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In May 2000, and to their eternal credit, The Daily Express (UK) launched its campaign on behalf of vaccine damaged children, highlighting the difficulties in caring for the children, teenagers, and adults, (a small but growing percentage of people ) who had experienced adverse reactions to various vaccines over several decades of government vaccination campaigns, resulting in epilepsy, autism, brain damage, or other problems.
The principal demands for reform in the campaign being:
The Daily Express campaign also exposed the "Catch 22" situation that the relatives and carers of damaged children / people find themselves in, with relation to proper compensation, support, justice, or recognition from various previous or successive governments, political parties, and the pharmaceutical industry, who have consistently failed to secure proper legislation or an admission of liability, often repeating the phrase "there is no scientific evidence that proves that vaccines damage children", as I was told by my local M.P. This is also the legal liability stance of the pharmaceutical industry, leaving the victims and their families with the burden of proof of any damage caused by the vaccines.
Bevans article also revealed that in Britain, however, it's a completely
different story, and that from 1951 when the vaccination campaigns began,
there had been various inadequate proposals for compensation packages
until 1979, when the then Labour Governments Social Services Secretary
announced and enacted a payment scheme called, The 1979 Vaccine Damage
Payments Act, which at the time paid a maximum of £10,000, the maximum
level being in proven cases of 80% damage.These payments were increased
to £20,000 in 1985, and then £30,000 in 1991, and £40,000
through the late 90's until December 2000. This one off ' interim ' payment
may have appeared substantial to some people at the time, but when it
is compared to a recent official study that calculated that the average
cost of caring for someone with 80% damage would realistically be around
£80,000 per year, it becomes apparent that this is like the proverbial
' drop in the ocean'.
The report also highlighted the crucial difference between an interim payment as in the 1979 payment act, and proper compensation, the difference being, to quote the 1979 Labour governments Social Services Secretary David Ennals, that the payment is designed :
This is not compensation, compensation should provide for the loss of a full life and the resources needed to care for that person throughout their life.
One of the best statements I have heard, which has a very personal resonance to myself and my family and our experiences caring for a son with uncontrolled epilepsy over a period of 18 years. Lord Ashley, veteran campaigner for the disabled spoke of the right attitudes to support and compensation, during the the Second Reading debate on the Payments Bill, in February 1979. He said that vaccine damaged children were a special case because, like the war disabled, their injuries were suffered for the community.
crucial point is that this ' temporary ' payment scheme turned out to
be in place for over 20 years, and has only been updated recently on the
27th June 2000 by the new Labour Government, mainly, I would suspect because
of the attention and publicity that the matter attracted in the media,
and pressure from other campaigners both inside and outside of politics.
translated into plain English means that the Conservative Government had
no intention of implementing changes in the law, any of the recommendations
by The Pearson commission or Lord Ashley, or any immediate rises in lump
sum payments, and with one deviously worded short sentence, the remaining
' Interim ' payment scheme became permanent, apart from a few inadequate
pay rises, for the following twenty years or more. And the scheme appeared
to be mysteriously converted into a questionable form of ' Compensation
In June 2002 the UK legislation on vaccine damage compensation payments was finally changed, although some of the targets being campaigned for were not met in full. The current criteria for claiming compensation is
The claim must be made:
or before the vaccinated person's 21st birthday (or if the person has
died, the date they would have reached age 21)
The percentage of disablement that is counted as severely disabled has changed from 80% to 60%.
The payment scheme also places less onus on the requirement of absolute proof of vaccine damage, to one based on probability.
of the UK campaign which were not met in full included, compensation payments
based on a sliding scale of disability from 1% to 80%.
Although these improvements will be welcomed by the families, they still fall far short of the American model of compensation in terms of proper legislation, rights, compensation, and the imposition of responsibility on the pharmaceutical industry by a tax payable on each bottle of vaccine.
of my main motivations for writing this article would have to be, that
I am a father who over the past 19 years has raised a son who used to
have twenty epileptic seizures a day when he was younger, but thankfully
who's condition has greatly improved, although he still has occasional
uncontrolled seizures. And because of this, I have very hard experience
of the dilemma's, vigilance, commitment, life threatening challenges,
resources and energy that is needed to support a damaged child and have
some insight into the difficulties faced by vaccine damaged victims and
their families. Many I know for a fact, are in far more severe situations
than my own.
view the Anthony Bevans Daily Express article on the political history
of this subject please click on this