Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Child vaccination rates in England fall across the board, figures show

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 26 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5773

Rapid Response:

Re: Child vaccination rates in England fall across the board, figures show

"We need to be bold and I will not rule out action so that every child is properly protected.”

Is it possible that this “bold” approach advocated by Matt Hancock to protect children will extend to protecting and respecting the needs of children (and adults) who have become disabled as a consequence of vaccination?

It has long been recognised that there is no such thing as an entirely safe vaccine for all the people all of the time and it follows that some vaccine recipients will sadly become permanently negatively affected.

What of the need to properly protect these children, suddenly facing all manner of difficulties and altered futures with varying levels of dependency?

What of their right to protection when sadly, things have gone wrong and they are left adversely affected by a vaccine which has been advocated by both politicians and healthcare providers alike?

What “action” will ensure with equal conviction and determination that they are “properly protected”?

Every child has an entitlement to the type of protection advocated by Matt Hancock but his obvious passion and drive to properly protect children through vaccination should in equal measure, be applied to addressing the needs of children who become disabled because of it. He himself was quoted by the BBC yesterday referring to a “two - way street” and divided responsibilities between the state and the public with regards to vaccination. That two way traffic might flow a little better if the state were not only to advocate vaccination but to recognise, address and assist all those who are acknowledged to have been negatively affected by it.

In as much as he asserts the right of the child to be protected, that same child also has a right not to be harmed, something which sometimes happens as a consequence of vaccination.

Article 36 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child………..

“Children should be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development”(1)

The UK currently has a scheme
(The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme under the provisions in the Vaccine Damage Payment Act of 1979) where awards are made to applicants who prove on the balance of probability, that they are disabled as a result of vaccination.

Unfortunately, in addition to proving causation, the applicant has also to prove to the satisfaction of the DWP appointed assessors, that their disability is greater than 60%.
As a result, a number of applicants are confirmed to have been injured by a vaccine but are still refused an award on the grounds that they have failed to meet the 60% disability threshold required. In other words, they are not disabled enough to qualify.

By 2018, 125 claimants had established vaccine causation but had been refused an award because they were deemed to be less than 60% disabled.(2)

Matt Hancock might like to consider how children like these are being “properly protected” and, since vaccine causation has been established, how their right under Article 36, not to be harmed, is protected?

Merely energising the population to be bold and hinting at action to protect children via vaccination isn’t enough. A similar boldness is required to properly protect children and their rights when they become disabled as a result of vaccination.

Matt Hancock’s drive to “properly protect” children needs to include every situation where a child’s welfare is negatively affected even when that may, to his displeasure, portray a vaccine in a negative light, rather than the positive one he craves.

(1)Juvenile Justice: A Guide to Theory, Policy, and Practice
By Jennifer M. Allen, John J. Conrad

(2) Remedies for Damage Caused by Vaccines: A Comparative Study of Four European Legal Systems*
Eleonora RAJNERI, Jean-Sébastien BORGHETTI, Duncan FAIRGRIEVE & Peter ROTT

Competing interests: Family member one of the 125 quoted in the response

30 September 2019
Wendy E Stephen
Retired nurse
Stonehaven, Scotland