VIDEO INTERVIEW: Mum calls for MMR jab court case to be reopened
A mother whose son was severely affected by the MMR jab believes new claims should lead to a legal case involving hundreds of families being reopened.
Robert Fletcher, 27, needs 24-hour care as he has the mental age of a 14-month-old, cannot stand unaided, cannot communicate, has epilepsy, autistic traits and other health issues.
The Vaccine Damage Payment Unit ruled in 2010 that his severe disabilities were caused by the inoculation.
His mother Jackie, from Golborne, has campaigned tirelessly for years and set up national group JABS (Justice, Awareness and Basic Support), which represents families who feel their children have been left with conditions ranging from autism to Crohn’s disease by MMR.
Mrs Fletcher says questions have now been raised about the conduct of attorneys involved in proceedings in the USA in 2007 looking at links between vaccines and autism.
A world-renowned doctor says he told them during a break in proceedings that jabs could cause autism in certain children and he now disputes statements made in court.
Concerns have also been raised about research in the USA looking at whether the jabs and autism are connected, after allegations made by a whistleblower.
Mrs Fletcher believes these claims undermine the withdrawal of legal aid for a UK multi-party class action which involved 1,400 children, many of whom were suffering from neurological conditions on the autistic spectrum.
The case was to be heard in the High Court, but the Legal Services Commission stopped funding in 2003, saying medical research had failed to provide a conclusive link between the jab and autism.
Mrs Fletcher believes that decision should be reconsidered and the case reopened.
She said: “The families are still out there, they are still carrying the burden of dealing with the child, but they also have the feeling that justice hasn’t been done.
“With other cases, like thalidomide, it can take 20, 30 years for cases to come out.”
She believes that if the funding had been available, the case would have gone to the High Court and been carefully scrutinised.
“It would have changed the course of the cases on both sides of the Atlantic,” she said.
Mrs Fletcher also believes that if the doctor’s claims that jabs can cause autism in children with an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction are correct, tests should be carried out on youngsters before they are vaccinated.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Over 50 years on from the introduction of the measles vaccine, and over 30 years on from MMR, we have achieved so much to protect the public – potentially averting 20m measles cases and 4,500 deaths since from measles since 1968.
“Measles can be fatal and we’re committed to protecting as many children and young people from it as possible. The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against measles, mumps and rubella, and we would urge any young people who have not yet had their jab to contact their GP.”