Bristol Evening Post 24/08/2000


A FORMER Bristol teacher who became a multi-millionaire selling mops says he will sue the U.S. Government because his son became autistic after a routine vaccination.

Jon Nokes watched his 13month-old son Shane lose his ability to speak and make eye contact after the measles, mumps and rubella jab.

Now the 48-year-old father of three, whose company has sold more than 60 million worth of Smart Mops, has vowed to launch a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

He is hoping his case will pave the way for thousands of people all over the world - including scores from Bristol - to win similar claims.

He said: "Shane was a normal, healthy, beautiful baby boy. I'm just appalled by what has happened and I'm going to mount a big case.

"I've already hired someone to work on it full-time and I know I will have to fight the Government as well as the drug companies."

The British Government, like its counterpart in America, says there is no "credible" proof of any link between MMR inoculations and autism.

Jabs are routinely given at about 13 to 15 months - the same age autism tends to develop in young children.

Last month the Evening Post reported the case of Whitchurch mother Sarah Pitts, whose son Luke developed autism after an MMR jab.

She was the latest in a long line of Bristol parents to be told she would not be eligible for compensation for her child.

Scientists critical of MMR say the combined vaccine delivers a jolt to the child's developing immune system which could be reduced if it was split up.

A study published by doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 1998 even suggested evidence of a link between MMR and autism.

But it was swiftly denied by other health professionals.

Mr Nokes, who worked as a biology teacher at Hengrove School for nearly six years, quit his job in Bristol nearly 20 years ago to emigrate to the U.S. where he helped set up a company selling household products.

Avon Health Authority says there is no evidence of a link between MMR and autism and has launched several high profile campaigns urging parents to have their children immunised.

Rubella and mumps can both result in serious illness and measles can cause children permanent complications and sometimes death.  

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