The MMR jab turned our healthy girl into a cripple

Daily Mail Jan 9, 2003


ONE-YEAR-OLD Rebekah Boyd had just taken her first steps when her parents took her to get the MMR jab.

A month after the triple vaccine, Randal and Tania Boyd's daughter could no longer stand, let alone walk, and was crying out in agony.


Now nine, she is virtually crippled with juvenile chronic arthritis and can usually only watch from a chair in the garden while her friends play in the street outside.


Mr and Mrs Boyd are claiming damages against the makers of the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine, claiming their daughter's condition was brought about by the injection.


They are among more than 2,000 parents who have launched a legal action insisting MMR is responsible for a range of side effects, including deafness, arthritis, autism and epilepsy.


Mrs Boyd, 36, said yesterday: "The day Rebekah got that injection was the day her life changed.


'I don't want other children to go through what my daughter has been through.


'I don't think MMR is fair or right. There are other ways to give the vaccines and what has happened to my daughter just makes me so, so angry.'


Rebekah had her jab in August 1994. Mr Boyd, 45, said: 'Within one month she couldn't stand or walk.


'We took her to the doctor's and she was referred to the local hospital. I overheard the doctor who made the diagnosis tell a nurse that the condition could have been caused by the MMR vaccine.'


She was placed on steroids. But after two years, with Rebekah in a wheelchair, doctors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital said there was nothing more they could do.  They suggested the Boyd’s take her to Booth Hall Children's Hospital in Manchester.


Her father said: "They kept her in for six weeks and revised her drugs. She had intensive physiotherapy and she actually walked out of there. It was a very emotional moment.'


Mr Boyd, who gave up his his building firm to run a charity helping children with arthritis, said his daughter paid a huge price for the vaccine.


Rebekah's toes, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, finders and one hip are all affected by the condition, and sometimes she can only walk as far as her friend's house, ten metres from her home in St Anne's, Lancashire.


Until six months ago, she was on steroids which stunted her growth and left her face bloated. She is the same height as her five-year-old sister Samantha but has started to grow again after changing medication.


'She can't walk very far,' said her father. 'She is often in pain.


'Rebekah also suffers from a lack of confidence, and when other children are playing she takes her little chair out to watch. She can’t join in. Her life has been affected immensely.'


Rebekah said: "At school the teach­ers are really kind and other children make sure they don't hurt me.


"Things are always worse for me in the winter.'


Her parents are so upset they decided not to vaccinate Samantha.


Mr Boyd has set up the charity Grace - Give Rheumatoid Arthritis Children Encouragement.


A writ has been served against drugs giant Merck, claiming damages for personal injury following the injection.


A spokesman for the pressure group Jabs said: 'Both rubella and the rubella, vaccine have been connected with arthritis.


'Normally when such tragedies hap­pen we take a step back and learn something from it, but with MMR It seems to be deny, deny, deny.'