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Hepatitis B Vaccine Congressional Hearings

"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."

Contact: 703-938-0342

For Immediate Release
May 19, 1999


Washington, D.C. – Families with members, who have suffered injuries or deaths following hepatitis B vaccinations and research scientists appealed to Congress today for better vaccine safety studies and informed consent protections in mandatory vaccination laws. At a hearing of the U.S. House subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources of the Committee on Government Reform chaired by Congressman John Mica (R-FL), the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) called for funding of independent (non-government, non-industry) research into reports of hepatitis B vaccine associated health problems.

Testimony by teenagers, adults and parents of children, who died or were left with severe joint and head pain, chronic physical exhaustion, rashes and skin lesions, vision loss, seizures and other autoimmune and neurological dysfunction after hepatitis B vaccinations, was presented to the committee. Michael Belkin, of New York City, described the death of his five week old daughter, Lyla Rose; 16-year old Lindsay Kirschner, of Florida told the committee about how the side effects of her hepatitis B vaccine reactions have kept her out of school; Judy Converse, M.P.H., of Connecticut, described how her newborn son, Nicholas, was left with seizures and developmental problems after his hepatitis B vaccine reactions; and Betty Fluck, R.N., of Indiana, described how she has to wear leg braces because of reactions to hepatitis B shots she was required to get as a condition of employment.

Three medical researchers, including Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., of Houston, Professor of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine; Burton Waisbren, M.D., of Milwaukee, a cell biologist and infectious disease specialist; and Barthelow Classen, M.D., of Baltimore, President of Classen Immunotherapies, criticized the scientific studies used to license the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and require its universal use in all newborns and children.

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president, National Vaccine Information Center, reported she has filed two requests under the Freedom of Information Act with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control asking the two federal health agencies to release to the public copies of peer reviewed, scientific studies and other documentation used to license the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and to support the safety of the 1991 recommendation that all newborn infants at 12 hours old receive the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine.

The National Vaccine Information Center, a non-profit, educational organization founded in 1982 representing families affected by vaccine injuries and deaths, health care professionals and parents, called for:

  • an investigation into federal health agency licensing and policymaking standards applied to the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine;
  • special congressional appropriations to fund non-government, non-industry conducted scientific research to identify genetic and other high risk factors for reacting to hepatitis B vaccine;
  • the institution of informed consent protections in current vaccine policies.

Fisher told the committee "The lack of informed consent protections in mass vaccination programs is leading to fear and mistrust of the whole vaccination system. What we hear parents saying is: show us the science and give us a choice."

The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982.

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