40 deaths linked to child vaccines over seven years
Childhood vaccinations are suspected to have left two children with brain injuries and caused 1,500 other neurological reactions
Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor
Published: 24 October 2010

Forty children are suspected to have died as a result of receiving routine vaccines in the past seven years.

Childhood vaccinations are also suspected of having left two young children with brain injuries and caused more than 1,500 other neurological reactions, including 11 cases of inflammation of the brain, 13 cases of epilepsy and a coma.

The data, disclosed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) following a request by The Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that, since 2003, there have been more than 2,100 serious adverse reactions to childhood vaccines, some of which were life-threatening.

Fifteen injections are given routinely to young children as part of the government’s vaccination programme. They offer protection against diseases such as polio, diphtheria, mumps and measles.

The MHRA says the deaths and neurological reactions should be seen in the context of the 90m doses of childhood vaccines which have been given since 2003.

Details of the suspected deaths and neurological problems have been released just two months after a legal ruling forced the government to accept that its vaccination programme had left a baby severely brain damaged.

Thirteen years after first refusing to acknowledge that Robert Fletcher, now 18, had been left severely brain damaged by the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, the government was forced to pay him compensation.

Robert’s mother, Jackie, who founded Jabs, a support group for families with vaccine-damaged children, said: “It is generally accepted within the medical profession that only about 10% of suspected adverse reactions get put forward in the correct way. It is accepted by the Department of Health that the full scale of the problem is far greater than these statistics show.”

Jake Dukes, 18, from Weymouth, Dorset, was left severely brain damaged by the whooping cough vaccine, which he received when he was two months old. He has the mental age of a toddler, is incontinent and uses a wheelchair. He was awarded £91,500 under the government’s vaccine damage payment scheme.

The family of George Fisher are convinced that the MMR vaccine contributed to the death of their 18-month-old son. He died 10 days after being inoculated in January 2006.

His mother, Sarah, a hotel receptionist from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, believes that an existing illness made him susceptible to an adverse reaction to the vaccine. Four months before receiving the jab, George had suffered a fit brought on by a high fever. Sarah said: “George had had a bad virus. He had been very ill and had suffered a convulsion due to his high temperature. I don’t think it was just the MMR, but I think it was a factor in his death.”