By Patricia McDonagh
Monday December 13 2010
PHILIP Delaney was a vulnerable six-month-old baby when he was first injected with the unauthorised ‘five-in-one’ vaccine.
Over the next two months, he was given the combined jab on three separate occasions in an apparently secret trial.
Now, more than 40 years later, he is determined to know why he was given the jab in 1965 at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Co Cork.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s three separate vaccine trials were conducted on Irish children on behalf of the multinational drugs company The Wellcome Foundation, which is now known as GlaxoSmithKline.
A report drawn up by the Department of Health in 2000, by its then chief medical officer Dr James Kiely, confirmed the existence of these trials.
It found 211 children were administered vaccines — 123 of whom were resident in children’s homes in Dublin, Cork and the midlands.
But unlike these victims, Philip has never been able to find out why he was given a vaccine that was never provided to the rest of the public. And, crucially, if it was part of a larger vaccine trial involving children in Bessborough.
Born John Martin to Margaret Finnegan on March 30, 1965, in Bessborough, he was given a routine BCG vaccine — like every other child in the nation. But that was where the comparisons stopped.
In a sinister twist, he received an unknown ‘five-in-one’ vaccine which had an unprecedented mixture of polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.