New Yorker's Stand Up for Vaccine Exemptions

Photo courtesy Christine Zichittella-Heeren

by Barbara Loe Fisher

In the harbor of New York City stands the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom that has welcomed millions of immigrants for 112 years, half of the time that the United States of America has been a nation. And on the base of the statue is an inscription that says in part ".....Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...."

I remembered that phrase when we were driving from Washington, D.C. to New York City and our van got caught up in the Sunday afternoon Manhattan traffic that led us past the Empire State Building on our way to Long Island. Freedom was very much on my mind as we headed for Stony Brook University to participate in the December 15 Vaccine Education Roundtable sponsored by New York state Assemblymen Marc Alessi (D-1st Assembly District) and Richard Gottfried (D-75th Assembly District), who is Chair of the House Health Committee.

Americans have always cherished the freedom to breathe free; to speak, write and dissent without fear of retribution; to believe in God and worship freely without being persecuted; to vote for whom we want to represent us in government and know our vote counts; to follow our conscience and stand up for what is right. Although America is only 222 years old, which is very young compared to other countries that have existed for several thousands of years, during our short history there is no other nation that has defined and defended the freedom of citizens to live in a society based on the principle of equal rights and consent of the governed any better than the United States of America.

These are troubled times for parents in New York and New Jersey and other states. Every day parents are facing more hostility from pediatricians throwing them out of doctor's offices for questioning vaccine safety and are being harassed by government officials determined to force their children to get dozens of doses of state mandated vaccines without voluntary, informed consent. New York currently mandates more than two dozen doses of 11 vaccines for school attendance while New Jersey leads the nation with nearly three dozen doses of 13 vaccines, including annual influenza shots.

Religious exemptions are being pulled by state officials after they throw parents into rooms and grill them for hours about the sincerity of their religious beliefs. Last year in Maryland, state officials threatened several thousand parents with jail time and stiff fines for failing to show proof their children had gotten hepatitis B and chickenpox vaccinations.

It is in this climate of fear and crisis of trust between parents, who want a more equal role in making vaccination decisions for their children, and pediatricians and public health officials, who are determined to strengthen their power to tell parents what to do, that Assemblymen Alessi assembled a panel representing both sides to discuss whether or not a philosophical exemption to vaccination should be added to New York's vaccine laws. Currently New York only provides for a medical and religious exemption, even as 18 other states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.

After the Roundtable, Assemblyman Gottfried expressed strong support for First Amendment rights and told the audience of parents, doctors and legislative staff that he is sponsoring two bills to clarify rights defined under existing religious and medical exemptions so they cannot be violated by state officials. After the Roundtable concluded, he said "Important issues were raised. I look forward to seeing additional data from all sides, especially about the impact of the personal objection laws in other states. I will be reintroducing my bills to strengthen the religious and medical exemptions in the 2009 session. I urge parents to contact their local assembly members and state senators to urge them to co-sponsor."

Assemblyman Alessi commented that "The discussion framed the fact that there is still a large debate on the issue. And although some people in the medical community are adamant that this debate is over, it has only just begun. The amount of conflicting evidence parents are presented with regarding the effects of certain vaccines is staggering. This forum opened the lines of communication between experts in the debate and provided concerned parents with the most recent information on the safety of vaccines. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to make the right decisions regarding our children's health, but if we are to make good decisions, we need to be well informed and continue to have discussions like this roundtable."

At the beginning of the Roundtable, I framed the vaccine safety and informed consent debate and outlined how the informed consent principle relates to philosophical/conscientious belief exemption. I reviewed the general health ranking of New York (25th) compared to the 18 states which have philosophical exemptions (six of the top 10 ranked states have philosophical exemption) and noted that the U.S. uses more vaccines than any nation in the world but ranks 39th in infant mortality. Click here to read my entire presentation with live links to references (see text below).

Other panelists supporting philosophical exemption to vaccination included New York pediatrician Lawrence Palevsky, M.D. , who called for an authentic dialogue that "moves past what appears to a growing number of citizens to be a one-sided, paternalistic, and patronizing set of policies and language with an unwillingness to engage in a real discussion about the science of vaccines." He challenged many of the myths and misconceptions about the safety and effectiveness of vaccine policies.

New York's John Gilmore, executive director of Autism United, who has a vaccine injured son with autism and said "without trust, the proponents of forced vaccination have nothing but authority and authority is an unacceptable basis for any public policy in a democratic society." He pointed out operational flaws and conflicts of interest in vaccine safety regulation and policymaking. Louise Kuo Habakus, of the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, who has two young sons recovering from vaccine injuries, presented slides summarizing vaccine risks and questioning whether vaccines can be credited with major infectious disease morbidity and mortality decreases in the 20th century. She recounted her impression of the day's events at (In related events, New Jersey parents held several open houses this week to educate New Jersey legislators about the need to support pending conscientious belief exemption legislation in that state.)

Panelists defending current vaccine policies and opposing philosophical exemptions included New York pediatricians Paul Lee, M.D. , who agreed vaccine safety should be a high priority but disagreed that the amount of mercury and aluminum in vaccines posed a health risk; and longtime vaccine policymaker and American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson Louis Z. Cooper, M.D. , who agreed trust between pediatricians and parents needs to be strengthened but defended the safety of existing vaccine policies; and Debra Blog, M.D. , medical director of the Immunization Program, New York State Department of Health, who showed slides of children with infectious diseases and strongly opposed adding philosophical exemption to New York state vaccine laws.

Following panelist presentations there was a spirited debate that lasted for more than two hours as panelists argued and defended their positions. NVIC's videographer, Chris Fisher, will be making a video of the day's events available on NVIC's website.

By the end of the day, I thought about how long parents of vaccine injured children have been asking pediatricians to become partners with them in preventing vaccine injuries and deaths. After nearly three decades, parents and doctors inside and outside of government could not be further apart. The failure of pediatricians and public health officials to take seriously the many cases of regression into poor health after vaccination has become the Number One public health problem in the U.S. today.

There will be no resolution until every state has embraced the informed consent ethic and adopted conscientious or philosophical exemption to vaccination in state vaccine laws. At that point, Americans will be free to vote with their feet and the vaccines the public considers to be necessary, safe and effective will be used and those they do not consider to be necessary, safe and effective will be driven off the market. And then, a real time comparison of the long term health of highly vaccinated, less vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens will tell us a lot about the safety and effectiveness of vaccine policies in the last half of the 20th and first half of the 21st centuries.

Statement of Barbara Loe Fisher
Co-founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center
December 15, 2008
at New York Stony Brook UniversityVaccine Education Roundtable

Assemblyman Alessi and NY State Legislators:

Thank you for holding this Vaccine Education Roundtable to discuss issues which impact on Assembly Bill 5468 to insert philosophical exemption in New York vaccine laws. I appreciate the invitation to be part of this panel on behalf of New York members of the National Vaccine Information Center, non-profit organization founded in 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defend the informed consent ethic.

Vaccination is a medical intervention performed on a healthy person which carries an inherent risk of injury or death. The risk of harm can be greater for some than others and there is no guarantee that vaccination will, in fact, confer immunity. With very few predictors having been identified by medical science to give advance warning that harm or failure to confer immunity will occur, vaccination is a medical procedure that could reasonably be termed as experimental each time it is performed on a healthy individual.

Further, the FDA, CDC and vaccine makers openly state that often the numbers of human subjects used in pre-licensing studies are too small to detect all adverse events caused by a new vaccine. This makes government recommended use of newly licensed vaccines by millions of children a de facto uncontrolled national scientific experiment. In this regard, the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccination attains even greater significance.

Informed consent means that a patient or guardian has the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical procedure and be allowed to make an informed, voluntary decision about whether or not to take the risk. Informed consent is an important check and balance for the relationship between physicians and patients that encourages physicians to obey the Hippocratic oath to "first, do no harm."

The affirmation of the informed consent ethic in the practice of modern medicine is rooted in a rejection of the traditional paternalistic medical model, which places the patient or guardian in an unequal, powerless position with a physician and facilitates uninformed, involuntary risk taking. The human right for individuals to exercise informed consent to participating in scientific experiments was officially acknowledged by the judges of the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II. Their ringing endorsement of individual inviolability and the right to self determination when taking medical risks has became an internationally accepted moral guidepost for the ethical practice of modern medicine. The first principle of the Nuremberg Code begins with:

"The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision."

In America, the closest we come to upholding the informed consent principle with regard to vaccination is in the 18 states which allow personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination. In the 2008 edition of America's Health Rankings, Vermont is ranked the number one healthiest state. Vermont allows philosophical exemption to vaccination. In fact, out of the top ten ranked healthiest states, six of them allow philosophical exemption (Vermont, Minnesota, Utah, Idaho, Maine, Washington).

New York ranks 25th in health behind the nation's most populous state, California. The state of California has twice as many residents as New York, as well as more foreign born residents and those who speak English as a second language. However, in almost all other demographics,
California is nearly identical to New York in ethnic diversity; numbers of children under age 18; median household income and persons living below poverty.

California allows philosophical exemption to vaccination.

What is interesting is that in the top 10 healthiest states, four had among the lowest vaccination rates for children ages 19 to 35 months: Utah (37th) , Idaho (45th), Maine (40th) and Washington (48th). California which is ahead of New York in overall health ranking, is 31st in vaccination coverage of 19 to 35 month olds while New York is number 9. The healthiest state, Vermont, is 29th in vaccination coverage.

In fact, health is not primarily measured by high vaccination rates or an absence of infectious disease. High vaccination rates are not the most important measure of the overall health of citizens. The 18 states allowing philosophical exemption to vaccination have not compromised individual or public health when compared to other states.

This past September, the CDC announced that national childhood vaccination rates are at near record levels, with at least 90 percent of young children receiving all but one CDC recommended vaccine. Less than 1 percent of children aged 19 to 35 months remain completely unvaccinated.

Today, the U.S. government recommends the use of more vaccines than any other country in the world: 69 doses of 16 vaccines for girls; 66 doses of 15 vaccines for boys given between the day of birth and age 18. That is triple the numbers of vaccinations recommended by public health officials and physician organizations a quarter century ago, when 23 doses of seven vaccines (DPT, MMR, OPV) were routinely given.

But in comparison to other nations, the overall health of Americans has not improved since 2004 and there are 27 countries that exceed the US in healthy life expectancy while the U.S. ranks 39th in infant mortality.

Today, 1 in every 143 babies born in America dies; 1 child in 450 becomes diabetic; 1 in 150 develops autism;1 in 9 suffers with asthma; and 1 in every 6 child is learning disabled.

The chronic disease and disability epidemic that has developed in the last quarter century is killing and injuring more children than any infectious disease epidemic in the history of our nation, including smallpox and polio. The social, economic, and human costs are enormous: nearly two billion dollars has been paid to vaccine victims by the federal government in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program while three-quarters of the more than $2 trillion dollar annual price tag for health care is spent to care for the chronically ill and disabled.

The big question vaccine educated parents are asking is: why are so many of the most highly vaccinated children in the world so sick, suffering with all kinds of chronic brain and immune system dysfunction? Why are babies born in the richest country in the world dying more often than babies born in poorer countries, who do not get vaccinated at all or who get far fewer vaccines?

It is a question that has not been answered by any scientific study conducted to date because there has never been a large, prospective study comparing the long term health of highly vaccinated children to unvaccinated children. In the absence of definitive answers, the right to freely exercise medical, religious and philosophical exemption to vaccination is a human right that may well determine the biological integrity of this and future generations in America.

Because vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry significant risks greater for some than others; because doctors and public health officials are not infallible; because what is considered scientific truth today can be proven false tomorrow; because philosophical exemption to vaccination does not negatively impact on the health of individuals or states; and because informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right, the National Vaccine Information Center urges legislators to affirm the freedom of all New Yorkers to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for themselves and their children by supporting philosophical exemption to vaccination.

Gardasil Deaths, Injuries & Money

by Barbara Loe Fisher

At the same time that more Gardasil injuries and deaths are being reported every day, those promoting mass use of Gardasil are busy denying the significance of vaccine reactions while Merck is making plans to increase its market share by asking young boys to roll up their sleeves as well.

The discussion in states about whether or not Gardasil should be mandated is still taking place even though all but two state legislatures (Virginia and D.C.) rejected mandates in 2007. It makes it easier for pro- forced vaccination proponents to keep proposed Gardasil mandates on the table when the CDC insists all of the health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that have been reported to the government's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after Gardasil vaccination are just a "coincidence."

Through the end of October 2008, the government has published a list of 9,762 Gardasil- related adverse events, including 30 deaths, that have been reported to VAERS. This number does not include the Gardasil vaccine-related health problems which have been reported to the VAERS but not yet published. It is estimated that only between one and 10 percent of all serious health problems following administration of pharmaceutical products are ever reported to the government. This gross underreporting of vaccine- related hospitalizations, injuries and deaths means that there potentially could be nearly one million health problems following Gardasil vaccination that have actually occurred since the vaccine was licensed in 2006.

But who needs to count if it is all just a "coincidence?" It is good for business to downplay the significance of vaccine reactions and so researchers associated with Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), who are perhaps looking toward the lucrative U.S. market for GSK's new HPV vaccine (Cervarix), are doing just that.

Waiting for approval at the FDA, Cervarix contains a powerful adjuvant (ASO4) that has not been licensed for use in the U.S. That adjuvant is designed to send the immune system into overdrive. Will it also swell the numbers of VAERS Gardasil adverse events reports that can be conveniently written off as a coincidence by doctors, government and drug company officials?

When perfectly healthy, bright teenage girls and young women get an HPV vaccination and collapse, have seizures, become paralyzed, are left with crippling fatigue and joint pain or suddenly die, their mothers and fathers deserve more than a "coincidence" explanation from doctors, government health officials and vaccine manufacturers. Until the public stands up to the Big Lie and calls it for what it is, those in charge of the U.S. vaccination system will continue to get away with putting policy and profits before good science every time a new vaccine is licensed and recommended for use by millions of Americans.

VIDEO: On Gardasil deaths click here

VIDEO: On Gardasil reactions click here

VIDEO: On Gardasil reactions click here

For Facts about HPV Infection click here

"Emily Tarsell has several paintings done by her daughter, Chris, hanging throughout her Baltimore County home. Chris Tarsell was a talented and aspiring artist, but she suddenly and inexplicably died in June at the age of 21. "No one heard from her," Tarsell said. "They went into her bedroom and found her in the bed, dead." Tarsell said she learned of her daughter's death when police officers knocked on her door. "It was about, I don't know, maybe eight o'clock. I was alone, and then they told me," she said. During an autopsy, a pathologist searched for the cause of Chris's death, but found none. Her final report listed cardiac arrest, cause undetermined, Miller reported. "They could not find anything. All the tests came back negative, so it's still unknown," Tarsell said. Weeks later, a family member mentioned to Tarsell news reports about Gardasil. "My sister and I were stunned," Tarsell said...."It's basically written off as a coincidence -- not connected," said Barbara Loe Fisher, a safety watchdog for the National Vaccine Information Center. She said she is critical of the CDC, FDA and Gardasil in particular, arguing the vaccine was put on the market too fast. "You cannot have the same people who are regulating, making policy for and promoting mass use of vaccines also in charge of making sure they're safe," Fisher said. She said a big shortcoming is the VAERS reporting system. "It's a very passive, voluntary system," she said." - Jayne Miller, WBAL-TV (Baltimore), November 21, 2008)

"Across the country different states including Arkansas have looked at mandating gardasil for school aged girls. It's a vaccine that helps prevent certain strains of HPV, the Human Papillomavirus which is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. But do the benefits outweigh the risks? Jesalee Parsons was 13 when her mother signed off on her to get the Gardasil vaccine at school. Now nearly two years later she says she is still in pain. Jesalee says she was diagnosed with Acute Pancreatitis and since getting one only dose of Gardasil has spent close to 100 days in the hospital, and had two surgeries to remove Pseudocysts. While doctors cannot explain why she has had health problems she and her mother are convinced the vaccine is to blame....Barbara Loe Fisher--President of the National Vaccine Information Center--wants parents to be informed before they allow their daughters to get the three dose vaccine. "We are seeing girls who are collapsing and then having seizure activity when they come to consciousness, continuing seizure disorders. We are seeing arthritis, chronic fatigue, paralysis. Some of these who are going in are perfectly healthy girls going in to get this vaccine and walk out and are chronically ill." The vaccine manufactured by Merck was tested on thousands of females in clinical trials prior to being approved but Fisher says it was not studied thoroughly enough in children. ""If your read the reports you can see certainly a number of them are related to that shot. These are healthy girls, healthy women who are going in and then dying, sometimes within hours, sometimes within days of getting this injection and often the autopsy reports come back with no known cause." - KATV-11 (Little Rock), November 6, 2008 8/567520_video.html?ref=newsstory

"A study of Merck & Co Inc's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil found that allergic reactions were uncommon and most young women can tolerate subsequent doses, Australian researchers said on Wednesday. The research involved 25 Australian girls with suspected hypersensitivity to the vaccine which was administered as part of a national immunization program to all females aged 12 to 26 in the country beginning in 2007.....Choo and colleagues noted some components of Merck's treatment -- such as aluminum salts and yeast -- have been associated with allergic reactions.." - Reuters, December 2, 2008 20232008 1203

"Expected sluggish sales for some top products also is playing a role. Merck predicts sales of Gardasil to be flat in 2009 at $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion, a marked slowdown from the product's first couple of years. Merck said Gardasil already has achieved a high rate of vaccinations among girls 13 to 18 years old, and indicated it would be difficult to further boost the rate in this age group. The company also is trying to increase immunizations among women 19 to 26 years old, whose vaccination rate has been lower than expected. Merck has applied for U.S. regulatory approval to market Gardasil to women up to age 45 years old, and plans to file for approval by the end of December to market the vaccine to males ages 9 to 26, for the prevention of external lesions caused by the same virus that causes cervical cancer. It's also possible Gardasil will face new competition in the U.S. next year because GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is awaiting regulatory decision on its own cervical- cancer vaccine, Cervarix." - Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswire (December 4, 2008) s/articles/djf500/200812041031DOWJONESDJONLIN E000733_FORTUNE5.htm

Vaccine Injury Compensation: A Failed Experiment in Tort Reform?

by Barbara Loe Fisher

On Nov. 14, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 into law, instituting first-time vaccine safety reforms in the U.S. vaccination system and creating the first no-fault federal vaccine injury compensation program alternative to a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers and pediatricians. Twenty-two years later, on Nov. 18, 2008,
I made a statement to the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) and questioned whether the compensation program is fatally flawed and so broken that it should be repealed. Many parents are wondering whether it would be better to return to civil court without restrictions to sue vaccine manufacturers and doctors for injuries and deaths their children suffered after receiving federally recommended vaccines.

During its two-decade history, two out of three individuals applying for federal vaccine injury compensation have been turned away empty-handed even though to date $1.8B has been awarded to more than 2,200 plaintiff's out of some 12,000 who have applied. Today, nearly 5,000 vaccine injury claims are sitting in limbo because they represent children, who suffered brain and immune system dysfunction after vaccination but have been diagnosed with regressive autism, which is not recognized by the program as a compensable event. There is $2.7B sitting in the Trust Fund which could have been awarded to vaccine victims.

At the time of the law's creation in 1986, Congress said they were committed to setting up a fair, expedited, non-adversarial, less traumatic, less expensive no-fault compensation mechanism alternative to civil litigation. But Congress also acknowledged that any legislation providing liability protection must also be equally committed to preventing vaccine harm. The Act contains strong safety provisions, including first-time mandates for doctors to record and report serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths after vaccination and give parents written benefit and risk information before a child is vaccinated.

But few of the safety provisions have been enforced and, as I testified in Congress in 1999 and again at the Nov. 18 ACCV meeting, there has been a betrayal of the promise that was made to parents about how the compensation program would be implemented. Obtaining compensation has become a highly adversarial, time-consuming, traumatic and expensive process for families of vaccine injured children and far too many vaccine victims have been denied compensation while vaccine makers and doctors have enjoyed liability protection and dozens of doses of nine new vaccines have been added to the childhood vaccine schedule.

I pointed out that federal court judges are beginning to look back at the legislative history of the Act, which so clearly affirms the intent of Congress when creating it. In recent court decisions, judges have agreed with parents and their attorneys that the compensation program has become far too difficult for plaintiffs. A recent state Supreme Court ruling also reiterated that Congress never intended to shield vaccine manufacturers from ALL liability for vaccine injuries and deaths when it could be demonstrated that a safer product could have been marketed.

In a Supreme Court of Georgia ruling on October 6, 2008 in American Home Products v. Ferrari, the justices unanimously held that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act does not give a vaccine manufacturer blanket immunity from vaccine injury lawsuits if it can be proven that the company could have made a safer vaccine. Georgia Supreme Court Justice George Carley wrote that the 1986 law and "the congressional intent behind it shows that the Vaccine Act does not pre-empt all design defect claims." He added that Congress did not "use language which indicates that use of the compensation system is mandatory" but only "an appealing alternative" to the courts.

Justice Carley wrote that there is no evidence that "FDA approval alone renders a vaccine unavoidably safe" and said "We hesitate to hold that a manufacturer is excused from making changes it knows will improve its product merely because an older, more dangerous version received FDA approval," adding that to do so would have "the perverse effect" of granting complete immunity from liability to an entire industry and he concluded that "in the absence of any clear and manifest congressional purpose to achieve that result, we must reject such a far-reaching interpretation."

During the ACCV meeting, longtime plaintiff's attorney Sherry Drew gave a moving description of the suffering that families with vaccine injured children endure and, during public comment at the end of the meeting, Jim Moody, of SafeMinds, and Vicky Debold, RN, PhD joined me in urging the Committee to recommend to the new Secretary of DHHS that more vaccine injured children be compensated. This was echoed by outgoing parent ACCV member Tawny Buck, of Alaska, who has a DPT vaccine injured daughter and new ACCV parent member Sarah Hoiberg, of Florida, who has a five-year old DTaP vaccine injured daughter.

In the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act, the Institute of Medicine was directed to review the medical literature for scientific evidence that vaccines can cause injury and death, which resulted in landmark reports to Congress in 1991 and 1994 providing that evidence. IOM announced at the ACCV meeting that it has recently been contracted by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to assemble a Committee of scientific experts to review of the medical literature for evidence regarding the biological mechanisms for injury and death in association with varicella zoster (chicken pox), hepatitis B, meningococcal and HPV vaccine. There will be several public workshops during the Committee's two- year study.

NVIC has been calling for basic science research into the biological mechanisms of vaccine injury and death for more than two decades. Without understanding how and why vaccines can cause brain and immune system dysfunction, there will be no way to develop pathological profiles to help scientifically confirm whether or not an individual has been injured or died from vaccination.

The truth about vaccine risks lies in the science, properly designed and conducted. The upcoming IOM review may be hampered by a lack of biological mechanism studies published in the medical literature but the review is also an opportunity to point the way to fill in those gaps in knowledge and the need for additional research that could become part of a national vaccine safety research agenda.

In the absence of scientific certainty, all children who regress into poor health after vaccination should be given a fair hearing in the federal vaccine injury compensation program and generously compensated when no other plausible cause can be found for what happened to them after vaccination. Congress intended the vaccine injury compensation program to be non-adversarial, fair, generous and humane. If it cannot function the way it was intended to function, then parents have every right to call for its repeal and a return to unrestricted lawsuits.

Click here to read my entire ACCV statement with live links to the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act, U.S. Court of Appeals decisions, congressional testimony and other original sources.

Click here for ACCV meeting minutes and dates for upcoming meetings, which can be accessed via tele-conference call by the public who cannot attend the Rockville, Maryland meetings in person.

Flu & You: Know Your Options

by Barbara Loe Fisher

These days you can't turn around without being reminded that the "flu" season is just around the corner and it is time for every American - but especially infants, kindergarteners through high school graduates and anyone over 50 - to get a shot of influenza vaccine. But there are lots of new questions about whether the influenza vaccine is ineffective in children and whether it is also ineffective in the elderly at the same time there are growing doubts about whether many doctors and health officials have told the public the truth and nothing but the truth about the risks associated with infectious disease and the risks associated with vaccination.

Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) has produced several investigative reports on vaccination during the past several years and a recent CBN report on influenza vaccine examined the validity of the annual influenza mortality figure that the CDC routinely uses (36,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from influenza). The report also presented several perspectives about getting a flu shot versus using a more natural approach to staying well in the flu season. (See VIDEO of report as well as VIDEO outtakes not included in the broadast story featuring Vitamin D Council Executive Director John Cannell, M.D. on pandemic influenza, Heather Maurer on how she made an educated flu shot decision for her child; Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley, M.D. on why public health officials like flu shots; and my comments on "cradle-to-grave" vaccine policies and development of a "supervaccine.")

Joseph Mercola, M.D., a champion of the holistic health and wellness lifestyle and strong advocate for the informed consent ethic in medicine, frequently offers alternative perspectives about infectious disease and vaccination. See Dr. Mercola's past newsletters discussing flu vaccination and other vaccination topics at and view a speech I gave at the Natural Living Conference sponsored by Holistic Moms Network on his website.

In the coming months, the push for Americans to get flu shots will increase but how many will understand the government-acknowledged risks and precautions for inactivated, injected influenza vaccine or the live virus nasal influenza vaccine which are more fully outlined in the manufacturer's product inserts available on the web and at pharmacies and in doctor's offices?

How many Americans know there are practical steps to take during the flu season that will not only help protect against all infections, including actual influenza as well as other "flu-like illnesses" that can often be mistaken for influenza? (Only about 20 percent of all "flu-like" illness is actually influenza and only three strains of the many strains of type A and type B influenza that may be circulating during the year are actually included in the influenza vaccine).

To prevent and treat influenza or flu-like respiratory illness that does not involve fever over 103 F., pneumonia or serious complications which may require medical intervention, the National Vaccine Information Center offers the following non- toxic suggestions:

1. Wash your hands frequently.
2. Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
3. If you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
4. Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.
5. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
6. Get adequate sleep.
7. Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially foods containing vitamin C (such as citrus fruits) and vitamin D (such as cod liver oil) and spend a few minutes a day in sunlight to help your body make and store vitamin D.
8. Exercise regularly when you are well.
9. Lower stress.
10. Consider including holistic alternatives in your wellness or healing plan, such as chiropractic adjustments, homeopathic and naturopathic remedies, acupuncture and other health care options.

Whatever you do this flu season - whether or not you choose to vaccinate - become vaccine educated and know your options.

Knowledge is power and an informed, empowered consumer is one who can stand up for the right to freely exercise informed preventive health options.

See and for more information. Please email if you would like to volunteer to work in your state to help NVIC educate Americans about vaccination or have special expertise you would like to share. NVIC is also looking for volunteers in the Northern Virginia and greater Washington, D.C. area to assist our staff with many exciting and challenging projects.

"The federal government finds of that 36,000, about 1,000 people die directly from the flu virus. Blame for the remaining 35,000 deaths goes to diseases like pneumonia that may follow the flu. However there's no clear scientific connection between the flu and these more serious afflictions. That means most of the time the shot would have little impact in actually preventing death. Barbara Loe Fisher heads of the non-governmental National Vaccine Information Center. She says the repeated references to 36,000 seems to be an attempt to scare people into getting the shot. Fisher suggests the public is smart enough to decide independently. A free market would be better, she believes. "If we allow vaccines to be subject to the test of the marketplace, then the public will use those vaccines they consider to be safe, effective, and necessary," Fisher says......Dr. John Cannell, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, suggests the reason we even have a flu season is because our vitamin D levels drop. That takes place naturally as we get less and less sun with the approach of winter. Cannell explains that less sun means we produce less vitamin D in our skin. "Pretty much any disease, any infectious disease, that is more common in winter is a target of vitamin D," Cannell says. He says that's true even of some serious non-seasonal, prolonged diseases such as tuberculosis. Early in the 19th century, TB sanitariums where people would get sun were one of the few ways to recover from "consumption," as it was known. So Cannell suggests babies get a 1,000 units a day and those two and older get 2,000 units. Many adults and some children need to take more than that. For kids, that can come as a single daily drop of liquid D. Cannell says a recent discovery explains vitamin D's role in the flu season. The vitamin triggers your body to produce its own antibiotics against flu as well as colds." - Gailon Totheroh, CBN News Service (November 4, 2008) VIDEOS at and http: //

"Led by Dr. Peter Szilagyi, researchers at University of Rochester studied 414 children aged 5 and younger, who came down with the flu during the 2003-2004 or 2004-2005 flu seasons. These children were compared with over 5,000 controls who did not have influenza during the same seasons. Turns out that flu shots seemed not to make much difference: Kids who got immunized did not get the flu at lower rates than unvaccinated kids. In fact, the immunized youngsters were just as likely to be hospitalized or to visit the doctor as kids who never received the vaccine.......Targeting the correct strain is a always a bit of a guessing game, however; researchers make their best scientifically based prediction as to which flu virus will be making the rounds in a coming season, but they often have to make these predictions up to nine months ahead of time, in order to keep up with the lengthy vaccine manufacturing process. "In some circumstances, it is like forecasting the weather," says Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg, professor of pediatrics at University of Rochester. "Sometimes we are right on, and sometimes we are off." - Alice Park, Time Magazine (October 6 2008) le/0,8599,1847794,00.html

"The influenza vaccine, which has been strongly recommended for people over 65 for more than four decades, is losing its reputation as an effective way to ward off the virus in the elderly. A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70, the group that accounts for three-fourths of all flu deaths. The latest blow was a study in The Lancet last month that called into question much of the statistical evidence for the vaccine's effectiveness. The authors said previous studies had measured the wrong thing: not any actual protection against the flu virus but a fundamental difference between the kinds of people who get vaccines and those who do not. This contention is far from universally accepted. And even skeptics say that until more effective measures are found, older people should continue to be vaccinated, because some protection against the flu is better than none. Still, the Lancet article has reignited a longstanding debate over claims that the vaccine prevents thousands of hospitalizations and deaths in older people. "The whole notion of who needs the vaccine and why is changing before our eyes," said Peter Doshi, a doctoral candidate at M.I.T. who published a paper on the historical impact of influenza in May in The American Journal of Public Health ." - Brenda Goodman, New York Times (September 2, 2008) html

Vaccines, Politics & Media: Both Sides?

by Barbara Loe Fisher

With a little help from his friends, a man who has made millions from creating and promoting forced use of vaccines has begun the process of canonizing himself. Frustrated that his new book attempting to debunk the autism-vaccine connection is not selling well, Paul Offit is desperately trying to lose the Dr. Proffit label and morph into a martyr even as he continues to lead a public attack begun in 2007 on those questioning vaccine safety and defending informed consent to vaccination.

The day before Halloween, Offit's good friend TV doc Nancy Snyderman gave him a helping hand when she attempted to relentlessly browbeat the intellectually honest and affable Matt Lauer into agreeing with Offit that public debate about vaccines and autism is dangerous and should immediately cease. Gritting her teeth through a steely grin and hissing "It is NOT controversial" at her stunned NBC-TV colleague over and over again, Snyderman's on-camera meltdown was an unexpected Halloween treat for Moms making breakfast for the kids.

The interesting thing about Snyderman's glowing video tribute to her friend and subsequent tantrum when Lauer innocently labeled the vaccine- autism topic a "controversy," was her insistence that public debate should stop because her hero had gotten "death threats" presumably from distraught parents of vaccine injured autistic children. That same sentiment was forwarded by medical reporters at Newsweek magazine and ABC- TV, who appeared to agree with Offit's point of view that citizens questioning vaccine safety and forced use of vaccines are dangerous.

Adopting a strategy similar to the one that Merck pro-actively employed in 2006 to roll out the poorly tested and reactive Gardasil vaccine, Offit and his colleagues are demonizing parents and doctors questioning vaccine safety by characterizing them as ignorant, crazed, anti-science religious fanatics with a penchant for violance. In a desperate play for sympathy, pro-forced vaccination proponents agreeing with Offit's big stick approach are trying to deflect attention from the fact that they, themselves, created the current climate of fear, distrust, and anger. The bitterness now being expressed by parents, who have been belittled, harassed and threatened by hostile doctors inside and outside of government for standing up for their right to protect their children from vaccine injury and death, was inevitable.

When mothers and fathers take their healthy sons and daughters to pediatricians to get vaccinated and then witness them suffering vaccine reactions and regressing into chronic poor health within hours, days and weeks of getting sometimes 5 to 10 vaccines on one day, they are not going to accept an illogical, unscientific explanation like "it's all a coincidence." When mothers and fathers are thrown out of pediatricians offices and denied child medical care for asking questions about vaccines; or reported to child protective services for refusing to get children every vaccine; or denied exemptions to vaccines by government officials taking a militant "no exceptions" stance, they are going to feel angry.

At the same time, pediatricians, who become pediatricians to help children stay well, are not going to willingly accept the possibility that something they injected into a child injured or killed that child. When they cannot answer questions parents ask about vaccines, they are going to feel angry. The debate is so contentious because it is about life and death issues that affect everyone but neither those questioning vaccine safety nor those defending it serve their causes well by engaging in physical intimidation and threats against each other.

What should be troubling for doctors practicing medicine and journalists reporting on it is the Statist approach being taken by influential doctors like Offit, Greg Poland and Peter Hotez in response to three decades of reports by parents that children are being harmed by vaccination. Those who simultaneously develop new vaccines, help make national vaccine policy and promote forced use of vaccines certainly have the right to earn a profit from the products they create. They also have the right to promote an ideology in which they deeply believe. But Americans, who cherish freedom of thought, speech and action, should think long and hard about all efforts to pit citizen against citizen and marginalize those asking for credible scientific investigation into vaccine risks and the right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions.

A more reasoned, open minded approach to the vaccine safety debate was taken by pediatrician James Sears, M.D. and ER physician Travis Stork, M.D., who anchored an Oct. 28 episode of "The Doctors." The new CBS daytime show featured a segment airing different views about vaccine risks and mandatory vaccination in which Julia Berle, of TACA, and I appeared. To the credit of the show's producers, a spirited but civilized debate was allowed.

Both of the show's doctors joined an AAP pediatrician guest in strongly encouraging vaccination. However Dr. Sears and Dr. Stork also encouraged parents to become informed and supported the right of parents to make voluntary decisions about vaccines.

The show has elicited heated discussion on "The Doctors" website and a staff member monitoring the discussion boards yesterday told posters "Time to remind everyone that there is a person behind every screen name. Let's remember to address the topic without personally attacking another member because their views are different from yours. We all can learn from everyone's viewpoint, let's try to keep this discussion progressing in the manner intended." Immediately following this advice, posters who had been attacking one another found common ground even as they agreed to disagree.

At the vaccine freedom rally in Trenton sponsored by the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice on October 16, pediatrician Larry Palevsky, M.D. encouraged parents to continue speaking out and working for the legal right to voluntary vaccine decision-making. He challenged doctors to open their minds about vaccine risks, stating:

"As Einstein said, we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. I challenge my colleagues in medicine to listen and learn that there is more to know than what we've been told...... Engage in a more scientific dialogue and not in the rhetoric that keeps coming from those who have a stake in keeping the status quo of one-size-fits-all vaccinations and an ever- increasing vaccine schedule. Take whatever fear you have about speaking out, and turn it into being responsible to our children in a new way."

Another doctor, who has had the courage to step up to the plate and ask her fellow physician colleagues to consider the possibility that vaccine risks are not equal for all and must be examined more thoroughly, is former NIH Director Bernadine Healy, M.D.. In a CBS-TV interview last May, she expressed the view that scientific research must go forward to identify individuals genetically or biologically vulnerable for suffering vaccine injury.

Healy told CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson: "I don't think you should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you're afraid of what it might show..... there may be this susceptible group. The fact that there is concern that you don't want to know that susceptible group is a real disappointment to me. If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group - what can I say?"

The fear and dread that new vaccine developers and promoters like Offit, Poland and Hotez may have is that their vaccines will not be welcomed with open arms by a public concerned about vaccine risks. But the way to remove public concern about vaccine safety and effectiveness is not to back questioning parents and doctors into a corner and club them into submission and silence.

In the meantime, an editor at the Atlanta Journal Constitution in Georgia is calling for a rejection of a bill to allow New Jersey residents the same freedom that citizens living in 18 other states have: the legal right to exercise conscientious belief exemption to vaccination. And a large HMO in the Midwest is forcing all of its 26,000 employees to get a flu shot every year or be fired.

Tomorrow, all Americans have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote for the candidates they believe will best represent them at the local, state and federal government level. Understanding the positions of candidates on vaccine safety and informed consent issues is important.

We cannot let those who are afraid of the truth about vaccination silence the voices of those who have paid the ultimate price for that fear. Stand by for announcements coming soon about how you can join NVIC in becoming an activist citizen and educate members of your community about the importance of standing up for the right of all Americans to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination.

"People think of me as this wild-eyed maniac," Offit says. "If I sat down with them for 10 minutes, they'd see that my motivation is the same as theirs. You want what's best for kids." Asked how he ranks the intensity of the vitriol aimed at him, Offit says simply, "Abortion, doctors who perform abortions." Nobody's firebombing pediatricians' offices, and there's no moral dilemma here about when life begins. But the overarching question-what happened to my baby?-is still impossible to answer, and the anger is real and it's deep. Some parents of children with autism tell stories with an eerily similar start: an infant who was happy and healthy until she got her shots. Then, suddenly, she lost eye contact and language. Parents' dreams for their babies are buried in sadness, their pockets are emptied to pay for therapies, their worries about their children's future haunt them even as they're trying to get through the screaming, splattered minutes of the day." - Claudia Kalb, Newsweek (November 3, 2008)

"Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a vocal proponent of universal flu vaccination, says he is no stranger to such harassment. Among the most egregious things -- I got a letter once railing against my involvement in vaccines and hoping that something serious would happen to me and hoping that something serious would happen to one of my children," he said.....But some people connected to groups that believe a vaccine-autism link exists say that they, too, have been the targets of hateful speech. "I've been called a baby killer," says Rebecca Estepp, national manager of the autism support group Talk About Curing Autism. "One woman got into my face this summer and told me I was going to cause millions of children to die. Emotions are running high because this involves the health of our children....Poland said he believes legislation should be considered to offer special protection to those in the field of vaccine research. "Since this affects not only a person and his or her family, but indeed the public health, special provisions should be considered in terms of legal consequences," he said. "This was done, for example, in the case of abortion protesters.".....Dr. Peter Hotez, immunologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and father of a daughter with autism, said he believes that federal public health agencies, including the surgeon general's office and the National Institutes of Health, must take a more active role in dissuading the link between vaccines and autism. "[These organizations] have to be willing to speak out and make strong statements that vaccines do not cause autism," he said. "These organizations have been conspicuous by their silence." - Dan Childs, ABC-TV (October 31, 2008) id=6150482

" Parents fail to get their children inoculated for a variety of reasons: ignorance of the requirement; concern over how much it will cost; misunderstanding that for the vaccine to be effective against some diseases, children must get follow-up shots....More problematic are the parents who willfully ignore the requirement, substituting their judgment for that of experts who must guard the public health. In New Jersey, the state Legislature is being asked to approve a bill that would allow parents to opt out of mandatory vaccine requirements. The measure was prompted by a new requirement in New Jersey -- the first in the nation -- that pre- schoolers get annual flu shots.....The bill in the New Jersey Legislature would allow parents a "conscientious exemption" as long as they swear they have "sincerely held" objections to immunizations. No doubt many parents have sincerely held beliefs, but allowing them to opt out of vaccination puts the lives of their children at risk as well as the lives of others....The vaccine-autism link has been thoroughly debunked. States should not back off mandatory vaccination laws, and local school districts and health departments should do a better job of enforcing compliance." - Mike King, Atlanta Journal Constitution (October 29, 2008) ervices/content/opinion/stories/2008/10/29/vaccinesed .html

" BJC HealthCare, the shining beacon for traditional medical care throughout the Midwest, has made getting a flu shot mandatory for its 26,000 employees. That goes for all employees, even the ones who never come in contact with patients. If anyone refuses, it is going to be considered a breach of the fitness for duty requirement, meaning anyone who refuses to be vaccinated is subject to dismissal. Many employees are unhappy over this new edict. Some employees who see the policy as a blatant violation of their privacy believe it should be at the discretion of the individual to decide what medications to take. Others think the way the policy was presented created an atmosphere of intimidation. When the policy was initially presented to employees, was made clear that without compliance, the employee could no longer work at BJC. Still others suspect that BJC is getting a kickback from the vaccine's manufacturer. Employees receiving the flu vaccination are required to sign a waiver that totally absolves BJC of any liability if the employee is harmed by the vaccine."- Barbara Minton, (November 2, 2008)
CDC Gardasil Risk Report Is A Cover-up
Click here to hear about CDC's denial of Gardasil risks

by Barbara Loe Fisher

This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in association with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued a report on Gardasil vaccine safety that amounts to a cover-up of serious reactions, including paralysis and deaths, that have been reported to the government's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

Today (October 24, 2008), the National Vaccine Information Center issued a press release that calls on the CDC and FDA to release to the public the study design, data and names of principal investigators involved in the report maintaining that Gardasil vaccine is safe with no serious side effects. NVIC will also be calling on the newly elected President and members of Congress to remove the nation's vaccine safety monitoring system from DHHS and place it in a separate entity reporting directly to Congress.

Sadly, U.S. government officials have learned nothing in the past 26 years from parents asking for investigation of vaccination side effects and identification of individuals at higher risk for having vaccine reactions so their lives can be spared. Now, a callous disregard for human life, which has been tragically demonstrated for decades, is once again illustrated in this latest refusal to properly evaluate the risks of the newly licensed Gardasil vaccine. Why should anyone have confidence in government and drug company officials who do not bother to scientifically investigate the biological mechanisms contributing to serious reactions, injuries and deaths and why some individuals may be more vulnerable than others for suffering Gardasil reactions?

Conflicts of interest are rampant in a mass vaccination infrastructure that has the same people, who are regulating and promoting vaccines, also evaluating vaccine safety. This kind of conflict of interest cannot be tolerated. The people - and only the people being told and often forced to buy and use vaccines - can reform the system by getting involved in the democratic process and appealing to their elected officials and demanding change. Because 26 years is long enough to wait for those in government responsible for ensuring vaccine safety to do the right thing.
At the end of the day, the only way we can have the ability to place economic and political pressure on the public health system to change is to have the right to make informed, voluntary decisions about which vaccines we and our children use. The right to informed consent to vaccination or any medical intervention which carries a risk of injury or death is a human right. Anything less, as we can see from the latest whitewash of Gardasil vaccine risks by government health officials we are supposed to trust, is a threat to both individual and public health.



NVIC Says Government Denies Gardasil Risks

Vaccine Watchdog Group Calls for Transparency

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is calling on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to publicly release the study design, data and names of principal investigators involved in a statement this week maintaining that Gardasil vaccine is safe with no serious side effects. NVIC will also be calling on the newly elected President and members of Congress to remove the nation's vaccine safety monitoring system from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and place it in a separate entity reporting directly to Congress to restore trust in the nation's public health laws based on federal mass vaccination policies.

The CDC and FDA are alleging that the vast majority - if not all - of the approximately 9,000 HPV vaccine adverse events, including 27 deaths, reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are not causally related to the Gardasil vaccine based on internal analysis, including review of medical records of girls and women vaccinated in HMO's participating in the federal Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project and other closed government operated databases.

"Transparency in government is essential to trust in government and replication is the hallmark of good science," said NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher. "Parents of young girls and women cut down in their prime - some of them paralyzed or dead within hours or days of getting Gardasil vaccine - deserve better answers than a whitewashing of this vaccine's very serious side effects. Until there is an independent confirmation of these unverified findings by individuals and companies without financial ties to the government or industry, it is not credible."

* In June 2006 NVIC questioned the quality and quantity of Merck's pre-licensure Gardasil vaccine safety data in girls under age 16 and, in 2007, issued three reports analyzing serious Gardasil adverse events reported to VAERS;
* In 2007, Merck lobbied in many states for Gardasil vaccine mandates but failed in most;
* During 2008, about 20 percent of all vaccine adverse event reports to VAERS were related to Gardasil even though it is not a mandated vaccine like most others;
* Last week, reports that Merck's Garda sil sales are falling dramatically and are not offsetting similar declining sales of other drugs associated with safety concerns prompted Merck to lower profit projections and layoff employees.

NVIC was founded in 1982 and worked with Congress on the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The non- profit watchdog group advocates for safer vaccine policies and the legal right for Americans to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination.

National Vaccine Information Center
Barbara Loe Fisher, 703-938-0342


October 21, 2008

Reports of Health Concerns Following HPV Vaccination

HPV Vaccine Safety

The safety of the HPV vaccine was studied in 7 clinical trials before it was licensed. There were over 21,000 girls and women ages 9 through 26 in these clinical trials.

Since it was licensed, CDC and FDA have been closely monitoring the safety of the HPV vaccine. There are 3 systems used to monitor the safety of vaccines after they are licensed and being used in the U.S. These systems can monitor side effects already known to be caused by vaccines as well as detect rare side effects that were not identified during a vaccine's clinical trials. The 3 systems are:

* The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)--a useful early warning public health system that helps CDC and FDA detect possible side effects or adverse events following vaccination.
* The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project--a project between CDC and 8 health care organizations to study patterns in reports detected by VAERS and determine if a vaccine is causing a side effect.
* The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network--a project between 6 academic centers in the U.S. which conduct research on adverse events that might be caused by vaccines.

Reports to VAERS Following HPV Vaccination

As of August 31, 2008, there have been 10,326 VAERS reports of adverse events following Gardasil vaccination in the United States. Of these reports, 94% were reports of events considered to be non-serious, and 6% were reports of events considered to be serious.

Based on all of the information we have today, CDC and FDA have determined that Gardasil is safe to use and effective in preventing 4 types of HPV. As with all approved vaccines, CDC and FDA will continue to closely monitor the safety of Gardasil. Any problems detected with this vaccine will be reported to health officials, healthcare providers, and the public, and needed action will be taken to ensure the public's health and safety.

Non-serious adverse event reports

VAERS defines non-serious adverse events as those other than hospitalization, death, permanent disability, and life-threatening illness.

The vast majority (94%) of the adverse events reports following Gardasil have been non-serious. Reports of non-serious adverse events after Gardasil vaccination have included fainting, pain and swelling at the injection site (the arm), headache, nausea and fever. Fainting is common after injections and vaccinations, especially in adolescents. Falls after fainting may sometimes cause serious injuries, such as head injuries, which can be easily prevented by keeping the vaccinated person seated for up to 15 minutes after vaccination.

Serious adverse event reports

VAERS defines serious adverse events as adverse events that involve hospitalization, death, permanent disability, and life-threatening illness. As with all VAERS reports, serious events may or may not have been caused by the vaccine.

All serious reports (6%) for Gardasil have been carefully analyzed by medical experts. Experts have not found a common medical pattern to the reports of serious adverse events reported for Gardasil that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine. The following is a summary of the serious adverse event reports that were submitted to VAERS between June 8, 2006 and August 31, 2008.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil. GBS is a rare disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections can cause GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil increases the rate of GBS in girls and women above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.

Blood Clots

People have reported blood clots after getting Gardasil. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill).


As of August 31, 2008, there have been 27 U.S. reports of death among females who have received the vaccine. There was no common pattern to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine. Of the 27 U.S. reports:

* 3 reports were related to diabetes or heart failure
* 3 reports were related to viral illnesses or meningitis (an infection in the brain)
* 2 reports were related to drug use
* 2 reports were related to blood clots
* 5 reports are being evaluated (attempting to follow up/identify case)
* 1 report is still under review or VAERS is still waiting for additional medical records, such as an autopsy report or death certificate
* 1 report of seizure disorder (history of seizures)
* 3 reports had an unknown cause of death
* 7 reports that could not be evaluated because they did not have enough information to identify the person, or to verify that a person had died

Reports of adverse events after getting a vaccine can be submitted to VAERS by fax at 1-877-721-0366, online at , or by mail to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, P.O. Box 1100, Rockville, MD 20849-1100.

Forced Flu Vaccination and Freedom

by Barbara Loe Fisher

It is no wonder parents in New Jersey are protesting in the streets in opposition to a mandate by the state health department that all children entering daycare and school have to get an annual flu shot. The mandating of the notoriously ineffective and risky influenza vaccine is turning out to be one vaccine too many for parents. Rightfully, they are calling for scientific evidence that obeying CDC officials and giving children 69 doses of 16 vaccines from birth to age 18 will keep them healthy while demanding the right to make informed, voluntary choices about vaccination.

October 2008 has been a busy month for those who want to force all Americans - especially children - to get a flu shot every year. It doesn't matter if scientific studies have failed to prove that influenza vaccine is effective in children or many adults. It doesn't matter that flu vaccines during the past few years have been essentially worthless because they have not matched circulating strains of Type A and B influenza viruses. And apparently it also doesn't matter if the mortality statistic the flu police cling to - "36,000 annual deaths from influenza" - is scientifically correct or just hype, especially in light of the fact that only about 20 percent of all flu-like illness is actually caused by "influenza."

Bottom line: the flu you thought you caught last year might not actually be "influenza" and, even if it was, the chances that you got a strain of influenza actually contained in the flu vaccine out on the market was slim to none.

But that isn't stopping the pro-forced vaccinators from pushing mandatory flu vaccination on all health care workers, who have an historically low uptake (about 40 percent) when it comes to getting an annual flu shot. So if you are a nurse, doctor, social worker, minister or any other professional who interfaces with "patients" in a medical setting, you are going to be rolling up your sleeve every year and getting that flu shot or you could be forced to divulge your vaccination status to patients, wear a mask or be denied contact with patients.

And what about influenza vaccine injury victims? A quick look at the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) influenza vaccine reaction reports that now number between 24,000 and 34,000 (depending upon if the flu vaccine was given alone or not), illustrate the disturbing similarity of the report descriptions: inflammation of the brain; Guillain-Barre syndrome; chronic joint and limb pain and numbness, chronic fatigue, and permanent neurological damage.

On NVIC's Memorial for Vaccine Victims, there is a report of two children in the same family who regressed after influenza vaccination. Born in 2003, their mother reports that her baby son got a flu shot at seven months and her baby daughter at one year old. They both had behavior changes and regressed developmentally. Their mother said:"Both stopped sleeping, lost the few words they had at seven months and our daughter developed night terrors. Our son lost eye contact after each vax round, finally truly regressing at three after milk was added to their diet. He was diagnosed with autism; our daughter was diagnosed with "benign" language delay." Although their Mom reports that diet changes (gluten/casein/soy free diets) helped them partially recover, she said they still show "all the immune suppression and inflammation of efflux disorder and will have to be treated."At the end of her report she includes the following quote by Rabelais: "Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul."

Yes, indeed.

"New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require a flu shot for all children before they enroll in preschools and daycare centers.....But the mandate has infuriated many parents, hundreds of whom gathered in protest Thursday outside the statehouse in Trenton. Parents have formed advocacy groups and enlisted support online for fellow residents to sign their petition against the law. They've banned together to demand what they see as their right to choose what is injected in the bodies of their children. "I have a really big problem with mandatory flu shots in this country," said Louis Kuo-Habukus, a mother of three from New Jersey. "We need to have a choice." Parents flooded the statehouse, carrying signs with slogans like "Parent Power" and "My Child, My Choice," and chanting "No American should be forced to play vaccine roulette with their child." They rallied for support of a "conscientious objectors" clause, which they want added to the bill. It would grant exemptions for children and parents who have a moral objection to the vaccination." - Sharyn Alfonsi, ABC News and ABC World News Tonight (October 16, 2008)

"Parental informed consent is "a civil right, a human right to be free to make intelligent, rational decisions about using pharmaceutical products that risk their children's lives," Fisher told the Holistic Moms Network fifth annual Natural Living Conference. "What the entire debate comes down to is freedom" of choice, said Fisher, a mother, and president of the National Vaccine Information Center. Fisher co-founded the non-profit grass-roots group in Washington in 1982. Health officials and physicians in the past three decades have tripled the number of shots that children are required to have, without adequately studying the possible long-term effects, Fisher charged....From birth to age 18, children currently receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines, including annual flu shots, she said. In 1982, 23 doses of seven vaccines were required, she said. "Today, twice as many children are chronically ill and disabled than in the 1970s and 1980s, when half as many vaccines were given," Fisher said." - Bob Groves, Bergen County Record (NJ), (October 19, 2008) 44264.html

"In the face of chronic low influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers, the leading US society of infection control professionals says it's time to require medically eligible workers to either get the immunization or sign a form saying they understand the risks to patients if they skip it. "As part of a comprehensive strategy, we recommend that influenza vaccine be required annually for all healthcare personnel with direct patient care," the Associat ion for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) said in a policy statement released yesterday. "Organizations should adopt a system in which an informed declination is obtained from employees that decline for other than medical reasons," the statement continues. "This information should be utilized by the facility to develop improvement strategies for the following vaccine season." - Robert Roos, CIDRAP News (October 10, 2008)

"Over the past two flu seasons, vaccinating children five and younger did not reduce the number of child hospitalizations or doctor's visits linked to influenza, according to results of a new study....In the study, a team led by Dr. Peter G. Szilagyi, from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., looked at 414 children aged five and younger who developed flu in the 2003-2004 or 2004-2005 flu seasons......after they adjusted for flu risk factors -- such as a child's location, sex, insurance status, chronic health conditions or timing of the vaccine -- the effectiveness of the vaccine could no longer be shown. The effectiveness of the flu shot ranged from 7 percent to 52 percent for 6- to 59-month-old children who had been fully vaccinated, the researchers found. The less- than-perfect match between the strain of flu in the vaccine during the two seasons studied and the flu that was actually circulating may have contributed substantially to the poor effectiveness of the vaccine, Szilagyi's team speculated. In 2003 to 2004, 99 percent of circulating flu was influenza A, but only 11 percent of the influenza A strain in the United States was similar to the strains included in the vaccine." - Health Day News (October 6, 2008) ws/fullstory_70107.html