HEPATITIS B VACCINE
(Informed Parent 4/2003)
on 4, 28/10/03 (BBC Radio 4) examined growing concerns over the rise in the
number of cases of the potentially fatal liver disease, Hepatitis B.
the overall incidence is low - around 800 new cases a year - there have been
sharp increases in particular areas of the country. In Bristol doctors at the
local clinic for sexually transmitted diseases report a mini-epidemic which is
running at seven times the national average.
can't see any good reason why the same thing that's happened in
may be a little bit more acute here at the moment but I think you need to watch
out because it's coming your way,
government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is now considering
universal immunisation against
Hepatitis B. Currently in the
with the Committee due to report by the end of the year, File On 4 reveals
growing concern over the possible side effects of the vaccine. A group of people
who became ill after being given the vaccine at work are trying to bring the
UK's first legal action against the manufacturers. They are suffering a range of
conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy and
claim they were not warned of possible side effects.
of them, Steve Harrison, a former refuse collector from Brighton, was given the
jab after clearing out flats where drug addicts had discarded syringes. Within
ten days, his health deteriorated and he was later diagnosed with severe
told the programme: "I used full of life. I ran a football team and out
dancing a lot. Now I'm disabled have to take pills morning, noon and night. My
wife has to help me to the toilet and bathe me."
vaccine manufacturers Aventi Pasteur told File On 4 they could no comment on the
case while legal proceedings were active. Both they and GSK, the other firm
making the vaccine in Britain, maintain that it is safe and claim the benefits
of universal vaccination against a potentially fatal disease far outweigh the
risks of serious side effects.