Triple jab unsafe say US scientists
(Sunday Express Jan 28, 2001)
The £3m campaign to try to persuade parents MMR is safe is extreme folly
By Lucy Johnstone & Victoria Fletcher
A LEADING scientist has produced fresh evidence that the controversial measles, mumps and rubella vaccine could trigger autism in children.
A ground-breaking study of 80 autistic children found more than half had suffered an immune reaction to the jab which may have damaged their brains.
The work, due to be published by world renowned immunologist Dr Vijendra Singh, adds to growing concern that babies are being put at risk by the vaccine and casts fresh doubts on the Governments claims that it is safe.
The new research comes as a poll commissioned for the Sunday Express shows overwhelming public support for our campaign for the option of single vaccines. The NOP survey shows that 68 per cent of the population want to see single vaccines made available for those parents who do not want their children to have MMR.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express, Dr Singh, of the Department of Biology at Utah State University, said the new findings were disturbing. "I strongly suspect MMR is not safe in certain children whose immune systems cant cope with it and this is causing autism. This is a unique and disturbing finding and further illustrates that this vaccine might not be safe."
The research follows his previous study which showed that exposing some babies to measles and herpes viruses could cause their immune systems to malfunction.
His revelation comes as medical experts condemned the Governments multi-million pound campaign to persuade a sceptical public MMR is safe.
The Department of Health last week launched a £3million publicity drive to persuade parents to inoculate their children in the wake of growing evidence the vaccine might be harmful.
It based its message on new research from Finland which it claimed "proved" there was no link between brain damage and MMR. However, specialists from around the world have condemned this study as flawed and the Governments message as dangerous.
Dr Michel Odent, director of Londons Primal Health Research Centre, urged the Government to fund a proper study. "The Government have based their message on a study of no value which didnt even address the issue of autism. It is both immoral and unethical for them not to start a proper study into this."
Professor Roy Pounder, of the Royal Free Hospital in London, accused the Department of Health of "spin". He said the Government had based its view on an unreliable report that provides little valuable information about the safety of the MMR vaccination".
US vaccine expert Dr Edward Yazback said: "What your government is doing is very dangerous. if they want to prevent an outbreak then they should make the single vaccine available. Why are they being so stubborn?
"Most of these decision makers have never taken care of a child with autism. I have talked to hundreds of mothers whose children were developing normally until they were inoculated."
Jackie Fletcher, founder of pressure group JABS, which is campaigning for single vaccines to be available on the NHS, said: "We have parents who are so desperate to get single vaccines they are travelling to other countries or paying extortionate prices to private doctors. The Government says there is an epidemic on the doorstep because children arent being inoculated. Why on earth dont they give us the choice?"
The NOP survey of a thousand respondents also shows that the Government campaign of reassurance may be too little, too late. About 66 per cent of people said they did not trust Government advice on health matters.
And on Thursday, an online poll of nurses found that two-thirds would not give their own children the controversial MMR vaccine.
The £3million campaign to shore up the reputation of the MMR vaccine has received a mixed response. Some health professionals are relieved that a clear message is now bring given. But many scientists are furious that the money which could have funded at least two extensive studies into MMR has been spent on a PR campaign.
The Department of Health has promised to be more open about the side-effects. It is to produce new leaflets on the jab for parents, which will not only warn of common side-effects such as rashes and fevers, but will also cover more serious complaints such as seizures and severe shock.
ONE in 1,000 children will have convulsions after MMR and one in 100,000 will have severe allergic reactions. But the Government points out that reactions to the diseases themselves are more common.
The Governments determination is causing increasing anger among parents. Preparations are being made for protest marches in London, Edinburgh, Dublin and Cardiff on April 28.
Bill Welsh, who has an autistic child, is organising the March in Scotland. "It is just incredible that the Government does not seem to have listened to parents," he said. "Most do not know how to register their anger or get their voice heard."
It is still unclear why single jabs are being described as less safe. David Salisbury, head of the Governments immunisation programme, said a year gap between jabs left children open to disease. However, the Department of Health now admits it has no idea how long the gap between jabs should be.
And in a direct contradiction of Dr Salisburys statement, the Public Health Laboratory Service said it believes the wait needed between each jab is three weeks. Such a short interval would virtually destroy the Governments safety argument against the single vaccines. S Contact numbers: JABS 01942 713565. Public Health Laboratory Service: www.phls.co.uk or tel 0208 2001295.