Fury over forced MMR jab ruling

Jackie Fletcher, founder and national co-ordinator of JABS, with her disabled son Robert
Jackie Fletcher, founder and national co-ordinator of JABS, with her disabled son Robert

A WIGAN mum who campaigns for vaccine-damaged children has accused the legal system of assault and double standards after a judge ordered that two girls be given the MMR jab against their own and their mother’s will.

Jackie Fletcher said the court ruling set a dangerous precedent and that the trio, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, should take the matter to the European courts.

It was revealed this week that the ruling was made in the High Court after the case was taken there by the father of the girls, who are aged 15 and 11.

The hearing was told that the older sister had had her first MMR inoculation but then stories broke about the possibility of the triple vaccine’s serious side-effects and the parents jointly decided not to have either girl further immunised.

The parents later divorced and after Dr Andrew Wakefield, who had published a study linking MMR to autism and Crohn’s disease, was struck off by the General Medical Council over his dubious research techniques, the father changed his mind. His determination to have them vaccinated was, the court heard, further strengthened by a measles outbreak in Swansea last year.

Mrs Justice Theis said it was in the girls’ best interests that they be vaccinated. She added that while it was against the girls’ wishes, the court also had to consider “their level of understanding of the issues and what factors have influenced their views”.

Golborne mum Mrs Fletcher’s 21-year-old son Robert was left severely brain-damaged by fits caused by MMR as a child and she founded the national Jabs organisation which challenges MMR safety and calls for the wider availability of single vaccines.

She today reacted with anger to the ruling. She said: “We have double standards operating here where vaccines are not supposed to be compulsory.

“If these girls were being offered the HPV vaccine (for cervical cancer) and the parents refused its administration, the girls would usually be approached to sign consent in opposition to the parents.

“But with MMR here we have the mum and children refusing consent yet it is forced on them. If we go to hospital with Robert and he resists staff taking a blood test, they have to stop because it constitutes assault to continue.

“You have to stop at the skin and no intervention should be forced upon somebody, especially when it is preventative rather than curative.
“This isn’t even like those sad cases where parents are in dispute over the treatment of their child for a serious illness that he or she already has.

“In this case these girls are not ill and might never be ill from measles.

“Neither do they have any conditions that put them at particular risk.

“I am appalled that the father has gone so far as to take this to court. And the ruling is setting a dangerous precedent of the state’s imposing preventative medical intervention on an individual against their own and a parent’s wishes.

“This really shouldn’t be a matter for the courts - this is something that ought to be sorted out between the parents.

“Having the inoculations individually rather than as the triple vaccine might have been a way forward for both parties but it is simply wrong for the courts to be imposing medication in this way.

“Now the legal path has been followed though, I would have thought that the mother and girls should be going to the European courts over this.”