Italian MMR Case

1. The Italian Court cases and the subsequent response from Anne Milton to Parliamentary Questions were inadequately answered.

The Parliamentary Answer provided by Anne Milton to Bob Stewart MP and Mark Pritchard MP was a standard response and was misleading to the House:

'Anne Milton: In March a judge presiding over a case in Rimini Italy made a decision to award compensation to the parents of a nine year old boy on the basis that a vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) had caused autism. This decision reflects the opinion of a judge on the specific facts of this single case and should not be seen as a precedent for any other case. The safety of MMR has been endorsed through numerous studies in many countries, and no causal link between MMR vaccine and autism has been established. There are no plans to undertake further research nor to change MMR immunisation policy as a result of this Italian court decision.'

The facts are:

a) The judgement was not the opinion of the judge nor was this a single case. 

b) The Judge had no option but to follow the evidence of the independent expert appointed by the Court to report to it. 

c) The terms in which judgement was issued follows the terms of the conclusions of the expert. 

d) There were two other experts involved in this case who came to the same conclusions regarding causation. 

e) This case is special because it is the first case in Italy where causation of autism by the MMR vaccine was not contested by the Italian Health Ministry.

The Minister's second point regarding: "no causal link between MMR vaccine and autism has been established" was also misleading. 

The obvious link is the brain assault (e.g. encephalopathy - a recognised vaccine side effect) suffered by children which leads to a number of neurological problems including acquired autistic disorders.

In February 2008 the US Government conceded that Hannah Poling had become autistic with a seizure disorder following multiple vaccines which included MMR and awarded a settlement from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the equivalent of our VDPU. In March 2008, following Hannah Poling's settlement it came to light that at least nine other children in the US have also been awarded payments under the NVICP following combination vaccines which resulted in autistic spectrum disorder. ningnews/main3915703.shtml

On the 12th May 2008 the former head of the US National Institutes of Health, Bernardine Healy, criticised epidemiological research into the vaccine/autism problem and suggested that clinical studies of specific sub-groups would be more fruitful. 

In May 2008 the US Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) confirmed to US CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson that any vaccine can cause a brain injury leading to autistic conditions in children... 

Ms Milton also stated: "...The safety of MMR has been endorsed through numerous studies in many countries, and no causal link between MMR vaccine and autism has been established..." 

There have been numerous papers (mainly epidemiological studies) but they have not been reliable, and do not stand up to close critical scrutiny (1). This statement also contradicts Italian and US cases which were decided on an individual basis.

2. The successful Italian and US MMR Court cases were decided on the basis of the clinical case histories of the individual children; this is the only way that any child's case can be accurately determined with regard to causation. This leads to misinformation for the Minister and MPs.

3. The DH holds up epidemiological studies to negate association. Epidemiology (a statistical study of population data) is never relevant to proof of specific causation - ie. whether a drug caused an adverse effect in a specific individual.

4. There are major concerns about potential conflicts of interest as many of the current advisers of government Ministers (DH, MHRA, JCVI) were responsible for the introduction of MMR vaccines into the national childhood immunisation programme in October 1988.

The JCVI and DH, present at committee meetings which decided on the introduction of the MMR vaccines, were clearly aware of the risks involved with all three brands of MMR vaccines chosen for the UK programme 
(2) (3). Their decision to introduce the vaccines and pronounce them both safe and effective proved to be ill-founded as two of the three brands of Urabe containing MMR were hurriedly withdrawn by the Chief Medical Officer in September 1992 due to increased levels of meningitis. The same problem that the Canadian authorities had found four years earlier.

In 143 adverse reaction reports for MMR meningitis considered by the Committee on Safety of Medicines (now MHRA) adverse reaction subcommittee in 1992, there were four deaths and 64 of the outcomes were unknownDocumented records from this subcommittee meeting, at which DH senior officials were present, included details of the MMR vaccine batch numbers given to children between 1989 and 1991 who suffered adverse reactions: laboratory confirmed meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and its membranes).

The scandal here is that these vaccine batches were not withdrawn immediately and large numbers of infants went on to receive the same vaccines before they were withdrawn in September 1992. Jabs has children registered who appear to have suffered similar symptoms and developed long term neurological problems or have died after receiving doses of vaccines from these batches. Again, the same problem that the Canadian authorities had found four years earlier.

5. The DH knows there is a massive under-reporting of adverse reactions due to the ineffective passive surveillance system which makes the actual number of severe reactions and long term consequences unknown.

6. Since 1988 parents have claimed serious adverse reactions to all three versions of the vaccine. In October 1997 Jabs asked Health Minister Tessa Jowell to consider suspending the MMR whilst individual medical assessments were undertaken on the children involved in a multi-party legal action against the vaccine manufacturers. The DH's Chief Medical Officer and Principal Medical Officer were present throughout this meeting. Ms Jowell said she was prepared to look at all new scientific evidence.

Jabs provided details of 1200 children. None were examined individually and no clinical histories were taken (4). Some of those senior officials who organised the investigation are still in post today. How can parents trust the DH to carry out accurate unbiased assessments?

7. There are now two law suits against Merck in the US for allegedly fraudulently claiming a level of effectiveness for the mumps component of MMR which was false (5). If the DH claims to have studies showing the MMR vaccine is safe and effective, those studies have obviously failed to pick this up. Also, GSK has just been fined US$3Bn for healthcare fraud. How can parents rely on DH safety claims?

8. There has been a recently presented paper by Dr Lucija Tomljenovic who is from Neural Dynamics Research Group, in Canada (6). Dr Tomljenovic's paper analysed 30 years worth of JCVI transcripts obtained under FOI and which were previously not known to exist. This is an extract showing the JCVI and DH have been:

'... deliberately concealing information from parents for the sole purpose of getting them to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule ...... Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years, [my emphasis] apparently for the sole purpose of protecting the national vaccination program....'

Action for consideration:

The DH cannot forever be judge and jury of its own policies. We would like to raise our concerns with the Health Minister directly.

We would like to see a full Parliamentary debate on this issue as it appears the Minister has misled the House and should be pursued.

We would like an independent impartial investigation comparing total health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

We would like the UK Vaccine Damage Payment Unit to review its terms of reference. All claims of vaccine damage leading to autistic disorders should be re-evaluated based on individual medical histories with support from legal and medical experts in the light of the new Italian and US findings.

Italian Judgement MMR/Autism


(1) Dr Carol Stott, a respected epidemiologist:

'The continued public clamour on this subject has led to beleaguered health officials promoting the MMR as safe by promulgating epidemiological studies that have subsequently proved to be irrelevant, inconclusive, or seriously methodologically questionable. Remarkably the UK Department of Health used no less than 5 epidemiological studies during the prolonged public debate on MMR safety that took place between 1998 and 2006. In referring to studies such as these, what is generally meant is that the authors have carried out large-scale population based studies, either by comparing cases (with autism) and controls (no autism) in terms of MMR exposure, or by comparing those exposed and unexposed to MMR in terms of autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder as an outcome. Whilst it is tempting to assume that studies of large populations are somehow ‘better’ by virtue simply of their size, this is by no means necessarily the case. Neither are they ‘safety’ studies and it is of serious concern that the medical hierarchy is not aware of that simple fact. A significant failing of epidemiology is that whilst population based evidence from case-control or cohort studies might indicate a possible association between two or more factors – and to some extent be used to indicate causality - it can obviously not be applied to prove that in any particular case X did not cause Y.'                                                          

(2) JCVI minutes of meeting February 1988

(3) Joint Sub-committee on Adverse Reactions to Vaccination and Immunisation

Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 8 March 1988 at 10:30am in

Room 1612, Market Towers

'...8. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccines

(c) Five cases of mumps encephalitis following MMR have been reported from Canada. Four of these cases definitely followed the use of vaccine containing Urabe 9 mumps virus and the fifth probably did. This corresponded to a frequency of one per 100,000 doses and no sequelae had been reported in the sufferers. [name omitted]  had discussed the incidence of mumps related complications from MMR with the Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta, whose data were unfortunately only superficial on this issue. In the United States, Jeryl Lynn mumps virus is included in MMR but no data were available on parotitis following MMR and many of the reported neurological complications were clearly related to the measles component....'

(4) 25th June 1999


Guardian 2 July 2012


The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?

Dr Lucija Tomljenovic's paper analysed 30 years worth of JCVI transcripts obtained under FOI and which were previously not known to exist.

Dr Tomljenovic is from Neural Dynamics Research Group, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. 


In conclusion, by apparently prioritizing vaccination policy over vaccine safety, the JCVI, the DH and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) may have shown a disregard for the safety of children. Through selective data reporting, the JCVI in conjunction with the DH, has promulgated information relating to vaccine safety that may be inaccurate and potentially misleading, thereby making it impossible for the parents to make a fully informed consent regarding vaccination. Furthermore, by 1) apparently misleading patients about the true risks of adverse reactions as to gain their consent for the administration of the treatment and 2) seemingly siding with vaccine manufacturers rather than public health interests, the JCVI and the CSM appear to have signally failed their fiduciary duty to protect individuals from vaccines of questionable safety. If these provisional conclusions are indeed correct, then the information presented here may help us in understanding the UK government’s and the JCVI’s official position on vaccine damage, that is, one of persistent denial.'

The paper was presented at and forms part of the proceedings of The 2011 BSEM Scientific Conference. © John Fletcher 2012