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

According to the British Medical Association:

“In March 2015, a unanimous decision in the United Kingdom Supreme Court (Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board) made it clear that doctors must ensure their patients are aware of the risks of any treatments they offer and of the availability of any reasonable alternatives….

…Doctors must 'take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any treatment, and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments’.

A 'material risk' is one in which 'a reasonable person in the patient’s position would be likely to attach significance to the risk, or the doctor is or should reasonably be aware that the particular patient would be likely to attach significance to it’…

…When assessing risks, doctors cannot rely on percentages. The significance of a risk cannot be reduced to its likelihood.
Important factors will include:

the nature of the risk, the effect which its occurrence would have upon the life of the patient

the importance to the patient of the benefits sought to be achieved by the treatment

the alternatives available and the risks involved in those alternatives…” (1)

Unfortunately, some four years after the ruling stated above, this important legal advice is still not being followed by all doctors and disseminated to parents.

With regard to vaccinations are all doctors aware of the contents, ingredients, contraindications and risks of vaccines posed for the individual child before attempting to advise the individual parent?

Public Health press statements have claimed that: “…[MMR] is perfectly safe and perfectly effective.” “That may mean that some young children will have three MMR jabs…That is not a problem. It is perfectly safe and perfectly effective.” and one of the strongest claims: “There’s no adverse effect to this extra jab [3rd MMR]….” (2) (3)

Parents AND doctors are bombarded with this type of misinformation.

If a parent is offered any information by the doctor it will be the Public Health England pamphlet which is designed to promote the vaccine and allay any fears a parent (or doctor) might have about the product. (4)

However, the vaccine manufacturers’ patient information leaflets (PIL) supplied with the vaccines carry details of contraindications, warnings and risk of serious side effects. (5) (6)

The government is fully aware of the risks as vaccine damage payments have been awarded to the sum of over £74 million and the DWP lists all the childhood vaccinations eligible to be assessed. (7)

But parents are not routinely given the PIL and are never informed of the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme at the time of vaccination.

With regard to vaccine safety data:

Are doctors aware that health professionals only report between 2% and 10% of vaccine adverse reactions? (8)

Currently medical practices may well be conflicted by the financial entitlements paid to doctors for vaccinating children registered with the practice. This type of target based payment system may contribute to the high level of under-reporting of yellow cards. In my opinion, a major conflict of interest.

Do all doctors know that the medicines watchdog, the MHRA, does not follow up on every adverse reaction reported? During meetings with the MHRA which I have attended, officers have stated that they do not routinely contact the reporting health professional, six months to 12 months later, to determine if the child fully recovered from the reaction or has further deteriorated.

Without this information neither Public Health England nor doctors have any accurate safety data on vaccines. A point that has been raised with the government time and time again. (9) (10)

In the haste to speed up and streamline more and more vaccines for children the right to informed consent is being ignored. This is not only dangerous for the child from a health point of view but also for the health professional from a potential litigation point of view.

Parents have a right to make informed consent. Doctors have a duty to facilitate this right.

Jabs. Deja vu. Taken from the Daily Telegraph 1st February 1974. Vaccine 'Risk To Children' By the Telegraph's Parliamentary Staff. Jabs perspective.

Competing interests: Mother of MMR vaccine-damaged son

06 October 2019
Jackie Fletcher
24/7 Carer, Founder of JABS
Warrington, Cheshire