Good News from ACIP (for a Change)?
In February of this year, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sent a letter to the Chairman and other members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on behalf of Children’s Health Defense. Aware that ACIP was planning to consider recommending Merck’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine—Gardasil 9—for all women and men 27 to 45 years old, Kennedy informed the committee that Children’s Health Defense would consider such a recommendation “reckless” based on the safety information available. Kennedy’s six-page letter outlined numerous reasons to support his concerns.
At its most recent meeting on June 26, 2019, ACIP members voted—in a remarkable 10-4 split—not to recommend the HPV vaccine for the 27-45 age group (described by ACIP as “mid-adults”). This striking decision stands in contrast to the committee’s usual pattern of rubber-stamping virtually every licensed vaccine that comes its way. Could ACIP’s unprecedented position—that “the proportion of patients who would benefit is small” and that “the vast majority…of patients in that age group should not get the vaccine”—be, at least in part, related to Kennedy’s letter detailing the issues with this dangerous vaccine?
ACIP recommendations for both childhood and adult vaccines are hugely influential—the “golden ticket” that creates a guaranteed market, sets school mandates and insurance coverage into motion and generally leads to lockstep recommendations from leading medical trade organizations. In addition, ACIP’s vaccine endorsements offer the prospect of complete liability protection under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. This makes ACIP’s decision not to tell over 80 million adults to get the HPV vaccine all the more extraordinary.
The HPV-vaccine-related news from the June meeting is not all good, however. In lieu of recommending the vaccine across the board for the 27 to 45-year age group, ACIP members supported a recommendation for “shared decision-making for the HPV vaccine” between doctors and patients. This language—innocuous on the surface—appears to signal ACIP’s willingness for doctors and the medical establishment to further encroach on informed consent and patients’ sole discretion to make decisions about their bodies.
Kennedy and Children’s Health Defense have diligently followed ACIP’s work to evaluate and recommend vaccines to the American public and are well aware of the committee’s willingness to mandate “a parade of lucrative vaccines that are ineffective, untested and unsafe.” Children’s Health Defense also has repeatedly called attention to the serious risks of the Gardasil and Gardasil 9 vaccines and their abysmal track record. Thus, while mid-adults can breathe a sigh of relief, for the time being, about being spared overt haranguement to get the HPV vaccine, it will be important to continue monitoring the ACIP decisions that emerge from future meetings.