Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Research News

Many vaccines have tiny amounts of inorganic matter, investigation finds

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 03 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j596

Rapid Response:

Concerns re vaccine safety

That some vaccines for parenteral administration may contain “tiny amounts of inorganic matter“ could be very significant. It has prompted a lengthy response by Melanie Carr from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which seems to be an attempt to qualify and devalue the reported finding, minimising its clinical significance.

The EMA, according to its website, receives 89% of its funding from pharmaceutical companies, for providing advice and support with licensing applications, regulations and marketing.

Carr is concerned that their findings prompted the researchers to proceed to “..unsubstantiated speculation that presence of these particles could have an impact on vaccine safety, particularly posing a risk of neurotoxicity.”

Perhaps adults, and the parents of children, who might receive such vaccines would be alarmed if that possibility was not considered, and explored?

There may be other colleagues who have spent their professional lives extolling the benefits of vaccination, to adults and to the parents of young children, only to find, decades on, that the narratives of parents of troubled young children have a cumulative effect that makes one suspect, and dread, the possibility that vaccines are not as safe as the vaccine industry has implied.

The great power of pharmaceutical companies, exercised through the selective distribution of their enormous lobbying and advertising budgets, ensures that journalists learn to step warily, while editors and proprietors often pretend that their relationships with pharma depend more on mutual respect and shared interests, than on the continuation or withdrawal of advertising and other funding. (1, 2) The Chair of Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners recently justified the College’s acceptance of pharmaceutical industry funding on the basis that it met with the the protocols of Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. (3)

Those of us who have been members of the BMA for half a century wish to dismiss from our minds any suggestion that the BMJ, a respected journal of medical record, has been influenced by any such considerations, in not reporting the recent case of a senior scientist and whistle blower, at the CDC, in the USA. He alleges, with documentation to support his case, that the CDC attempted to destroy evidence of an association between MMR vaccines and autism. The alleged cover up lasted for 14 years. (4, 5 )

5 Congressional Record--House. Proceedings and debates of the US Congress. Research and scientific integrity. July 29, 2015. 114th Congress, 1st Session
Issue: Vol. 161, No. 121 — Daily Edition. H5602.

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 February 2017
Noel Thomas
retd/part time GP
Bron-y-Garn, Maesteg, Wales, CF34 9AL