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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:

1. A fair and flexible system of compensation, taking into account the needs of vaccine - damaged victims.
2. The 80% brain damage criteria should be abolished and a sliding scale introduced.
3. The six year legal time limit for making a claim should be abolished.
4. Funding of payments should be the responsibility of the government and the pharmaceutical industry.

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.

In Express political editor and journalist Anthony Bevin's excellent article in the May 2000 edition of the paper, he charts the political / medical history of the UK Government vaccination campaigns and the series of events and hurdles that have conspired to cheat victims and their families of proper practical compensation, support or justice.Other articles throughout the campaign by journalists Lucy Johnston and Rachel Ellis reveal the American model of compensation where the government imposes a small tax on each bottle of vaccine and this revenue then goes into a substantial pool of compensation packages which are set out on a sliding scale, starting at £75,000 and rising to £4.7million.

The Anthony 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 original 1979 payment act was probably instigated by the publication of a Royal Commission report into civil liability and compensation for personal injury, and was chaired by a judge called Lord Pearson.
One of the points in the detailed report stated :

" There is a special case for paying compensation for vaccine damage where vaccination is recommended by a public authority and is undertaken to protect the community ".

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 :

" to provide a measure of financial support to people severely disabled as a result of vaccination, and to their families and others involved in looking after them".

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.

On the subject of compensation the Pearson report said :

" Vaccination is recommended by the State for the benefit of the community, and where it causes injury, the State ought to provide compensation as part of the cost of providing protection for the community as a whole ".

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.

" It is because they are wounded in the war against disease, a battle fought on behalf of the whole community, that this small group of children should be compensated."

he told the commons.

Lord Ashley also highlighted recommendations in the Pearson report for a change in the law, that would allow parents to sue for compensation. Another crucial point in the Pearson report was the fact that it is virtually impossible to prove that brain damage is caused as a direct result of a vaccination.
Lord Pearson wanted a change in the law so that parents could sue for damages on the basis, and I quote :
" on a balance of probabilities " that the damage was linked to the vaccination. This was obviously too scary, truthful, and expensive a concept for the then Labour Government and the Exchequer to grasp, Social Secretary David Ennals response to the above recommendations were, that the matter would need, " detailed consideration ", which would take time. Followed by the statement :

" In view of the urgent need to assist vaccine-damaged children and those who cared for them, we decided on a scheme to provide the payment of a lump sum."

But although there was an urgent need for assistance which is always welcome and helpful to the victims and their families, what was not said was that this ' interim ' payments scheme was a cheap third rate option in terms of offering real support and resolving the issue.

The other 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.
So what happened to the honourable and necessary statements, concepts of compensation, changes in the law, justice and recommendations made by the Pearson report and Lord Ashley ?
ZERO, because three months after these statements were made The Conservative party won the election and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, and two months later in June 1979, she was asked by Labours minister for the disabled if she had considered the recommendations of the Pearson Commission.
Nothing was specifically mentioned about vaccine damage in her reply, but added : " My colleagues will be examining those aspects of this wide-ranging report for which they are responsible ."
Patrick Jenkin, who at that time was a Conservative Cabinet minister, and Secretary of State for Social Services, and was responsible for questions on vaccine damage.
He was asked the very same question on the same day that had been asked of Margaret Thatcher earlier in the House of Commons, and his answer was, " With regard to vaccine damage, the special scheme introduced under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 is now in full operation. "

This roughly 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 .'
This gave the victims and their families the dubious ' Honour ' of being betrayed by two British Governments, and two political parties in the space of a few months, which must be some sort of political record.
This left the families isolated, out on a limb, with no proper legislation, or compensation, financial independence or real empowerment. To their credit the new Labour Government updated the payment scheme on the 27th June 2000, improving some, but not all of the issues.


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:

On or before the vaccinated person's 21st birthday (or if the person has died, the date they would have reached age 21)

Within 6 years of the vaccination the claim is for
(whichever is later.)

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.

The targets of the UK campaign which were not met in full included, compensation payments based on a sliding scale of disability from 1% to 80%.

If you receive a Vaccine Damage Payment can affect other benefits, such as:
Income Support
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Working Families' Tax Credit
Disabled Person's Tax Credit
Housing Benefit
Council Tax Benefit.

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.

One 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.
Because of these experiences I am therefore compelled and obligated to challenge any Government, Political Party, or Exchequer, to do the right thing, and ' put their initiatives and money where their mouth is, ' make the pharmaceutical industry accountable and prioritise this priority of justice for vaccine damaged children and their families and resolve this issue that has been on Britain's doorstep for decades.



To view the Anthony Bevans Daily Express article on the political history of this subject please click on this
Vaccine Victims Support Group, UK : tel: (44) 0121 243 7759.
Association of Parents of Vaccine Damaged Children UK, tel:(44) 01608 661595.
JABS ( UK, Justice, Awareness, Basic Support ), tel: (44) 01942 713565.


Campaign demands

UK Compensation History

1979 Payment act

Pearson Report

Current UK compensation scheme

Support Groups



News Article on current UK vaccine compensation

UK Government compensation scheme