Compulsory MMR school ban blast

Jackie Fletcher
Jackie Fletcher

A CAMPAIGNING Wigan mum has blasted proposals for children to be barred from school if they haven’t had the MMR vaccine.

Jackie Fletcher, founder of the Jabs pressure group, said she was “appalled” by the suggestion tabled by East Lancashire PCT’s public health director Sohail Bhatti who said that such a “draconian step” was the only way to get children immunised as early as possible.

Dr Bhatti has also demanded a change in nursery and school admission policies, making it compulsory to be vaccinated.

He gave the example of France where pupils are not admitted to school if they don’t have the vaccination certificate. He stated that it is the prime duty to protect children from infection and that is possible by vaccination only.

But Mrs Fletcher, whose son Robert received a landmark payout from the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit after it ruled that MMR had caused his severe disabilities, today urged the Department of Health not to heed his call.

She said: “It is easy for him to be make such inflamatory and insensitive remarks as he and his profession take no responsibility for children brain damaged by vaccines.

“It’s a bit hypocritical for him to say vaccine should not be compulsory but at the same time you cannot attend a school unless you have had one. Especially as there is an accepted 90 per cent under-reporting of side-effects so there is no reliable safety data.

“Responsible parents have the right to refuse all vaccines being pushed in this manner. I am appalled that such a scheme could be contemplated.

I will be taking this up with my MP Andrew Burnham and hope others do the same.”

Dr Bhatti laid a lot of the blame for the fall-off in MMR uptake at the door of controversial doctor Andrew Wakefield who published a paper linking the triple inoculation to autism and bowel disorders.

But Mrs Fletcher, who lives in Golborne, said: “There were plenty of cases coming to light before Dr Wakefield’s report - from the very start in fact. Like Robert, a friend of mine’s daughter had an MMR-induced fit in 1988 but she died and the family later received a pay-out.