At the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, we recognize the benefits of vaccines. We also recognize that vaccines carry risk. Parents deserve the right to free, prior and informed consent, which by definition includes the right to review the benefits and the risks of any medical procedure. To deny the right of informed consent violates the very foundation of our healthcare system.
With the passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, Congress recognized that vaccines carry risk and because they are “unavoidably unsafe” the 1986 act exempted vaccine manufacturers and doctors from liability for vaccine injury. Almost $4 billion in injury compensation has been paid to vaccine-injured patients since the passage of this law. To suggest that vaccines are “perfectly safe” while concurrently protecting the vaccine industry from litigation after injuries is insulting to parents, and should be embarrassing to health care professionals, many of whom do not even know this law exists. We can’t have it both ways – pass a law that declares vaccines unsafe, protect the industry from litigation, and expect parents to blindly follow vaccine recommendations without the chance to ask reasonable questions and make choices that are protected by law.
On multiple occasions in recent years, our group was contacted by Somali families concerned about official bullying. These families invited us to speak to in their community to their neighbors and friends about their rights under the law in the state of Minnesota.
The discussion of vaccines has become emotional, but like most contentious issues, it is best addressed with civility, evidence and an open discussion between well-meaning citizens. During times of modest disease outbreaks, it is crucial to defend important rights, especially in face of those who would trample over these rights for “the greater good”.
We are also disturbed at the tone the discussions of recent events in Minnesota have taken. A major metropolitan newspaper quite literally called for members of our organization to be put to death for responding to and supporting our Somali friends. Responsible voices within leading media organizations need to exercise better leadership and call off the lynch mob.
Vaccine manufacturers were paying out large settlements for successful lawsuits filed after devastating vaccine injuries occurred. This led them to heavily lobby the federal government to pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986. Through this legislation, congress granted doctors and pharmaceutical companies freedom from liability when vaccines disable or kill people, and established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).(1) This administrative program, funded completely by vaccine consumers, became the only method of receiving compensation for vaccine injuries and deaths in the United States.
Measles vaccine injuries have been compensated through the NVICP
Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
VAERS is a federal database established through the NCVIA of 1986 to track reports of adverse reactions following vaccines. Although federal law states doctors are required to report any suspected vaccine injuries, the law is not enforced. Even when parents report immediate, severe, and well-acknowledged vaccine reactions like seizures or death, they are often told it was purely coincidental, and unrelated to the vaccine. As a result, injuries from vaccines are vastly underreported. Even with these limitations, there have been over 593,000 reports of harm from vaccines, including 6,469 deaths.
How many Minnesotans are dying of measles?
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger falsely stated in a radio interview that “we would have thousands of children dying in our community each year” if people chose to let their children get the measles rather than take the risk of them getting autism from the MMR vaccine.(3)
Cochrane Collaboration questions safety of MMR vaccine
The Cochrane Collaboration, an international review system for scientific evidence on the safety and effectiveness of medical interventions, (often referred to as the “Gold Standard” for evidence-based health) examined published studies on MMR vaccine safety and concluded that: “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.” (4)
“Pediatrics” published study acknowledges encephalopathy
(Brain damage) following measles vaccine
“Acute Encephalopathy Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated With Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program” (5)
After studying the cases of 48 children compensated by the NVICP for injury from the measles vaccine, results showed: “Eight children died, and the remainder had mental regression and retardation, chronic seizures, motor and sensory deficits, and movement disorders”
“CONCLUSIONS: This clustering suggests that a causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopathy may exist as a rare complication of measles immunization.”
CDC scientist reveals deliberate research fraud in MMR/autism study Senior CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson revealed in August 2014 that he and his CDC co-authors committed intentional research fraud in a study on the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.(6) A congressional investigation into this and other CDC malfeasance during vaccine safety studies is pending.
Educated consumers are justified in rejecting hyperbole about the risks of measles, and are wise to question the safety of the MMR vaccine.
Because there is enormous risk, there must be choice.