NVIC Vaccine News

2010 Needs a Fearless Conversation About Vaccination

By Barbara Loe Fisher
Published January 06, 2010 in Government

As the second decade of the 21st century begins, it is clear that the first one saw big changes in the way Americans think about health and vaccination. A good example is the fact that a majority of Americans “just said no” to getting an H1N1 influenza shot last year. 1 2 The truth is, most of us just didn’t buy the hype about swine flu. Perhaps it is because we are tired of constantly living in fear.

Fear was the unifying emotion that defined the first decade of the 21st century in America. 3 The Decade of Fear began on September 11, 2001, a day of indescribable loss that marked the ending of so much. Among the losses was the end of a civil and substantive conversation about vaccine safety that had taken shape during the previous two decades 4 but which - after September 11, 2001 - was hijacked by fear.

Within weeks of 9-11, there were frantic warnings by government officials that terrorists had weaponized smallpox and it was necessary to immediately dilute stockpiles of reactive 40-year old smallpox vaccine to make enough to give a smallpox shot to every man, woman and child. 5 6 7 Then the allegation that terrorists had hidden weapons of mass destruction to unleash deadly infectious diseases on all of us 8 - was used to justify forcing soldiers to get multiple doses of reactive experimental anthrax vaccine. 9 10

And within weeks of 9-11, a Congress driven by fear quickly passed The Patriot Act 11 followed by the Homeland Security Act. 12 Unprecedented authority was given to the Executive branch of our government, including creation of the third largest federal agency - the Department of Homeland Security. And then public health officials pushed for passage of new Model State Emergency Health Powers Acts to expand the police powers of state health officials whenever a public health emergency is declared. 13

For three years after 9-11, special interest lobbyists invoked bioterrorism and fear of infectious microorganisms to persuade Congress to pass Bioshield 14 15 16 and Pandemic Influenza legislation shielding vaccine manufacturers, doctors and public health officials from all liability when Americans are injured or killed by experimental vaccines or drugs used during a government declared public health emergencies - like the questionable pandemic influenza emergency declaration America is still operating under today even though there is no true emergency. 17

The attack on America by a rogue band of terrorists on September 11, 2001 created a Decade of Fear that made criticism of government policy, including vaccine policy, not just politically incorrect but a danger to national security and the public health. Fear and its travel companions - prejudice and intolerance - ruled the decade.

Those who criticized the quality and quantity of government regulated vaccine science or questioned the ethics of mandatory vaccination laws were marginalized by those in positions of authority, 18 who defended the status quo. The fear, prejudice and intolerance defining the first decade of the 21st century 19 was eventually turned on parents of vaccine injured children, 20 21 22 who were asking doctors and public health authorities how many vaccines their children were going to be forced to take 23 24 in the name of protecting national security and the public health.

September 11, 2001 was a day of indescribable loss. And the losses America suffered that day have been magnified by the losses we have suffered since that day because some have used fear as a political tool to silence criticism of government policy.

Next month is the 25th anniversary of the publishing of the book DPT: A Shot in the Dark, which I co-authored with medical historian Harris Coulter. It was first published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and was used by the Institute of Medicine as a reference for the 1991 report on Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. It was the first major book documenting vaccine risks and flaws in vaccine science, regulation, policymaking, and law.

A Shot in the Dark is a book that is perhaps more relevant today, a quarter century after it was published in 1985 because, in the words of the Spanish philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Twenty-five years later, parents of vaccine injured children are still calling for meaningful reform of public health policies and vaccine laws to protect individual and public health. 25 It is time to leave the politics of fear of the last decade behind, and change the way the conversation about vaccine science, policy, ethics and law is conducted so that the real issues about health and vaccination can be addressed responsibly. The people expect and deserve no less from those in positions of authority in government, industry and medicine, who operate the public health system.

We, who are critical of one-size-fits all mandatory vaccination policies because those policies fail to acknowledge biodiversity and do not respect the informed consent ethic, welcome a new, more rational and substantive conversation about vaccination in 2010. As President Franklin Roosevelt said “The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.”

Hopefully, 2010 will be the beginning of a fearless and fierce search for the truth about health and vaccination that will enlighten us all.

1 CNN. November 18, 2009. Poll: Majority of Americans Don’t Want H1N1 Shot.

2 Harvard School of Public Health. December 22, 2009. Poll Finds Three Quarters of Parents Who Tried to Get H1N1 Vaccine for Their Children Have Gotten It.

3 Giraldi, P. The Huffington Post. November 25, 2007. The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.

4 National Vaccine Information Center. May 3, 1999. New Genetic Study Points Way For Vaccine Research.

5 Pear, R. New York Times. March 20, 2002. A Nation Challenged: The Bioterrorism Threat; Frozen Smallpox Vaccine Is Still Potent.

6 Fisher, BL. National Vaccine Information Center. Winter 2002. Smallpox and Forced Vaccination: What Every American Needs to Know.

7 Scardaville, M. The Heritage Foundation. December 6, 2002. Public Health and National Security Planning: The Case for Voluntary Smallpox Vaccination.

8 Risen J, Miller J. New York Times. November 11, 2001. A Nation Challenged: Chemical Weapons; Al Qaeda Site Points to Tests of Chemicals.

9 PBS. December 4, 2001. The Anthrax Vaccine.

10 Rempfer, TL. The Journal of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. May 2009. The Anthrax Vaccine: A Dilemma for Homeland Security.

11 Congressional Research Service. April 15, 2002. The USA Patriot Act: A Legal Analysis.

12 PBS. May 15, 2003. The Homeland Security Act.

13 American Civil Liberties Union. January 1, 2002. Model State Emergency Health Powers Act.

14 McGlinchey D. Government Executive. January 23, 2004. HHS officials anxiously await passage of “Bioshield” bill.

15 Ismal MA. The Center for Public Integrity. April 1, 2007. Spending on Lobbying Thrives. Drug and health policies industries invest $182 million to influence legislation.

16 Fisher BL. National Vaccine Information Center. November 15, 2009. Letter to Col. Robert P. Kadlec, MD, Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness.

17 Department of Health and Human Services. April 26, 2009, July 24, 2009, October 1, 2009, December 30, 2009. Determination that a Public Health Emergency Exists.

18 Hodge JG, Gostin LO. Center for Law and the Public’s Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. February 15, 2002. School Vaccination Requirements: Historical, Social & Legal Perspectives.

19 Social Research. December 22, 2004. The politics of fear after 9/11.

20 Fisher, BL. National Vaccine Information Center. March 25, 2008. Promoting Vaccination, Fear, Hate & Discrimination.

21 Cicolli A. Yale Journal of Biology & Medicine. September 2008. Mandatory Vaccination: The Role of Tort Law.

22 Thompson C. Washington Post. December 20, 2009. Worst Ideas of the Decade: Vaccine scares.

23 Deardorff, J. Chicago Tribune. November 7, 2007. New study: Americans may be overvaccinated.

24 Wallis C. Time Magazine. March 10, 2008. Case Study: Autism & Vaccines.

25 Fisher BL. April 11, 2008. Vaccine Safety Research Priorities: Engaging the Public.


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29 Responses to "2010 Needs a Fearless Conversation About Vaccination"
Commenter Name
Sally O'Boyle
Posted: 1/6/2010 11:09:15 AM
Thank you. You are one of my heroes and I have learned so much from you. God bless you for leading the charge.
Commenter Name
Larie Collura
Posted: 1/6/2010 1:39:12 PM
Our Son Larrie was brain damaged by lot #2A41126 which posted 11 deathes, the lot before and after both had 12 and 11 reaths all between 92-94. ...I just came from transgenomic clinial at UNC and they said the vaccine was the cause of Larrie's damage. Also I have letters from Arnold Gold (Neurological Institue of NYC), Dr. David Mandelbaum PhD Child Neurolgy Brown U, Dr. Levin Princeton all Agree that Larrie's Encephalopathy was from the DPT. But Special Master Millnan would rejected the case. If you get sick call a lawyer? Larrie Collura 919542-5139
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/6/2010 5:23:59 PM
The AAP just came out with a notice saying that vaccines that contain multiple viruses are recommended over single dose vaccines...I ask myself...why? What is their justification..it doesn't make sense..
Commenter Name
Vera Sozzi
Posted: 1/6/2010 7:18:37 PM
There is evil and good in the world, certainly Barbara Loe Fisher is a guardian angel. There are many followers in our world, but very few leaders. People need to wake up and get educated for the safety and well being of their loved ones. You pass on your knowledge and look at the difference you made in not just one life but many. You deserve the Pulitzer Prize. God bless you and keep you safe always.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/7/2010 8:27:55 AM
It will be heroes like Barbara that save "US" all from the evil we are all up against. Thank you Barbara, we love you so much for standing for truth in this matter of atrocity.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/7/2010 12:23:11 PM
Just recently read A Shot In the Dark for the first time. Couldn't agree more that it should be required reading for all parents (like me) who suspect their kid's medical condition (autism) could be related to vaccines. Also read David Kirby's Evidence of Harm. In order to have the conversation about this subject, you must be well-informed, not only about the science and medical issues, but also about the politics and economics. Remember that most people you discuss this issue with will not be well-informed if they have not read these books. Thank you, Barbara, for leading the way.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/7/2010 12:51:46 PM
Thank you, Barbara. You are one brave woman.
Commenter Name
Sloan Smith
Posted: 1/7/2010 4:56:03 PM
Brilliant connection. Thank you for your thoughts.
Commenter Name
michael framson
Posted: 1/7/2010 9:06:56 PM
If there were more Barbara Loe Fishers in government, there would be fewer children with chronic illness, neurological disorders, immune system damage, GI disturbances, learning disabilities. Our children would not be one of sickest of generations and getting sicker. Drug companies wouldn't be able to strip mine our health....and maybe, just maybe, doctors would do no harm.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/7/2010 11:39:35 PM
“The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.” Isn't that the purpose of tenure in universities? And don't the vast majority of tenured science professors studying vaccines from all angles support them?
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/8/2010 7:55:10 AM
Thank you Barbara for all you do and never giving up. After his MMR vaccine, my son lost many pre-learned skills. He forgot his letters, shapes, colors, and numbers. He didn't recognize family members. He resorted back to diapers. He seemed to be lost in his own little world. Therapy is not fully covered and I can't afford the co-pays, but the catch is that I can't apply for secondary insurance until a diagnosis (Autism) is made. The evaluations to determine that cost a small fortune. It drives me crazy to think that some people are getting rich over our suffering.
Commenter Name
Maureen McDonnell, RN
Posted: 1/8/2010 9:04:01 AM
Barbara, "Fearless and fierce" are great words to describe who you are and how you function. You have been an articulate spokesperson defending the health of our children since the 1980's and I applaud your strength,tenacity and dedication. I agree whole heartedly that fear can no longer paralyze the conversation, nor stifle the much needed research into the vaccine issue. Thank you Barbara for never being afraid to speak the truth....Best in the New Year to you and NVIC Maureen H. McDonnell, RN Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet www.SOKHOP.com
Commenter Name
Dr. Mayer Eisenstein
Posted: 1/8/2010 10:25:30 AM
Dear Barbara, Your endless effort to bring vaccine truth to the public has been an inspiration to all of us. My late mentor and your dear friend Dr. Robert Mendelsohn was and would continue to be very proud of you. Happy and healthy New Year, Mayer
Commenter Name
Dr. Mayer Eisenstein
Posted: 1/8/2010 11:05:49 AM
Dear Barbara, Your endless effort to bring vaccine truth to the public has been an inspiration to all of us. My late mentor and your dear friend Dr. Robert Mendelsohn was and would continue to be very proud of you. Happy and healthy New Year, Mayer
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/8/2010 11:13:10 AM
In the UK, many thousands of doses of swine flu vaccines have been given, with not a single credible report of a death or a serious (permanent) adverse reaction. On the other hand, at the time of writing, 298 people have died of swine flu.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/8/2010 4:09:45 PM
Dear Becky, What is your source of information with regards to there not being "a single credible report" of a death or adverse reaction? And what is the source that says 298 people have died from the swine flu? Too many reactions are labeled as not related to the vaccine..ie coincidences...yet every death from influenza type symptoms are labeled due to swine flu...I just don't believe everything I read that is available in the mainstream media.
Commenter Name
Shannon Ruhe
Posted: 1/9/2010 11:54:09 AM
I had the pleasure of walking around with Barbara and Chris in DC this past fall. The 4th International Public Vaccine conference was beyond my expectations. The science and policy aspects brought together yielded even greater understanding for me to be informed to make wise choices based on science. Have your volume on when you watch our recovery story. http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4d5451794d4459324d44553d0d0a&blogview=true&campaign=blog_instructions_directurl_makeyourown
Commenter Name
Steven Salzberg
Posted: 1/9/2010 1:23:32 PM
Lisa: vaccines against multiple diseases are preferred because it increases - dramatically - the number of people who get vaccinated. Immunologically, it doesn't make a difference, but from a public health perspective it is much more effective to have multi-disease vaccines such as MMR and DPT. Lisa (2nd comment): Becky is correct. There have been no credible reports of vaccine injury from the H1N1 vaccine, and we have now administered millions of doses. BLF: you complain of fear-mongering, but your article is an example of exactly that: comparing vaccines to 9/11? And to bioterrorism? It would be laughable if you weren't serious, but you clearly are. Vaccines have been the greatest boon to public health in the history of medicine. Too few people today realize (or remember) what it was like when children were under constant threat of being stricken by polio, smallpox, measles, and other deadly childhood diseases. It's really unfortunate that you are contributing to the return of some of these vaccine-preventable diseases.
Commenter Name
Shannon Ruhe
Posted: 1/9/2010 2:53:02 PM
While I too celebrate and marvel at Barbara's accomplishments and contributions let's not forget that we too are capable. "The impossible becomes possible because someone dreams it so. Being realistic has to do with the past....confining ourselves to what someone did or didn't accomplish yesterday. That means nothing about today or tomorrow!" I heard this at Son-Rise. I realize many of us are knee deep in recovering our children, however when we pull ourselves out, we must dust off and not allow fear to hold us back.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/9/2010 3:20:41 PM
@Lisa Well, if you're so convinced that there's evidence of serious reactions, perhaps you could point me to it. As for the number of Swine Flu deaths, I took the figure from here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pandemic-flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx?WT.srch=1
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/11/2010 12:43:51 PM
@Becky Here is one link with H1N1 vaccine reaction information..http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/129638
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/13/2010 12:18:31 PM
Tens of thousands of people die every year from the flu & flu-related illnesses (particularly the very young and very old) - and that is with a widely available vaccine. I would hate to think what it would be like if no vaccine was available. Also, are you in favor of a return of the Big Childhood illnesses (Measles, Mumps, Polio & Pertusis)? Once herd immunity drops below the acceptable percentage, you'll see a lot more kids getting sick and dying from diseases they have no reason to be exposed to. As the father of a young child, your fear-mongering is putting my son at risk.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/13/2010 8:58:08 PM
“The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.” Didn't FDR, the guy who had polio, say that? Wasn't it then the same guy (FDR) that helped make sure that the polio vaccine was available to one and all Americans? Perhaps you can explain to everyone why you were quoting FDR when you appear to decry the entire vaccine umbrella?
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/13/2010 10:49:12 PM
Barbara: how do you propose we dispose of the hundreds of thousands of dead children that will result EVERY YEAR when your crusade to banish vaccines is successful? The cemetaries will likely fill up mighty fast...
Commenter Name
Shawn B.
Posted: 1/14/2010 8:17:55 AM
Let's see what else kids get between the ages of 6mo and 2 years of age, related to the modern era. Perhaps we can pin this autism thing down and really go after the cause. - manufactured foods each passing year we move from whole foods to manufactured foods. Just about in the same timeline and inception and use of vaccines from the 50s. - toothpaste/flouride Fluoride drops, fluorinated toothpaste - Sun Screen No one ever used to use sun screen, now it is an epidemic. - Lip Balm Similar to sun screen but actually on people's MOUTHS. I bet they ingest some. You folks have some long years ahead of you refuting the use of so many modern conveniences considering they have about as much scientific causal link to disease as the above items do. To be fair, we can't leave any stone unturned in our search. I have a three year old, please let me know if I should stop with the suntan lotion. I understand the irrefutable link between sun damage and cancer, but if there is a slightest risk inherent in sun screen I want to be informed. thanks.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/15/2010 9:17:05 AM
Barbara, I support your work 100%. I look forward to the results of the studies that are underway which will compare the health of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children. I am hoping this will provide scientific evidence that will open the eyes of so many to the long term effects on our children that are related to all the toxins we have put in their bodies from the vaccines. It is disturbing to me that the trend is to increase the number of toxins we expose them to in the name of scientific advancements. One recent example is the AAP recommendation that boys have the HPV vaccine. Will this vaccine be added to the required vaccine schedule in the future? This would be yet another toxin introduced into our children's bodies...for something that could be avoided by use of condoms. We already know that numerous women have died from the HPV vaccine yet instead of notifying the public to these dangers now we are encouraging that parents expose their boys to these dangers also. Something has to be done and I'm so glad Barbara that you are doing the work you are doing and I hope it will make a difference someday in public policies.
Commenter Name
Posted: 1/15/2010 11:38:17 AM
Dear Barbara, The truth and credible science will prevail - the shouters and defamers will be seen for what and who they are. The public knows there is much to question, as the facts presented by CDC, WHO and other officials do not match the reality being experienced by families struggling to deal with their children's chronic health and disability crises. For example, in today's news, the WHO is defending itself against accusations by the Council of Europe for inciting a "false pandemic" and for making the decision to "cry pandemic" under the influence of those with connections to pharmaceutical companies. We all remember the prediction of body counts which were expected to exceed 1 million in the U.S. alone. The current claims of 13,000 deaths worldwide, 10,000 in the U.S, are especially dubious when one examines the individual reports from states and countries. For example, China with about 19% of the population, has reported only about 660 deaths or 5% of the total number of deaths, nearly 4 times fewer than proportional to the total. New Jersey, has reported 39 deaths, or 0.3% of deaths in the U.S. according to official counts, but has 2.8% of the U.S. population, nearly 10 times fewer than would be proportional to the total, although New Jersey has been considered a "hot spot" of swine flu activity. The figure being used for U.S. deaths by the CDC, 10,000, is 77% of the world's total, whereas the US population is only 4.5% of the world population, or 17 times greater than would be proportional. As the US is the most highly vaccinated population in the world, and has received more vaccine than any other nation, it would logically follow that if the vaccines were effective, we should have less H1N1 that other nations, but amazingly we have the most! The public is getting smarter about searching for information they can trust, and you have been their most stalwart resource for truthful, credible science based information. If you have not sent NVIC a donation lately, do not delay and give most generously; even David needed his slingshot to defeat Goliath!
Commenter Name
Posted: 2/8/2010 10:50:30 AM
And it was FDR who said (and I paraphrase) we have nothing to fear but fear itself! How true is that statement. We can not EVER let our decisions and the choices we make in life be based on fear and fear alone. Thanks Barbara.
Commenter Name
Vital Tremblay
Posted: 2/25/2010 5:10:18 PM
@Becky @Lisa Before we conclude and decide whatever we need full information. Then we must look facts in perspective with other elements. Too isolate each element does not arrive at just and proper reasoning. I explained how I see the evidence as a whole. It may be true that 298 people have died of swine flu. Ok. Then how many people die every year of a flu? Does this number has increased with the addition of the Swine flu? I'm not shure. That is of more important then number of died swine flu. And many of those that died from swine flu would had died anyway from some other thing. We have too take into account of the whole thing. At the time of january 2010 there was 14 286 swine flu deaths in the world. http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/Documents/100118_Influenza_AH1N1_Situation_Report_0900hrs.pdf It's amazing to note that no people complain about the number of Seasonal epidemics when we know they're between 250 000 and 500 000 deaths every year inf the world. Yet 8 times more. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/ But we are frightened by swine flu. Also vaccine injuries and side effects are not are not so easily listed My 0.02 cent

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