Professor Gordon Stewart

[2010 June] The lies the Government tell when it comes to vaccines by Christina England

[2008] Rapid Responses to Does cot death still exist?

[Media July 2001 DPT] Baby deaths may be linked to toxic vaccine

Whooping Cough vaccination--Prof Gordon Stewart (1980)

Stewart (1976), GT; Immunisation against whooping cough; British Medical Journal, 31 January 1976; letters:

Sir: In showing that 75% of infants below 3 months of age with whooping cough were admitted to hospital and that 42% of all hospital admissions of children notified as whooping cough were infants or 5 months or younger, Drs. Christina L. Miller and W.B, Fletcher (17 January, p 117) have indeed confirmed the widely-held belief that :in young infants whooping cough is still dangerous". They have not shown that "at all ages previous vaccination reduced the severity of the disease." What they have shown is that, among notified cases, a significantly higher proportion of the more severe cases and of those admitted to hospital were not immunised or were incompletely immunised. This does not mean that immunisation is necessarily protective. Of 8092 cases notified to them, 2940 (36%) were fully immunised while only 2424(30%) were definitely not immunised. In the same issue (p128) Dr. ND Noah claims that "current vaccines provide young children with substantial protection against whooping cough". What he actually shows, in a single tabulation of notifications uncorrected for age, is that the incidence of whooping cough is lower in immunised than in non-immunised children. But the rate of notified infection was still relatively high (50 per 100,000) in 1974 in children fully immunised with the new vaccine. There is no evidence in either article that immunisation of older children protects younger ones. Several questions arise: What kind of immunisation is this for which success is being claimed? It is an immunisation which leaves those at highest risk (that is, below 6 months of age) unprotected and which, even when complete, is associated only with partial protection of those in the lowest risk groups. What kind of epidemiology is this which advocates immunisation by excluding consideration of factors other than immunisation? It is admitted in both articles and is indeed obvious from the data that factors other than immunisation must influence susceptibility to whooping cough. If immunisation is to be tested for efficacy, the data must be standardised for domestic, demographic and social factors. Whooping cough is much lower in incidence, hospital admissions are less frequent, and immunisation schedules are often better maintained in districts where socioeconomic conditions are favourable. Thereported association between protection and immunisation could be an expression of better social conditions and child care as much as of biological protection by pertussis vaccine. What kind of editorial policy is this which publishes incomplete data and promotes far-reaching claims about the efficacy of immunisation but refuses to publish collateral data questioning this efficacy? Paradoxically, the articles by Drs. Miller and Fletcher and Dr. Noah reinforce the suggestion made in my letter in your issue of 10 January (p 93) that evidence about the efficacy of pertussis vaccine is lacking. But the question remains.

This correspondence recalls your earlier reports about the conviction of Sally Clark for murder in trials for the sudden deaths of her two infants, and about her own death after the conviction had been annulled. I am writing about this because on 18th August 1999 I was approached by solicitors in Manchester who were defending Mrs Clark against the charge of having murdered her two infant sons, Christopher in 1996 and Harry in 1998. They asked me to read and advise them on reports on these deaths by paediatricians, pathologists and other experts beginning with the autopsies performed by Dr Williams, the Coroner’s pathologist at Macclesfield, Cheshire.
    I found, as Dr Williams did, that the two deaths were different and that for this and other reasons, the reports sent to me were confusing, contradictory and inconclusive. None of them offered a conclusion fulfilling the requirement that a verdict of unnatural death had to be beyond reasonable doubt, so I wrote back to the defending solicitors to say that a charge of murder was unjustified. The same opinion was given by one of the experts, Professor John Emery, a leading authority in the UK on Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID). Christopher had been cremated but Professor Emery had conducted a second autopsy on Harry in the presence of another expert witness. He was unable, under the circumstances, to give a definite opinion about the cause of death but he did exclude, as I did, unnatural death due to murder. We agreed that the deaths were different and noted that Harry had received an injection of triple vaccine about 4 hours before his death which could have occurred after admission to hospital. I had already asked the solicitors for more details, and was awaiting a reply from them to enable me to write a fuller report.
    I was therefore astonished to read some months later in The Times that Sally Clark had been tried at Chester Crown Court and found guilty of murdering her two infant sons. I wrote immediately (on 24th April, 2000) to the solicitors questioning this verdict. They did not reply but I learned that neither Professor Emery’s report nor mine had been quoted in Court, and that conviction by the jury had apparently been based on the Judge’s acceptance of the opinion of Sir Roy Meadow that the chance of the second death (of Harry) being natural in the circumstances was one in 73 million. I regarded this as an absurd and unproven statistic, and was surprised also that the Defence had failed to refer to Emery’s report and mine which were favourable to their client.
    The solicitors in Manchester did not reply to a second letter but I then received a call from a new solicitor (JB) who wanted to consult me about the verdict, and his instruction by Sally, her husband and father to appeal against it. They were consulting me because Dr W H (Bill) Inman, former Principal Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health and Chief Medical adviser to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines had recommended that they should do so because of my experience with vaccines. We arranged a meeting at my home and he came there with Sally’s father (FL) and more evidence. We discussed the case and the reasons for appeal for several hours, and arranged a further meeting, at Sally’s father’s residence in Salisbury where he had been Superintendent of Police until his retirement, A long sequence of telephone calls, correspondence and a further meeting followed, and led to the Appeal, which was rejected by three Judges who sidelined the one in 73 million statistic. Additional evidence was available from a professor of paediatric neurology and a professor of epidemiology, both from centres of excellence respectively in USA and UK. Their opinion was that the injection of pertussis vaccine given along with other vaccines was more likely than not to have been the cause of Harry’s death, and that Christopher’s death was different.
    All of this and much more clinical and forensic detail about the two deaths is available in the transcripts, correspondence and especially in the book Stolen Innocence by John Batt, all of which contain additional reasons for questioning the conviction. For instance, it was revealed that the medics who transported Harry alive to the hospital in Macclesfield and the three doctors – a casualty officer, a registrar and a consultant paediatrician - who examined and tried unsuccessfully to revive him were not called to give evidence. There is no proof anywhere that the vaccines used (DTP/Hib/Polio) cause death but the pertussis component was the whole cell preparation are known to be associated with apnoea, shock, encephalopathy, and very occasionally with deaths, which led Sir Graham Wilson, former and first Director of the PHLS, to say in his book on Hazards of Immunization that life-spoiling and threatening reacticns, especially after pertussis vaccine and in the context of incomplete or non -protection were too frequent to justify mass vaccination. These features, widely-recognized internationally, led some countries in the 1960’s and others later to omit pertussis from childhood programmes and to replacement of the whole-cell vaccine with an acellular replacement. In the UK, this did not happen until 2006. It should be noted also that the three main manufacturers of pertussis vaccine in the UK and 10/13 in the USA withdrew their products between 1978 and 1986. These facts are important because vaccination is compulsory in most States of the USA and some in the EC. This removes the safeguard of parental option, respect for contraindications and medical discretion.
    This information was understandably lacking in Clare Dyer’s short article. Sally Clark was acquitted after five years in prison only because bacteriological reports about a questionable staphylococcal infection had been with-held by Dr Williams and others from the previous hearings. The success of Dr Williams’s appeal ensures that expert witnesses can overlook or with-hold essential evidence without fear of the penalty that can be imposed legally on criminal defendants, of whom Sally is just one.  [2008] Rapid Responses to Does cot death still exist?

GORDON T. STEWART, M.D    Emeritus professor of Public Health, University of Glasgow

Consultant physician, NHS (Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine), Emeritus Fellow, Inf Dis Soc of

America.  Former consultant, New York City, US NIH, WHO, UNICEF etc. <>

Private address:  29/8 Inverleith Place, EDINBURGH EH3 5QD       (0)131 552 2648...


 1951        Infectivity and virulence of tubercle bacilli.                                    Lancet 2; 562        

1952        do                                                                                                           J Hygiene, Cambridge 50; 37. 

1962       Organisation of Clinical Trials                                                            Lancet 1, 1394

1968        Limitations of the germ theory                                                           Lancet 1; 1077

1969        Determinants of sickness in US Marine recruits                             Amer J Epid  89;254

1969        Resistance factors in the control of tuberculosis                           J Inf Dis  120;  389

1976        Immunisation against whooping cough                                           Brit med J 1;  93.  

1976        Immunisation against whooping cough                                           ibid            1; 583

1976        (with WR Bassili)  Whooping cough: epidemiological evaluation of immunisation and other factors in the control of infection.                                                                  Lancet 1; 474.         

1977        Vaccination against whooping cough: efficacy versus risks.      Lancet 1;  234.

1977        Whooping cough vaccination.                                                          Lancet 1; 804

1978        Whooping cough vaccination                                                           Brit med J 2; 768

1978            Pertussis vaccine: the United Kingdom's experience: Invited position paper at the NIH Symposium on Pertussis at Bethesda, Md.,1978.   US Government Printing Office: 1979.

1979        Toxicity of pertussis vaccine. frequency and probability of adverse reactions.  J Epid Comm Health 33; 150

1979        Infection and immunisation                                                                Scot med J 24; 47

1979        Deaths of infants after triple vaccine                                                Lancet 2; 353

1979        Whooping cough in Hertfordshire, UK                                           Lancet 2; 473

1979        Whooping cough in Shetland, UK                                                   Brit med J;

1980        Vaccination and notification rates for whooping cough               Lancet 1; 1299                      

1980        Pertussis vaccine: benefits and risks.                                               New Eng J Med 302; 634.

1981        Whooping cough in relation to other childhood infections.        J Epid Comm Hlth 35; 139

1981            Pertussis vaccine and acute neurological illness in children        Brit med J 282, 1968

(with John Wilson)

1981            Medicine and the Community. Chapter 3 in "Legal Issues in Medicine"  ed MacLean, SMM, Gower Pub Co., Aldershot, UK.

1982        ABC of whooping cough                                                                   Brit med J. 284; 1263

1983        Whooping cough in the United States and Britain                        New Eng J Med  308; 464

1983        Whooping cough and pertussis vaccine                                         Brit med J 287; 287

1983       Whooping cough and pertussis vaccine:  Report commissioned by the Chief Scientist, Dept of Health and Social Security (UK) on Risk-benefit of pertussis vaccines in UK, 1964-82  (pp 135).

1982            Whooping cough and pertussis vaccine: Risks and benefit debate.  Amer J Epid 119; 135

1982        Age-specific immunisation schedules.                                             Lancet I ; 806.      

1983            Pertussis vaccine: is the policy right?                                              World Medicine 19; 17

1984        Admission of children to hospitals in Glasgow; relation to unemployment and other

deprivation variables including vaccinations.                                ```````````Lancet 2; 682

1984      Whooping cough and pertussis vaccine: a comparison of the risks and benefits in Britain from 1968 -83 (Invited contribution to the WHO/IBAS Symposium on pertussis, Geneva: (see Developments in Biological  Standards 1985; 61; 395: Karger, Basel), .

1986        Viruses in acute childhood encephalopathy                                   Lancet 3, 405.

1990        Safety of pertussis vaccine                                                                                Lancet 335; 1162.

1995       Public Health: Whither or Whether?  Soc of Public Health, Year Book (By invitation), 3.

1996        Review: Enforced vaccination against hepatitis B.                        Bull Med Ethics No 115, 15.

1997        Invited Comment to the Lord Chancellor (UK) on Access to Justice (Medical aspects).

1999        Ethics and Risk-benefit in Vaccination. By invitation to EURO Conference 12-14 June 1997 in Rome, Italy. Archives of Clinical Bioethics, 1999; II (1); 56-60 (English version).

1999      Immunisation with gp 160 in HIV-1 infection.  (with C Fiala)           Lancet 354; 948.