Documents prove children given jabs without consent
Published 13/12/2010 | 05:00
THE first proof that unauthorised vaccine trials were carried out on children in the care of the State has emerged in new medical documents obtained during an Irish Independent investigation.
They show one boy was given a controversial and potentially harmful 'five-in-one' jab without his mother's consent, shortly before he was adopted.
Philip Delaney's medical records provide the first evidence that additional experimental vaccines were administered -- without the knowledge of the State -- to children in their care.
The revelation has again raised serious questions about the number of vaccine trials carried out on children in the care of the State.
Mr Delaney (45) claims he has suffered a lifetime of ill health after he was treated "like an animal" while in the care of the controversial mother and baby home in Bessborough, Co Cork, in 1965.
His adoptive mother, who witnessed the vaccine being administered, claims she was told it was part of a 'secret trial' involving up to 20 children.
The Department of Health last night insisted it never approved the injection, which comprised a combined polio, measles, diphtheria (respiratory disease), whooping cough and tetanus vaccines.
GlaxoSmithKline, the multinational drugs company that carried out three confirmed vaccine trials on 211 children, refused to say if the five-in-one vaccine was carried out on its behalf.
Medical records obtained by Mr Delaney through an adoption agency confirm he was administered the five-in-one vaccine in three stages between August and October 1965.
He was given the first two jabs while in the care of the State in Bessborough.
The third injection took place in the home of his new adoptive mother, Vera Delaney.
The documents state: "The first of your five-in-one vaccination for polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus was given on the 26th of August, the second on the 25th of September. You were due the third of your five-in-one injection on the 26th October and a note on file indicates that (doctor, who cannot be identified for legal reasons) was going to call to your new home to give you this injection."
Speaking from his home in Longford, Mr Delaney said he has come up against a wall of silence every time he has attempted to discover the truth behind the trials carried out on him as a baby.
He has suffered chronic asthma all of his life and got measles as a child and wonders if this was the result of the vaccine.
"I feel I was treated like an animal. They thought they might just jab some concoction into a baby without telling anyone," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Delaney's birth mother Margaret Finnegan said she never gave her consent for her child to receive the vaccine. "I was never told he would get the vaccine or asked by a doctor if I agreed with it," she said.
Senior opposition frontbenchers and campaigners last night called for an independent inquiry into vaccine trials.
"It is unconscionable that, despite being faced with undeniable evidence of trials, the Government continues its cynical indifference against vulnerable children and unmarried mothers," Susan Loan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said.
Fine Gael deputy leader and health spokesman James Reilly said an independent inquiry would be necessary if the Oireachtas Health Committee, which is currently sourcing material to see if it will launch a formal investigation, was not given all files relating to the vaccine trials.
"It is deeply disturbing that this vaccine was not part of the Department of Health-approved regime and that there is no record of a trial," he said.
The Department of Health last night insisted it was unaware of any 'five-in-one' vaccine trial carried out in the State.
"No information on the 1965 trial referred to was identified and the department is not in a position to answer any of the detailed questions raised.
"The department does not propose to carry out any further investigations," a spokesman said.
GlaxoSmithKline also refused to comment on the revelations.
"Since the Laffoy Commission, GSK has not received any official requests for information and we cannot comment or speculate on any future actions," a spokeswoman said.
A spokeswoman for Bessborough also said she could not comment on why the vaccine was administered.