Log In
Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Are jabs worth the risk?

30th September 2009

Mark Honigsbaum, writing in The Telegraph, explores whether the public still believe vaccinations are worth the possible risks involved.


Those involved in politics are aware that a death in the present is far more powerful than saving a life in the future - a case in point is the difficulty in validating the war in Afghanistan.

However, people who work in healthcare have not been as conscious of this fact. As a result, following the death of Natalie Morton after she received the cervical cancer vaccine, some GPs and nurses will be recommending that girls receive the jab anyway.

The rationale is that in order for the majority to survive, unfortunately some will have to suffer. Experts have said that in every mass vaccination programme, we should expect some victims.

This type of thinking was at its height during the glory days of bacteriology, when vaccines were developed to protect against fatal illnesses such as typhoid, cholera and rabies. In the 1950s and 1960s, discoveries in medicine allowed jabs to be produced to protect children from polio, measles and mumps.

However, as people began to inhabit this "brave new disease-free world" they began to forget the impact the diseases had before the vaccines were introduced.

The defining moment occurred in 1976 when President Ford approved the vaccination of 45 million people in the US against swine flu. After two months, when it became apparent that the virus was no longer a threat, the vaccine's side-effects - which included deaths and Guillain-Barre syndrome - came to light.

After that, governments have had problems persuading the public that vaccines such as MMR are necessary and do not pose a danger to their children's health.

Currently, the question is whether we should believe the Department of Health's position on the cervical cancer vaccine Cevarix. They have said the vaccine, which offers protection against some, but not all, forms of HPV, is not dangerous. 

Should we insist that the health service provides the more costly vaccine Gardasil instead of Cevarix, because it offers protection against more strains of HPV? And how about the swine flu vaccine, of which side-effects have been reported?

Experts have been more forthcoming, in light of public scepticism about vaccination, to engage with people. They have said that some people who receive H1N1 jab could have a heart attack afterwards, but the two incidents may not be connected to each other.

No evidence has come to light that Natalie Morton's death was caused by the vaccine, but it is up to parents to decide for themselves if the dangers overshadow the benefits.


Share this page


Vijaya Prasad

Wednesday 30th September 2009 @ 16:20

I have a first hand experience of flu jab. After taking my first jab in 1996 I had such a bad reaction. I had high temperature and every muscle in my body ached. I had never had such illness in my life either before or after that episode. Everybody says that it had nothing to do with the jab, but I know the truth, and will never go anywhere near that jab! No matter what anyone says, some people do react adversely to jabs.

M Btok

Wednesday 30th September 2009 @ 17:55


September 29, 2009
An urgent investigation was under way on Tuesday after a 14-year-old school girl collapsed and died after being vaccinated against cervical cancer.
The girl, who was named as Natalie Morton, died on Monday shortly after being injected with the Cervarix vaccine at the Blue Coat CofE school in Coventry.
The vaccine, which is made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, is being administered to schoolgirls as part of a national vaccination programme to protect against the disease.
Health authorities immediately isolated the suspect batch of vaccine which protects against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted virus which is the primary cause of cervical cancer.
“The incident happened shortly after the girl had received her HPV vaccine in the school,” said Dr. Caron Grainger, joint head of public health for the National Health Service (NHS) in Coventry and Coventry City Council.

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Article Information

Title: Are jabs worth the risk?
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 12792
Date Added: 30th Sep 2009


The Telegraph

Recent Related Articles

Key vaccine report published


Add to scrapbook
Show Comments
Add comment
Find all related articles


M3 - For secure managed hosting over N3 or internet
© Mayden Foundation 2018