Wednesday August 13, 2003
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the question that countless parents
now tussle with. Ever since Andrew Wakefield's report first suggested a link
between MMR and autism in 1998, there has been a growing lack of confidence in
government-recommended vaccinations. MMR was introduced in 1988 and by 1996, 92%
of children received the vaccine. Now that number has fallen to 79% - as low as
65% in some parts of the country. Instead of allaying parents' fears by
announcing proper research into the effects of MMR, the government has gone on
the offensive. Countless spokespeople declare the new vaccine "safe" and parents
are blamed for negligence. The Health Protection Agency announced on Friday that
we are threatened with a measles epidemic. Just a week earlier, MMR was in the
news again when two mothers who had refused to vaccinate their children lost an
action brought by the children's absent fathers in the court of appeal.
According to Mary Alexander, author of a timely book, Calling the Shots:
Childhood Vaccinations, it is not just MMR but all vaccinations that parents
should be wary of. She didn't think twice about taking her two children for the
new meningitis C injection in 2000. Her four-year-old son was fine, but
two-year-old Florence reacted with three major febrile convulsions 36 hours
later. All the doctors they saw denied any link between the fits and the
injection. Mary then saw a marked deterioration in her previously healthy child.
Florence's hair thinned and began to fall out. She became listless, tired and
vulnerable to infections. She had eight fits over the next eight months, each
longer and stronger than the last. "Both of my children had had fits before, but
these were different, deeper and longer - the longest lasted 20 minutes. She
went blue and needed resuscitating. I thought she was going to die." Tests for
epilepsy proved negative. Florence contracted pneumonia and traces of meningitis
were found in her blood, but still the medics denied that the vaccination could
have been the cause.
Mary suddenly had a very sick child on her hands. "I watched her all the time
for signs of a temperature, trying to ward off another convulsion. There were
bottles of Calpol everywhere, in the car, the pram, my handbag. It was my only
line of defence and a pathetic one at that." Her anxieties were compounded by
guilt. Sickness is part of life, but there is a huge difference between
accepting the risk of infection and consciously doing something to damage the
health of one's child. "I felt so angry with myself because I hadn't researched
this new vaccine properly - I just accepted it naively."
Above all, she had no way of knowing whether the vaccine had caused permanent
damage to her child's health or whether she would recover. A man on the Jabs
helpline told her that it could go one of two ways; either Florence would get
better, or she would go the way of his son, who had started convulsing
after the MMR. At first the convulsions were far apart, but over time he had
more and more and now his son is severely brain-damaged, having several
convulsions a day.
The Hib vaccine designed to fight meningitis C, however, was new, and
there was no way of knowing how Florence would cope with it. At this point
Alexander began to consider alternative medicine. She went to see a homeopath,
who prescribed Thuja to neutralise the effects of immunisation; but Florence had
another fit and Mary began to despair. The gap between the fits was closing. She
had Florence's liver tested to see whether she would be strong enough to take
anticonvulsant drugs, which have strong side effects. She took Florence to see
an iridologist homeopath, who diagnoses by looking into the patient's eyes. He
concluded that Florence had had a bad reaction to a vaccine (she had not told
him about the Hib) and that her liver was loaded with toxins that needed
clearing. He sent them home with a bag of homeopathic pills and reassured her
that Florence would not have any more convulsions. To this day, she hasn't.
Vaccines may be in the news, but there is nothing new in the story.
Twenty-seven years ago, my cousin was seriously brain-damaged after receiving
the whooping cough jab. He was not alone. Other children were affected, and
their parents organised a campaign. But then hospital records mysteriously
disappeared. Nothing was proved conclusively, but the parents know that the
vaccine was to blame. Neither of my children has been vaccinated against
whooping cough as a
result. My eldest daughter did, however, have a febrile convulsion when she was
10 months old, late in the evening of the day she received her last triple
injection for diphtheria, tetanus and polio. When, naive and convinced that our
child was dying, we took her into hospital, every doctor and nurse I talked to
in the subsequent 24 hours denied that there could possibly be a link with the
injection she had received the previous morning.
The vaccine pressure group Jabs has registered 2,000 vaccine-damaged children
since January 1994. Of these, 1,800 are the result of MMR, 170 from the DTP
triple and Hib and a handful from Hib alone or the flu jab. Some of the side
effects - such as encephalitis, convulsions that can lead to epilepsy, and
arthritis, primarily from the rubella vaccine - are even listed by the
manufacturers of the drugs in their product sheets. Jabs also believes that
vaccines can contribute to longer-term health problems such as eczema, asthma
While there is a remote possibility that one's precious child could suffer
lasting health consequences from vaccination, it is understandable that parents
are wary of accepting blanket government health guidelines. Alexander now
realises that she has to take complete responsibility for her children's health
as individuals. "A vaccine doesn't come with a guarantee. It's not a case of one
size fits all. Instead I have to determine how best to keep Joseph and Florence
well through preventative measures such as good nutrition and alternative
medicines." She has also taken both her children to a private paediatrician who
offers single jabs and immunity testing.
Next spring a major multi-party legal action will be brought against all the
producers of the MMR vaccine and the Department of Health using eight test
cases. If it is successful, the government will have to moderate its claim that
MMR is safe and compensation will be owed to the plaintiffs. "The government has
already acknowledged that vaccines can have serious side effects by paying
compensation to roughly 1,000 vaccine-damaged children," says Jackie Fletcher of
"but the criteria are very strict and they keep very quiet about it. We need a
proper no-fault compensation system so that parents don't have to go through
hoops to get the support they need looking after a handicapped child."
Instead of this standoff between parents and government, in which no one seems
to win, we need a more constructive approach. In her book, Alexander calls for a
new attitude; greater open-mindedness, and proper research into the effects of
vaccines. The "yellow card" system, where doctors log any bad reaction a child
has to a drug for the committee for the safety of medicines, needs to be
properly used, she says.
"At the moment it's a catch-22 situation," says Fletcher. "Doctors are told that
vaccines don't cause problems, so they don't link it and fill out the card."
Alexander and Jabs would like to see screening systems so that more vulnerable
children can be identified, and the withdrawal of performance-related targets
for GPs administering vaccines. Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that
children are being struck off lists if their parents refuse MMR so that doctors
can reach their targets.
Do we need so many vaccines? Could they be causing more health problems than
they solve by overloading immature immune systems? Could they even be
contributing to long-term problems such as MS or cancer in ways we don't yet
Loving parents know one thing for certain: that nothing is more important
than the health of their children. If this means vaccinating to prevent
life-threatening diseases, then we vaccinate. But our children should not be
used as guinea pigs for an expanding vaccination programme which lines the
pockets of drug companies. We need more than patronising government reassurances
that all vaccines are safe for every child. We need facts, trust and
transparency in order to make decisions that could have lasting, even
·Calling the Shots: Childhood Vaccinations - One Family's Journey by Mary
Alexander is published on August 20 by Jessica Kingsley, price £12.95. Jabs
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
Woman ‘Incurably’ Crippled by Vaccine Cured by
By Pat Shannan
In late August, Desiree Jennings was a beautiful and athletic 26-year-old
Washington Redskins cheerleader anxious for the upcoming Sunday excitement, but
by the time the new season began in September, she was a crippled and hopeless
spastic who could speak only with great difficulty and one syllable at a time.
She had taken a seasonal flu shot and experienced what doctors called a
“one-in-a-million” adverse neurological reaction and was left with an
“incurable” affliction known as dystonia.
Dystonia can affect just one muscle, a group of muscles or all of the muscles.
Symptoms can include tremors and voice problems or a dragging foot. Researchers
think that a problem in the part of the brain that handles messages about muscle
contractions might cause dystonia. There is no cure, they say.
Video reports were not only heart-rending but so weird as to cause many people
to believe the young woman was faking because of the ambulatory antics caused by
the disease. Medical reports had already confirmed that this was no fake.
These films showed the pathetically crippled Jennings able to run forward
normally and even walk backwards unimpaired, but whenever she slowed to a
walking pace or attempted to walk forward, the bizarre symptoms immediately
returned. She could also talk normally while running or walking backwards but
could utter only single syllables while still.
All the reports from the AMA doctors said that while Desiree’s neurological
reaction to the vaccine was “extremely rare” and that “flu shots are safe,” she
was doomed for life. Both Johns Hopkins and Fairfax hospitals confirmed that the
dystonia was induced by the vaccination injection and that it was
They are wrong. Enter Dr. Rashid Buttar, who does not use the conventional cures
of the medical world but rather natural remedies and nutrition. He noticed
immediately that Desiree’s whole system was about to shut down. He couldn’t even
examine her because by the time her husband brought her in, she was lapsing into
seizure every minute or two and would actually stop breathing for 15 to 30
seconds. Buttar realized she was near death and, because she had not been
eating, he first put her on an IV drip of nutrition to start rebuilding her
immune system. He then noticed that the continual seizures subsided in a couple
Next this doctor knew that the mercury and other offending foreign matter now in
her bloodstream had to be removed, and he began this process by inserting
another IV to remove the toxicity. Chelation is an unconventional therapy
utilized over the past half century to remove plaque from the arteries to
improve blood circulation. While thousands shout its praises, the American
Medical Association has done its best to ban its use.
Supporters of its use claim that the AMA refuses to view the positive results of
chelation because to do so would force its eventual endorsement of something so
inexpensive that it would interfere with its lucrative association with Big
Pharma. This may also explain why the first Jennings story was suppressed by the
mainstream media and why AFP may be the only one in print media to report this
After a few more hours, Dr. Buttar was interrupted in his office by an excited
nurse who yelled, “Doctor, come quickly!”
The good doctor ran to his patient, fearing she had suffered another seizure but
instead was elated to find that she was awake, coherent and carrying on a normal
conversation with the nurses and her family. By the next day she was walking the
corridors with limited affliction. (See the video at: www.desireejennings.com.)
The AMA has remained silent.
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