We won't allow MMR cover-up say parents of tragic toddlers
By SUE CORRIGAN, Mail on Sunday 01:01am 18th June 2006
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The parents of two healthy toddlers who died ten days after being given the
controversial MMR jabs have warned the Government that they will not allow
the cause of their deaths to be 'covered up'.
Doctors say they cannot explain why George Fisher and Anna Duncan, both
aged 17 months, died in their sleep.
But the children's parents believe that the controversial triple jab -
against measles, mumps and rubella - is to blame.
Sarah and Chris Fisher, from Cheltenham, and John and Veronica Duncan, from
Cardrona, Scotland, say that if British health authorities do not give them
answers they will send brain tissue samples from their children's bodies to
a specialist laboratory in America for analysis to determine whether the
live viruses in MMR did cause the deaths.
George and Anna had been healthy toddlers when they died. Cot death has
been ruled out because both children were more than a year old and blood
found on Anna's lips suggested she had an epileptic-type seizure just
before death which does not occur in sudden infant death syndrome
The only indications of ill-health before the children died were that both
showed signs of apparently minor reactions to their MMR jabs.
George's mother, Sarah, said last week that despite repeated Government
assurances the vaccine is safe, she and her husband were '100 per cent sure
George was killed by MMR'.
And Anna's father, John, said he and his wife would 'never forgive
themselves' for not paying privately for single jabs and for believing
Government assurances that MMR was safe. They now believe that the doctors
should have spotted and warned of the dangers.
Mr Duncan said that, having conducted extensive research since Anna's
death, he and his wife, who is a nurse, considered it possible that their
daughter had died 'as a result of a catastrophic reaction to the vaccine'.
He said: 'Six days after her jab, Anna developed purple spots on her body
and bouts of high temperature.
'We read only later that these were side-effects of MMR to watch out for.
'If we had been properly warned we would have taken her for medical help
sooner. But the risks of vaccines are just never mentioned.
'Anna had been exposed to an outbreak of chickenpox in our village just
before her jab, which we mentioned, and had a runny nose, which means she
really shouldn't have been injected with MMR at that point.
'Parents should be better informed about the risks and the choice of single
jabs should be available to all parents through the NHS.'
Mrs Fisher also believed her son should not have been given the jab. George
was due to have his first MMR jab in September last year but it was delayed
when he developed a high temperature and, when taken to the doctor, had a
convulsion in the surgery.
She said: 'It was extremely frightening, but the doctor assured me it was
not uncommon, nothing to worry about, and gave him antibiotics. George soon
got better, and I thought nothing further of it.
'But since his death I have learnt that if a child has any history of
convulsions or fits then doctors are supposed to take that into account
when administering any vaccine and watch the childmore carefullyfor adverse
'No one mentioned this to me when I took him along to the same surgery four
months later for his MMR, and I had no idea he was at any increased risk.
'I feel very let down. I'm not against MMR, even now, but parents should be
made aware of the risk factors.
'I am speaking out to warn other parents to take more care if their child
shows any signs of adverse reactions.'
Since 2002 the Government has spent millions of pounds attempting to shore
up public confidence in the vaccine, first undermined in 1998 when clinical
researcher Dr Andrew Wakefield suggested it could cause autism and gut
The failure of the Government's campaign was demonstrated last week when
figures showed that because so many parents are spurning MMR, Britain is
now in the grip of the biggest measles outbreak since the vaccine's
introduction in 1988.
Doctors have reported hundreds of cases of measles since January in just
three areas of the country, including the death of a 13-year-old boy.
Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'The Government's
failure to maintain confidence in the MMR jab has led directly to these
Opposition leader David Cameron has pledged to restore single jabs on the
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