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Vaccine-Damaged Children

Volume 934: debated on Thursday 30 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice he would give to parents of vaccine-damaged children, who are considering, or who are taking legal action for damages against his Department for brain damage suffered by children vaccinated on his advice against whooping cough, in the light of his recent announcement on compensation.

Parents of vaccine-damaged children who are considering or who are taking legal action for damages against my Department should, of course, be guided by their own legal advisers. Subject to such advice, I would suggest that they await the publication of details of the compensation scheme when their claims will be considered in the light of its terms.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures over the last 10 years indicating the number of children vaccinated against whooping cough and the number of cases of whooping cough recorded.

Figures for cases and the number of children vaccinated are not available for exactly the same age groups.The number of children under age 16 who completed primary courses of vaccination against whooping cough each year from 1967 in England was as follows:

Thousands
1967676·4
1968596·6
1969433·4
1970587·1
1971608·5
1972600·9
1973556·5
1974439·4
1975249·0
1976239·3
(Lower numbers in 1969 arc due to changes in the recommended schedule of vaccination.)The number of cases of whooping cough recorded each year since 1967, in England, of children under age 15 is shown below. The number of cases in 1976 is not yet known.
Thousands
196618·6
196731·2
196816·3
19694·7
197015·9
197115·4
19721·9
19732·3
197415·0
19758·0

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many case histories of vaccine-damaged children, as a result of whooping-cough vaccine, have been sent to the committee on safety of medicines; and what are the conclusions.

The committee has received a number of reports of damage to children immunised against whooping cough or other diseases during the last 20 years. These reports have come from various sources in a variety of forms, many of them quite recently. The committee's examination of the cases will take a considerable time to complete and no conclusions are yet available.