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Wakefield sues BMJ over MMR articles

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e310 (Published 10 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e310

Re: Wakefield sues BMJ over MMR articles

I just wish Mr Deer had used his considerable talents to hound the committee responsible for introducing a vaccine, brands of which had already been withdrawn in other countries for causing neurological problems. I wish Mr Deer had used his time and energy to expose the people responsible for allowing the continued use of MMR vaccines when children were reported to have suffered problems in the opening weeks of the MMR campaign back in 1988. I wish he had used his efforts to expose the inadequacies of the Government's yellow card scheme which has been ineffective since it began. Mr Deer was informed of this but investigated the one team of doctors who had raised a flag over the MMR and possible side effects.

I would like to remind/inform your readers that the problems with MMR were known about by the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation at least eight months before they sanctioned its use in the UK. (1) This was way back in 1988, ten years before The Lancet case series early report was published.

From the minutes of the JCVI Working Party On The Introduction of Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine (11 February 1988):

'...5. MMR Vaccination In Canada

Members read a report of cases of mumps encephalitis which had been associated with MMR vaccine containing the URABE strain of the mumps virus. The Canadian authorities has suspended the licences of MMR vaccines containing the URABE strain but Dr Salisbury considered that the data on which the decision had been based was slender. It was agreed that North Hertfordshire would use the Jeryl-Lyn vaccine, if it was available from MSD, to obtain comparative data. A statement would be prepared in anticipation of any adverse publicity which might arise.'

The Government clearly were aware of the risks involved with the URABE containing vaccines (Pluserix and Immravax) before it was introduced and had the audacity to prepare an adverse publicity statement in readiness for what was potentially to come.

Problems with MMR vaccine began in the opening weeks/months of the new campaign starting in October 1988 as subsequently reported in the UK Daily Mail: 'MMR killed my daughter' 18th May 2004 (2) and the Sunday Express: 'Were all of these children killed by the triple MMR jab? by Lucy Johnston 13/1/02 (3)

In October 1997, four months before The Lancet publication, a meeting was held with the Health Minister and the Chief Medical Officer, Principal Medical Officer and other senior officers. The Health Minister was presented with details of some 1200 children and asked to instigate a clinical investigation into their ill health or death following MMR or MR vaccinations. This was never done. Most of the children had started with symptoms within the incubation period of the vaccines; symptoms that were recognised by the vaccine manufacturers and then they developed long term problems also recognised by the vaccine manufacturers within their product information sheets. The parents had reported that no treating physician had been able to determine any alternative medical explanation for the child's decline. Much money, time and effort has been spent on not studying these children. I think that those accusing Dr Wakefield should look long and hard at their own role in protecting government officials who indemnified vaccine manufacturers against any action for serious damage and deaths of children.

(1) JCVI minutes of meeting February 1988 http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@ab/documents/digitalasset/dh_095328.pdf
(2) http://www.jabs.org.uk/pages/home/home.html
(3) http://www.jabs.org.uk/pages/johnston-mmr.asp

JABS is a UK support group for parents of vaccine damaged children.

Competing interests: Mother of MMR vaccine damaged child

25 January 2012
Jackie Fletcher
National Coordinator
JABS
Warrington UK