New evidence suggests that the MMR vaccine should never have been given a licence because there was never sufficient evidence of its safety or efficacy.
The shock report, to be published in the January edition of the Journal of Adverse Drug Reactions, is by Dr Peter Fletcher, who was a senior medical officer for the Department of Health in the early 1980s, before the drug was licenced. In the report, Dr Fletcher reviews a paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield, of London's Royal Free Hospital, and Dr Scott Montgomery, of Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, both of whom are critical of the evidence supporting the introduction of the jab.
Says Fletcher, "Being extremely generous, evidence on the safety was very thin; being realistic, there were too few patients followed up for sufficient time. Three weeks in not enough; neither is four weeks."
The MMR vaccine has been linked to the development of autism in children. It has also been linked with a host of other side effects, including arthritis, encephalitis and a rare blood disorder.
Six cases of polio in the Dominican Republic and one in Haiti have been traced to a vaccine that underwent an unexpected genetic change, says the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These cases are the first in the Americas since 1991. A further 13 cases of polio like paralysis have been found in the Dominican Republic, but the cause is unconfirmed.
Most of the victims are children under six but, even more worrying, in three quarters of the cases, the victims had not been vaccinated against polio.
According to the CDC, the virus involved is a mutated version of the oral polio vaccine. Over a period of two years, say the scientists, the vaccine has changed from a benign organism intended to provoke immunity to one that can cause full blown disease (Houston Chronicle, Dec 8, 2000).