Well­ness Arti­cles

Deadly Immu­nity

The title above comes from one of the most stir­ring arti­cles on health care. Author Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pre­sented this arti­cle in the June 2005 issue of Rolling Stone mag­a­zine. The arti­cle starts off by report­ing on a secret meet­ing that was held at a retreat in Geor­gia in June of 2000 in which fifty-​two atten­dees rep­re­sent­ing high-​level offi­cials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion, the top vac­cine spe­cial­ist from the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion in Geneva and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of every major vac­cine man­u­fac­turer, includ­ing Glax­o­SmithK­line, Merck, Wyeth and Aven­tis Pas­teur were strickly embar­goed against shar­ing any infor­ma­tion out­side the meeting.

Par­tic­i­pants attend­ing this secret meet­ing, con­vened by the cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, were repeat­edly reminded that there would be no mak­ing pho­to­copies of doc­u­ments, and no tak­ing papers with them when they left. The meet­ing was called to dis­cuss a dis­turb­ing new study that raised alarm­ing ques­tions about the safety of a host of com­mon child­hood vac­cines admin­is­tered to infants and young children.

Tom Ver­straeten, a CDC epi­demi­ol­o­gist had ana­lyzed the agency’s mas­sive data­base con­tain­ing the med­ical records of 100,000 chil­dren. He found that a mercury-​based preser­v­a­tive in the vac­cines (thimerosal) appeared to be respon­si­ble for a dra­matic increase in autism and a host of other neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders among chil­dren. He com­mented, “I was actu­ally stunned by what I saw.” What Ver­staeten told the group was that since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had rec­om­mended that three addi­tional vac­cines laced with the preser­v­a­tive be given to extremely young infants the esti­mated num­ber of cases of autism had increased fif­teen­fold, from one in every 2,500 chil­dren to one in 166 children.

The arti­cle notes that the atten­dees were shocked. One doc­tor, Dr. Richard John­ston, an immu­nol­o­gist and pedi­a­tri­cian from the Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado whose grand­son had been born early on the morn­ing of the meeting’s first day com­mented, “For­give this per­sonal com­ment — I do not want my grand­son to get a thimerosal-​containing vac­cine until we know bet­ter what is going on.”

How­ever, as the Robert F. Kennedy arti­cle fur­ther reported, instead of tak­ing imme­di­ate steps to alert the pub­lic and rid the vac­cine sup­ply of thimerosal, the atten­dees of this secret meet­ing spent most of the next two days dis­cussing how to cover up the star­tling data. Kennedy noted that under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, tran­scripts showed that many at the meet­ing were con­cerned about how the dam­ag­ing rev­e­la­tions about thimerosal would affect the vac­cine industry’s bot­tom line.

Dr. Robert Brent, a pedi­a­tri­cian at the Alfred I. duPont Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren in Delaware stated, “This will be a resource to our very busy plain­tiff attor­neys in this coun­try.” He con­tin­ued, “given the sen­si­tiv­ity of the infor­ma­tion, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less respon­si­ble hands.” Dr. John Clements, vac­cines adviser at the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, took a stronger approach and stated that the study, “should not have been done at all” and warned that the results “will be taken by oth­ers and will be used in ways beyond the con­trol of this group. The research results have to be handled.”

Mark Blax­ill, vice pres­i­dent of Safe Minds, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion con­cerned about the role of mer­cury in med­i­cines was quoted in the arti­cle by say­ing, “The CDC is guilty of incom­pe­tence and gross neg­li­gence. The dam­age caused by vac­cine expo­sure is mas­sive. It’s big­ger than asbestos, big­ger than tobacco, big­ger than any­thing you’ve ever seen.”

In sum­ming up his arti­cle Kennedy stated his pas­sion for doing this inves­ti­ga­tion, “I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral cri­sis that must be addressed. If, as the evi­dence sug­gests, our public-​health author­i­ties know­ingly allowed the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try to poi­son an entire gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can chil­dren, their actions arguably con­sti­tute one of the biggest scan­dals in the annals of Amer­i­can medicine.”

Ran­dom Article

Time lapse of baby learn­ing to walk


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