A Wigan medical campaigner has blasted a government decision to inoculate all children against the liver infection hepatitis B.
As of August 1, all babies will get a Hep B jab alongside that for polio, diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough and haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) at eight weeks, then receiver boosters at 12 and 16 weeks.
The Government says that this will help prevent many infections in future after it signed an international pledge to eradicate viral hep B.
But Jackie Fletcher, who founded the Jabs group which questions the safety of multiple vaccines, has “grave concerns,” querying the need for it when it is not airborne but passed through bodily fluids, with those mainly at risk being people who work with needles - like medical staff and binmen - plus drug-users and the sexually promiscuous.
She also says that there is already a hep B vaccine damage group with 200 members who say they have suffered adverse reactions from having the jab as a career precaution as adults, and even manufacturers’ warnings say side effects can include muscle wastage, chronic fatigue and even meningitis.
The Golborne mum, whose son Robert was awarded a vaccine damage payment from the Government after his MMR left him severely disabled, said: “It looks like the authorities have gone jab happy: there are just too many vaccines’ being given too soon.
“Can it really be right to give an eight-week-old baby a shot for diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, polio and now hepatitis B all at once? It’s even possible they will also get a rotavirus vaccine orally plus vaccines for meningitis B and pneumonia on top of that.
“If adults getting one hep B vaccine are suffering side-effects, then what about tiny babies getting it alongside five or more other vaccines at once? Oh, and they don’t take into account if the baby is premature either so it could even get that first big cocktail before its due date.
“If I were a parent of a baby now, I would be going to my GP and asking ‘why does he need hep B? Is it because he works with needles, is a drug-user or promiscuous?
“Those babies that are at risk - for instance their mum’s a drug-user - already receive targeted treatment. This blanket policy will cause unnecessary suffering. They are only doing it because they say it’s ‘cost-effective.’
But Sema Mandal, consultant in immunisation, hepatitis and blood safety at Public Health England said: “Hepatitis B vaccination has been used widely and safely for many years, since 2000 around 150 million doses have been given to children. This has had a major impact on preventing infection in many countries.
“While hepatitis B is relatively uncommon in the UK, it is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer globally. From this autumn children in the UK will also be able to benefit from this safe and effective vaccine. which will be given to all babies at the age of eight, 12 and 16 weeks.”
PHE says that the World Health Organisation has recommended universal hep B since 1992 and “vaccinating infants will reduce the risk of infection and will provide longer term protection against future exposure risks.”
The organisation did not respond to questions about the risk of side-effects.