Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988 many parents have complained
publicly that they believe their children have been seriously damaged by
MMR vaccine. Each time the Department of Health has cited many reports as
being conclusive proof that the vaccine is both safe and effective. It is
important to note that the authors of the Cochrane Review have scrutinised
5,000 related studies and in this context found the majority lacking. Only
31 of the 5,000 studies were thought to "possibly fulfill their inclusion
The Cochrane Review is a significant piece of work because it actually
exposes all the 5,000 related studies as being inadequate in some way, as
all fail to find any link with long-term disability for which compensation
has been paid or acknowledged by the vaccine manufacturers in their own
Of course the MMR vaccine is responsible for long-term disability in some
children. All drug products have the potential to cause both minor and
serious adverse reactions one has only to read the manufacturers' product
information sheets to be aware of this.
Vaccine damage, and in this case, MMR vaccine damage has been recognised by
Governments, three examples are:
1. The US Government has a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme
and 14% of claims have been paid out to children damaged by MMR vaccination.
2. The Japanese authorities have paid out substantial compensation to
parents of MMR vaccine damaged children after a successful court case in
March 2004. (There is an on-going UK case.)
3. The UK Government has a Vaccine Damage Payment Unit which has paid out
hundreds of thousands of pounds to children affected by childhood vaccines
including MMR vaccine.
Many children who suffer adverse reactions are individually assessed by
Government doctors panels. These panels determine the reported adverse
event and association with vaccination (known to the manufacturers) and
make recommendation for compensation for the individual. The criteria used
is extremely high and compensation awards are not made lightly. For the
medical authorities now to conclude that this review gives the MMR vaccine
a clean bill of health does a great injustice to all those children who
have been awarded vaccine damage payments by ignoring their existence.
Last week's announcement (October 05) by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency about the radical changes of the passive vaccine
reaction surveillance system known as the Yellow Card Scheme is further
proof that the system has been deeply flawed and is at last being addressed.
Until now the collection of vaccine adverse events data has been poor. This
poor data was used in many of the reports reviewed by Cochrane which they
identified as inadequate.
The UK's Department of Health must no longer quote from such studies. Their
officers must instigate proper clinical studies of the affected children
instead of denying their existence.
For the Department of Health to continue trying to convince parents, many
of whom have family and friends with children believed to have been
affected by MMR vaccine, exposes them to being blind to the reality.