Bristol Evening Post 29/06/2000


A COUPLE whose son became autistic after receiving a routine vaccination has been refused compensation from a new payout scheme.

Paulette and Hopeton Depass, from Oldbury Court, have been told that their six-year-old son Hayden will not qualify for help through the Government's new 60 million aid package.

Hayden became autistic after being given a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination when he was just 15 months old.

Almost overnight he lost his ability to talk and was no longer able to make eye contact or communicate with his parents.

He now receives specialist help at the Gay Elms School in Withywood but the Government says there is no evidence that Hayden and other children like him became autistic as a result of the jab.

His mother said: "He was a very happy, bubbly baby boy before the vaccination.

"He used to say baby words like 'Mumma' and 'Dadda' but suddenly everything changed.

"There are a number of parents in my position but the Government won't take responsibility."

Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling announced earlier this week that one-off payments to children left disabled by vaccinations could be more than doubled from 40,000 to 100,000.

The rules over eligibility for payouts were also relaxed to allow families more time to claim compensation.

But while children who suffered after receiving vaccines for diseases such as polio, whooping cough and measles could benefit, the Government says the link between MMR and autism has not been medically proven.

Department of Health spokesman Robert Beasley said: "All the credible evidence suggests there is not a link between MMR and autism.

"Autism tends to develop in babies at 14 to 15 months which is precisely the time they have MMR jabs."

Friends and family of Hayden have started a fundraising appeal in the hope that specialist treatment in America or Canada could help.

Paulette said: "It has been very hard work looking after Hayden but Gay Elms has been wonderful for him. He now seems to be coming out of his shell a little but we are hoping intensive therapy abroad might help to unlock the key. You hear of so many good cases from America and it's our dream to raise the thousands of pounds we would need to take him there."

A Natwest bank account has been set up in Hayden's name, account number 41797019, sort code 60-23-32.

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