Consumers and Scientists Call for Safer Vaccine
"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."
Following is a press release issued jointly by the Lyme Disease Foundation and the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).
May 23, 2001
SENATORS DODD AND SANTORUM INTRODUCE LYME DISEASE BILL WHILE CONSUMERS AND SCIENTISTS CALL FOR SAFER VACCINE
As Lyme disease cases reach a record high across the country, representatives of the patient community traveled to Capitol Hill today to lend their voices in support of new legislation designed to give them a greater voice in the direction of Lyme disease and
other “tick-borne disorder” federal research. Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced the introduction of a bill to establish a Tick-Borne Advisory Committee, appointing public members from the patient and research community to interact with government officials responsible for Lyme disease research and public education activities.
The patient community has long felt alienated and ignored by federal research efforts. Additionally, the debate about treatment methods for this illness has led many physicians to refuse to accept Lyme disease patients further limiting access to quality treatment. In announcing this initiative, the Senators held up this model of patient and government
interaction as an effective mechanism for moving research and treatment development forward.
Compounding the patient community’s frustration is a continued distrust of the efficacy and safety of the lone vaccine on the market. Reports of serious adverse reactions in some vaccine recipients are prompting many experts to call for a re-examination of the vaccine and its usefulness to the public in general.
“We need a vaccine but the one out there right now is surrounded by question marks, said Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, co-founder and president of the Lyme Disease Foundation, which sponsored the rally. “I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to take the vaccine. There are just too many unanswered questions.”
Research scientist Paul T. Fawcett, Ph.D. of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, spoke about the findings of a well-controlled study examining the effects of the Lyme vaccine on diagnostic tests which also documented serious adverse events associated with the vaccine. He was joined by Ronald Schell, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Medical School and Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and Julie Rawlings, MPH, Texas Department of Health. Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center and vaccine victims Jenny Marra, of New Jersey, and Joe
Smigo of Pennsylvania, also urged federal health agencies to investigate mounting evidence that the current Lyme vaccine is too reactive.
The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982.