Sunday Express
12 October 2008
By Lucy Johnston
A PROBE was under way yesterday amid claims a Scottish teenager was “hoodwinked” into being given a controversial sex cancer virus jab.

Health officials are investigating after a mother complained her 13-year-old diabetic daughter received the Human Papilloma Virus inoculation against her will at school.

Debbie Jones, 47, even considered police action after discovering daughter, Gail, was injected despite signing an official form refusing consent.

The teenager was inoculated as part of the Scottish Government’s campaign against cervical cancer.

Mrs Jones, from a rural part of northern Scotland, said yesterday: “My daughter and I talked about the vaccine and she said she didn’t want to take it.

“We don’t know about the long-term safety of this vaccine and my daughter is not at all interested in boys so she is not at risk from the virus anyway. So we sent the consent form back refusing the jab. She went to school by herself on the day they were doing the jab.

“The nurse asked her some questions - which she couldn’t answer - while looking at her consent form.

“Then without warning the nurse gave her the jab.”

Mrs Jones added: “It’s appalling. We never consented and I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to any one else.”

Writing on his internet blog, Mr Jones said: "On the day, our 13-year-old daughter, who by the way has type-1 diabetes, was taken aside from the other girls and told by the doctor that she was the only girl in her year who had handed in a consent form with a cross in the 'No' box. As they started to talk, and without being asked if she wanted it, the doctor jabbed her."

Last year the Scottish Government launched a multi-million pound vaccination campaign to protect all girls aged 12 to 13 against cervical cancer.

Over the next few years 120,000 girls will be inoculated at an estimated cost of £30 million. A “catch-up” campaign is also underway for older teenage girls up to 18-years-old.

HPV, which is spread by sexual contact, is blamed for causing 70 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.

There are more than 300 cases a year in Scotland. A third are terminal and the life time risk of women developing the disease are 1 in 124.

But concerns have been raised about the vaccine and in the United States, doctors have linked the jab to eight deaths and suspect it may be implicated in 3,461 adverse reactions in patients, including paralysis and seizures.

Of 42 women who were given the jab while pregnant, 18 reported to have experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to foetal abnormalities.

The Sunday Express is refusing to divulge which health board is at the centre of the controversy in a bid to protect the teenage girl. However, the authority’s medical director will hold an investigation on Tuesday.
[One Click Note: It is the Orkney NHS Trust]

A spokeswoman for the health board said yesterday: “We can confirm we have received a complaint from a member of the public regarding the consent procedure of the Human Papilloma Virus immunisation program.

“We take this complaint extremely seriously and are investigating fully as a matter of urgency. If there are lessons to be learned from the investigation they will be incorporated into the program.

“The health of young people is of paramount importance to us.

“Our medical director will lead the inquiry on Tuesday and both Mrs Jones and her daughter have been invited to attend.”

Medical expert Dr Richard Halvorsen, author of The Truth About Vaccines, yesterday said he has fears over the safety and effectiveness of the new vaccine.

His worries are backed by US drug regulators, who have refused to licence the UK version of the controversial jab, manufactured by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, because they believe its safety record has not yet been proven.

He said: “The version we are using contains an immune stimulating ingredient – AS04 – with which we have little experience and which may lead to immune related problems in later life.

“I would not give it my daughter. This is being rushed in and it will make billions of pounds for drug companies.”

Jackie Fletcher, from Jabs, a support group for parents who believe their children have been damaged by vaccines, also said she has reservations.

She said: “A number of questions need to be answered before we continue giving this vaccine to girls.

“Instead of using an unproven drug we need to educate women and girls to take charge of their sexual health and start smear tests after they become sexually active.”