[SaneVax: The citizens of Barbados are joining the ranks of those questioning the value of HPV vaccines. Are they worth the risk? Do HPV vaccines offer any benefit over and above normal pap screening? Would precious healthcare funds be better invested elsewhere?]
The vaccination debate – an offshore perspective
By Ronald W. Jones
The recent implementation of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunisation programme by the government of Barbados has generated a healthy debate relative to the risks which may be associated with this particular vaccine and vaccines in general.
Deborah Thompson-Smith of Spectrum Possibilities has raised a very important point when advocating that whilst there is great emphasis on the potential benefits of mass immunisation, there is no corresponding debate or inclusion of the potential risks from the adverse affects which may occur.
As a long-standing member of the Barbados International Business Community, I am aware that during the 1980s a Barbados exempt insurance operation was formed by a large North American pharmaceutical company solely for the purpose of funding claims resulting from adverse medical conditions which occurred immediately following the use of the three-in-one DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis & Tetanus) vaccine which they manufactured. Claims were filed by parents whose children had suffered major seizures within 24 – 48 hours of receiving the DPT vaccine, which often resulted in death or permanent and severe brain damage. To the best of my knowledge, no claim ever reached the court system at that time and most, if not all, were settled out of court for significant amounts in order to avoid the publicity of a public hearing via the court system. Claim settlements would typically require a signed declaration from the family involved that they would not discuss the claim with third parties.
The use of mass immunisation as one alternative method for the control of infectious disease, particularly in locations where the risk of contracting communicable diseases is high, can have benefits. However, I am in no doubt that vaccines can, and do, affect our infants in a range of conditions and that there are risks associated with many if not all mass immunisation programmes.
What should be of concern is the increasing numbers of vaccines, often in multiple doses, received by our very young children. There does not appear to be any rigorous, systematic approach whereby practitioners and/or vaccine dispensing agencies advise parents to look carefully for post-vaccination conditions and report then immediately to provide data for research, or where a follow-up check on the infant is made within a specified time frame to document any and all adverse reactions.
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