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Dr. Wilbur H. Chen is a professor of Medicine at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. He is also a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) — a key federal regulatory committee that reviews vaccine safety.
And, it turns out, Chen accepts large sums of money from two vaccine makers whose products are subject to regulatory review by the ACIP.
This is a clear financial conflict of interest that must be addressed immediately by removing Chen from the ACIP.
GSK is one of the four largest vaccine makers in the world. GSK makes the incredibly toxic Hep B vaccine (Engerix-B), the troubled HPV vaccine (Cervarix), a meningococcal vaccine that is loaded with aluminum (Bexsero) and various flu vaccines among others.
All of GSK’s products must go before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), that Chen sits on, in order to be approved.
Emergent BioSolutions has an abysmal safety record. Even though federal regulators are generally like Mr. Magoo when it comes to spotting safety problems, the issues at Emergent’s plant in Baltimore were so egregious that earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shut down the plant and ordered J&J to take it over and run it themselves.
The FDA also ordered 75 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured at that plant be destroyed because of contamination. All of the vaccines manufactured at the Emergent BioSolutions plant must first be approved by the ACIP where Chen is a member.
This is completely unacceptable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 27,550 pediatricians employed in the U.S. There is absolutely no reason for the ACIP to utilize a person with such extensive financial conflicts of interest.
The CDC) must be above reproach in order to have any credibility with the general public. Sadly the CDC appears to do whatever it can get away with — a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse.
The fact that these decisions involve the health of our children makes corruption all the more appalling.
Please contact the following four officials (as well your elected representatives) to let them know that you are troubled by Chen’s extensive financial conflicts of interest and please ask that he be removed from the ACIP before it meets on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Roybal Building 21, Rm 12000
1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333
phone: (404) 639-7000
Secretary, Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201
c/o Sean McCluskie
Captain Amanda Cohn
Chief medical officer
National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333 MS C-09
phone: (404) 639-6039
fax: (404) 315-4679
Grace Lee, M.D.
Chair, Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices
Center for Academic Medicine
Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Mail Code: 5660
453 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA 94304
phone: (650) 497-0618
phone: (650) 498-6227
fax: (650) 725-8040
It is beyond alarming that the ACIP has failed to properly monitor financial conflicts of interest amongst its members. All prior ACIP votes involving Chen should be reviewed by an independent outside review board to see if they must be thrown out because of this blatant corruption.
The CDC should also examine and release publicly all financial conflict of interest statements from all remaining ACIP members to determine if there are additional problems before Tuesday.