Natalie’s death forced experts to stress that the cervical cancer jab is safe. The Mail supports that. But we also believe that the parents who claim it terribly damaged their daughters have a right to speak.
At the law offices of Hodge, Jones and Allen, there are ten ‘Cervarix’ files on the desk of solicitor Peter Todd. The files contain the details of ten English schoolgirls who, after receiving the cervical cancer jab, have been afflicted with a catalogue of devastating health problems.
In all likelihood, these claims against GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Cervarix, will take years to get to court. Until then, the belief held by parents that the jab caused a terrible physical reaction in their daughters will remain unproven. It should be stressed here that the link to the jab has not been substantiated.
Even Todd himself, who specialises in vaccine claims, points out: 'We are not saying there is anything wrong with the vaccine. Vaccines are generally a good thing. ‘But in rare cases people have had serious adverse reactions.’
His comments reiterate what most experts have been saying this week - that the benefits of the Government’s national vaccination programme against the cancer-causing HPV virus far outweigh the risks.
But equally, it would be wrong to ignore the stories of the few - the mothers who tell of daughters physically transformed in the hours, days and weeks following the vaccination. Within the next few days, thousands of parents will have to decide whether to sign the consent forms sent home by their daughters’ schools, and they are now agonising over what to do.
The tragic death of schoolgirl Natalie Morton - who collapsed hours after having the Cervarix vaccination on Monday - has only served to add to the worries, despite the news that the 14-year-old had a tumour in her chest and the vaccine was ‘unlikely’ to have caused her death.
The parents of 13-year-old Paige Brennan have no time for debating the pros and cons and ‘risk-benefit’ analysis of Cervarix. They are too busy caring for their sick daughter. Just days after Paige received the cervical cancer jab at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire in March, she began complaining her head hurt. The headache became a migraine. Then she suffered a massive seizure at home - and two more before she arrived at hospital.
As her condition rapidly worsened, she lost the ability to talk, then to walk, then to see and, on a few terrible heart-stopping occasions, the ability to breathe.