By John Stone
The British government have announced the addition to the infant vaccine schedule of a Hepatitis B vaccine from August 1, as one component of GSK’s controversial hexavalent vaccine Infanrix Hexa which also includes DTaP, polio and HiB. Additional to this a two month old infant will receive rotavirus vaccine, 13 strain pneumococcal, and Meningitis B vaccines. So far, the British Medical Journal have not allowed my electronic response to its news story:
I read with concern the report by Torjesen that the United Kingdom government plan to add a Hepatitis B vaccine to the infant schedule as part of hexavalent vaccine product Infanrix Hexa, manufactured by GSK .
Irrespective of considerations such as the policy of the World Health Organisation, or the financial viability of the intervention, eyebrows may be raised at the ethics of the vaccination of many children against a disease from which they are little at risk (as Torjesen's article admits).
In 2015 Puliyel calculated a potential excess of 69 sudden infant deaths from Infanrix Hexa over a two year period based on a confidential pharmacovigilance report submitted by GSK to the regulatory authorities which had been released to the public domain by the Italian Ministry of Justice. His observations are published on PubMed Commons .
The recommendation to include this vaccine on the infant schedule was made at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation meeting of October 2014, chaired then  and now by Prof Andrew Pollard . Prof Pollard is Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group which develops vaccines and conducts trials on behalf of industry . Prof Pollard is also a Trustee of the Jenner Vaccine Foundation with Dr Norman Begg, Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer of GSK Biologicals  which manufactures Infanrix Hexa. The Jenner Vaccine Foundation is chaired by Dr David Salisbury  who as Director of Immunisation, Department of Health, chaired the panel that appointed Prof Pollard as Chair of the JCVI in 2013 .
 Ingrid Torjesen, 'UK adds hepatitis B to infant vaccination schedule', BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 10 July 2017)
 Response to Baldo et al, 'Combined hexavalent diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B-inactivated poliovirus-Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine; Infanrix™ hexa: twelve years of experience in Italy', PumMed Commons 2015, January 13, 06.40am
Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
Information pack for applicants p.12 . The closing date for applications was 23 June 2013
As long ago as 2007 Prof Pollard was calling in the British Medical Journal for a Hepatitis B vaccine to be added to the vaccine schedule. On that occasion he made the following disclosure:
Competing interests: AJP conducts clinical trials on behalf of Oxford University, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Novartis Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, and Wyeth Vaccines and has received funds from vaccine manufacturers to attend scientific meetings. The University of Oxford has received unrestricted grants for educational meetings organised by AJP. Industry sourced honorariums for lecturing or writing are paid directly to an independent charity or an educational/administrative fund held by the department of paediatrics, University of Oxford.
An Oxford Vaccine Group newsletter of autumn 2008 states that they were conducting trials on a meningitis B vaccine using Infanrix Hexa according to the European schedule. Later on in 2012, just two years before Prof Pollard led the committee making the recommendation for the use of Infanrix Hexa OVG were conducting trials for its introduction in the UK. As has already been copiously recorded in these columns Prof Pollard was the lead developer of Bexsero Meningitis B vaccine which as chairman of the JCVI he also recommended for the UK vaccine schedule. This recommendation led to huge commercial advantage for Bexsero and immediately preceded the asset swap of Novartis’s vaccine division - which manufactured Bexsero - to GSK.
In a response to Prof Pollard’s 2007 appeal to include Hepatitis B vaccination in the infant Dr Marc Girard wrote a letter to BMJ Being and Not Being an Idiot pointing to the horrific association of the introduction of the vaccine with the rise of multiple sclerosis which had led to it being withdrawn in France in 2000. More detailed testimony regarding this can be found at Dr Girard’s website, rolandsimion.org .
While no one can doubt Prof Pollard’s sincere enthusiasm for these products, the British government are vastly negligent in failing to police the borders between the public interest and that of the vaccine industry. The situation is already descending beyond farce into catastrophe, with the industry trying to exact ever more devotion, and making demands for compulsory vaccination and exemption from criticism , following their bullying successes in mainland Europe and Australia.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.
Note (Friday 14 July 2017, 16.54 London time) : I requested an explanation from the BMJ this morning about why they had not published my letter, and none has come.