5-in-1 jab 'made baby boy blind'
Sunday Express May 21 2006
By Lucy Johnston
A baby boy was temporarily blinded after being given the controversial five-in-one vaccine jab, the Sunday Express can reveal today.
Kobi Hampshaw was three months old when he was given the jab and lost his sight two days later.
His father Martin, 39, said: "One moment he was smiling up at his mother while breast feeding and the next his head was moving violently from side to side and he was trying to look over his shoulder. He was very confused and upset.
"He could no longer fix and follow and couldn't see a light shining in his eyes. He had been such a smiley baby. After the vaccine he just lay in his cot not interested in anything. He looked brain damaged."
Kobi was given the first of his three doses of the five-in-one - which is designed to protect children against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, HIB influenza and polio - in November 2004.
He had to be taken to hospital and over the following weeks had a series of tests, including a brain scan. Doctors could only conclude that the vaccination caused his blindness. With the support of their doctor and leading eye specialists, the family now believe they have helped to re-stimulate twenty-month-old Kobi's vision.
Print firm manager Martin said at the family home in Huddersfield: "We used ultraviolet toys in a black booth and touchy feely toys.
"We never gave up. After two months he started to follow his favourite black and white snoopy toy dog. Day by day little things have come back."
But Martin, and his wife Nicky, a 38-year-old child minder, are still worried about Kobi's future.
Martin said: "He still trips up and his eyes don't look right. This is a new vaccine, no one can tell us what will happen, no one knows. He may stop learning, he may not come out of nappies until he is seven. Not a day goes by when we are not tortured by what happened."
The Sunday Express can also reveal that doctors have reported 457 side-effects linked to the five-in-one jab since it was introduced 18 months ago. These include disorders of the heart, eyes, stomach, immune system, nervous system and breathing problems.
The doctors' reports, including Kobi's case, were obtained by the Sunday Express from the drug safety watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, under the "yellow card" adverse drug-reporting scheme.
Experts believe the true number of cases could be more than 4,500 because doctors only notify an estimated 10 per cent of adverse drug reactions. The MHRA has reports of up to five children who have experienced sight problems following the jab, known as pediacel.
Nicholas Kitchen, medical director of the vaccine's manufacturers Sanofi Pasteur, said all drugs and vaccines had side-effects and those associated with the five-in-one jab were all in the information leaflet inside each dose "which parents should know about".
He added that the company logs all adverse reactions in order to spot any patterns that might emerge. Blindness, he added "is not an expected reaction to the jab." Last week the Sunday Express exposed clinical trials which showed that babies risk brain damage, convulsions and even death following the jab.