Saturday October 09 2010
A woman used in infancy as a “guinea pig” in controversial vaccinations has said all files relating to the secret trials remain “in limbo” and are unable to be accessed as a result of a legal injunction.
Mari Steed (50), an American woman whose experience of the secret four-in-one vaccine trials was revealed by the Irish Independent in August, yesterday expressed grave concern over the protection of the records relating to the trials conducted on institutionalised children in the early 60s by the Wellcome Foundation, now GlaxoSmithKline.
The files had been handed over to the Ryan Commission, formerly the Laffoy Commission into child abuse, by GlaxoSmithKline.
Mari Steed was involved in the first trial, which sought to find out what would happen if four vaccines were combined in one jab.
“I got up to four different shots of the vaccine. My mother later told me that I reacted by vomiting after one jab,” she said.
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) began investigating the vaccine trials in 2001. But, following legal action by two doctors involved in the trials, deemed to be too elderly and frail to take part in a court case, the investigation by the Commission into this aspect of how children in institutions were treated was brought to a standstill.
Ms Steed yesterday claimed the files were now “locked up” in the offices of the Commission.
“Nobody has done anything with these files. They are still in the offices of the Laffoy Commission,” she said. “We don’t know what is going to happen — the files are in limbo and nobody can access them.”
Ms Steed, along with several others, is currently preparing a class action in the US against the drug company responsible for the tests.
Ms Steed, who was adopted by an American family at the age of 18 months and has lived in the States ever since, was administered the vaccine while she and her mother resided at the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork, run by the Sacred Heart Convent.
- Nicola Anderson