After parents whose children had been severely damaged from vaccines attended a couple of congressional hearings, we might have thought Bill Clinton’s response would have been, “I feel your pain.” Not on your life. The Clinton Administration instead floated plans to gut the federal trust fund that compensates the families of children who are injured or killed by reactions to vaccines.
Surgeon General David Satcher told a House committee this month that Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala might recommend that a large portion of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s $1.4 billion trust be turned over to vaccine research. That would be a cruel betrayal of the parents who financed this trust fund by a 75 cents per dose assessment on vaccines and were promised compensation from it in exchange for virtually eliminating the pharmaceutical companies’ financial liability for injuries caused by their products.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received 11,000 complaints last year from doctors or parents. In presenting their claims of vaccine damages, parents must face a battery of 17 full-time, veteran Justice Department lawyers assigned to argue against them.
These lawyers have been successful in denying compensation to all but 1,300 of 5,300- plus families. The Clinton Administration has tightened the screws to make it become more and more difficult for parents to get any compensation.
Since most children today get up to 33 immunizations before they can be admitted to public school, parents are starting to ask a fundamental question. Which is the greater risk: getting and being injured by the disease, or being injured from the vaccine that purports to protect us from it?
For example, serious adverse events after receiving the hepatitis B vaccine, including 48 deaths, are reported three times as frequently as cases of hepatitis B in children under the age of 14. And, the only polio cases in the United States since 1991 have been those caused by the oral polio vaccine, whose use was discouraged only a few weeks ago!
Adults are free to assume risk for reasons of their choice: health, safety, protection of family or property, entertainment, or even excitement. But risk is not something that government, in a free society, should ordinarily force people to accept.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has just written Secretary Shalala a letter charging that “federal vaccine policy results in the violation of informed consent, and is based on incomplete studies of efficacy and potential adverse effects of the vaccines.” The AAPS letter points out that federal vaccine “recommendations” are transformed into “mandates by state health departments,” and that schools often require many vaccines “as a condition of attendance.”
These adverse events include not only immediate reactions to the vaccines, such as seizures and even death, but also possible long-term effects from damage to a child’s immune system. We urgently need an independent study to discover if there is a relationship between vaccines, especially when so many are given to infants in multiple doses, and the dramatic recent increases in autism and asthma.
The peremptory demand that all infants be immunized, regardless of whether they are at risk, is now being imitated by the U.S. Armed Forces. In May 1998, the Department of Defense mandated anthrax vaccination — requiring six shots in the first 18 months followed by annual booster shots — for all 2.4 million service personnel.
Serious questions have been raised about the vaccine’s safety. The vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 1970 after being tested on only 26 human recipients, and the long-term effects are unknown.
Israel does not force its military to take this vaccine. Neither does France. Neither does England. No country in Europe or Asia forces this vaccine on its soldiers.
There is so much opposition to the anthrax vaccination among the military that morale and combat readiness are suffering. This vaccine policy has caused an ominous exodus of some of our most experienced pilots from the reserves and the Air National Guard.
There is something drastically amiss when hundreds of servicemen with exemplary records are accepting court martial, dishonorable discharge, pay reduction, and time in the brig rather than obey an order to be vaccinated.
So who is profiting from this gigantic vaccine mandate? The Pentagon contracted with a single supplier, BioPort Corp., and recently agreed to pay $10.64 per dose even though the contractual obligation was only $4.36 per dose.
ABC News reported that Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. owns 22.5 percent of Intervac, which gives him a 13 percent share of BioPort, even though he hasn’t “invested a penny” in the venture. Crowe was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bush, but made big news in 1992 when he gave Clinton cover for his draft dodging. Clinton rewarded Crowe with the prize plum of appointment as Ambassador to England.
The Pentagon badly needs Congressional supervision, and Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R- NY) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced separate bills to halt the mandatory anthrax vaccinations.