March 2009

Vaccine Bullies & Fighting Back

Posted: 3/20/2009 11:02:01 PM | with 0 comments

by Barbara Loe Fisher

During the past decade, families in the United Kingdom, Canada and America have witnessed the demonization of brave doctors and parents of vaccine injured children. It has been both sickening and frightening to watch physicians and some journalists engage in a relentless persecution of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first published research in 1998 examining the potential association between MMR vaccine and autism. It has become obvious that their goal is to turn him into a horrible warning to any physician who dares to investigate vaccine injury, especially regressive autism. Not satisfied with trying to destroy the doctor, who refuses to recant and defends pursuit of scientific truth, forced vaccination proponents are now acting to kill not only freedom of thought and scientific inquiry but also freedom of speech and informed consent to voluntary use of vaccines.

Exactly what was the sin that British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, M.D. committed in 1998 that made him a target for persecution? He dared to hypothesize that a subset of children may be vulnerable, for immunological reasons, to developing vaccine strain measles virus infection triggered by MMR vaccination that causes acute and chronic inflammation in the body and can lead to persistent health problems, including a form of inflammatory bowel disease and brain dysfunction manifested by autism. It is hardly a radical hypothesis. Since smallpox vaccine, evidence that vaccines can cause acute and chronic immune-mediated inflammation in the brain and other parts of the body has been well documented in the medical literature (A literature review of evidence is featured in the 2008 book "Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic.")

What has so infuriated the vaccine establishment is that the live vaccine strain viral infection mechanism not only has strong biological plausibility but has been acknowledged by physicians and scientists for decades, particularly with regard to live vaccine strain paralytic polio and death from persistent vaccine strain measles infection. In fact, vaccine strain viral infection has been associated with not only live virus polio and measles vaccine, but also with live BCG, chicken pox and, now, rotavirus vaccine. A late-breaking report at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology discusses the development of live vaccine strain rotavirus infection following rotavirus vaccination in children with immune deficiencies. The human-bovine genetic hybrid vaccine, Rotateq, for which Paul Offit, a co-patent holder, caused diarrhea, acidosis, failure to thrive, dehydration and shock in two babies with undiagnosed immune system dysfunction within two months of vaccination. Molecular analysis of rotavirus isolates taken from the babies indicated that the rotavirus vaccine strains mutated.

All of the biological mechanisms involved in vaccine induced neuroimmune dysfunction and the biological high risk factors for suffering vaccine injury and death have not been scientifically investigated, and few methodologically sound vaccine risk studies get funded and published in the medical literature, which makes the attempt by doctors and scientists to block the search for scientific truth and limit the public's right to know and act even more repulsive. On February 26, 2009, bully boy Dr. David Salisbury, the Director of Immunization at the UK Department of Health, threatened The One Click Group, a UK internet based news service founded by Jane Bryant, that he would sue them for publishing facts about MMR vaccine risks unless One Click removes the information he wants censored and apologizes for publishing it without his permission.

On March 7, a British newspaper reported that no longer would duly elected legislators have ultimate responsibility for saying "yes" or "no" to new vaccine mandates but that the power to force vaccine use in Britain would be wielded by unelected physicians and scientists, who are members of the government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). A day later, another British newspaper reported that many members of the JCVI have financial ties to vaccine manufacturers, including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur and Novartis and that the JVCI has been involved in past attempts to hide evidence that MMR vaccine can cause brain inflammation and permanent brain damage.

On March 12, a reporter writing for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called for a "legalized type of censorship," a ban on talking about the "vaccine/autism hypothesis" because he pronounced it "the modern equivalent of falsely crying 'fire' in a crowded theatre." Pointing to opinions issued by three individuals working for the U.S. Court of Claims denying federal compensation to MMR vaccine injured autistic children as if he was referring to the tablet Moses inscribed with the Ten Commandments, bully boy Stephen Strauss demanded that legislatures "draft a law or courts should hand down a ruling prohibiting anti-vaccine promoters from claiming that vaccines cause autism."

This rabid foaming at the mouth, which is being exhibited by physicians and journalists promoting forced vaccination, would be comical if it wasn't for the decidedly Stalinist bent to their rants. Bully boys always choose to use fear and intimidation to try to control the thoughts and actions of others and those calling for censorship and punishment for exercising freedom of thought, expression and informed consent to vaccination are no exception.

But educated citizens committed to defending their right to know and freedom to decide, are acting to protect themselves. Following is listing of events in New Jersey and New York which promote vaccine education and freedom to choose:

Merck Write-In Campaign: Sponsored by the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice (NJCVC ), an Action Alert that was also published by Age of Autism, urges vaccine maker Merck to continue to market the individual measles, mumps and rubella vaccines rather than forcing parents to give their children the combination MMR vaccine. Write-In Campaign coordinator Louise Habakus says "Let's send a strong message from parents that Merck must resume manufacturing the monovalent vaccines." Click here for more information and a sample letter.

NY Vaccine Mandates & Exemption Action: New York has pending legislation to mandate HPV vaccine (A778) and Hepatitis A vaccine (A6008) as well as legislation protecting medical exemptions (A880/S2339); religious exemptions (A883/S2338); and adding philosophical exemption (A4886/S2337) to vaccine laws. Parents are organizing vaccine education campaigns for legislators and the public. Contact New Yorkers for Vaccination Information Choice (NYVIC)

Learn how important it is to fight for the right to exercise vaccine exemptions by watching an arrogant New York state attorney grill NY Mom Rita Palma about her religious beliefs concerning vaccination. For more information go to

March 24: In Albany, NY, the Autism Action Coalition (AAC) holds the First Autism Advocacy Day that will include a 10:30 a.m. rally and Noon meeting with state legislators to advocate for autism support services and the need for a philosophical exemption to vaccination. Click here for more information about the rally and day's events.

March 25: In New York City at 6:30 p.m., pediatrician Lawrence B. Palevsky, M.D. gives a three hour presentation on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. For more information and tickets, go to

Americans cannot sit back and assume that we will always be free to make choices about use of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, that physicians and government officials invoking the "greater good" direct us to use. Censorship in science and on the internet combined with forced medical risk taking is a prescription for tyranny and will become a reality if we don't become activist citizens and stop the bully boys from taking away our right to know and freedom to choose. For more information, go to

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Talking Vaccine Science with Government: Why Do It?

Posted: 3/12/2009 12:00:00 AM | with 0 comments
by Barbara Loe Fisher

After the historic election in November that saw Barack Obama elected President, I wondered what he and his Administration would do about addressing the question that is on the minds of many parents: Why are so many vaccinated children today chronically ill, suffering with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, autism, asthma, diabetes and other brain and immune system problems? Would the Obama Administration acknowledge the importance of looking at whether national vaccine policies are having an unintended negative effect on a growing number of children and adopt a robust vaccine safety research agenda to answer outstanding questions?

Part of the answer came one day after the President took office, on January 21, when he sent a memo to the heads of all federal agencies and told them "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration."

The door is opening and there is a lot of work to be done. Concerned citizens getting involved will keep the participatory democracy process and work products truly transparent, collaborative and meaningful.

This Monday, March 16, there will be an open meeting in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the CDC to get input from the public about the kinds of scientific studies that should be included in the national vaccine safety research agenda.

At stake is a proposal by a vaccine stakeholder Writing Group that met in Salt Lake City last month to look at whether a study comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children should be included that evaluates whether there are pathological differences in brain and immune system development and function and whether there are biological high risk factors that place some children at higher risk than others for suffering vaccine reactions.

If you want to weigh in, this is an opportunity to make your voice heard either by showing up at the meeting, participating online or by conference call.

Who: National Vaccine Advisory Committee

Where: Department of Health and Human Services; Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 800; 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201

Why: To talk about the draft vaccine research agenda of CDC's Immunization Safety Office (ISO). Draft documents prepared by the vaccine stakeholder Writing Group that identify potential gaps in the ISO draft research agenda and proposes prioritization criteria for the agenda will be reviewed. These documents are available at: nt.html and include Writing Group Draft Statements on (1) Outcomes; (2) Gaps in the Research Agenda; and (3) Criteria for Assessing ISO Research Topic Priorities. Participants at the March 16 meeting will be asked to comment on potential gaps in the draft agenda and options for developing research priorities.

How to Attend: The meeting will be webcast and audio conferencing is available. Contact Kirsten Vannice ( if you want to come to the meeting or be hooked up by computer or phone. Draft agenda, call-in numbers, a link to the webcast and additional materials will be provided to registered participants and posted on the NVPO website in advance of the meeting.

Importance of Meeting: The government's scientific research agenda to investigate vaccine associated brain and immune system dysfunction among children is of great interest to a growing number of Americans living in every state who have children with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, autism, asthma, diabetes and other kinds of chronic illness.

The CDC held public engagement meetings in Birmingham, Ashland and Indianapolis in the past few months to ask citizens about their vaccine safety concerns. A vaccine stakeholder meeting in Salt Lake City Feb. 20-21 was also held, coordinated and facilitated by The Keystone Center, to create a suggested framework for setting national vaccine safety research priorities.

There are individuals, special interest groups and corporations opposed to a robust scientific research agenda addressing vaccine safety concerns that involve input from and participation by the public. Those who support both the participatory democracy approach to government policymaking, which is defined by government transparency and collaboration with the people, should consider attending in person, online or on the telephone to voice their concerns.

One way Americans can change government and government policies is by becoming activist citizens advocating for constructive change. President Obama's call for transparency, accountability and public engagement is an opportunity to stand up and make a difference by helping to reform government policy, such as vaccine policy, which affects the health of our children and grandchildren.

The power does belong to the people if the people will stand up and exercise it wisely.

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Vaccine Science: A Search for Truth

Posted: 3/4/2009 11:49:19 PM | with 1 comments
by Barbara Loe Fisher

February 2009 turned out to be a month when vaccine science was put on trial in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., in mainstream media and on the internet, in the British Medical Journal and in vaccine safety research initiatives by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Despite concerted efforts by some to close the book on vaccine-related brain dysfunction that includes autism spectrum disorders, it is clear that the search for scientific truth will continue as it always must in science.

The month began with a Feb. 6 CBS-TV news report on new information released by NVIC on serious Gardasil risks, which was followed within 48 hours by a highly orchestrated and very well publicized transatlantic attack on MMR vaccine researcher Andrew Wakefield, M.D. in preparation for a Feb. 12 public announcement by the U.S. Court of Claims denying federal compensation to three children, who regressed into autism after MMR vaccination. The same day that three autistic children were denied federal compensation in the U.S., the British Medical Journal published a Cochrane Collaboration analysis revealing that influenza vaccine studies are more likely to be published in medical journals and rated highly if they are funded by pharmaceutical companies, even when the vaccine studies are of poor quality.

The month ended on a hopeful note with a joint statement finalized February 27 by a CDC- sponsored vaccine safety writing workgroup that asked the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) to consider conducting more research into the vaccine schedule, whether some children are biologically at greater risk than others for suffering vaccine reactions and whether there are differences in immune and brain function between vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children. The proposal to investigate adding these kinds of studies to the national vaccie safety research agenda, if approved by the entire NVAC, would include identification of biological markers and biological differences, if any, in brain and immune system function between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

In a questionable "class action" type Omnibus hearing process, whereby the U.S. Department of Justice allowed (encouraged?) some 5,000 cases of regressive autism after vaccination to be lumped together and argued by plaintiff's lawyers using two narrow biological mechanism hypotheses involving thimerosal and MMR vaccine, the first three Omnibus cases were rejected by three special masters employed by the U.S. Court of Claims. The Court relied heavily on epidemiological studies published in medical journals - the same medical journals which give preferential treatment to methodologically flawed studies funded by vaccine manufacturers.

In a distortion of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act that created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), the Court appears to have inappropriately assumed authority that Congress never gave them in 1986: to act as judge and jury on a global scientific question yet to be definitively answered by medical science. The special masters of the Court are neither qualified nor was the 1986 law intended to give them the power to determine the scientific validity of whether vaccines can ever cause autism or any other permanent injury. The special masters were supposed to be administrators and facilitators for providing no-fault, non adversarial federal vaccine injury compensation in lieu of a civil lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers and physicians. In fulfilling that responsibility, these administrators for the Court were supposed to "presume" causation in the absence of a more biologically plausible explanation for the child's injuries or death.

The tragic consequence of this and other politically motivated distortions of the 1986 law is that thousands of previously healthy children, who suffered brain injury and regressed into autism after vaccination, are now in danger of having their vaccine injury claims prejudicially judged and dismissed without being given their own day in "vaccine court." Most of these children certainly will never have their day in civil court in front of a jury of their peers.

Vaccine injury cases are each different due to biodiversity, individual extenuating circumstances, vaccines or combination of vaccines given, plus a number of biological mechanisms for vaccine injury and death - known and unknown - that can be argued in an individual case. This means that an individualized, not a group, approach to obtaining and awarding federal vaccine injury compensation is required. A case in point is the Feb. 20 release of a U.S. Court of Claims compensation award to a child who suffered brain inflammation (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis) after MMR vaccination and was left with permanent brain dysfunction, including autism.

There have been other awards in the VICP for cases of DPT and DTaP vaccine induced brain inflammation/encephalopathy that caused permanent brain injury, including autism. A long acknowledged serious complication of both infectious disease and vaccination is acute brain inflammation that can cause chronic brain dysfunction manifested in many different ways. (See Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic)

So, despite the concerted efforts by some to misrepresent the legal and political significance of recent U.S. Court of Claims judgments in order to dismiss vaccine associated autism as having no scientific validity, vaccine safety advocates have pledged to continue calls for credible scientific investigation into vaccine related neuroimmune dysfunction. Andrew Wakefield is demonstrating the same resolve by taking action to clear his name from libelous and slanderous charges by an obsessed British newspaper reporter who is behaving more like a jilted suitor-turned stalker than a credible journalist. Needless to say, Dr. Wakefield and others will continue scientific research into vaccine associated brain and immune system dysfunction in a dedicated effort to add to the base of scientific knowledge about vaccination.

Finally, it is a hopeful sign that at the end of February a joint statement was signed by a diverse group of vaccine stakeholders who met in Salt Lake City Feb. 20-21, 2009 to discuss national vaccine safety research priorities. Assisted by expert facilitators from The Keystone Center, the CDC sponsored Vaccine Safety Writing Group included federal and state public health officials, pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, immunologists, vaccine developers, health policy analysts, child vaccine advocates and representatives from vaccine safety and autism groups including NVIC, SafeMinds and Autism Speaks.

The vaccine stakeholder group stated that the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) should "charge an expert panel with evaluating study designs for research on the impact of the standard schedule of vaccination on an array of health outcomes of significant public interest. This draft charge is responsive to issues raised at community meetings in Alabama, Oregon and Indiana as well as the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee request for collaboration with the National Vaccine Program Office."

The group further stated that :

"There is a strong desire to study the health impact of the immunization schedule, potentially through a 'vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study.' Outcomes to assess include biomarkers of immunity and metabolism, and outcomes including but not limited to neurodevelopmental outcomes, allergies, asthma, immune-mediated diseases, and learning disabilities. The inclusion of autism as an outcome is desired."

The meeting of vaccine stakeholders was the latest in a series of government/citizen encounters that began in 2002 in a CDC-sponsored participatory democracy initiative called the Vaccine Policy Analysis Collaborative. Although the original vaccine stakeholder group dissolved in 2005, the CDC's effort to engage the public was revitalized in mid-2008 and after the election of President Obama, who is an advocate of the public engagement process to create mechanisms for meaningful dialogue that will result in well informed and wise government policy.

There is reason to celebrate whenever government officials and vaccine stakeholders support more research into the biological mechanisms and biomarkers for vaccine injury and death. That being said, I have learned first hand that change in government policy can be painfully slow. And so, when another mother calls to tell me that her daughter has died after Gardasil vaccine or is lying crippled in bed unable to walk, my celebration of this vaccine stakeholder recommendation is tempered by the tears I shed with mothers, whose children are being injured by government recommended vaccines today.

Still, it is a hopeful sign that health officials in the new Administration are listening to the legitimate calls for more and better vaccine safety science and will work more effectively with citizens to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths now and in the future. As was discussed in Salt Lake City, the participatory democracy model with regard to government- sponsored research into vaccine-related immune and brain dysfunction, should include transparency and public participation in the design and oversight on conducting of that research.

On March 16, 2009 from 9 to 5 p.m. at the Hubert Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., the National Vaccine Advisory Committee will hold an open public meeting for citizens to discuss the government's draft vaccine safety research agenda.
To register to attend, contact Kirsten Vannice at: To join the meeting via telephone or by webscast, go to

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