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$2bn pay-outs say vaccines are not safe

MagazineJuly 2011 (Vol. 22 Issue 4)$2bn pay-outs say vaccines are not safe

Are childhood vaccines safe? According to our health authorities, the answer is an emphatic yes

Are childhood vaccines safe? According to our health authorities, the answer is an emphatic yes. But a different picture is painted by officials who manage vaccine compensation schemes. In the US alone last year, authorities paid out $110 million in compensation to 107 families whose child was killed or injured following a vaccination.
America's National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) is currently reviewing more than a thousand cases of possible vaccine-related death filed by parents in the past year.
Of these, 696 deaths are associated with the DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine.
Since its inception in 1988, the NVICP has accepted 2561 claims of injury or death from the 4467 cases it has reviewed, and has made total payments of $2 billion.
The Program is still considering even the controversial MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine link to autism-which has been refuted by scientists ever since Andrew Wakefield first made the claim in 1998.
There are currently 2561 cases that are 'compensable'-in other words, the jury is still out-while a further 4467 cases have been dismissed. Indeed, only one case of autism has been accepted by the NVICP as having been caused by a vaccine (National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Statistics Reports. Health Resources and Services Administration, 2011-03-03; http:www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statistics_report.htm; last modified April 4, 2011).
Although the Program-and the 18 other vaccine compensation programmes operating around the world-work on the basis of 'balance of probabilities', which is less exacting than the legal requirement of 'beyond reasonable doubt', it still suggests that a range of childhood vaccines is more dangerous than our health authorities claim.

Single death

In the UK, the official Department of Health leaflet MMR: the facts (2003) claims that the vaccine has not been responsible for a single death, whereas it states that measles, mumps or rubella (German measles) are responsible for one death for every 5000 cases every year. As the American Program has received claims from 13,797 parents of injury or death since 1988, and has so far accepted 2699 claims and rejected just 5792, it is reasonable to suppose that some of those relate to deaths from a vaccine. If so, it suggests that the UK's DoH is deliberately misleading parents about the safety of vaccines.
Even the UK's own Vaccine Damage Payments Unit accepts that a child may die from one of the common vaccines. Its leaflet, Vaccine Damage Payments (updated in September, 2010) states that ". . . if the person has died, you can still make a claim for them if they were over the age of two when they died and as long as you claim before the date they would have had their 21st birthday, or within six years of them having the vaccination".
Last March, the Japanese health authorities stopped its pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine programme after six children died following vaccination.
Death or disability "of at least 60 per cent" could result in a one-off payment of lb120,000. The Payments Unit has been overly generous. It made just four compensatory payments in 2005 out of 106 claims and, so, even if the full amount was awarded each time-which is unlikely-the unit paid compensation of just lb480,000 that year. In the same year, the US's compensation pro-gramme paid out $55 million.
Although between 60 to 80 per cent of claims are accepted in the US, only around 4 per cent are admitted in the UK. Looking at the strict review procedure, it's easy to see how the UK's unit keeps the money safely in the bank. One case involved Anna Duncan, who died 10 days after having had the MMR vaccination. Her case was rejected because she was 17 months old when she died, and payments are only made to families of children who survive until their second year.
As most vaccines are administered long before a child's second birthday, the chances of compensation are negligible in the event of a child dying. On the Vaccine Awareness website www.vaccineriskawareness.com, Anna's father has written: "It does appear that what the government is trying to tell us is that you should wait until your child is over two years old before vaccinating if you should choose to do so at all."
Interestingly, the UK Damage Payments Unit is taking a far more sympathetic view of the doctors and nurses whose health has been permanently damaged after having the hepatitis B vaccine as 'front-line' workers. One MP, Ian Stewart, "notes with concern the serious adverse reactions that some adults (i.e., doctors, nurses, paramedics and medical technicians) have suffered following receipt of the hepatitis B and other vaccines".

Follow the money

One reason for the enormous difference between the US and UK might be the funding source. In the US, vaccine manufacturers pay a special tax of 75 cents per vaccine shot for possible compensation payments whereas, in the UK, the taxpayer pays out. In the German compensation scheme-which was the first to be started in 1961-the taxpayer pays, whereas the Chinese, Finnish and Swedish systems expect payment in full to come directly from the vaccine manufacturer.
In their review of vaccine compensation schemes around the world, Clare Looker and Heath Kelly from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, point out that just 19 countries operate one. Even developed countries such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and Australia do not offer any com-pensation for vaccine harm (Bull World Health Organ, 2011; 89: 371-8).
All the schemes run a 'no-fault' policy, and a scheme's ruling-other than in the UK-does not add any weight to any potential legal action that may follow.
Taking a closer look at just five of the schemes, the researchers have established that 4271 children have died or been seriously-and possibly permanently-harmed by a vaccine.
Nonetheless, this handful of compensation schemes demonstrates that vaccines are not safe, that children are dying-or being harmed-as a result, and that the least our health authorities could do is be honest with parents and tell them the truth.

Bryan Hubbard

WDDTY VOL. 22 NO. 3


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