Political Vaccinology: A Full Time Job

by Barbara Loe Fisher


Taxpayer dollars funding the multi-billion dollar budget at the CDC are increasingly being used to jerk the media and the public around like puppets on a string. Keeping the politics of mandatory vaccination on the front pages of newspapers and in the broadcast booths is a full time job for the CDC's spin doctors.

As soon as August rolled around, the usual cast of characters promoting forced vaccination got children ready for school by targeting parents making informed vaccine choices and blaming them for 131 cases of measles in the U.S. this year. In a state of high anxiety about the high level of vaccine education in America, officials employed by government health agencies attacked the religious, philosophical and conscientious belief exemptions in state vaccine laws because they are not subject to the legal blessing of medical doctors. Some journalists were prompted to ask whether unvaccinated children should be allowed to play with unvaccinated children although others examined whether public resistance to vaccine mandates might have something to do with gaps in scientific evidence proving vaccines policies are safe.

The doctors pushing "no exceptions" mandatory vaccination laws have had a great time whipping up hysteria about the freedom to choose by alleging that runaway numbers of vaccine resisters are threatening the public health. Along with suggesting that non- medical exemptions should be removed from state laws, they are now calling for an end to medical contraindications to vaccination to give a green light to pediatricians to vaccinate even children who have suffered life threatening allergic reactions to vaccines.

The pathological fear of germs driving those pushing for a license to re-vaccinate children who have suffered life threatening vaccine reactions is nothing more than a license to kill and get away with it. It is a perfect example of why we cannot trust them with our children's lives much less give medical doctors the sole legal authority to decide whether or not any of us can be exempt from government vaccine mandates.

At the end of the month-long "the sky is falling" charade, how did CDC spin doctors decide to end it? By issuing a press release announcing that child vaccination rates in America have reached an all-time record level and that less than one percent of American children are totally unvaccinated!

The question all Americans should be asking is this: Who is going to stop doctors and public health idealogues from playing vaccine politics with our children's lives and our civil rights?


"From the vaccinating parent perspective, it's a little infuriating because you don't know who these kids are," says Brown, a vaccine proponent and co- author of the book "Baby 411." But do others have the right to know such personal medical information? Should parents inquire about vaccination status before a play date? Some say that's taking things too far. "Do I think it's inappropriate to put a mark on people and kick them out from being able to participate in society, yeah I think it's inappropriate - it's inappropriate and it's dangerous," says Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group in Vienna, Va., that describes itself as "America's Vaccine Safety Watchdog" and opposes forced vaccinations." - Jacqueline Stenson, NBC 11.com (August 25, 2008) http://www.nbc11.com/msnbchealth/17289208/detail.html

"In the meantime, "parents simply have to be educated and put in the best position to consider the risks and benefits of vaccines and the various diseases. And they have to be free to make informed, voluntary decisions for their children. That includes being able to get exemptions and work with physicians to adjust vaccination schedules. Bigger and bigger government clubs are not going to work,'' Fisher said. Dr. Saad Omer, assistant professor at Emory University's School of Public Health in Atlanta, said he agrees that the public health community needs to do a better job communicating both the risks and benefits of vaccines. "And I think government and industry need to spend more, be more proactive, on vaccine safety research. "On the front lines, no provider should be dismissive of parents with concerns about vaccines. You should listen and try to address them, not kick them out of your practice,'' he added. Fisher notes, "The safety movement was largely launched by middle class moms who had the education and time to analyze the medical literature. But now we're in a third generation of parents dealing with these issues, and it's a more diverse group with a much broader reach because of the Internet. They can see that adverse reaction reports are similar around the world." - Lee Bowman, Scripps Howard News Service (August 27, 2008) http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/35756

"The American Academy of Pediatrics says extensive reports from several leading researchers have found no "proven association" between autism and measles vaccines. Experts recently told the Chicago Tribune that autism "tends to emerge at the same age children receive their shots, leading to a false sense of cause and effect." "Parental suspicion is now so high that public health officials fear it could undermine one of the most important advances in medical history," the Tribune reported. "Although vaccination rates have remained fairly steady, pockets of vaccine rejection can lead to outbreaks of childhood diseases that were once thought conquered." - Derek Kravitz, Washington Post (August 28, 2008)
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/washingtonpostinvestigations/2008/08/measles_back_with a_vengeance.html

"With close monitoring and a few standard precautions, nearly all children with known or suspected vaccine allergies can be safely immunized, according to a team of vaccine safety experts led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Writing in the September issue of Pediatrics, the multicenter research team offers pediatricians a step- by-step tool for quickly identifying children with allergic reactions to vaccines, and a much-needed guide, they say, to safely immunize those who are allergic....Children who have had one allergic reaction are believed to be at a higher risk for future reactions, typically more serious than the first. "We cannot reiterate enough that the vaccines used today are extremely safe, but in a handful of children certain vaccine ingredients can trigger serious allergic reactions," says Robert Wood, M.D., lead author on the paper and chief of pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "For the most part, even children with known allergies can be safely vaccinated." - Johns Hopkins Medicine, Newswise.com (September 2, 2008)

"U.S. toddlers got the recommended vaccinations against childhood diseases at record levels in 2007, federal health officials said on Thursday, as they urged parents to continue to trust vaccine safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its report on vaccination rates for ages 1-1/2 through 3 a day after another study came out showing no link between autism and the vaccine given to guard against measles, mumps and rubella. A record 77.4 percent of children in this age group received the full recommended series of vaccinations, the CDC said. Ninety percent of children got all but one of the six individual vaccines in the series, the CDC said. The one exception was the four doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis or whooping cough vaccine, received by 84.5 percent of toddlers, the CDC said. The CDC report, based on data on 17,017 children, found that fewer than 1 percent got no vaccines." - Will Dunham, Reuters (September 4, 2008)

On The Frontlines: Vaccine Education & Empowerment

by Barbara Loe Fisher


Parents and enlightened doctors are on the front lines educating both parents and politicians about vaccination. Knowledge is power and more parents are coming to the realization that they can best protect their children's health by becoming educated health care consumers.

On September 5, New Jersey vaccine choice advocate Louise Kuo Habakus held a parent demonstration on her front lawn as Presidential candidate Barak Obama and NJ Governor Jon Corzine drove to a Bon Jovi political fund raiser in her neighborhood (also see the beautiful video created by a Mom who attended the demonstration in support of vaccine choice). Louise is giving a vaccine lecture tonight Sept. 10 in East Windsor and on Oct. 1 in Highlands sponsored by the . (Registration is required for attendance by email at vaxRSVP@verizon.net) There will be a parent rally in Trenton, NJ in October sponsored by the Coalition in support of conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.

Pediatrician Lawrence Palevsky, M.D. will be giving a series of lectures on vaccination in New York City on September 22, October 29, November 5 and December 3. President and co-founder of the Holistic Pediatric Association, Dr. Palevsky will discuss current vaccine science, how vaccines work, acute and chronic illness, vaccine requirements and many other vaccine issues. (Call 212-367-9006 or visit www.realbirth.com for more information).

"The public has many questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, " said Dr. Palevsky. While more parents are showing increased concern about these issues and the growing number of vaccines to be administered to infants and children from day one of life, there is a growing interest on the part of vaccine manufacturers, state legislatures and medical societies to enforce vaccination on all children, through the passing of more and more state vaccine mandates, without first having a dialogue with the public, or the medical community."

On Saturday, October 18, the Fifth Annual Natural Living Conference sponsored by the Holistic Moms Network (HMN) at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, New Jersey will include my presentation on "Vaccines & Chronic Illness: Staying Well in the New Epidemic" and a presentation by author and environmentalist Annie B. Bond on "Easy Tips for a Green and Healthy Home." The one-day conference (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will include sessions with parenting experts discussing stress and health; homeschooling, Eco-Action plans and good parenting strategies. For more information and to register go to http://home.homewebs.com/hmnannualconference/

Study Fails To Clear MMR/Autism Link

by Barbara Loe Fisher


As the latest study attempting to disprove a link between vaccination and autism demonstrates: if you really don't want to know the answer, just ask part of the question. When medical researchers take a reductionist approach to investigating vaccine risks, the public can always count on spin doctors to position the conclusions of a narrowly focused study in a way that appears to totally exonerate vaccines from association with all risks, especially autism.

The most recent paper purporting to clear MMR vaccine from any relationship with the development of regressive autism in previously healthy children was published by researchers at the CDC and Columbia University in the online journal of Public Library of Science . The authors report on a federally funded initiative to address the hypothesis published in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield, M.D. and others that some children who receive MMR vaccine develop inflammatory bowel disease and regressive autism due to persistent measles virus (MV) infection.

The examination by three laboratories of intestinal tissues from 25 autistic children, five of whom developed gastrointestinal (GI) and autistic symptoms after MMR vaccination, confirmed the presence of measles virus RNA in one child with autism and one control case. Even though the study only included five children who were previously healthy before regressing into autism after MMR vaccination, it is being touted as concrete proof that MMR vaccine is not in any way involved in the development of regressive autism in previously healthy children.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Wakefield may have imperfectly described the biological mechanism for development of MMR vaccine induced autism in 1998 (proposing a persistent measles virus infection in the GI tract that affected the brain), he certainly DID correctly report an association between receipt of MMR vaccine in previously healthy children and subsequent simultaneous development of serious bowel disease and autism. It was an important clinical observation and call for further research published in a respected medical journal (The Lancet) but one that Wakefield and his colleagues would pay for dearly. The hypothesis has been furiously denounced for a decade by mandatory vaccination proponents in government, industry, and medical organizations in Europe and the U.S. as they scramble to defend aggressive one-size-fits-all MMR vaccine policies being used in measles eradication campaigns worldwide.

Thoughtful House, a pediatric care facility and research institute in Austin, Texas founded by Dr. Wakefield, issued a response to the study which said in part: "We are pleased to see that this new study provides further confirmation that children with autism suffer from gastrointestinal problems that deserve to be addressed as a priority. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children, whose work has focused on intestinal disease, and on the possible role of MMR vaccine in regressive autism in children with GI symptoms, welcomed these new findings. Dr. Wakefield was a co-author of the 2002 paper that, unlike yesterday's study, examined children in the majority of whom there was a clear temporal link between MMR exposure and regression. Dr. Wakefield comments, "The search for the 'footprints' of measles virus in the intestine is merited, based upon the previous findings and the intestinal disease that is commonly found in these children. This new study rules out only one possibility - that the measles virus must remain for the long term in the intestine. We need to consider that the MMR vaccine can cause autism as a hit-and-run injury, but not necessarily leave the measles virus behind."

The biological mechanism for MMR vaccine induced regressive autism - as well as autism that develops in previously healthy children following injection with other vaccines like DPT/DTaP, hepatitis B, varicella zoster, pneumococcal - could well involve an interaction between individual genetic vulnerabilities (autoimmunity, allergy) and the known ability of drugs and vaccines to induce immune mediated inflammation in the body, especially brain inflammation. The most serious and feared complication of the very first vaccines - smallpox and rabies - is inflammation of the brain (encephalitis/encephalopathy), which can be mild or severe with a constellation of acute symptoms that are subtle (deep sleep with difficulty arousing) to dramatic (convulsions, high pitched screaming).

Mild to severe brain inflammation can lead to permanent brain dysfunction in at least one-third or more of all who experience it. The residual effects of brain inflammation can vary from learning disabilities and ADHD/ADD to medication resistant seizure disorders, autistic behaviors and mental retardation.

In 1998, officials of the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) published a review of vaccine injury and death claims submitted to the VICP involving measles vaccine either alone or in combination (such as MMR). They analyzed the medical records of 48 children ages 10 to 49 months who either had died or suffered mental regression and retardation, chronic seizures, motor and sensory deficits and movement disorders following receipt of measles containing vaccines. The authors concluded that "The onset of neurologic signs or symptoms occurred with a nonrandom, statistically significant distribution of cases on days 8 and 9" and "This clustering suggests that a causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopathy may exist as a rare complication of measles immunization."

Immune mediated chronic inflammation of the brain, gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body in previously healthy children following receipt of MMR and other vaccines may not be as rare as CDC officials would have the public believe.

Researchers have found evidence of chronic inflammation in the brains of patients with autism, particularly in the cerebellum. Brains of those suffering with autism have been observed to be in "a chronic state of specific cytokine activity." The suggested biological mechanisms for the observed brain inflammation included chronic disease or an external environmental source. In addition, there is a good possibility that genetic predisposition to immune system dysfunction (autoimmunity, allergy) may be a key to development of regressive autism following vaccination in some children.

The recent study out of the CDC and Columbia University is not good enough evidence to disprove the autism-MMR link first reported by Wakefield and others in 1998. The scope of the most recent investigation was far too narrow and enlightened pediatricians and informed parents know it. As autism advocate Rick Rollens and national autism groups have pointed out, more methodologically sound research must be done before the public jury questioning MMR vaccine safety will stand down. A good start would be a prospective case controlled study comparing immune and brain function of highly vaccinated children to that of unvaccinated children for a period of at least ten years, which has been requested by parents of vaccine injured children for several decades.

For a comprehensive summary of the decade- long persecution that Andrew Wakefield has endured at the hands of individuals with major financial conflicts of interest with government and industry, visit the Cryshame website at http://www.cryshame.net/ maintained in Great Britain. A new essay by British journalist Martin Walker entitled "An Interest in Conflict" examines the tactics used by those determined to punish Wakefield for daring to publish an hypothesis discussing the association between vaccines and autism.

The Cryshame website also features a video tutorial by British pediatrician Richard Halvorson on measles, mumps, rubella, and MMR vaccine. Questions Dr. Halvorsen poses and answers include:

• How dangerous is measles?
• Is measles a killer?
• Can measles be good for you?
• Does vaccination give life-long protection?
• Is MMR necessary?

COMING UP IN THE NEWS: On Monday, Sept. 8, the Dr. Mehmet Oz show on the Oprah & Friends Network is scheduled to broadcast a radio debate on hepatitis B vaccine ( http://www.oprah.com/oafhost/moz); On Tuesday, Sept. 9 the new daytime CBS show "The Doctors" will feature a segment on Gardasil vaccine; On Sept. 18, "The Doctors" will broadcast a segment on mandatory vaccination. For more information or to post a comment after the segments have aired, go to http://www.tvweek.com/news/2008/09/video_cbs_tv_distributions_the.php


"We are certain that there's no link between autism and the MMR," Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Mailman School of Public Health Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said at a Wednesday teleconference...... Not everyone is convinced, however, that the vaccine does not play a role in causing gastrointestinal problems that can precede the onset of autism. "This study addresses one hypothesis. This study, by itself, does not exonerate the role of all vaccines. There are many biological mechanisms where environmental factors could present in the development of autism," said Rick Rollens, the father of an autistic son and one of the founding members of the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California, Davis. Rollens was also part of the teleconference." - Serena Gordon, U.S. News & World Report (September 4, 2008) http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2008/09/04/study-dispels-link-between-autism-and-measles.html

"While several researchers said this study is "conclusive" proof that there is no link, Tampa pediatrician, Dr. David Berger says the study is too small (38 children) to make that claim and not comprehensive enough to give parents 100 percent assurance. Dr. Berger says larger, longterm studies are needed. The Tampa board certified pediatrician advises parents to separate the live combination virus vaccine so they can tell if their child has had an allergic reaction to any of the vaccines. That will help parents when it comes time to give kids their MMR booster shot around kindergarten.....'If this study was done in an attempt to try and replicate the original research that was done by Dr. Wakefield, the researchers completely missed the point. Dr. Wakefield specifically looked at children- who had developed symptoms of both autism and intestinal abnormalities after receiving the MMR vaccine, and in those particular patients he was able to identify the presence of the measles virus. In this current study 80% of the patient'st had abnormal gastrointestinal symptoms prior to receiving MMR.'" - Heather VanNest, Tampbays10-TV (September 4, 2008)

"For years, parents have claimed that MMR triggered their child's subsequent GI (gastrointestinal) disease and autism. In a 2002 paper where the majority of autistic children were found to have measles in their intestines, the children examined showed a clear temporal link between MMR exposure and regression. The CDC's attempt to replicate the 2002 study fell far short of proving the safety of the MMR vaccine.....Inflammatory bowel disease in the absence of MMR RNA does not mean that MMR shot didn't precipitate the GI disease and didn't precipitate autism." - National Autism Association (September 3, 2008)