NVIC Calls for Investigation of Oral Polio Vaccine and Immuno-Suppressed Conditions in Gulf War Vets

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


March 28, 1996


Washington,D.C. - March 28, 1996 - In response to today's release of a scientific study linking the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to Persian Gulf War veterans suffering from immune system and neurological dysfunction, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is calling for an investigation into the safety and effectiveness of the live polio vaccine including its interaction with other vaccines, drugs and environmental toxins. The Washington, D.C. consumer advocacy organization founded in 1982 monitors vaccine research and policymaking and has testified at federal health agency meetings and vaccine safety workshops that the live polio vaccines not only causes polio disease but is contaminated with monkey viruses and should be replaced with the killed, injectable polio vaccine grown on non-animal tissue cultures in the nation's vaccination program.

At today's hearings of the Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations chaired by Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), California microbiologist Howard Urnovitz, Ph.D. presented evidence from a serum survey of civilians and Gulf War veterans demonstrating that deployed and non-deployed Gulf War veterans failed to mount a proper antibody response to polio serotype 2 and deployed veterans failed to mount a proper antibody response to polio serotype 3 in contrast to normal antibody responses to oral polio vaccine in the civilian population surveyed. Dr. Urnovitz pointed out that "failure to mount an antibody response to live polio vaccine has also been observed in association with post-viral fatigue syndrome illnesses," a syndrome with immune and neurological dysfunction symptoms closely mirroring those of sick Gulf War veterans.

The Pentagon directed that military personnel heading for the Gulf receive as many as 17 different live viral and killed bacterial vaccines simultaneously, including polio, cholera, hepatitis B, adenovirus, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcus, plague, rabies, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, yellow fever, anthrax, and the experimental botulinium toxoid. In addition they were given the experimental drug pyridostigmine bromide, a nerve agent. NVIC, which helped create the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 setting up a federal compensation system for individuals injured by mandated vaccines, has been a vocal critic of the lack of credible scientific studies supporting the safety of simultaneous administration of multiple viral and bacterial vaccines and the lack of scientific studies to identify high risk populations.

"The question that must be answered immediately," said NVIC Co-founder and President Barbara Loe Fisher, " is whether a significant minority of Gulf War veterans responded with immune suppression to the potpourri of live viral and killed bacterial vaccines given to them and were subsequently vulnerable to further immune and neurological damage when they were given drugs and came into contact with environmental toxins in the Gulf. Official government recommendations for use of the live polio vaccine include a warning that persons with an immune system deficiency or those exposed to drugs or treatments which suppresses the immune system should not receive the live polio vaccine. There is legitimate cause for concern that children who receive live polio vaccine in conjunction with other vaccines and/or drugs may be vulnerable to environmental toxins such as pesticides or other chemicals immediately after being vaccinated and their parent's should be properly warned to protect them from possible exposure."

NVIC, which was contacted by more than 100,000 consumers last year, is the oldest and largest organization representing consumers concerned about vaccine safety as well as parents of vaccine damaged children. Dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education, the organization is calling for a reprioritization of HHS funds to include funding of vaccine safety studies conducted by independent researchers outside of government or industry.

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


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