Two babies die days after the MMR jab
SUNDAY EXPRESS 18 June 2006
By Lucy Johnston
Two babies have died following the controversial measles, mumps and rubella jab it emerged last night.
The infants died around 10 days after the inoculation - when the measles component of the MMR vaccine is at its peak.
The cases follow the withdrawal of the vaccine in Vietnam after the death of a child. Five others were taken to hospital. The World health Organisation has launched an inquiry into the incidents.
Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, who has taken up one of the cases has written to health minister Patricia Hewitt and the vaccine manufacturers to find out whether others have reacted badly to that batch of the jab. "Clearly questions need to be asked about whether families are routinely given notice of all possible side-effects of the jab," he said.
"In the rush to reassure the public that MMR is completely safe it is being overlooked that in some rare cases MMR can be a dangerous thing to administer."
Dr Andrew Wakefield, the controversial gut expert who linked MMR, inflammatory bowel disease and autism, said,: "Children of this age just don't die out of the blue.
"Given the clinical features and the timing it's entirely plausible that MMR may be responsible. These cases must be thoroughly investigated."
Dr Wakefield has been charged with scientific misconduct by the General Medical Council in connection with claims, although there has been no complaint from any parent.
Sarah Fisher, a 40-year-old former hairdresser, found her 18-month son George dead in his cot last January. He had been inoculated 10 days earlier and had developed a high temperature, spots, and lost his appetite. Sarah, a mother of four from Cheltenham, said George had had an unexplained convulsion in her doctor's surgery just four months earlier.
The vaccine makers warned doctors and the Government in trial data that a convulsion could indicate a risk of serious adverse reaction, but Sarah says she was not warned. "He'd had a fit in the doctor's surgery so it wasn't as if they didn't know. We are angry that we didn't know." said Sarah.
She added: "We are convinced the jab was implicated in the death of George and we won't rest until it is properly investigated."
John Duncan's 17-month old daughter Anna died last month nine days after she was given the jab. She had been fit and well until then, said the father of two, an IT consultant from Cardrona, near Edinburgh.
Anna suffered similar symptoms to George. "Six days after the jab she came out in spots. She lost her appetite, ran a high temperature and lost her energy." he said.
Her mother, Veronica, a 40-year-old intensive care nurse, had slept next to her cot and was horrified to discover her dead next morning.
Mr Duncan has taken up his case with a member of the Scottish parliament and has asked those examining Anna to look for evidence of measles virus in her brain.
Medical literature supports the view that MMR can occasionally kill. Four years ago this paper revealed that at least 26 families had claimed their children died following the triple vaccine. In some cases the Government has awarded parents up to £100,000 under its 1979 vaccine damage Payment Act.