2013-05-28 Desperate Times for Vaccine Risk Denialism
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By Barbara Loe Fisher
These are desperate times for those denying vaccine risks. We know it because we are witnessing so many acts of desperation being committed by doctors determined to shut down the public conversation about vaccination and health.
Vaccine risk deniers are working overtime to restrict public access to information, cover up vaccine injuries and deaths and violate the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking.
No Flu Shots? No Employment
2013 was only a few days old when public health agencies and medical trade groups called for veteran nurses and other health care workers to be fired for refusing to obey orders to get annual flu shots – no exceptions and no questions asked.1
It did not matter that the risky and notoriously ineffective influenza vaccine turned out to be almost useless in preventing infection with the most prevalent influenza strains circulating in the US this year.2
Proposed State Legislation to Force Vaccine Use
This was followed by the introduction of legislation backed by public health officials and Pharma-funded medical trade groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics in states like Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Vermont.3
Their goal is to remove or restrict non-medical vaccine exemptions in state laws so doctors have more power to force vaccine use by children and adults – no questions asked and no exceptions.
Institute of Medicine Report: Where Is the Good Vaccine Science?
In mid-January came the eye-opening Institute of Medicine committee report acknowledging that only 37 scientific studies have examined the safety of the current US vaccine schedule for newborns and children under age six,4 which now totals a stunning 49 doses of 14 vaccines5 compared to 23 doses of 7 vaccines recommended in 1983.6
The lack of enough good scientific studies meant the committee could not determine whether the number of doses and timing of government recommended vaccinations is – or is not – associated with development of chronic health problems like seizures, autoimmunity, allergies, learning disabilities and autism in the first six years of life.7
New U.S. Autism Prevalence Statistic: 1 Child in 50
In March, a report was issued by the National Center for Health Statistics estimating that among children attending school in America, today 1 child in 50 has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).8 In 2004, that number was 1 child in 150. In 1992, it was 1 child in 500 and in 1986 it was 1 child in 2000.9
By April, which is Autism Awareness Month in the US, there was a full court press by doctors inside and outside of government to dismiss any association whatsoever between steep increases in the numbers of vaccinations given to children during the past 30 years and corresponding steep increases in the numbers of children developing autism.
Those doctors know, but a lot of young parents today don’t know, that the public conversation about vaccine-induced brain inflammation and chronic brain and immune system dysfunction, including autism, began 16 years before a study was published in The Lancet in 1998 examining the potential association between the MMR vaccine and autism.10, 11
CDC Study Fails to Confirm Offit’s Claim 10,000 Vaccines Safe for Babies
On Good Friday, April 1, during Easter and Passover observances, a study conducted and funded by the Centers for Disease Control was released by the Journal of Pediatrics declaring that “increasing exposure to antibody stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism” and, therefore, vaccines don’t cause autism.12
It was a pathetic attempt to validate a Machiavellian hypothesis forwarded in 2002 by pediatric vaccine developer Paul Offit claiming that an infant could safely respond to 10,000 vaccines given at any one time.13
However, an eighth grade science class student with an elementary understanding of health research methods,14 the bioactivity of various vaccine ingredients15, 16, 17, 18 and the difference between naturally acquired and vaccine acquired immunity,19 could figure out that the absence of an unvaccinated control group meant the study was fatally flawed. It proved absolutely nothing about the potential relationship between administration of multiple vaccinations in early childhood and the development of autism among genetically diverse children with and without increased biological susceptibility to adverse responses to vaccination.20
Pediatricians Label Social Networking Parents ‘Nonconformers’
On April 15, Pediatric News published an online survey stating the obvious: a person’s knowledge, values and beliefs, as well as the opinions of friends and families in social networks, strongly influences decisions about vaccination.21 Parents, who expressed doubts about vaccine safety and used alternative vaccine schedules for their children, were pejoratively labeled as “nonconformers.”
Pediatricians commenting on the survey suggested that nonconforming parents did not base their vaccine decisions on “rational logic” and “scientific evidence” because they were influenced by nonconforming friends and misleading information on nonconforming websites.22 Apparently, there was no consideration given to the fact that nonconforming parents found the poor science and empty rhetoric buttressing one-size-fits-all vaccine policies entirely unconvincing.23
Journalist and Magazine Attacked for Article Questioning Gardasil Safety
April was also the month that a veteran journalist and radio show host was personally attacked by pediatricians and public health officials in Buffalo, New York for daring to write an article questioning the safety of the Gardasil vaccine and urging parents to make informed vaccine choices.24 Outraged doctors threatened to financially ruin the magazine that published the article by destroying the magazine’s paid advertising base unless the article was retracted.25
Offit Plays Class and Race Card to Demonize Smart Nonconforming Parents
By the end of April, a CNN reporter quoted doctors blaming outbreaks of whooping cough, measles and mumps on unvaccinated people in developed nations, who spread their vaccine safety doubts on the Internet and jeopardize the health of people around the world.26 Crassly playing both the class AND race card, the magical thinking, attention seeking Dr. Offit offered the opinion that “It is the upper middle class, well-educated Caucasian parents who are shunning vaccines. They have generally gone to graduate school, are in positions of management and are used to being in control,” he said flatly.
Doctors playing the blame game apparently disagree about whether nonconforming parents asking questions about vaccines are simply stupid and irrational or are just over-educated, rich white folks refusing to acknowledge the intellectual superiority and infallibility of those with M.D., PhD or MPH written after their names regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they make.
Doctors like Offit,27 Halsey,28, 29, 30 Plotkin,31, 32 Omer33, 34, 35, 36 and others denying vaccine risks are blaming everyone but themselves for the miserable statistic that 1 child in 50 in America develops a type of brain and immune dysfunction labeled autism when it used to be 1 child in 2000 before they dumped three times as many vaccinations on babies.
Regression into Poor Health After Vaccination: A Universal Experience
What doctors drowning in denialism37 refuse to accept is that, today, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again.38 That pattern of regression into poor health,39 that universal experience of suffering after use of a pharmaceutical product that has a long, well documented history of risks40, 41, 42 and failures,43, 44 is why the public conversation about health and vaccination in the 21st century must and will continue. It will continue until doctors, who are pushing more and more vaccines on children and adults already more highly vaccinated and sicker than ever, come up with a much better explanation than it’s “bad genes,” “better diagnosing” or all “a coincidence.”
Vaccine Makers and Doctors Shielded from Liability Have Ethical Duty
In the US, vaccine manufacturers are shielded from product liability in civil court and doctors promoting and administering vaccines are also shielded from vaccine injury lawsuits.45, 46 Doctors without legal accountability have an even greater ethical duty to encourage patients and parents of minor children to become educated about all risks and honor the vaccination decisions patients or parents make, even if the doctor does not personally agree with the decision made.47, 48
Freedom of thought, speech and conscience are deeply valued and constitutionally protected rights in America.49 The public trust in the integrity of public health policies is destroyed when defensive doctors unwilling to share decision-making power fail to respect the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking and behave like schoolyard bullies instead of compassionate healers committed to, first, doing no harm.