It has emerged that seven vaccine trials took place in the mother-and-baby homes that were under investigation between 1934 to 1973, with a number of children involved.

Today's report by the Commission of Investigation also states it was clear there "wasn't compliance" with the relevant regulatory and ethical standards of the time.

"Consent was not obtained from either the mothers of the children or their guardians and the necessary licenses were not in place."

However, it also found no evidence of injury to the children involved as a result of the vaccines.

The vaccines trials ranged from measles and polio to diphtheria.

GlaxoSmithKline provided the Commission with extensive documentation about vaccine trials and clinical trials conducted in children's residential institutions in Ireland from 1930 to 1973.

The institutional records of the mother and baby homes involved, which were provided to the Commission by the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA), were then used to establish the identity of the children involved where possible and to establish what, if any, involvement or knowledge the authorities in these institutions had about the trials.

Examples of specific trials are detailed in the report including the number of children involved in each trial, the age profiles, and the medical officers involved in administering the vaccines.


One-hundred-and-sixteen children were involved in the Dublin DTP trials with Pelletstown institutional records showing that all 20 children were unaccompanied 'illegitimate' children aged between three and nine months old.

"Seven had been admitted unaccompanied by their mothers; in the remaining 13 cases, mothers had discharged themselves."


In January 1961, several children involved in the quadruple vaccine trial in Bessborough fell ill. All afflicted children experienced vomiting and mild diarrhoea after receiving the second inoculation. In her report on the matter to Dr Pollock, Dr Hillery stated that 15 of the 22 infants who received the second inoculation at Bessborough subsequently fell ill

On 15 November 2016, the Irish Examiner reported that files relating to children involved in the quadruple vaccine trial in Bessborough had been altered. The commission has examined the document on which the Irish Examiner based its claim.

This was not an original document from the institutional records but rather a document compiled by Bessborough staff for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. The commission concluded that there were no alterations made to any original institutional document.