I had the pleasure of having lunch today with Barbara Lowe Fisher, Director of the National Vaccine Information Center. She is adamant about not telling parents whether or not to vaccinate their children. Instead, her simple, deep message is that we need to have informed consent about immunizations. This means having access to the science and gaps in science concerning vaccine safety, including possible adverse health outcomes.
Throughout medicine, we require informed consent for procedures and treatments before performing these procedures on a patient. This means having a discussion about the risks and benefits, as well as any alternatives to a procedure. Failure to provide informed consent is grounds for malpractice if an adverse outcome occurs which might have been anticipated. However, in the case of immunizations, legislation has been passed to provide immunity to the drug companies which manufacture vaccines, regardless of adverse outcomes. In addition, pediatricians and other physicians who administer vaccines most commonly fail to inform parents about the most severe potential risks of vaccines. The result is that a parent’s implied consent is not truly informed.
Further, the double-blind prospective placebo-controlled studies which are required to admit new medications to use in medicine are not being performed with vaccines. Research which studies immunized versus non-immunized children with regard to adverse health outcomes, conducted over years, have not been performed. Even the retrospective studies looking at children who have not received vaccines in families with autism and other related disorders, where there is high risk for repeated problems and new children have likewise not been performed.
In California, the Gardasil vaccine can be administered to pre-pubertal children without the consent or awareness of their parents. In other states, the pharmaceutical industry is pushing for repeal of the freedom of choice acts which give parents conscientious or religious exemption from vaccinating their children. Compulsory immunization laws are already in effect in many states. Your rights to freedom of choice and informed consent regarding treatments for your family are threatened by the furor with which the pharmaceutical industry is promoting their commercial products.
What is informed consent? Simply, it involves explaining the proposed procedure to the patient including the fact that there are risks (including death) and alternatives. Nothing more is required unless the patient asks questions. If the patient asks questions, they must be addressed. No other procedure in medicine can be performed without informed consent. Our medical freedom, then, is abridged by the lack of effective studies of long-term health outcomes in immunized versus non-immunized children and adults, and by the lack of rigorous enforcement of the rules of informed consent. The immunity which drug companies and physicians have been given by legislative decree, regardless of the laws of informed consent, represents a threat to all of our children.
We do have recourse. The drug companies are a few entities with an agenda. We are millions who are seeking to do the best for our children. We need to become better informed ourselves. Also, we need to become aware of political maneuvering to further abridge our healthcare freedom. The National Vaccine Information Center provides a portal for easy access to information and to a means of actively speaking out on your issues of concern. Thereby, we can alter the course of healthcare administration. Washington state has already passed a law restricting conscientious exemption from vaccinations, California has done the same, and historically, Oregon will be the next target. Please go to NVIC.org and sign up to receive updates.
All of us living with autism and other injured children are overwhelmed. We need to have simple ways to have our voices heard, and NVIC provides the best help in this way that I know. We have a huge voice, if we can be kept abreast of legislative proposals affecting our families.
Did you know that public health service and FDA officials have no immunity for whistleblowing? In other words, providing unfavorable information about their work to the public can lead to prosecution. This is a form of censorship which further deprives us of potentially vital information coming out of a biased industry which aims to reassure us about the safety of immunizations in every child, regardless of the unanswered questions and unexplained or nonexistent data.
Indeed, there are many unanswered questions about the causes of declining health and increased chronic illness and our children. We need to have full access and free dialogue on all of the questions. We need good rigorous prospective studies to ask questions. But you have not been asked. As one official said, “what cannot be, must not be”, in reference to immunization hazards. If “what cannot be” is that vaccines may cause serious harm to some children, then it is so. Our wish and good intentions with the administration of vaccines is not enough to ensure safety. In particular, if you have a medically fragile child or family, you need to have access to alternative approaches to the standard template of healthcare and immunizations.
In summary, please sign up with NVIC.org to receive updates and help facilitate further dialogue about the challenging questions about vaccine safety. You will also find more information and guidance on these questions at greatergoodmovie.org.
John A. Green, III, MD