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Whooping Cough Vaccine

Volume 19: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider the introduction of a comprehensive compensation scheme for the children who are likely to suffer permanent neurological damage after having the whooping cough vaccination recommended by his Department.

I refer the right hon. Member to my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) on 21 July 1981.—[Vol. 9, c. 89–90.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he has taken or intends to take regarding the recommendation of the Committee on Safety of Medicines in the Department of Health and Social Security publication "Whooping Cough", that the health departments should publicise further the contra-indications associated with immunisation and consider making available to the parents more information on the benefits and risks involved.

The latest advice from the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation on the contraindications to whooping cough vaccine was sent to health authorities and all general practitioners on 2 December 1981. Prior to that the Health Education Council made available a leaflet for parents on immunisation which includes facts about whooping cough vaccine. It is of course for the doctor concerned to discuss with the parents whether there are any special factors for or against immunisation in a particular case.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ask the Committee on Safety of Medicines to assess the risks attached to the disease whooping cough to complement its recent study of the vaccine.

I am advised in these matters by the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation. In reaching the conclusion last year that the benefits of vaccination against whooping cough outweigh the risks, the joint committee carefully considered the effect, both in terms of mortality and morbidity, of the 1977–79 outbreak, including information from a number of local surveys; it will continue to monitor the position.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the titles and authors of the research studies which led the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation to conclude in its statement "Whooping Cough Vaccination 1981', included in the Department of Health and Social Security publication "Whooping Cough", that "the benefits cif vaccination against whooping cough outweighs the risks".

There have been a number of papers dealing with the benefits and possible risks associated with whooping cough vaccine. The following is a list of some of the more recent ones that would have been considered by the Committee.

  • 1. "The data relating to pertussis vaccine". (Report by the Committee on the Safety of Medicines to the Secretary of State for Social Services on data submitted by the Association of Parents of Vaccine-Damaged Children).
  • 2. "Serious reactions to vaccine". (Report of the Advisory Panel; Chairman Professor J. A. Dudgeon).
  • 3. "The collection of data relating to adverse reactions to pertussis vaccine". (Report of the Advisory Panel; Chairman; Dr. T. W. Meade).
  • 4. "Report of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study". (Professor D. L. Miller et al).
  • 5. "Whooping Cough Vaccination—Review of the Evidence on Whooping Cough Vaccination". (The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation).
  • 6. The following articles in professional journals: Grob P. R., Crowder M. J. and Robbins J. F. (1981) British Medical Journal, vol. 282, page 1925, Williams W. O. (1981) British Medical Journal, vol. 282, page 23, Williams W. O. (1981) Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, vol. 31, page 470, Jenkinson D. (1979) British Medical Journal, vol. ii, page 577, Church M. A. (1979) Lancet, vol. ii, page 188, Walker E. et al (1981) Journal of Infection," vol. 3, page 150, Bassili W. R. and Stewart G. T. (1976) Lancet, vol. i, page 471 Stewart G. T. (1977) Lancet, vol. i, page 236.