(informed parent 4/2003)

An article in Pulse, 20/10/03, reported on a US Government-funded inquiry which stated 'a causal link between influenza vaccine and the onset of multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome'cannot be ruled out. Professor Marie McCormick, University of Havard, said the possibility that flu vaccines could cause neurological complications 'must be given serious consideration.' Even though she stressed that the benefits of mass flu immunisation outweighed any risks.

According to the article, Dr Tom Jefferson, co-ordinator of the Cochrane Vaccine Field in Rome and a former UK GP, said: "This will scare patients unnecessarily. The trouble with the Institute of Medicine reports is that they are descriptive reviews of the evidence - in other words yesterday's methods.'

RCGP immunisation spokesman Dr George Kassianos, a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, refuted any link between MS and influenza vaccine and said the risk of acquiring GBS from the flu jab was 'one in a million.'

Editor: How many times has the 'one in a million' figure been used, is it based on any reliable figures?? The Institute of Medicine blamed a 'dearth of evidence’ for its failure to reach a firm conclusion, which basically means that there is a lack of information and evidence due to a lack of research in the first place. This was admitted in the IOM's publications on possible conditions being caused by various vaccines during the 1990s.