Caring About Individual Life: A Tribute

"The day Jackson had his 18 month vaccinations he stopped breathing in daycare.... Jackson is severely disabled. He can't stand, walk, talk, sit, hold his head up, roll over, or maintain is grasp...he has chronic GI pain and vomiting as well as diarrhea....." - Report ID 128, International Memorial for Vaccine Victims (

"16 month shots (MMR, HIB, DTaP) given 1 day after antibiotics round. 8 days after his shots, high fever began.... Jake developed red blotchy rash all over....he had severe swelling all over his body.... PDD/NOS acquired autism around 18-22 months, loss of language, eye contact, and social skills...." - Report ID 137, International Memorial for Vaccine Victims (

"The day after receiving the influenza vaccine, my mother ended up in the ER of the hospital with bilateral vocal cord paralysis. She was in respiratory distress....received a feeding tube.... my mother developed pneumonia and died suddenly..." - Report ID 135, International Memorial for Vaccine Victims (

" I am more worried about this [anthrax] vaccine than I am worried about bullets." Stationed overseas in a combat unit, this soldier told CBS News he refused the mandatory series of 6 shots after military buddies who got them died." - Thalia Assuras, CBS Evening News

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

When I awakened on Monday morning, like the rest of America, I was unprepared for the sights and sounds that would fill the day with unspeakable horror. It was a day that came without warning, as tragedy often does, approaching quietly and striking when you least expect it.

I did not expect the phone call that would prompt me to simultaneously turn on my television and pick up my cell phone. Within seconds I was frantically trying to reach my youngest son, Ryan, who is a graduate student at Virginia Tech, on his cell phone. It rang and rang. Then, there was that familiar voice.

I was lucky. He answered.

Ryan and I spoke three times that day, separated by 200 miles, both of us unable to turn away from the television news, trying to make sense of what was happening. After the first call, I called again and then again, as the numbers of the dead and wounded rose higher. I just wanted to hear his voice and confirm what I already knew: he was not among those whose young lives were snuffed out and he would not live his life grievously wounded, potentially unable to do what he could do before that day. Each time I spoke with him and searched for words to ease the pain of what he was experiencing but knowing that there were no words to accomplish that, I was acutely aware there were mothers and fathers of students at Virginia Tech who would never hear their sons or daughters' voices again, or whose children were crippled by serious injuries.

Ryan, a 2005 Virginia Tech graduate in history and political science, will be receiving a master's degree in public administration from Virginia Tech in a few weeks in preparation for a career in local, state or federal government. An honor student and devoted Hokie sports fan, who truly loves the place he has called home for the past six years, he was scheduled to defend his master's thesis today and I was going to drive down to hear him do that before I made a presentation on participatory democracy to his graduate department tomorrow. I was looking forward to being back on that beautiful campus and meeting his fellow students and professors to talk about how increasing citizen participation in government could create an environment in the 21st Century that bridges the divide between those governing and those being governed.

But what was supposed to be a celebration for students of the Class of 2007, whether they were receiving bachelors, master's or doctorate degrees, has now been shattered. Instead of joyfully concluding the final chapter of their youth, a time when life is so full of promise and all things are still possible, they have been forced to face random violence and death in a most cruel way.

Like everyone, I have been grieving for each of those human beings, whose young lives were taken or forever changed on Monday. The demonstration of kindness and support by the Virginia Tech community for each other and the dignity and grace with which they have handled this tragedy is a tribute to the values they embrace and teach. The coming together of the whole community to acknowledge the value of each individual who is part of the community and to mourn their loss, has renewed my faith in the basic goodness of humanity and renewed my belief in the need to celebrate and protect individual human life.

For the past several years, the National Vaccine Information Center has been working to create a virtual Memorial honoring those individuals who have been injured or died following vaccination. Last year, we received a special donation from Maryella Loman, D.C. to complete the International Memorial for Vaccine Victims, which lives on NVIC's website at Until now, there hasn't been a formal announcement that the Memorial exists.

The International Memorial for Vaccine Victims offers families around the world a place for posting stories and photos of what happened to their loved ones after vaccination so that others can become educated about the signs, symptoms and health outcomes of vaccine reactions in order to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths. It is a publicly searchable database by name, state or country, vaccine, and primary vaccine reaction. By honoring those who are vaccine casualties, we hope to create greater public awareness of the need to value and care about the individual lives of every member of our community, because the hurt suffered by one of us hurts all of us.

Below are several vaccine reaction reports, which have already been posted to the International Memorial for Vaccine Victims, as well as a link to a news report by CBS Evening News regarding anthrax vaccine casualties.

Mothers and fathers, who have lost a son or daughter or watched their child be seriously injured for any reason, are grieving in a special way with the mothers and fathers of Virginia Tech, who are just beginning the long journey of mourning, acceptance, healing and reconciliation. The co-founders and supporters of the National Vaccine Information Center extend our deepest sympathy to the Virginia Tech families, whose children died or were injured this week, as we grieve for them and with them.


Jackson is happy and engaging despite severe disabilities caused by a vaccination reaction
Report ID: 128
Name: Jackson
Birth Date: 5/31/2003
Death Date:
Birth State: IL
Birth Country: USA
Vaccination Age: 18 Months
Suspected Vaccine: Dtap (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus - acellular)

Primary Reaction: encephalopathy
Secondary Reaction: cerebral palsy

Other Reaction: epilepsy

Reaction Description: The day after Jackson had his 18 month vaccinations he stopped breathing in daycare. Daycare providers were not able to resuscitate. He was intubated by EMS and remained on a ventilator for 3 weeks during which time they performed every imaginable test including CT scans, MRIs, Lumbar Punctures, a skeletal survey, full metabolic work up, VEEG that lasted for almost a week, and a craniotomy/brain biopsy. They could not find a cause for his illness, but told us repeatedly that it could not be a vaccine reaction. He remained in the hospital for 3 months. He basically had no movement and no emotion during this time and made no sounds except moaning in pain.

Current Health Problems: Jackson is severely disabled. He can't stand, walk, talk, sit, hold his head up, roll over, or maintain a grasp. He has ongoing GI issues that prevent him from doing the things other similarly disabled kids enjoy. He has chronic GI pain and vomiting as well as diarrhea. He is 100% tube fed. He has seizures every day. He requires total care and will for the rest of his life


Jake met all milestones very early, including language milestones, these were all stolen by Autism caused by his 16 month shots (MMR/HIB/DTaP)
Report ID: 137
Name: Jake S.
Birth Date: 8/28/2003
Death Date:
Birth State: TN
Birth Country: USA
Vaccination Age: 16 Months
Suspected Vaccine: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella combined)

Primary Reaction: rash

Secondary Reaction: fever

Other Reaction: autism spectrum

Reaction Description: 16 month shots (MMR/HIB/DTaP) given 1 day after antibiotics round. 8 days after shots, high fever began. Dr. gave antibiotics, said he had ear inf., next day fever higher and Dr. gave stronger antibiotics. The next day Jake developed red blochy rash all over. Dr. took him off penicillin antibiotics and gave Zithromax with a steroid. The next a.m. Jake was UNRECOGNIZABLE, he was rushed to ER in ambulance. He had SEVERE swelling all over his body, especially his face, arms, and legs. He kept a fever that entire time, from approx. 7-8 days after the shots, until around 14 days after shot. They said at the time that it was the Penicillin that he was reacting to. We have since had him tested by an allergist, and he is not allergic to any Penicillin at all! He is not allergic to anything!

Current Health Problems: Autism PDD/NOS Acquired Autism....onset around 18-22 months, loss of language, eye contact, and social skills.


A kind, generous, loving mother and grandmother, I miss you so much...
Report ID: 135
Name: Graciela Benesch
Birth Date: 8/17/1927
Death Date: 1/23/2007
Birth State: NA
Birth Country: Mexico
Vaccination Age: 79
Suspected Vaccine: Influenza (inactivated, injected)

Primary Reaction: paralysis

Secondary Reaction: fever

Other Reaction: weakness

Reaction Description: Three days after receiving the influenza vaccine, my mother ended up in the ER of the hospital with bilateral vocal cord paralysis. She was in respiratory distress with stridor and had to be intubated the next day. Then, a tracheostomy was performed to ensure an airway. Tests were done to rule out stroke or tumors and we were left with a virus as a cause. I discussed the possibility of the influenza vaccine being responsible and two doctors agreed it was possible. She was unable to eat enough after that and received a feeding tube. Then, 2.5 months after this all started, my mother developed pneumonia and died suddenly. She was in a rehab nursing center and they believe it was cardiopulmonary arrest.

Current Health Problems: She had many health problems and I believe that she should NOT have received the vaccine with so many illness going on. Rheumatoid arthritis (long term), rheumatoid lung disease, severe obstructive sleep apnea that caused atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (mild) and lead to many medications to control and prevent clots. Also, hiatal hernia and GERD.

CBS News Video, April 14, 2007: "Anthrax Vaccine: The Killer?"

The vaccination against anthrax is mandatory for its U.S. troops deployed overseas. One soldier refused the vaccination and said he is more afraid of it than bullets. Thalia Assuras reports.

Click here to watch CBS News Video:

Watch the video on YouTube:
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April 13 NYC Talk on HPV Vaccine Decisions

HPV Infection and HPV Vaccine: Making an Informed Decision

Public health officials have told American parents to give their 11-year-old daughters the human papilloma virus, or HPV, vaccine. And drug company lobbyists are trying to persuade state legislators to mandate the vaccine for sixth grade girls. Now, some are talking about the need to vaccinate boys too. But how much does the American public really know about HPV infection, cervical cancer and the newly licensed HPV vaccine, GARDASIL, or the HPV vaccine soon to be licensed, CERVARIX?

When and where:
Come hear the story behind the story on Friday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Manhattan. Admission is free.

Barbara Loe Fisher, is co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the informed consent ethic. She is the co-author of the 1985 book DPT: A Shot in the Dark and has been the leader of the vaccine safety and informed consent movement for the past quarter century. She has served on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Forum and the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Vicky Debold, Ph.D., RN is health policy analyst for the National Vaccine Information Center. She served as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan; an associate professor and director of the Health Systems Management Program at the University of Detroit, Mercy; and health policy analyst for the U.S. Congress at the Physician Payment Review Commission, the Michigan Health and Safety Coalition and the Michigan State Commission on Patient Safety.

The evening is sponsored by the Center for Medical Consumers.


"In making the case for its vaccine, Merck has said Gardasil prevents genital warts and other dangerous HPV strains. The firm is also studying Gardasil's use in boys. GlaxoSmithKline counters that Cervarix is more powerful and may prevent up to 80 percent of cancers, thanks to the company's proprietary adjuvant, AS04, a key booster ingredient. It also is funding an unusual head-to-head comparison to try to prove Cervarix is more potent than Gardasil. And then there is the price. At $360 for a three-shot course, Gardasil is the most expensive vaccine ever marketed, part of an industry effort to push up profit margins in the notoriously risky business. GlaxoSmithKline declined to disclose what it would charge for Cervarix, if approved as expected sometime between October and January." - Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer , March 30, 2007

“ Several studies are underway to better understand the [HPV] virus in males and whether the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil, also will work for them. As researchers already know and as the new data confirm, HPV is not just a women’s issue..... We know they transmit it to women, but what is the rate of transmission?” says Anna Giuliano, a researcher at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., who is leading three government- financed studies on HPV infection in men. She is also a paid speaker for Merck, the maker of Gardasil.....“We’re seeing a really high prevalence in men, and we see little change in prevalence across the age span,” says Giuliano, who found the 60 percent prevalence rate in one of her studies..... HPV infection isn’t inconsequential in men. Certain strains of the virus are known to cause genital warts in men as well as women. And those infections are estimated to be the cause of about half of all anal, penile, vulvar and vaginal cancers and about 20 percent of the cause of all oral cancers, says Dr. Dean Blumberg, an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of California, Davis. Blumberg is a member of Merck’s speakers bureau but is not paid directly by Merck for his services." - Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2007

"The state is attempting to micromanage children's healthcare with legislative proposals requiring young girls to receive a vaccine to fight cervical cancer unless their parents or guardians opt out in writing. The state should leave the matter up to parents and their children's doctors and concentrate on diseases and illnesses that are communicable in the school setting, not those from a virus that is sexually transmitted. Cervical cancer is a deadly disease, killing about half of those who contract it worldwide. In the United States, 1-in-3 victims die. There are about 15,000 cervical cancer cases in the United States each year. If Gardasil can greatly reduce that number - and it appears to have that potential - that's wonderful. But the [Illinois] Legislature should not inject itself into this decision." - Editorial Board, Pantagraph, Bloomberg, IL

"A Shot in the Arm" on CBS Sunday Morning

"We have one of the most highly vaccinated child populations in the world and yet we have children who are increasingly chronically ill and disabled," Founder of the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Loe Fisher said at the rally. "One in 150 children in America is autistic, one in six is learning- disabled." Fisher, author of "A Shot in the Dark," is one of many Americans who think there's a connection even though the medical establishment says no. "What we have to do is not discount the reports of parents that they are taking healthy, bright children in to their pediatricians to be vaccinated, with now, by age 6, 48 doses of 14 vaccines that the government recommends, and many of them are taking home children that then they watch regress," Fisher said. Fisher says her son, Christian, suffered brain damage within hours of getting his fourth DPT — diphtheria, pertussus and tetanus — vaccination. Thanks in large part to her pressure, the manufacturer of the DPT vaccine made it safer and Congress was forced to pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which included money for compensation — proof to Fisher that parents should be wary. "The idea that some can be sacrificed in service to the rest is very dangerous," Fisher said." - CBS Sunday Morning News, April 1, 2007

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

This past Sunday, April 1, on CBS Sunday Morning News veteran CBS correspondent Martha Teichner produced a 10 minute segment entitled "A Shot in the Arm," which featured interviews with a vaccine researcher from University of Tennessee, a World Health Organization official, the author of a new book that contains attacks on modern day vaccine safety critics, a mother and father of an MMR vaccine injured autistic boy seeking vaccine injury compensation, and me. Martha Teichner, who has won four Emmy Awards and other journalism awards during her distinguished 30 year career at CBS, and her producer, Jason Sacca, took great care to examine all sides of the vaccine benefit and risk controversy and place it in an historic context. Although some may feel that there was too little time devoted to extolling the benefits of vaccines, others were left wanting more to be said about the risks of vaccines.

Shortly after the segment aired at 9 a.m. EST, the CBS message boards began to receive comments from parents expressing strong opinions. One viewer wrote " The truth is autism is a genetic defect and parents cannot accept that they themselves are the cause of their child's much easier to blame everyone else...when you decide to create a child your defective genes are to blame and no one else."

Another viewer complained "We are disappointed that CBS implicitly legitimized the claims that vaccines are associated with autism. Although there are some known, proven risks to vaccines, autism is not among these risks. Several recent studies have shown that children who receive vaccines are at no higher risk for developing autism than those that do not."

But then there were viewers who saw it another way. One parent wrote " We have two kids in our extended family (one on my side and one on husband's side) that became severely autistic within days after their vaccinations. Both were healthy up to the day of vaccination. Both are boys. Should I be weighing out pro's and con's of having my child vaccinated? Should I be bullied by the doctors ? Should I play Russian Roulettte with my child's life? I think not! I don't need science, literature, statistics, an article, medical journal, the government, a doctor or anyone else to tell me what I can see with my own two eyes ! As a medical professional myself, I think every parent should spend a day with an autistic child (God knows they are not hard to find these days) before they consider a vaccination for their own child."

And another parent wrote " It is all very well for some in an ivory tower living on a grant from drug pharma to blather on and on, but real Americans have to deal with a Merck vaccine that deafens children. How does that intellectual advise explaining to a 7 year-old why he is suddenly totally and irreversibly deaf as a result of state required, Merck-pushed MMR vaccine? How does one communicate practically within several weeks from regular voice to absolutely nothing?

The segment was even viewed differently by those who were interviewed for the story. I thanked Martha Teichner and her producer for treating everyone featured on the segment with respect and producing an intelligent and thoughtful analysis of a multi-faceted debate. However, the author whose book attacking vaccine critics was featured prominently in the segment was unhappy with the fact they "presented the claims of the parents of the autistic boy and of Barbara Loe Fisher without giving anyone a chance to rebut them." On his blog he states that he wrote a letter to CBS complaining that "neither I nor any of the doctors or scientists were given a chance to refute the autism theory. You say that the "medical establishment" doesn't believe it, but that's a distortion. It is the SCIENCE that doesn't support the theory. I realize you probably didn't have time to do the research to understand this yourselves, but you should have allowed a scientist, or me, to say it."

Those, whose mission in life is to act as a kind of vaccine thought patrol, cannot stand it when a journalist honestly examines the benefits and risks of vaccines and does not tell the reader or viewer what to think and what to do. These bully boys prefer to have vaccine casualties kept in a dark closet away from the eyes of the public, where they don't make people confront difficult scientific, political, economic and moral issues.

CBS Sunday Morning News will be taking comments on this story for the next 48 hours. For those who would like to go on the record about what you think, go to and post your comments.