Paris Match (excerpts translated from French)
The parents of the five families accusing vaccines of causing their children’s disabilities.
(The children from left to right: Naomie, Lolita, Lucia and Terry. Nello is not in the photo because he was in hospital that day)
Five families have joined forces to take GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Sanofi to court. They hope that the courts will acknowledge the side effects of vaccines and award compensation to their disabled children. Last Friday, their lawyer, Mr. Hartemann, presented their case before the Court of Bobigny in the outskirts of Paris.
After addressing the court for an hour and a half, Mr. Hartemann claimed to be ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the verdict: the vaccine manufacturers had not objected to medical investigations in four of the five cases.
This represents an initial ‘go-ahead’ which, if approved by the court, will pave the way for further investigations and research into the rare diseases suffered by these children who all developed very severe neurological disturbances after receiving vaccines. “They suffer side effects similar to those of major head traumas or epileptic fits causing very serious brain damage”, claimed the lawyer. “These are children who were perfectly healthy before they received their jabs”, he continues, stressing the similarity of the different stories, “and who suddenly, after their first injections or after a booster, stopped developing and presented very significant damage”.
Sandrine: “What could possibly have removed the part of Nello’s brain which controls all his motor skills?”
Nello (age 3), Naomie (4 and a half), Lucia (age 3), Lolita (18 months), Terry (age 15) … five children who were all developing normally but whose condition slowly deteriorated only days or weeks after their vaccinations. Very high fever, inconsolable crying, loss of muscle tone, stiffening of the body … These were the alarming signs observed by their parents. Now these children are unable to walk, talk or even hold their heads up; they struggle to eat, drink or hold something in their hands … None of the many tests performed and samples taken by the neuro-paediatrics ward has revealed the cause of their ailments. Nello ran a very high fever after his Priorix booster (GSK vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella), when he was 19 months. A week later, his parents noticed that he was crawling with his thumbs clasped inside his fists. Eight days later, he was using his wrists for support and falling like Bambi on the ice. A month later, Nello was rushed to the Emergency ward: he was screaming in pain, his body curled up and his muscles rigid. An MRI of his brain revealed atrophy of the white matter (the myelin) but the battery of tests they put him through eliminated any genetic, infectious or traumatic causes. “What could possibly have removed the part of Nello’s brain which controls all his motor skills?” asks his mother, Sandrine.
“Naomie was born premature but her development was fine until she received her first injection of Infanrix Hexa (GSK vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and haemophilus influenza type B) and Prevenar 13 (Pfizer vaccine against pneumococcal infections)”, explains her mother, Mona. After a week of constant crying, we took her to the emergency room: strabismus and loss of all muscle tone (she could no longer sit by herself). The doctors were unable to come up with a diagnosis.
Two months after Lucia received her Infanrix Hexa and Priorix boosters at 18 months, her mother found her unconscious in her bed, “like a rag doll”. They rushed her to the hospital where the doctors observed inflammation of her brain. Three days later, she underwent an emergency operation for encephalitis which nearly cost her her life; after a month of coma, she awoke blind and tetraplegic. No inflammatory illness or virus was identified as the cause of these neurological symptoms.
The doctors were unable to come up with a diagnosis for little 18-month-old Lolita also. Her problems started when at age two months, only two weeks after her first jab of Infanrix Hexa and Prevenar 13, she seemed to have a momentary fit: “Her body stiffened, she gasped and growled, drooled and no longer reacted to light”, reports her mother. After her second jab, at three months, she was rushed to the ophthalmological emergency ward: “My daughter was like a grub, her hands clasped in tight fists around her thumbs, unable to hold up her head.” So far, genetic testing on Lolita has come up with no conclusions.
15-year-old Terry suffered an ‘unexplained’ encephalitis when he was only 12 months old and is now 80% disabled. The first signs of illness appeared when he was two and a half months old, after his first Pentacoq jab (Sanofi vaccine against whooping cough, haemophilus type B, Diphtheria, Tetanus and polio, withdrawn from the market in 2005): high fever, persistent screaming, chronic bronchitis and then three weeks later, paralysis of the right side (from the hip to the arm).
All five sets of parents report that their doctors insist the vaccines could not possibly be responsible. “Consultants, doctors and neuro-paediatricians have all denied this hypothesis. The subject is totally taboo”, reports Lionel, Nello’s father. “As far as they are concerned, vaccines cannot possibly be the cause because there is no scientific evidence of such a link”, adds Sabrina, Lucia’s mother, who suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition: “Maybe the risk is very rare, within a certain population of children.”
In France, only the Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio vaccines are currently mandatory but it is no longer possible for a child under age 6 to receive the DTPolio vaccine because it disappeared from the market in 2008. These angry parents blame the doctors for a lack of information. Most of them were unaware that the routine schedule contained a mix of mandatory and recommended vaccines. According to a drugs expert, “this raises the question of the unmentionable interactions between the vaccines, which also raises a legal issue.” As things stand today, compensation for damage linked directly to a mandatory vaccination must be paid by the Government through ONIAM (Office national d’Indemnisation des Accidents Médicaux: French National Office for Medical Accident Compensation).
“Even if the judges acknowledge that the vaccine was indeed the cause of the encephalopathy, the fact that there were non-mandatory components in the jab could impede compensation for the family” explains the expert. How can it be proven that the damage was caused by the mandatory vaccine?
Attorney Hartemann knows full well that the vaccine manufacturers will hang their case on denial of the vaccine’s implication in the damage but he hopes that jurisprudence will tip the scales. In 2012, after 17 years of legal proceedings, the French Council of State acknowledged that the Pentacoq vaccine (5 different viruses) triggered a 95% disability in a 5-month-old baby. According to the drugs expert “This is a favourable turn of affairs, probably rooted in the judges’ conscience. For the very first time, they used reverse logic: the Pentacoq is a mixture of mandatory and recommended vaccines so they considered that by amalgamation, the disability could just as easily have been caused by a mandatory vaccine.”
The lawyer is also counting on the considerable number of supporting arguments (timing, the children were all in good health before they were vaccinated…) for the families to get their compensation. In the case of Terry, the oldest case in the file, the manufacturers are blaming the prescription, unless it can be proven that Sanofi is responsible because the product was faulty. We will know more on the 19th of February when the families learn whether the medical investigations have been approved by the Court.