By Nicholas Regush
With so many vaccines recommended before children enter
school, how can parents be sure that all of the
immunizations work together safely?
Beware old files. They may hold the ingredients for
gastrointestinal upset. The file that I just had to
stick my nose in was slugged, “Vaccine advocates
with ties to vaccine makers.”
I like to keep tabs on what might be considered
conflicts of interest in medicine. At the least, it diminishes the
chance that I’ll embarrass myself by putting on a national TV network
news show someone who is involved in public health policy but whose
voice, eyes, ears and perhaps other anatomical components are leased, if
not wholly owned, by industry.
Flipping through the contents of the file, I
noticed a letter that had been sent to ABC NEWS from a well-known vaccine
advocate. It partly had to do with a story I had produced for World
News Tonight. The story was a rather soft warning, based on
preliminary scientific information, that certain vaccines given in
infancy could potentially cause long-term harm, primarily because the
body’s immune function could be altered in some way.
As far as news stories go, it was fairly
low-key and in no way condemned vaccines, but rather it suggested that
more research on long-term effects was imperative. In fact, the story
made clear that vaccines have contributed enormously to warding off many
diseases, a view I continue to hold strongly today.
What caused a burning sensation in my gut in reviewing the letter was
the writer’s criticism of Barbara Loe Fisher, who, as co-founder and
president of the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center, has
spoken out on vaccine issues affecting health-care professionals and
tens of thousands of families affected by vaccine-related side effects.
The letter writer suggested that since she wasn’t an “immunization
authority,” Fisher shouldn’t have appeared in the World News
As readers of this column know, I can get
quite annoyed when so-called health professionals try to bash people who
do not share their views. I’ve noted that this is a practice that has
become increasingly common and downright shameless.
In any case, we had checked out Fisher’s
credentials, as we do with others. She had served on the National
Vaccine Advisory Committee, chaired the Subcommittee on Adverse Vaccine
Events and written a highly touted book on vaccine safety issues,
particularly those surrounding the whole cell pertussis or whooping
cough vaccine. But what really caught our attention at World News
Tonight, and what separated Fisher from the pool of academics,
including the letter writer, who advocate vaccine policy, is that she
had a history of asking straightforward, pertinent questions about
Questions such as:
are there no studies on the long-term effects of vaccination?
- Why are there so few studies that have examined what happens in
the body at a cellular/molecular level after vaccination?
- Why are we vaccinating children in a vacuum of scientific
- Why are there no long-term studies to assess illness and deaths
related to vaccination?
These are the kind of fundamental questions
that anyone involved in vaccine policy should be addressing, but that is
hardly the case. People like Fisher are badly needed on TV and radio
news programs and in newspaper stories to raise these questions again
and again — until the academics wake up and do some real research.
These days, children can get as many as 21
vaccines before they start first grade. There are about 200 more
vaccines in the pipeline. Scenarios for the future even include
consuming vaccines in nose sprays, ointments and fruits and vegetables.
I call it vaccine mania. It has gone beyond
what anyone can possibly defend on scientific grounds. Pumping more
vaccines into the body without understanding such basics as how
they’ll affect immune system function over time borders on the
It’s OK to Ask
What it all boils down to is that vaccine makers, their advocates and
government institutions that promote vaccines, such as the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, have long ago abdicated their
responsibilities to the public. They aren’t even bothering to
acknowledge the types of questions Fisher routinely raises.
And when someone like Fisher goes on television
for a few seconds to raise fundamental questions about vaccine safety,
one of the good soldiers of the vaccine movement tries to turn off a
little heat by stabbing her in the back. (By the way, we at World
News Tonight were informed that there were many real experts ready
to do business with us next time we planned a piece on vaccines.)
I had planned this week to list some people and
institutions heavily tied to the vaccine industry, but I first had to
get this piece of foul history out of my gut. Tune in next week.
And thanks for the volume of letters that comes
in every week to Second Opinion. I try personally to answer as
many as I can.