Congress Asked to Investigate Vaccine Safety

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Jim Fogerty
Epoch Times
02/24/10

A group concerned with the safety of vaccinations is calling on Congress to investigate government health agencies for failing to fully address vaccine safety issues mandated by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act.

In a letter, the Coalition for Vaccine Safety (CVS) asked for hearings to investigate specific agencies and others for not meeting the safety requirements specified in the Compensation Act’s “Mandate for Safe Vaccines.” The letter was sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both House and Senate committees responsible for overseeing the agencies in question—the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“In light of the growing number of questions and concerns regarding vaccine safety, it is imperative that the U.S. government rely on the best, most thorough and rigorous science possible,” the CVS letter states. “The Department of Health and Human Services is legally and ethically bound to do everything reasonably possible to ensure the safety of vaccines.”

CVS requested Congress use a “jaundiced eye” in reviewing CDC and HHS safety claims, calling existing vaccine safety evidence “grossly insufficient” and failing to meet “the requirements of public confidence.”

The letter went even further, suggesting, “suppression of science that could prove or disprove vaccine safety … due to potential liability and financial conflicts of interest involving individuals and organizations responsible for scientific studies and vaccine safety policies.”

If suppression did occur, it could impact vaccine injury compensations decided by the Court of Federal Claims, which relies on vaccine safety scientific data—including that provided by government agencies—in reaching its decisions. The CVS claims the effect of such “insufficient or flawed science” supplied by the agencies as “astounding” in its impact on public health.

In this respect, CVS points out that Congress needs to act quickly, as the Court of Federal Claims will soon make a determination in its Omnibus Autism Proceeding regarding the link between autism and the vaccine preservative thimerosal.

Thimerosal-Autism Link

Controversy has surrounded claims of a connection between the increasing number of children with autism and the mercury-containing vaccine preservative thimerosal.

The CDC links to papers like Dr. Paul A. Offit’s “Thimerosal and Autism,” which references studies showing no increases in autism between groups that took vaccines with thimerosal and those that took vaccines without. The paper references the Madsen study of vaccinations in Denmark, where thimerosal was abandoned as a preservative in 1991. The study actually claimed an increase in autism among non-thimerosal vaccinations.

The CVS cites examples of “suppression of science and conflicts of interest” regarding this issue, including a quote by former Congressman David Weldon (R-Fla.), who said that the Madsen study was rejected by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and The Lancet, due to “significant weaknesses.”

Former chairman of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, is also quoted in the letter regarding thimerosal and autism. “The question has not been answered,” Healy says, adding that there may be a “susceptible group” among vaccine recipients. “If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group … what can I say?”

The CVS is made up of a coalition of advocacy groups with a mission statement to seek “rigorous scientific inquiry free from conflicts of interest and political influence, and oversight that is both independent and accountable.”