A Parent’s Perspective on Virginia’s Bill to Mandate All Vaccines on the CDC Schedule
On February 18, more than fifty parents crowded into a Senate room to testify before the Senate Health Subcommittee regarding a bill that requires school immunizations. The bill they considered would transfer the legislature’s decision-making authority over vaccine mandates to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every vaccine on the CDC’s recommended list, except annual flu shots, would automatically be required of Virginia schoolchildren. Future CDC-recommended vaccines would be added to Virginia’s requirements too, without further deliberation. This would mean 13 additional vaccines against 8 diseases now, including hepatitis A, meningitis and the HPV vaccine for boys, and other vaccines in the future.
The Subcommittee voted 5-0 with one abstention in favor of the bill. But could there be a problem? The educated parents who took time out of their busy lives to testify think so. And notably not a single parent testified in favor of the bill — only physicians and medical representatives with professional and financial interests at stake.
Parents showed up for many reasons:
First, safety. Vaccines do not undergo the kind of rigorous safety testing that drugs do. Because vaccines are “biologics,” they can be tested for periods as short as 4 days, as for the hepatitis B vaccine, and are usually tested against other vaccines, not inert saline placebos. This kind of testing masks serious problems that only show up when vaccines are in widespread use.
The notion that vaccine injury is one is a million is a myth. A federal Agency for Health Research Quality study suggests that vaccine injury is as common as 1 in 38 vaccines given. Making matters worse, manufacturers and healthcare providers cannot be held liable — Congress granted them blanket immunity under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.
In addition, vaccine are not always effective. They don’t confer any immunity in up to 10% of the population, and vaccine-induced immunity wanes over time. Outbreaks of pertussis, mumps, measles, and chickenpox regularly occur in vaccinated children.
Conflicts of interest are real. Because the CDC promotes vaccines, holds vaccine patents, and works closely with the CDC Foundation, to which Big Pharma contributes, it is not an unbiased referee. A revolving door between the CDC and the pharmaceutical industry as well as lucrative consulting contracts has led many observers to conclude that the CDC is captured by industry.
Children today are not healthy. Perhaps the most important concern for parents is that children today are not healthy. Indeed, 54% of American children have serious chronic health conditions, including ADD and ADHD, autism, asthma, allergies, arthritis, diabetes, learning disabilities and more.
African American children are at especially high risk, as black children are six times more likely to die from asthma, twice as likely to die in infancy, and 52% more likely to suffer from severe autism than all children.
Dr. Bill Thompson, a Ph.D. scientist at the CDC who was granted federal whistleblower protection, alleges that CDC scientists found that African-American boys are 3.36 times more likely to become autistic from the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine before 36 months than if they received it after 36 months. CDC supervisors then required Dr. Thompson and his colleagues to destroy the data and publish inaccurate results.
Robust evidence now confirms that African Americans have more responsive immune systems than Caucasians do. Leading vaccinologist Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic acknowledges that African Americans need one half the dose of vaccines that Caucasians do. So the CDC’s one-size-fits-all approach imposes an even greater additional risk of injury on African American children.
If the Senate passes the bill, Virginia will automatically turn future CDC-recommended vaccines into statewide mandates without legislative review. Virginia would literally be making its children first-in-line to try new CDC-recommended vaccines. Does no one remember the CDC’s Tuskegee experiments on African-American males? People may not know that the CDC experimented with an unlicensed measles vaccine on inner city children as recently as 1989.
Similarly, the human papilloma vaccine should give legislators pause. The federal government has received over 520 death reports and over 64,000 serious injury reports about this vaccine. Indeed, in Tarsell v. HHS, the Court of Federal Claims actually decided that Gardasil caused the death of Christina Tarsell, a 21-year old college student.
Parents need to call the shots when it comes to their kids, and they need legislators to pause before they hand over their authority to unelected federal bureaucrats who are captured by the pharmaceutical industry.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (2017). Black Children Six Times More Likely to Die of Asthma [Press release]. https://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/black-children-asthma
Becerra, T. A., von Ehrenstein, O. S., Heck, J. E., Olsen, J., Arah, O. A., Jeste, S. S., … & Ritz, B. (2014). Autism spectrum disorders and race, ethnicity, and nativity: a population-based study. Pediatrics, 134(1), e63-e71. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2013-3928
Bridge, J. A., Horowitz, L. M., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., Greenhouse, J., Kelleher, K. J., & Campo, J. V. (2018). Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 through 2015. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(7), 697-699. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2680952
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2017 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_10-508.pdf
DeStefano, F., Bhasin, T. K., Thompson, W. W., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., & Boyle, C. (2004). Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta. Pediatrics, 113(2), 259–266. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.113.2.259
Gallagher, C. M., & Goodman, M. S. (2010). Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997–2002. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 73(24), 1665-1677. https://doi.org/10.1080/15287394.2010.519317
Haralambieva, I. H., Salk, H. M., Lambert, N. D., Ovsyannikova, I. G., Kennedy, R. B., Warner, N. D., … & Poland, G. A. (2014). Associations between race, sex and immune response variations to rubella vaccination in two independent cohorts. Vaccine, 32(17), 1946-1953. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.01.090
Kerr, D. & Rivero, M. (April 30, 2014). Whistleblower Peter Buxtun and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Government Accountability Project. https://whistleblower.org/uncategorized/whistleblower-peter-buxtun-and-the-tuskegee-syphilis-study/
McCray, V. (January 24, 2020). State to require APS to review special education policies. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/state-require-aps-review-special-education-policies/4LK1g2la39NcUMjp9VIfgP/
Petersen, E. E., Davis, N. L., Goodman, D., Cox, S., Syverson, C., Seed, K., … & Barfield, W. (2019). Racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths—United States, 2007–2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(35), 762. http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6835a3
Thompson, W. W. (2014, August 27). Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., regarding the 2004 article examining the possibility of a relationship between MMR vaccine and autism [Press release]. https://whistleblower.org/uncategorized/whistleblower-peterbuxtun-and-the-tuskegee-syphilis-study/
Wiggins, L. D., Durkin, M., Esler, A., Lee, L. C., Zahorodny, W., Rice, C., … & Christensen, D. (2019). Disparities in Documented Diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder Based on Demographic, Individual, and Service Factors. Autism Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2255