Mrs. Hinks added, “I have regrets. But it's no good having them because you can't change what we've got. Hindsight is a marvellous thing.”
The Hinks family, of Port Carlisle, is now encouraging parents to get as much information as possible before submitting to the vaccination program they believe caused their daughter’s illness. British doctors are 95 percent sure her diagnosis is ME[Myalgic Encephalomyelitis]/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Tests have ruled out a brain tumor or glandular fever, and Lucy’s pediatrician is investigating links to the vaccine.
Weeks after she received the third dose in May, Lucy began to suffer from exhaustion. By July she had lost 14 pounds and was sleeping nearly 24 hours a day. Her mother remembers being so worried about her daughter that she would get up at night to make sure Lucy was still breathing. She commented:
I was concerned about the potential side-effects because Lucy had a severe reaction from the MMR vaccine. But I was reassured by the school nurse that side-effects were extremely unlikely. We feel betrayed because, like most parents, we trust the health authorities with our children’s lives.
The British program began in September 2008, following clinical trials in 2005 on more than 18,000 UK women under 26. The vaccine for cervical cancer is given to girls aged 12 to 14, many of whom are immunized at school. Three injections are delivered over six months. In the first year, however, more than 2,000 girls in the UK began having health problems after receiving the injection. Parents wishing to exempt their daughters must "opt out."
Almost all cases of cervical cancer begin as an HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infection. The virus is typically transmitted through sexual contact. Authorities claim that the Cervarix vaccine is most effective when given to girls before they become sexually active.
The Mail reported:
Initially, Lucy's GP found her spleen and liver were enlarged. Then, after the teenager collapsed in the doctor's waiting room, she was taken to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.” After a barrage of tests she was admitted to the hospital again later in the summer, unable to walk.
Then Lucy’s parents received a letter from a hospital official. “We got a letter from the consultant at the hospital. It says it's quite possible that this might turn out to be a reaction to the HPV vaccine.”
In defense of the drug, the director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (a UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer) Robert Music said, “If year on year take-up of the vaccine continues to be around 80 per cent the incidence of cervical cancer could be reduced by two-thirds in women under 30 by 2025.”
A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline said the manufacturer takes reports of adverse reactions very seriously, adding:
The UK medicines safety agency regularly reviews all suspected adverse events and had concluded that no new or serious risks have been identified during the use of Cervarix in the UK and that the balance of benefits and risks remains positive.
However, Lucy hasn’t been the only sufferer from various vaccines in the UK. Jackie Fletcher, founder of the pressure group JABS (Justice Awareness and Basic Support, a play on the British word "jab" for a shot or vaccine), has called for the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to be abandoned until it can be established beyond doubt that it is safe. She won a £90,000 payout following an 18-year battle after her own son suffered severe brain damage when he was given the controversial MMR vaccine as a baby. She said: “There have been some real horror stories. After the injection, suddenly they’ve got things like chronic fatigue syndrome.”
In the first two years of the Cervarix program for UK schoolgirls, over four million vaccines were delivered; 4,445 girls reported side effects, including 3,591 moderate to severe reactions, four of which were Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The Mail noted, “None of the deaths or serious health problems which have followed immunization has been directly linked to the vaccine — but it has been known to trigger undetected health problems.”
“Talk to people about it,” urged Lucy Hinks' mother. “You decide, not the Government, whether it's right for your child.”
Interestingly, a Texas Governor attempted several years ago to mandate the same policy for the vaccination of schoolgirls. Rick Perry, hoping to win the Republican presidential nomination, issued an executive order in 2007 to inoculate all Texas schoolgirls with the Gardasil vaccine for HPV. Though the highly controversial order was eventually reversed, constitutionalists have noted that it is the place of the family, not the government, to make health decisions for a minor.