Peter Dowd (Bootle) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that the quality of life of people who have been affected or damaged by the vaccine is dreadful and quite deplorable? We should be doing something as soon as we can to sort that out.
Stephen Twigg: I thank my hon. Friend for making that point. He is absolutely right. In preparing for today, I was struck that some of the aspects of this subject are technical in character. It has been a little like going back to school and doing biology again in learning some of the terminology. What lies at the heart of the debate, however, is the lives of children and their families. I raised this issue on behalf of my constituent because I want to ensure that he and his family have the quality of life that any family should have the right to expect.
I was about to say that extending the compensation scheme is important not only as a matter of compassion and decency for the families concerned, but to ensure public confidence in the system of vaccination. There is barely a one in a million chance that people will react badly to a vaccine, so if it was certain that, were that to happen, there would be compensation, that would not only be right for the affected families but increase confidence in vaccination.
In conclusion, I am aware that the Department of Health has for some time been in discussions with the lawyer representing Lucas. I thank the Department for listening to my constituents’ concerns, but, on behalf of Lucas and his family, I urge the Minister to do everything she can to ensure that those discussions are brought to a successful conclusion.
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