Up to 200 doctors, nurses, firefighters, prison officers, police officers, forensic scientists and binmen say they have developed serious physical and mental health problems after injections essential for their work over the past 10 years. All have given up their jobs and some are now 60 per cent disabled.
Last night it emerged they are to miss out on payouts, prompting furore among campaigners. More than 150 MPs have lent their support to demands for a better deal for the victims.
Olivia Price, of the Vaccine Victim Support Group, said: “These people have given their lives in the service of looking after others and this is how they’re repaid. They’ve lost their careers and are a burden to their families. It is very degrading.”
Frontline health workers, social workers, prison officers and binmen have to be vaccinated against hepatitis B as a condition of their employment.
This is to protect them from contracting potentially fatal conditions from infected blood through needle injuries or physical assaults.
Although they are not legally forced to have the vaccinations, without them they are not allowed to work.
Experts believe the injections caused the health problems, which include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, weakness and cognitive problems, because illnesses developed soon after vaccination. In one case Steve Robinson, a previously fit 43-year-old father of three, was vaccinated six years ago against hepatitis A, B and polio, tetanus and diphtheria as part of his work as a forensic specialist.
Two days later he became ill and developed muscle weakness and chronic fatigue. Mr Robinson, from Morpeth, Northumberland, is now 60 per cent disabled, which an industrial injuries tribunal put down to the vaccinations.
He has also been diagnosed with macrophagic myofascitis, a disabling condition which may be caused by the aluminum in vaccines. He also suffers from problems that cause him to fall with no warning. He said: “Before I had the vaccinations I was very healthy, a keen mountain biker and enjoyed walking and keeping fit.
“Now I have very poor mobility and walk with sticks, I am constantly tired.” In up to 10 of the 200 cases, Government officials have already ruled, on the balance of probabilities, that the vaccines caused the damage.
Campaigners say these victims should be entitled to payouts of up to £120,000 through the Government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, like other people who have suffered side effects, but the hepatitis B vaccine is excluded so they get nothing.
Payouts are restricted to the industrial injuries scheme but this is a long and difficult process and, according to campaigners, results in “paltry” sums. So far, fewer than 10 have successfully claimed this money. Ian Stewart, Labour MP for Eccles, has tabled an Early Day Motion on the scandal which has been backed by more than 150 MPs of all political parties.
He said: “These casualties are completely innocent. Their lives, and those of their families, have been sadly diminished through no fault of their own.
“The difficult truth is that what we have in the UK is not fit for purpose.”
A spokesman for the Payment Scheme, said: “Adults who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines given as a requirement of their employment can claim compensation through Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or private schemes through their terms of employment.”