Monthly Archives: July 2011

Forced vaccinations – Rights, Reason & Reality

On Monday 18th, a toddler will be taken to the nurse for his vaccinations.  In this case it is not a normal event.  The mother is having to comply with a court order to catch up on all vaccines by the age of 2 years (11 vaccines in 8 months) on request of the absent father in a custody hearing.

How is it that the main carer can be forced to vaccinate against his or her wishes, when this ‘preventable’ medical intervention comes with high potential risks?

The Law does not walk on solid ground here.

Judges have ordered vaccinations for children when one parent fights for them in this way, usually fathers in custody hearings, but may be doing so emotively.  The non-vaccinating mother is not a pretty social picture and the judge is asked to consider that she is acting irresponsibly by the father’s lawyers.  Often GPs, not always the family GP who may have a considered opinion in the case, suggest that the mother has not adequately ‘protected’ her child or children.  The judge has always acted for the father and current medical advise.

Jayne Donegan GP was called as the family doctor to support a mother who was in this position.  Dr Donegan stated that the mother was not acting irresponsibly and went further to say that she was not putting her child in any mortal danger by not vaccinating.  The judge accused her of peddling Junk Science and promptly reported her to the GMC who bought charges of serious professional misconduct.  The judge also ordered that the child in question be forcibly vaccinated.

Jayne won her case but was asked not to discuss it by her Union and so the verdict is not common knowledge.  Perhaps it should be.  If the courts in our member’s case had been aware of the GMC summing up perhaps they would have taken a different view.  http://www.jayne-donegan.co.uk/gmc

It was later ruled that indeed the rights of the main carer’s over ruled the first judgement, and the child could not be vaccinated against the mother’s will.  For a while it seemed that sense prevailed…. but unfortunately what then happened could not be undone.  2 years later the father, now with custody, took the child to a GP and vaccinated anyway….

Our first mother facing the start of so many catch up vaccines starting on Monday knows all this.  She knows that even if she wins her case under human rights as a main carer, the father’s father,  who is a GP, will just vaccinate her son anyway, if he wins custody, and if she doesn’t comply with the courts at this stage it may affect the custody outcome.

Many hearts go out to her and her son, and trust that he remains as healthy as he is today.  After all, there is no study that shows he will be healthier with all those vaccines and no doctor in the land, including Dr David Eliman, who can guarantee that an adverse reaction will not happen.

Perhaps not as shocking as 131 children vaccinated at gunpoint in, Nsanje, Africa but equally unsettling.

ADRs: Is the patient voice loud enough?

I attended the 1st International Conference on patient reporting of suspected Adverse Drug Reactions

in London in June, organised by PRIMM (Prescribing and Research in Medicines Management) and the DSRU (Drug Safety Research Unit).   It was very well organised, if not well attended.  Up to million Britons are hospitalised by prescription medicines every year, costing the NHS £2 Billion, and ADRs are the 5th leading cause of death in Europe causing £79 billion.  Tony Avery was one of dozens of professors who had written an open letter to David Cameron warning him of an epidemic of ADRs.

My eyes were opened to the vast possible life threatening and debilitating side effects from drugs whose testing is not thorough, monitoring in the Community phase 5 is poor and patient reporting is little known about.  For example, pathological gambling effect from a Parkinson medication, and suicide from an acne medication.  Prof Simon Maxwell reminded us that “All drugs are poisons depending on the dose”… may I add and dependent on the patient.

GPs have only 2-3 hours training in recognising ADRs, Pharmacology was removed by the BMA, and often GPs will just change the dose or prescribe another drug before stopping the problem drug.   Thankfully Pharmacists spot many errors in prescribing and are in the highest group of health professionals is reporting ADRs to the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency.)

7,000 prescriptions are written daily so with an error rate of 5-10% so that equates to hundreds of mistakes every day.  My personal issue is that GPs often do not follow up their prescribing and so can not effectively reflect or evaluate their professional practice.  Patients do not always cash in the prescription, or even use the drug even though taken, may have a problem with the drug but may not share this information or may share it with another GP.  Unless GPs see patients through a illness period, how can they monitor their practice?

Shelley Gandi from the MHRA told us that only 10% of ADRs are reported to them and everyone agreed that Patient Reporting is vital.  The patient was found to write a more detailed and accurate report, especially about the psychological effect and the reduced quality of life, compared to the health professional who will pick up on the life threatening effects.  Patients can of course use the Yellow Card, available on line and in most pharmacists, but less than 10% of the population is aware of this.  Promoting the Yellow Card is vital of course, but we need to share our experiences with our GPs to reduce the incidence in the first place.

My question:

“It is common for today’s babies and toddlers to be regularly ill with colds and infections, and have allergies and atopic conditions, but more worrying is that everyone thinks that this is normal.   However, parents who use few pharmaceutical products find that their children are rarely ill or immune compromised, and so are not ‘normal’.   If ill health is a side effect of combinations of vaccines, antibiotics and anti pyretics, then how can the side effects be even suspected as a result, let alone be assigned to each product?”

My Question was not answered at the conference, but was followed up with a possibility of a study by a Prof of Pharmacy and Chemistry “I do acknowledge that a combination of products makes it difficult to identify which product caused an ADR and that is the next area on which I wish to work.  It is possible that we could consider doing some epidemiological research in this area..”

That’s good.

The patients were so respected here, that’s good too.
Please see this very good site for more about ADRs http://www.april.org.uk
APRIL was founded by the amazing Millie Kieve who began researching for information about adverse drug reactions (ADR’s) after the tragic death of her daughter Karen in 1995.

GAVI – UK pledges £800 million ringed for vaccine aid

One minute I am outside with banners, protesting,
the next in the Press Conference.

I directed my question to the board chair of GAVI Dagfinn Hoybraten

“You have raised an extra 0.6 billion dollars today, would you consider setting up water & sanitation projects to increase health outcomes”

“NO” was the blunt answer, “we are only purchasing vaccines”.

Thankfully Sally Beck was there and asked the key question.

“The US and the UK have vaccine damage payment funds,
what will you have for the Developing World?”

“Vaccines are safe and magic” was the general reply.  There was Psychosis over the whole panel at that point.  Andrew Mitchell needs educating.

A Reuters reporter asked “How can you assure us that this is not just another way of lining the pockets of the Pharmaceutical companies?”

CBS chose the same angle…

Daniel Berman, a vaccines expert at Doctors Without Borders, said it was exciting so much money had been pledged towards saving lives. But he questioned whether the millions of taxpayer dollars would be spent properly.

“Why are we lining the pockets of big pharma like this?” Berman asked.
“That just screams conflict of interest and corporate welfare to us.”

A 2009 study published in the journal “The Lancet” showed dozens of developing countries exaggerated figures on vaccination rates, allowing them to get more money from the alliance. Researchers said these countries immunized half as many children as they claimed.

Other experts warned that donating vaccines to countries with broken health systems might mean they just end up sitting in warehouses.  “We need to be mindful of the fact that investment in vaccines is not the magic answer to global health issues such as pneumonia and diarrhea,” said Sophie Harman, a public health expert at City University in London. “Without proper funding commitments to health infrastructure…any investment in vaccines will be redundant.”

Shame the UK press did not do their investigating.  They mostly questioned if £800,000,000 for vaccine aid was fair to the UK people at a time like this, rather than questioning the whole concept.  If they want ‘value for money’ then it will be up to us to give them the data…

Working on that!

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