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Hilary's Desk

Does Nikki Turner live in Gaga land?

Hilary Butler - Monday, July 25, 2011

After last night's Sunday documentary, Nikki Turner hit out, with the email below.  However, all this document does, is to show just how little Nikki Turner actually understands the very system she's trying to explain.

She says:

Firstly we need to remember that ACC is no fault compensation – it is not proving causal links. 

This is the biggest load of rubbish I've ever seen her spout.  Here's why.

ACC has never been "fault" compension insofar as the injured party cannot find fault with the doctor, the practice, the DHB, the Government and the manufacturer, who were all indemnified for perpetuity.  Parents couldn't "blame" them.  No "fault" was ascribed to them. Furthermore, compensation was only available for "uncommon" injuries.  Soreness at site just didn't count.  That was "normal".

ACC never paid these parents compensaion on some beneficent whim.  I know.  You know how I know?  I spent 15 years helping parents fight for ACC compensation.  The PARENTS had to prove that there was nothing else that could have caused the brain damage - that the only possible thing "at fault" was a product called a vaccine.  The standard of evidence required the parents to PROVE a causal link, and not only to prove a causal link, but to find a doctor who will AGREE that there is a causal link, and preferably, to produce medical evidence from the medical literature to support that causal link.

Papers released under the Official Information Act revealed that over 100,000 New Zealand children were taken to the GP as a result of an adverse reaction to MenZB vaccine.  Many children injured by MENZB vaccine prior to July 2005 were denied compensation by ACC because 95% of claims were "the norm", not the exception.  In July 2005 the ACC legislation changed to allow "normal" claims as well, but the burden of proof of causation remains to this day.

The  2005 legislation changes only changed the scope of the claim, not the burden of proof.  I know, because I have the ACC file of a serious MenZB claim, filed after the legislation change. Even now if you as a parent, cannot prove that the preponderance of evidence shows that the vaccine "did it" you are unlikely to get compensation.

Here is Nikki Turner's email with my comments to her, interspersed in red by me.:

From: paedsoc-bounces@lists.otago.ac.nz [mailto:paedsoc-bounces@lists.otago.ac.nz] On Behalf Of Nikki Turner
Sent: Monday, 25 July 2011 10:37 a.m.
To: Paediatric List Server
Subject: Safety of pertussis vaccine and encephalopathy

Dear all

Many of you may have seen the programme on Sunday last night showing some very sad stories from two young adults with brain damage post receiving the whole cell pertussis vaccination who have been given ACC payouts.

This is very difficult and distressing for the families, and sadly appears to be already creating some fear and confusion for others.

What is "difficult and distressing" for the families who wanted to tell their stories?  The fact that they have been ignored for years?  The fact that to the medical system, there is no such thing as vaccine damage?  The fact that you are now saying their children aren't damaged by the vaccine, when those with ACC have fullfilled the required standard of a 'causal link' showing that the vaccine caused the problem?

The third story presented of a case of a young woman who died 6 months after receiving HPV vaccine, from the publically known data there does not appear to have any biologically plausible link to the vaccine at all. (emphasis mine)

Since when does any "scientist" of even basic integrity make such a statement, when first, ....  they have not seen the full results of the detailed and very expensive testing done overseas; the report to the coroner.  And second, you stated on air that to comment on a case under coronial procedure would be inappropriate. Since when does any scientist comment on a the biological plausibility of a death after a vaccine, based on "publicly known data"? 

Firstly we need to remember that ACC is no fault compensation – it is not proving causal links

You cannot seriously think that anyone with brains who has gone through ACC procedure, would agree with you.  But I guess the recipients of your email will, as usual, think that every word is the truth.

I think it is useful for us all to remember the history of whole cell pertussis vaccine - historically there were concerns that the whole cell pertussis vaccine may had been related to encephalopathy with early UK data suggesting there may have been a link, and there was a resultant loss of confidence in the vaccine all around the world in the 1980s. Since that time large studies have not been able to show a link with the vaccine. For your reference here is a link to an article published in the Paediatric Infectious Disease Journal in 2006 using data from the US Vaccine Safety Datalink Group on over 2 million children http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16940831
It concludes “In this study of more than 2 million children, DTP and MMR vaccines were not associated with an increased risk of encephalopathy after vaccination”.

If the pertussis vaccine increases the risk of brain damage it has to be so rare an event that despite the huge studies over the years that have been performed that have included millions of people comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated children, no difference between the groups can be found.

Show me the studies done examining DPT and the risk of encephalopathy, comparing never vaccinated children with DPT vaccinated children, please? 

"In 1991, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report entitled Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Congress mandated that report and the study that led to it as part of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act (Public Law 99-660). The report reviewed the scientific literature bearing on the causal relation between diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine (DPT) and 18 putative serious adverse effects of DPT. Perhaps the most controversial of all the relations studied was that between DPT and encephalopathy. The committee concluded, “The evidence is consistent with a causal relation between DPT vaccine and acute encephalopathy, defined in the controlled studies reviewed as encephalopathy, encephalitis, or encephalomyelitis” (IOM, 1991, p. 118).

Re your revisionist history above... I've got a piece of advice for you Nikki.  Go and read STATS.con It's all about lies, damned lies and statistics, and it is written by a mate of yours.


Regards
Nikki Turner


Dr Nikki Turner
Director, Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)
Senior Lecturer –University of Auckland FMHS

Location:
Department of Primary Care and General Practice
University of Otago. Wellington
PO Box 7343, Newtown, Wellington 6242
Ph: + 64 4 918 6134
Cell: + 64 21 790693


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