is safer than the four-in-one-jab it replaced which contained the controversial preservative mercury, which has been linked with autism. The new jab is also deemed to be safer because it contains inactivated polio to remove the risk that children could contract polio paralysis from the old oral vaccine that contained a live sample of the virus.
However, the revelations will ignite debate about the over-use of innoculations and could hinder Government plans to bring in an even more intensive vaccination programme that will see children receiving 25 vaccines in 12 injections by the time they are two. The new proposed schedule contains the controversial MMR jab, the five-in-one jab, a new pneumococcal vaccine and the meningitis C vaccine.
When the five-in-one was launched the Government vaccine chief urged parents: " Please do not delay having your child vaccinated. Our vaccines are extremely safe." Nicholas Kitchin, medical director of Sanofi Pasteur, insisted: "There are fewer side-effects with the five-in-one than were reported with the older four-in-one vaccine. "All drugs and vaccines have potential side-effects, which parents should be aware of and these are listed in the information leaflet included with every dose of the vaccine. Severe reactions are rare and the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health added: "The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation thoroughly assesses the evidence on the safety and efficacy of all new vaccines before they are added to the childhood immunisation programme. Pediacel has an excellent record. "Every parent is informed about the potential side effects of every vaccine in a guide which is given to parents by health visitors."
SUNDAY EXPRESS MAY 14 2006 OPINION Health chiefs must act now on
five-in-one vaccine fears
The Government must move fast to prove that its new super-drug is completely safe for British babies. The five-in-one vaccination, introduced 18 months ago, was claimed to be a major breakthrough in the fight against childhood killer diseases. The drug, which is intended to provide protection against polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and meningitis, is given to babies as young as two months and was claimed to be risk-free. But evidence collected by the drug's manufacturer tells a different story.
The Sunday Express has revealed that the maker's clinical trials showed that nearly two out of three infants given an injection of its super jab experienced significant side effects. The trials, when linked with other data, revealed a danger that children could suffer convulsions and even run the risk of brain damage. This is devastating news for parents. Some health campaigners warn that the combination of five powerful vaccines adminstered in this way overwhelms a baby's immune system. It is vital that the Department of Health intervenes now to restore public confidence. Every parent knows that no threat to a baby's health is ever tolerable.