Despite not actually having gone to the Gulf my youngest sister suffers from Gulf War Syndrome. It took years of campaigning and of tribunal hearings to get them to admit it, but the Ministry of Defence do now accept that she and many other non-deployed service men and women have the syndrome. The cause of their illness is recognised as being linked to the vaccinations received in preparation for possible deployment.
One of the theories relating to the vaccine damage is that the vaccines contained an adjuvant (ingredient to make them work faster) called Squalene. In 2001 my sister was given tests by an immunology expert which shows that she has antibodies to squalene in her immune system, it is therefore extremely likely that this is what has caused her illness which includes chronic fatigue, severe headaches, nausea, muscular pain, joint swelling, short term memory loss and depression.
It is with some trepidation that I read that the Swine Flu vaccine which is being given to people in Wales from today also includes Squalene as an adjuvant, despite the fact that the adjuvant remains unlicensed in the UK and the USA.
Despite being in one of the at risk groups that should be prioritised for receiving the vaccination, knowing that the injection contains this dangerous substance means that I won't be taking up the offer. It's a gamble but I would prefer to take my chances with the flu rather than risk spending the rest of my life with gulf war type symptoms.