Forty children have died after a routine vaccination such as MMR and 2,100 more have suffered a serious reaction, UK health authorities have been forced to disclose this week – and these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.
Two of the vaccinated children have been left with permanent brain damage, and 1500 others have suffered neurological reactions, including 11 cases of brain inflammation and 13 cases of epilepsy and coma. Overall, there have been more than 2,100 adverse reactions to a childhood vaccine in the UK in the last seven years.
The UK’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) was forced to reveal the figures following a request from a journalist under freedom of information legislation.
The true picture is likely to be far worse. The MHRA cases are only those that doctors have reported; if the doctor does not believe the vaccine has caused the reaction, he will not report it. It is suspected that just 10 per cent of all deaths and reactions from vaccines are ever reported; if so, this means that 400 children have died from a vaccine and 21,000 have suffered an adverse reaction in the UK alone. The true situation will be far worse in countries such as the US where childhood vaccination is compulsory.
Last month, the UK government was forced by a court to pay damages to a mother whose son was left with severe brain damage after an MMR vaccination. Another 500 similar cases are currently going through the UK courts.
These figures represent a major setback in the relationship between doctors and parents. Most parents have accepted the reassurances of doctors and health authorities that the vaccines are safe, and that they are doing the best for their child and the community.
Now, if things go wrong, they may be less inclined to believe the doctor’s denials that the vaccine is to blame.
Source: Sunday Times, 24th October 2010.