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Vaccination And Vaccine Damage

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services of how many cases of brain damage caused by whooping-cough vaccination he has been notified, via letters directly from members of the public, letters forwarded by hon. Members, or by groups representing individual members of the public; how many of these he believes are justifiable claims; and how the figure tallies with the information he gave to the House in his statement on 17th February.

As I indicated in my reply to the hon. Member on 2nd December 1976.—[Vol. 921, c. 256]—a good many representations about the alleged after effects of vaccination have been received in the Department over the years but many do not specify the vaccine or the injury received. I am not able to say how many are justifiable claims, but I have no reason to revise the information I gave in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) on 8th February.—[Vol. 925, c. 1227–39.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 28th February, if he will publish details of the policy on whooping-cough vaccine agreed by his joint committee, specifying whether the committee recommends routine whooping-cough vaccination or whether it recommends that whooping-cough vaccine should be known to be available for those children for whom it may be particularly appropriate or whose parents request it.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Chief Medical Officer's letter to doctors 17/74 issued in June 1974 and the statement by the Joint Committee in July 1975. I am sending copies to my hon. Friend.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 1st March, what steps would be required to make available information relating social class to whooping-cough deaths.

It would be necessary to study the death certificates relating to deaths from whooping-cough over a number of years and to estimate the social class in each case; the study is being put in hand.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 1st March, if he will give the reason why no figures for notifications, per million children aged under 15 years, of whooping cough was not notifiable 1901 to 1940; and if they are not accurately recorded, if he will publish figures that are available or the best available estimate.

As I stated in my reply on 1st March—[Vol. 927, c. 120–2.]—whooping cough was not notifiable nationally before 1940. There is insufficient evidence upon which to base estimates for those years. I would, however, point out that in my reply of 1st March the table showing scarlet fever death rates per million children should have read "0" (a rate of less than 0·5) instead of "nil" (no deaths recorded) for 1951–55, 1956–60, 1961–65 and 1966–70.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services at what age a child is as fully protected as possible by the whooping-cough vaccine if the child is vaccinated according to the schedule advised by his Department; what degree of protection is given by (a)one and (b)two immunisations; and to what extent the protection given by one or two immunisations depends upon the age at which they were given.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that vaccination against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus should commence between the ages of three and six months. The earliest age at which a child would have completed basic immunisation against whooping cough would be about nine months, if commenced at three months. Irrespective of the age at which vaccination begins, it is uncertain how much protection would be afforded by one or two doses but it would certainly be less than that following the completed basic course of three doses.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will detail the criteria by which he decides whether information available to his Department or to his Advisory Committee should be freely available to those interested; and on what grounds he decides to keep such information secret:(2) pursuant to his reply of 25th February, if he will request the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to make available the evidence on which it bases its advice on whooping cough vaccination.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 28th February, if he will give the number of people who have presented oral evidence to the joint committee on aspects of whooping-cough vaccination in each of the last three years.

It is not the normal practice of the joint committee to receive oral evidence, but it does consider all available material both published and unpublished which has a bearing on the vaccines under consideration. Professor Gordon Stewart of Glasgow University, who is not a member of the joint committee or any of its sub-committees, recently attended a meeting of the joint committee and meeting of the Sub-Committee on Complications of Vaccination to expand on the papers which he had previously submitted to those committees.