By Sue Corrigan
A former Government medical officer responsible for deciding whether medicines are safe has accused the Government of “utterly inexplicable complacency” over the MMR triple vaccine for children.
Dr Peter Fletcher, who was Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health, said if it is proven that the jab causes autism, “the refusal by governments to evaluate the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in medical history”.
He added that after agreeing to be an expert witness on drug-safety trials for parents’ lawyers, he had received and studied thousands of documents relating to the case which he believed the public had a right to see.
He said he has seen a “steady accumulation of evidence” from scientists worldwide that the measles, mumps and rubella jab is causing brain damage in certain children.
But he added: “There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves.”
His warning follows reports that the Government is this week planning to announce the addition of a jab against pneumococcal meningitis for babies, probably from next April. It is also considering flu jabs for under-twos – not to protect the children, but adults they may infect.
In the late Seventies, Dr Fletcher served as Chief Scientific Officer at the DoH and Medical Assessor to the Committee on Safety of Medicines, meaning he was responsible for deciding if new vaccines were safe.
He first expressed concerns about MMR in 2001, saying safety trials before the vaccine’s introduction in Britain were inadequate.
Now he says the theoretical fears he raised appear to be becoming reality.
He said the rising tide of autism cases and growing scientific understanding of autism-related bowel disease have convinced him the MMR vaccine may be to blame.
“Clinical and scientific data is steadily accumulating that the live measles virus in MMR can cause brain, gut and immune system damage in a subset of vulnerable children,” he said. “There’s no one conclusive piece of scientific evidence, no ‘smoking gun’, because there very rarely is when adverse drug reactions are first suspected. When vaccine damage in very young children is involved, it is harder to prove the links.
“But it is the steady accumulation of evidence, from a number of respected universities, teaching hospitals and laboratories around the world, that matters here. There’s far too much to ignore. Yet government health authorities are, it seems, more than happy to do so.”