Scandal after chilling scandal seems to be emerging from the Emerald Isle. Shutterstock
As the world was still reeling from news that a home for “unwed mothers” in County Galway, Ireland, had gotten rid of some 800 unidentified children’s bodies near a septic tank, another horrific allegation came to light. Evidence was found that suggests that in the 1930s, more than 2,000 children at orphanages in various parts of Ireland may have been illegally injected with a diphtheria vaccine manufactured by Burroughs Wellcome, a pharmaceutical company that, after many mergers, is now known as GlaxoSmithKline.
It gets worse…As the Mail reports, “Michael Dwyer, of Cork University’s School of History, found the child vaccination data by trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archive files. He discovered that the trials were carried out before the vaccine was made available for commercial use in the UK.” There is no evidence yet – and there may never be – that any family consent was ever offered, or about how many children had adverse effects or died as a result of the vaccinations. Dwyer told the Mail, “The fact that no record of these trials can be found in the files relating to the Department of Local Government and Public Health, the Municipal Health Reports relating to Cork and Dublin, or the Wellcome Archives in London, suggests that vaccine trials would not have been acceptable to government, municipal authorities, or the general public. However, the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.” In a related story, GSK—formerly Wellcome—revealed Monday on Newstalk Radio that 298 children in 10 different care homes were involved in medical trials in the ’60s and ’70s that left “80 children ill after they were accidentally administered a vaccine intended for cattle.”
Irish Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon has called for a public inquiry into the treatment of the children and their deaths. The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has also called for an investigation, adding that it should be free of Catholic Church interference. “We have to look at the whole culture of mother and baby homes; they’re talking about medical experiments there,” he told RTE Radio this weekend. “They’re very complicated and very sensitive issues, but the only way we will come out of this particular period of our history is when the truth comes out.” And a spokesman for GSK said the latest revelations, “if true, are clearly very distressing.”
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata