October 27, 2008

McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?

From Autism Action Network, Autism United, Generation Rescue, Moms Against Mercury, No Mercury, Schafer Autism Report, Talk About Curing Autism, Unlocking Autism and U. S. Autism and Asperger’s Association:

McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?

San Diego, CA, October 27, 2008 - Parents, scientists and clinicians met this weekend in San Diego to discuss the current state of autism research. Organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of voters nationwide, are calling for Senator McCain to state his policy position on vaccine safety publicly and for Senator Obama to officially clarify comments made earlier this fall by noon October 30, 2008 so voters can make a final informed decision for their candidate of choice.

The community gratefully acknowledges the commitment by both Senator Obama and Senator McCain at the last debate to aggressively research the causes of and treatments for autism, a national health crisis affecting at least one in 150 children. However, the community remains concerned about vaccine safety reform. Reform issues include the removal of neurotoxic ingredients in vaccines and alteration of the present vaccination schedule for at risk children.

Emerging evidence in the scientific literature suggest that environmental factors including vaccines, may contribute to autism. The nation is facing a crisis of confidence in the safety of the vaccine program. More and more parents are opting out of the current vaccine schedule which has never been adequately safety tested. The Centers for Disease Control admitted last April that “simultaneous vaccination is incompletely studied at the time of licensure.” (page 33: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/00_pdf/draft_agenda_recommendations_080404.pdf)

In May, Rebecca Estepp of San Diego, who has a vaccine injured child with autism, contacted both campaigns for clarification on their positions with regard to vaccine safety reform. She made a plea for two Executive Orders to be issued within the first one hundred days of entering office including the removal all mercury from all vaccines and a moratorium on the addition of new vaccines to the recommended list for children until the current vaccine schedule can be proven safe.

On October 20th, Estepp received a detailed response from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign, stating that if elected, McCain “will work with all agencies to take all necessary steps in an expedient manner to ensure safe vaccines for every American family.” Further, McCain endorsed parental vaccination choice stating, “The key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves.”

In contrast, Senator Obama never responded to Estepp’s requests for improved vaccine safety, responding to her only with regard to his position on autism. Estepp is disappointed: “I truly wanted responses from both parties and while the concerns of vaccine safety and autism overlap, they are in fact two separate issues. I didn’t ask either candidate for their positions on autism. I asked for vaccine safety improvements on behalf of all children.”

However, earlier this fall, New Jersey parent Claudine Liss attended an Obama fundraiser with the express intent to get answers. After asking similar questions as Estepp, Liss explains, “He looked right at me and said, ‘I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.’” Liss and many others are declining to vaccinate their children using the current CDC-recommended schedule.

New Jersey parents are furious about the first-ever mandated flu shot required for day care and preschool. Seven hundred people rallied in Trenton earlier this month in support of vaccination choice.

Estepp extends a final plea to Senator Obama to clarify his position: “This is a party-neutral issue and many of our parents are waiting to make up their minds. Senator McCain believes parents have a choice in how they vaccinate their children. Senator Obama appears to disagree. I sincerely hope that Senator Obama misspoke that night in New Jersey.” (http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/10/mccain-addresse.html)

Autism Action Network, Autism United, Generation Rescue, Moms Against Mercury, No Mercury, Schafer Autism Report, Talk About Curing Autism, Unlocking Autism and U. S. Autism and Asperger’s Association

For peer reviewed research on the connection between autism and vaccine, please visit: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

Obama Releases Autism Plan

So sorry to be an absentee blogger this close to the election... Have not read this yet (nor the Palin speech.) Will comment later.

From the Obama camp:

More than one million Americans have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a complex condition that impacts communication, socialization, and behavior. And more cases of ASD are being recognized across the country at an alarming pace. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that we must do more to help support Americans with ASD, their families, and their communities. Throughout his career, Barack Obama has worked with families affected by ASD to raise awareness and to provide support to parents and families living with ASD.

As president, he will build on these many years of advocacy and ensure that his administration prioritizes ASD research, public awareness, and lifelong support services. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will seek to increase federal ASD funding for research, treatment, screenings, public awareness, and support services to $1 billion annually by the end of his first term in office. They will also continue to work with parents, physicians, providers, researchers, and schools to create opportunities and effective solutions for people with ASD.

Record of Leadership on ASD Research and Care: As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama sponsored legislation that became law to create an ASD diagnosis education program, an initiative designed to promote the implementation of evidence-based practices. The goal of the project is to offer educational opportunities at all levels of care, including physicians, early intervention (EI) specialists, psychologists, teachers, day care providers, parents, respite workers, and speech and language therapists. Obama has personally worked side-byside with Illinois families affected by ASD to support efforts to build the Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research. This school and research center will bring together education, academic research, early intervention programs, and training to prepare its students for independent living.

In the U.S. Senate, Obama is a cosponsor of a measure that would expand federal funding for life-long services for people with ASD, authorizing approximately $350 million in new federal funding for key programs related to treatments, interventions and services for both children and adults with ASD.

Appoint Federal ASD Coordinator to Oversee All Federal ASD Efforts: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure all federal ASD activities occur in an efficient manner that prioritizes both research and supports for families affected by ASD. They will appoint a Federal ASD Coordinator to oversee federal ASD research and federal efforts to improve awareness of ASD and improve the training of medical professionals to identify and treat ASD. By establishing one top-level point person to coordinate ASD efforts in the White House, they will ensure that ASD receives the recognition and priority it deserves in the federal government. The Federal ASD
Coordinator will also be tasked with eliminating bureaucratic obstacles that may be delaying implementation of important ASD measures and ensuring that all federal ASD dollars are being spent in a manner that prioritizes results. The Coordinator will work with state task forces on ASD to ensure effective communication and collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies.

Fully Fund the Combating Autism Act and Federal Autism Research Initiatives: Barack Obama supported the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which was signed into law in December 2006. The Combating Autism Act authorizes increased federal funding for ASD research and efforts to boost public awareness and early diagnosis of ASD. Since the bill has been enacted, however, federal funding for ASD has not increased to the levels authorized by the Combating Autism Act. As a U.S. Senator, Obama has worked to fully fund the Combating Autism Act and as president, he will ensure that his administration addresses the growing impact of ASD and other special needs on American families. President Obama will fully fund the Combating Autism Act, which
provides nearly $1 billion in autism-related funding over 5 years, and work with Congress, parents and ASD experts to determine how to further improve federal and state programs.

Support Special Needs Education for Children with ASD: Barack Obama and Joe Biden understand that children with special needs – students with visual, hearing, physical, sensory, and mental impairments – require meaningful resources to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Obama is a strong supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and supports full federal funding of the law to truly ensure that no child is left behind. The current underfunding of IDEA causes school districts throughout the country to deny necessary services to students with ASD and other special needs. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will also work to change IDEA’s definition of “autism” to Autism Spectrum Disorders to ensure that all children diagnosed with ASD disorders receive the support they need.

Support Universal Screening: While roughly 90 percent of infants in the United States are currently screened for various potentially disabling or life-threatening conditions, fewer than half the states screen all infants for the full recommended panel of 29 disorders. Many of these conditions, if caught early, can be treated before they result in permanent impairments or even death. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we should screen all infants, and also that we must set a national goal to provide re-screening for all two-year-olds, the age at which some conditions, including ASD, begin to appear. These screenings will be safe and secure, and available for every American that wants them. Part of the Obama-Biden early childhood intervention plan will be directed at coordinating fragmented community programs to help provide all children access to screening for disabilities as infants and again as two-year olds. Achieving universal screening is essential so that disabilities can be identified early enough for those children and families to get the special supports and resources they need.

Work Together: As part of their commitment to open the doors of our government to the American people, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to facilitating open dialogue among Americans with special needs and their families, federal and state agencies, regional centers, resource centers, research institutions, school
districts, first responders, and community members.

October 24, 2008

Sarah Palin Gives Her First Policy Speech and It Is On Kids With Special Needs

So much to write about, but unfortunately I am stuck working today. But I wanted to provide the text of her speech this morning. I have not even read it yet:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Press Office
Friday, October 24, 2008

ARLINGTON, VA -- Governor Sarah Palin today delivered the following remarks as prepared for delivery in Pittsburgh, PA, at 9:00 a.m. ET:

Thank you all very much. I appreciate the hospitality of the people of Pittsburgh, and I'm grateful to all the groups who have joined us here today. The Woodlands Foundation, the Down Syndrome Center at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Autism-link, the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh: Thank you for coming today. And, above all, thank you for the great work you do for the light and love you bring into so many lives.

John McCain and I have talked about the missions he'd like me to focus on should I become vice president, and our nation's energy independence and government reform are among them. But there is another mission that's especially close to my heart, and that is to help families of children with special needs. And today, we'll talk about three policy proposals that are going to help us fulfill our country's commitment to these children: more choices for parents, fully funding IDEA, and efforts to reform and refocus.

Too often, even in our own day, children with special needs have been set apart and excluded. Too often, state and federal laws add to their challenges, instead of removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity. Too often, they are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don't count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country -- and I will work to change it.

One of the most wonderful experiences in this campaign has been to see all the families of children with special needs who come out to rallies and events just like this. We have a bond there. We know that children with special needs inspire a special love. You bring your sons and daughters with you, because you are proud of them, as I am of my son.

My little fella sleeps during most of these rallies, even when they get pretty rowdy. He would be amazed to know how many folks come out to see him instead of me.

When I learned that Trig would have special needs, honestly, I had to prepare my heart. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding. I did a lot of praying for that understanding, and strength, and to see purpose.

And what's been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. You know that there are the world's standards of perfection, and then there are God's, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake. And the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable.

As for our baby boy, Trig, for Todd and me he is only more precious because he is vulnerable. In some ways, I think we stand to learn more from him than he does from us. When we hold Trig and care for him, we don't feel scared anymore. We feel blessed.

Of course, many other families are much further along a similar path -- including my best friend who happens to be my sister, Heather, and her 13-year old son Karcher, who has autism. Heather and I have worked on this for over a decade. Heather is an advocate for children with autism in Alaska. And as governor, I've succeeded in securing additional funding and assistance for students with special needs. By 2011, I will have tripled the funding available to these students.

Heather and I have been blessed with a large, strong family network. Our family helps make sure that Trig and Karcher have what they need. But not everyone is lucky enough to have that strong network of support. And the experiences of those millions of Americans point the way to better policy in the care of children with special needs.

One of the most common experiences is the struggle of parents to find the best and earliest care for their children. The law requires our public schools to serve children with special needs, but often the results fall far short of the service they need. Even worse, parents are left with no other options, except for the few families that can afford private instruction or therapy.

Many of you parents here have been through the drill: You sit down with teachers and counselors to work out the IEP -- an individual education plan for your child. The school may be trying its best, but they're overstretched. They may keep telling you that your child is "progressing well," and no extra services are required. They keep telling you that -- but you know better.

You know that your children are not getting all of the help they need, at a time when they need it most. The parents of children with special needs ask themselves every day if they are doing enough, if they are doing right by their sons and daughters. And when our public school system fails to render help and equal opportunity -- and even prevents parents from seeking it elsewhere that is unacceptable.

In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents'. Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice -- public or private.

Under our reforms, federal funding for every special needs child will follow that child. Some states have begun to apply this principle already, as in Florida's McKay Scholarship program. That program allows for choices and a quality of education that should be available to parents in every state, for every child with special needs. This process should be uncomplicated, quick, and effective -- because early education can make all the difference. No barriers of bureaucracy should stand in the way of serving children with special needs.

That's why John and I will direct the Department of Education to clarify the statute administratively. We'll make explicit that when state funds are portable, federal funds are fully portable. We're going to make sure parents have choices and children receive the education they deserve.

Even the best public school teacher or administrator cannot rightfully take the place of a parent in making these choices. The schools feel responsible for the education of many children, but a parent alone is responsible for the life of each child. And in the case of parents of children with disabilities, there are enough challenges as it is, and our children will face more than enough closed doors along the way. When our sons and daughters need better education, more specialized training, and more individual attention, the doors of opportunity should be open.

Like John McCain, I am a believer in providing more school choice for families. The responsibility for the welfare of children rests ultimately with mothers and fathers, and the power to choose should be theirs as well. But this larger debate of public policy should not be permitted to hinder the progress of special-needs students. Where their lives, futures, and happiness are at stake, we should have no agenda except to ease the path they are on. And the best way to do that is to give their parents options.

In a McCain-Palin administration, we will also fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To his great credit, it was President Gerald Ford who signed the legislation that became the IDEA -- establishing new standards of respect and inclusion for young Americans with disabilities. From that day to this, however, the federal government's obligations under the IDEA have not been adequately met. And portions of IDEA funding have actually decreased since 2005.

This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend. We've got a three trillion dollar budget, and Congress spends some 18 billion dollars a year on earmarks for political pet projects. That's more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA. And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good -- things like fruit fly research in Paris, France, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we're going to reform and refocus. We're going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country's commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life.

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference. That's why we're going to strengthen NIH. We're going to work on long-term cures, and in the short-term, we're going to work on giving these families better information.

Once a condition is known, parents need the best and latest information on what to expect and how to respond. This service is also provided for under the IDEA. And we will make sure that every family has a place to go for support and medical guidance. The existing programs and community centers focus on school-age children -- overlooking the need for assistance before school-age.

But it would make a lot more sense for these centers to focus as well on infants and toddlers. This is not only a critical stage for diagnosis; it can also be a crucial time to prepare the family for all that may lie ahead. Families need to know what treatments are most effective, and where they are available, what costs they will face, and where aid can be found, and where they can turn for the advice and support of others in their situation. As Todd and I and Heather know, there's no substitute for the friendship of those who have been where we are now.

The IDEA is also intended to serve teens and young adults with special needs. And here, too, there is an opportunity to reform and extend the reach of federal support under the IDEA. By modernizing a current law, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, we can better serve students with disabilities in our high schools and community colleges. This will require reform by the states as well. Just as the federal government expects proven results in the progress of other students, we must require results as well in the achievements of students with disabilities. And the result we will expect is simple: that every special-needs student be given a chance to learn the skills to work, and enjoy the freedom to live independently if that is their choice.

As families across America know, the care of special-needs children requires long-term planning, and especially financial planning. A common practice among these families is to establish financial trusts. These are known as special needs trusts, covering years of medical and other costs, and for parents they bring invaluable comfort.

Understandably, then, many families with special-needs children or dependent adults are concerned that our opponent in this election plans to raise taxes on precisely those kinds of financial arrangements. They fear that Senator Obama's tax increase will have serious and harmful consequences -- and they are right. The burden that his plan would impose upon these families is just one more example of how many plans can be disrupted, how many futures can be placed at risk, and how many people can suffer when the power to tax is misused.

Our opponent has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. And though he makes adjustments on his tax plan pronouncements seemingly by the day, his commitment to increase taxes remains the same. John McCain and I have just the opposite commitment. We intend to lower taxes, promote growth, and protect the earnings and savings of American families.

Not long ago, I spent some time at a place in Cleveland called the Michael T. George Center, a beautiful home for adults with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. I met Michael George, too, a boy of five with Down Syndrome. Michael is a healthy, sweet, joy-filled little man -- and I saw in him all the things I wish for Trig in just a few years.

Michael's parents, Tony and Kris George, are advocates for children with special needs in their community. They are thinking far ahead, in their own boy's life and in the lives of others. They named the center after their son. It's a public-private partnership. This welcoming place -- and so many others like it -- shows the good heart of America. They are places of hope. They are the works of people who believe that every life matters, everyone has something to contribute, and every child should have things to look forward to, and achievements to point to with pride and joy. As many of you know better than I, it can be a hard path, and yet all the more joyful and productive when the barriers are overcome.

John McCain and I have a vision in which every child is loved and cherished, and that is the spirit I want to bring to Washington. To the families and caregivers of special-needs children all across this country, I do have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

October 21, 2008

Cindy McCain Discusses Autism on Fox News

Ok... so I said about ten minutes ago that I would be likely endorsing McCain, and this pretty much sews that up. At this point the McCain campaign can't seem to stop talking about autism.

There is a wise biblical proverb that says, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". Never has a political campaign talked so much (or even at all) about autism. And when Obama and Clinton have talked about it, it is because John McCain brought it up.

And keep in mind that Cindy holds a Masters in Special Ed.

FYI: Sarah Palin's sister, who has an autistic son, will be on Autism One Radio tomorrow.

Pneumococcal Doubles Asthema Incidence

From One Click:

One Click Note: The World Health Organization states that for every 1000 children vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine, 1.3 children will develop asthma on account of the vaccine. At the same time only 3.6 cases of pneumonia are prevented by vaccinating 1000 children. Pneumonia is an easily treated condition. Asthma on the other hand may be a lifelong disability:

Publication: Bulletin of the World Health Organization;
Type: Letters
Article DOI: 10.2471/BLT.08.054692

Incidence of pneumonia
is not reduced by pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Sona Chowdhary & Jacob Puliyel

Department of Pediatrics,
St Stephens Hospital,
Tis Hazari,
Delhi 110054,

Correspondence to Jacob Puliyel (e-mail: puliyel@gmail.com).
(Published online: 1 September 2008)

Madhi et al.1 write that the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is an effective instrument for pneumonia prevention in children. This is not strictly true. WHO data2 suggest that there are 450 million cases of pneumonia each year and that it causes 3.9 million deaths. In the sub-Saharan region of Africa, 1 022 000 die and 702 000 die in south Asia.1 The pneumonia referred to is “clinical pneumonia” – a diagnostic syndrome within the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness – WHO and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) system for triage and clinical management in developing countries.3 The Cochrane database4 states that PCV does not reduce the incidence of clinical pneumonia, although it has been shown to reduce vaccine-serotype bacteraemic pneumonia and radiological pneumonia. The benefit of reducing bacteraemic pneumonia and radiological pneumonia is so minimal that it has no effect on “clinical pneumonia”. Poor nations will need to assess its cost utility carefully.

A study from the Gambia showed that mortality was 16% lower in a PCV immunized group compared to placebo recipients (25.2/1000 children years versus 30.1/1000 children years).5 Data are also provided on adverse effects and deaths within 1 week of receiving any dose of the vaccine or placebo. The mortality benefit was seen in the first week after injection, well before vaccine efficacy could have been established. There were 12 deaths in the vaccine group and 15 among controls (23.8/1000 children years versus 29.8/1000 children years). This suggests that factors other than vaccine efficacy are responsible for the difference in mortality between the groups compared.

There is also another issue that we hope to raise here. The paper states that the vaccine programme would exceed the WHO threshold in 69 eligible countries. The authors assert that these findings are conservative in the sense that they did not assume any herd protection and did not assume protection beyond the age of 2.5 years. Beutels6 has cautioned against this trend of noting the “positive” uncertainties (herd immunity, protection beyond 2.5 years) without reporting the “negative” ones (serotype replacement,7 increased incidence of asthma),8 which could dampen enthusiasm for the intervention.


1. Madhi SA, Levine OS, Hajjeh R, Mansoor OD, Cherian T. Vaccines to prevent pneumonia and improve child survival. Bull World Health Organ 2008;86:365-372. PMID:18545739 doi:10.2471/BLT.07.044503

2. Revised global burden of disease 2002 estimates. Geneva: WHO. Available here [accessed 5 August 2008].

3. Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. Geneva: WHO; 2000.

4. Lucero MG, Dulalia VE, Parreno RN, Lim-Quianzon DM, Nohynek H, Makela H, et al. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines for preventing vaccinetype invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia with consolidation on x-ray in children under two years of age. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;CD004977. PMID:15495133

5. Cutts FT, Zaman SM, Enwere G, Jaffar S, Levine OS, Okoko JB, et al.; Gambian Pneumococcal Vaccine Trial Group. Efficacy of nine-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease in The Gambia: randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2005;365:1139-46. PMID:15794968 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)71876-6

6. Beutels P. Potential conflicts of interest in vaccine economics research: a commentary with a case study of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination. Vaccine 2004;22:3312-22. PMID:15308354

7. Eskola J, Kilpi T, Palmu A, Jokinen J, Haapakoski J, Herva E, et al.; Finnish Otitis Media Study Group. Efficacy of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against acute otitis media. N Engl J Med 2001;344:403-9. PMID:11172176 doi:10.1056/NEJM200102083440602

8. Klugman KP, Madhi SA, Huebner RE, Kohberger R, Mbelle N, Pierce N; Vaccine Trialists Group. A trial of a 9-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in children with and those without HIV infection. N Engl J Med 2003;349:1341-8. PMID:14523142 doi:10.1056/NEJMoa035060

Obama Sponsors Mercury Ban Bill

The bill passed and President Bush is expected to sign it.

I have been looking for some sign from Obama that he understands any of what is at issue here, and I have not seen anything more than talk, and with his comments that he is not for selective vaccination, I had lost hope.

But this shows at least that he understand that mercury is dangerous.

I think it is safe to say that I will be endorsing McCain at this point, unless we see anything further from Obama; but I am glad to see that Obama has take initiative and action in regard to something that will protect children from environmental exposures and ups the anti in how toxic materials are perceived and handled.

Would he go so far as to reform the FDA and HHS and clean out all the conflicts of interest and corruption? I don't see any signs that it is on his radar.

Bush to Sign U.S. Mercury Export Ban
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WASHINGTON -- U.S. mercury exports to developing countries will be banned under a measure expected to be signed by President George Bush, backers say.

Under the measure, which was passed by the U.S. Congress with bipartisan support, exports from the United States' mercury stockpile would be banned starting in 2013 and users will be required to store the toxic heavy metal permanently rather than shipping unused mercury overseas, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

The bill's chief was sponsor Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who introduced the bill after the Tribune published a series of articles about mercury contamination in fish.

Because fewer U.S. companies are using heavily regulated mercury in industrial processes, the newspaper said concerns are rising about exports of the metal to industries in developing countries where pollution controls are lax.

"We know that mercury can cause serious developmental problems in children and problems affecting vision, motor skills, blood pressure and fertility in adults," Obama said in a statement. "While the United States has improved its efforts to collect and contain mercury, this country remains one of the leading exporters of this dangerous product."

October 19, 2008

HHS Declares Emergency, Limits Anthrax Vaccine Legal Liability

Damn that Bush Administration is sneaky.

Apparently Secretary Michael Levitt, who is rumored to be telling people in his church parking lot that he knows that mercury in vaccines causes autism, whose department conceded that vaccines caused Hannah Poling's autism, and who will not release the Poling case files to the Polings so that they can understand what reasoning HHS used in making that determination, has declared a "public health emergency" citing the high risk of an anthrax attack on the United States. This "emergency" is set to expire in 2015.

The action that needed to be taken due to this "emergency"? That anthrax vaccine makers will have limited liability for their product. And not just the makers, from what I can see everyone from the CEO who green lights the vaccine, to the government official who mandates it, to the company that distributes it and even down to the guy who puts the needle into your body, they are all covered if you are disabled or killed by the shot.

Mind you it has been 7 years since the anthrax attack on this country, which the government believes came from one of its own researchers, but NOW we are declaring an emergency. I have seen nothing in the media that the US has evidence of a credible anthrax threat. And how exactly Levitt can predict that the threat will last seven years... well I am really interested in hearing more about the reasoning behind that.

1 in 150 children have autism and seventeen percent of children have a developmental disorder or delay and that is not big deal, parents should get used to it. But zero people are coming down with anthrax, and an emergency is declared and no explanation is given as to why.

This following the rash of reports of serious damage to military personnel due to the anthrax vaccine.

Well you heard him Pharma, one more product that you can make, get the government to force people to buy and you don't even have to make sure that it works or doesn't kill people! Man you guys have hit the jackpot! Start pouring money into that Anthrax R&D pipline!

Buy Merck!

UPDATE: The Kansas City Star is reporting that in addition to the anthrax emergency declaration:

"On Oct. 10, he declared health emergencies for smallpox, radiation sickness from the detonation of a nuclear device and poisoning from botulinum toxins, the active ingredient of Botox."

So in addition to the anthrax vaccine...

"The emergency declarations cover a host of antibiotics to fight anthrax infection, anthrax and smallpox vaccines, and a drug to stimulate white blood cell production in people harmed by radiation."

While Leavitt has not commented, his science adviser has,

"Health and Human Services is not invoking the law in response to any immediate threat, said William Raub, science adviser to Leavitt. “We don’t believe there’s anything imminent,” he said. “We’ve tried to be careful to not instill fear in people, (but) if we wait until the day of an event, valuable time is lost … and people could die.”

So they are admitting that there is not any intelligence that the US is facing a bioweapons attack. But they have redefined and "emergency" to mean 'the threat of an emergency'. This would be like looking at the weather map and seeing no hurricanes in the gulf, none forming in the pacific yet declaring a hurricane "emergency" in Tampa (because they could be hit by one in the next seven years) and start giving out FEMA funds to builders there.

Again... autism not an emergency, even though families, school systems and state governments are going broke trying to care for these children... anthrax is an emergency just because one day it might, maybe, eventually be an emergency.

The threat of an emergency is not an emergency.

It is astonishing to me that the Bush administration can so blithely remove the rights of citizens, with no reasonable justification, with apparently little input from the public as our community didn't know about this and actually pat themselves on the back as if they were doing a good thing.

This just makes me angry.

U.S. Limits Anthrax Vaccine Legal Liability

From Friday, October 17, 2008 issue.

By Elaine M. Grossman
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Health and Human Services Department early this month moved to shield government, industry and business officials from lawsuits filed by those who have received the anthrax vaccine (see GSN, Sept. 5, 2007).

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt established legal immunity for public and private officials who oversee the production or distribution of the anthrax vaccine by declaring a “public health emergency” due to the risk of a bioterrorism attack. He said the emergency began on Oct. 1 and would run through Dec. 31, 2015.

U.S. law provides protection from lawsuits to individuals responsible for selected countermeasures, including antibiotics, during a declared emergency.

Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in December 2005, a health and human services secretary’s emergency declaration can limit financial risk for government program planners and the manufacturers or distributors of pharmaceutical countermeasures. One exception to this immunity would be willful misconduct on the part of covered individuals.

The ramifications, in this instance, could be to prevent individuals who have received one or more anthrax inoculations from taking grievances to court, based on claims that the vaccine caused severe adverse reactions or did not work.

The anthrax vaccine has proven particularly controversial following reports of serious adverse events, including some deaths, among U.S. recipients (see GSN, Nov. 21, 2005). In addition, there are some doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy in protecting people from developing anthrax after breathing in spores during a biological attack.

A 2003 lawsuit — based on lapses in the Food and Drug Administration’s drug-approval process for the vaccine — temporarily shut down the Defense Department’s compulsory anthrax shots program. Mandatory inoculations resumed in 2006 for personnel whose assignments are judged to put them at heightened risk of exposure to anthrax (see GSN, Dec. 16, 2005).

Leavitt’s declaration was published in the Federal Register and quietly heralded at the end of a two-page news release devoted largely to another anthrax-related initiative (see GSN, Oct. 2).

Among the activities now afforded liability protection are those “related to developing, manufacturing, distributing, prescribing, dispensing, administering and using anthrax countermeasures in preparation for, and in response to, a potential anthrax attack,” the HHS news release states. “This includes entities, such as large ‘big-box’ retail stores, retail pharmacies, and other private sector businesses, that help to deliver and distribute medicines.”

Health and Human Services argued the legal shield is essential to guarantee that countermeasures are there if U.S. citizens need them.

“Providing liability protection to all involved in such efforts will help ensure their full participation and bolster response efforts,” according to the news release.

“Preparedness is a shared responsibility that must involve all sectors of society, including the private sector, community groups, families and individuals,” Leavitt stated in the release. “We are using the authorities available to us to do all we can to support preparedness at all levels.”

The move comes as a pivotal advisory group convened by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to decide whether state and local health officials should consider giving anthrax vaccines to as many as 3 million civilian first responders nationwide (see GSN, Oct. 16).

Millions of U.S. military personnel have already received the vaccines since the Pentagon’s shots program began in 1997, but the law prohibits service members or their families from holding the government liable for injury or death.

Now that the population of vaccine recipients could expand to include millions of civilians — who normally do have a right to take medical injury claims to court — federal response planners and government contractors might be growing nervous about their potential legal vulnerability, according to vaccine critics.

“There are people still getting ill from side effects and from the vaccine,” John Michels, an attorney in litigation targeting the Pentagon’s inoculation program, told Global Security Newswire this week. “When they expand this vaccine from the military population to a civilian population, they’re going to have people who sue.”

Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville, Md. — the nation’s only manufacturer of an FDA-approved anthrax vaccine — recently announced that Health and Human Services had ordered 14.5 million doses of its BioThrax vaccine, worth as much as $404 million. The company is already under a $448 million contract to produce 18.8 million doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine regimen calls for six shots over an 18 month period, plus annual boosters.

Michels said commercial interests appear to be playing a role in the legal immunity issue. He questioned whether there had been any bona fide escalation in the anthrax threat sufficient to justify the declaration of an emergency.

“We have no indications [now] … that we’re much more likely to be attacked by anthrax,” Michels said. “But [government officials] see the writing on the wall. They see … an erosion of [lawsuit] immunity for vaccine manufacturers as a result of widespread civilian use.”

Meryl Nass, a bioterrorism expert who has been highly critical of federal handling of anthrax vaccine issues, accused Leavitt of taking more interest in protecting bureaucrats from legal action than in protecting the public from health threats.

“How do you decide there is an emergency when there is no evidence of one?” she asked in e-mailed comments last week.

Noting the HHS secretary’s designation of “governmental program planners” as among those afforded legal immunity by the declaration, Nass asserted that the agency “designates an emergency as a means to protect itself.”

Leavitt’s declaration, though, states that “targeted liability protections for anthrax countermeasures” are “based on a credible risk that the threat of exposure to [anthrax] and the resulting disease constitutes a public health emergency.” The document does not offer additional details on the nature or level of threat.

A request that Health and Human Services elaborate on the basis for the public health emergency declaration went unanswered at press time.

October 18, 2008

Every Child By Two Wants to Take the Vaccine Debate to Oprah

Amy Pisani, director of Every Child By Two, (a vaccine advocacy non-profit funded by Pharma) has asked her supporters to write to the Oprah show and ask "that she dedicate a show to the science behind the question of whether vaccines cause autism".

We here at Adventures in Autism think that is a GREAT idea.

It is LONG past time to have an ACTUAL public debate between physicians, researchers and parent advocates that believe that there is a link and those that think there is not, an ACTUAL debate on the merits of the arguement. Have your opponent right there to respond, rather than just having AAP and CDC issue statements that they cannot be questioned on.

As a matter of fact Pamela Felice of The Educated Parent got in touch with Oprah earlier this year and asked for exactly that.

So if you are so inclined, I would encourage you to write to the Oprah show and let them know that you would like to see such a debate, not just Paul Offit and ECBT being given an hour to say whatever they want unchallenged, but an actual, equal time, debate.

Time and time again, those of us on this side of the debate have requested that CDC/AAP/those who deny the vaccine autism connection appear on TV alongside us to actually debate the issue, but apart from Larry King's program last spring with Jenny McCarthy, that request is pretty much universally turned down. And CDC would not even show up to sit next to AAP on Larry King. They just issued one of those damn statements to be read.

Is the topic of a vaccine/autism connection is of so little importance, and so little concern to the American public, that they can't spare one single person to show up and talk about it?

So we thank Ms. Pisani for being willing to participate in this public debate. Let Oprah know that this is the debate that you have been waiting to see!

Dear Oprah,

I am the mother of a child who regressed into autism following his 18 month vaccinations. I have been reading and writing about the vaccine/autism connection for four years and believe that there is more than sufficient evidence to prove a link.

More importantly, apparently so does the Department of Health and Human Services as they have been quietly paying children with vaccine induced autism from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund for more than 15 years now, and they list the symptoms of autism under vaccine induced 'acute encephalopathy' on the VICP's web site. In addition, the head of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, went on CNN this spring and said that vaccines trigger autism in a subset of the population.

It is been incredibly frustrating to see advocates of the vaccine autism connection, like Jenny McCarthy, appear on national programs like yours to discuss it, and hear that CDC/HHS ubiquitously refuses to appear along side them and have an actual debate and be questioned on their claims. Instead they issue a statement to be read at the end of the show that they can never be questioned on.

Do they think that this is not an important enough issue for them to send one person to speak on their behalf? If the science is so sound that vaccines don't cause autism, then why are they so afraid to show up and be questioned on it?

However, it is my understanding that Amy Pisani of Every Child By Two has contacted the show and asked for an episode on the autism/vaccine connection, and I am writing to support her in her request. What this country needs is OPEN debate on this issue between physicians/researchers and parents on both sides on what the science really says, what the science is silent on, and who is overstating their case.

I think that Ms. Pisani has envisioned an hour for her and her experts (ECBT is funded by pharmaceutical companies) to extol the virtues of vaccines and ignore the questions and points that parents like me and our physicians would make, but honestly, that is pretty much what has been going on in this country for the last decade.

So instead, I hope you will consider Pamela Felice's request to your show from last spring:

With autism awareness month approaching in April and in light of the recent court ruling regarding Hannah Polling's vaccine related autism, I thought it might be interesting for Oprah to host a debate on the topic of vaccine safety.

Some suggested guests might include; David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm, Dr. Robert Sears, Author of The Vaccine Book , Dr. Boyd Haley, head of the Chemistry Dept at Kentucky State University, Dr. Jerry Kertzinel, the DAN! Dr. treating Jenny McCarthy's son and Barbbra Lowe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Ctr. on the Critic side.

Possible panelists who support the current vaccine program might include, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC, a representative of the American
Academy of Pediatrics and/or a representative of Every Child By Two.

Personally, I would like to see Bernadine Healey expound on her understanding of the state of the research and why she is of the opinion that we can't no longer say that vaccines don't cause autism, or neurologist Jon Poling explain his understanding of the relationship between vaccine induced autism and undiagnosed mitochondrial disorders.

Thank you for your attention this vital issue.
Ginger Taylor, M.S.

October 15, 2008

Denis Leary Repeats the Savage Attack on Children with Autism


Page Six Photo
October 15, 2008 --

DENIS Leary should brace himself for hate mail from the parents of kids diagnosed with autism.

In his new book, "Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid," the joke-slinging "Rescue Me" star writes about the brain disorder:

"There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both."

The Autism Society of America responded: "For Mr. Leary to suggest that families or doctors conspire to falsely diagnose autism is ridiculous . . . [His] remarks reflect the same misconceptions of autism being caused by bad or unemotional parenting that were held over 50 years ago."

Why does this hurt me so much?

You would think with all that we have to endure that Leary making some not so original or funny or even marginally informed rant would roll right off. But it doesn't. Because all I can think is that, while Michael Savage is widely considered to be a jerk, Leary is well liked (I like him) and his stupid words are going to incite someone one day to think that my son is just stupid and lazy and that his narcissistic parents should have paid more attention to him and use all that as an excuse to treat him like crap.

I am not even that mad at Leary. The unoriginalality of his comments, and the fact that he is just basically repeating himself comically (this being just being the most recent iteration of his 'I'm an asshole, you're an asshole, let's all drink and smoke and fight until we get cancer and die' shtick) makes me see this comment as not one from the heart (considering the comic has shown that he has a heart with all his charity work) but that he got stuck writing one night and had a deadline and decided to use our sick kids as filler.

The thing that has made Leary's insult comedy acceptable, is that, both in his standup and in his shows, it has always targeted people who actually were pretentious assholes, he has always included himself in the category of asshole, it has always been clear that his public persona is a product of his own self-loathing and that he was always willing to suffer the consequences insulting people. Because those pretentious assholes could, and would, fight back.

But now he has targeted sick children. (Worse, sick children who don't have the verbal acumen that he does to defend themselves.)

And the people I hold responsible for that is the medical profession that refuses to publicly identify children with autism as 'sick children'. I am sure Mr. Leary knows nothing about our kids inflammatory bowel disease, nothing about their neuro encepalopathy, nothing about their viral infections, nothing about their fungal infections, nothing about their autoimmune disorders, nothing about their mitochondrial dysfunction, nothing about their metal poisoning and nothing about the metabolic disorders associated with autism.

It is AAP and CDC's job to investigate illness and educate the public on said illnesses, but every time a health professional gets on TV and utters the ignorant words, "Mysterious disorder, no know cause or cure" they make one more Dennis Leary, one more Michael Savage, one more jerk that has decided that he is going to excoriate us lazy, stupid, negligent, selfish parents and teach us a lesson by giving us a public tongue lashing to whip us into shape.

And they allow this to go on and on, for more and more kids to get sick, for more families to have professional insulters add insult to our injury, for untold numbers of children miss out on interventions that would dramatically improve their lives, all so they can maintain the denial that they are causing most of this damage.

So to the AAP I say again... what is your plan?

How long are you going to let this go on? How many lives will you let be destroyed before you take responsibility for the damage your blind love affair with endless vaccination, antibiotics, psychotropics and Pharma money is doing to a generation of children and their families? Are you hoping for a full return to the Bettleheim era where autism moms all wear a scarlet "A" in public and you are completely exonerated at their expense? Or are you perhaps hoping to be able to up the ante and replace the phrase "Refrigerator Mother" with the phrase "Münchhausen Mother"?

Do you understand that this is the kind of thing that trickles down from your "Mysterious disorder, no know cause or cure" bullshit?

How bad are you going to let this get?!

And where is our Edward R. Murrow to ask AAP and CDC the question:

Have you no sense of decency?

As far as Leary goes, no need for me to shame him as he will probably be getting the message in many forms today about just how wrong he is. I hope that like Savage, someone reasoned and patient will give him the chance to learn what autism really is as Wendy Fournier of NAA did when got in touch to try educate him. I hope that unlike Savage, Leary will listen and realize how much potential damage his words can do to our children and take them back. But bottom line, he is a comic, so he is supposed to be a screwed up middle-aged man stuck in adolescence and saying whatever will get the class to stop what they are supposed to be doing and paying attention to him. And I am reasonably sure he would freely admit to that.

The source of this lie about our children begins with the AAP and the CDC (who are supposed to be the responsible grown-ups here) who will not acknowledge our children's medical problems, apologize for the part they had in creating them, and treat them.

Until they do, and until comics like Leary understand that our children are physically sick, be prepared to hear things like this every few months. And be prepared to have to fight back every time so we don't loose the ground we have gained.

Mr. Leary,

You are a funny and clever man and you have been grossly misinformed about our children. This comment was beneath you, both morally and comically. You have made me laugh for two decades now (I even saved your last two appearances on Craig Ferguson because you two are so damn funny together), but this rant was not not funny or clever or true. Not just was it stale and unfunny, worst of all, it was not just a benign failed joke. You are tearing down the work that mom's like me have been doing for the last fifty years to try to get doctors to properly examine and treat our kids by giving power to the falsehood that autism is the result of bad parenting.

In addition, when you paint autism parents as 'crackerjack whack jobs', you make it harder for me to get doctors to take my reports of his physical symptoms seriously and get my son the medical treatment he needs. Because contrary to your belief that there is some sort of collusion going on between parents and doctors, the opposite is true. Our pediatricians could not be less interested in our kids. We are begging them to actually physically examine our kids and treat their physical symptoms, rather than labeling them, slapping a bottle of ritalin on the counter and tucking them away in psychiatric treatment.

You have no idea how hard it is to parent a child with autism and do right by him. Please stop making my job harder.

This is about as hurtful to us, parents whose whole lives are wrapped up in healing our children and bringing them back from this miserable disorder, as it would be to you and those families you care about if someone of your prominence had said that the firemen that died in the WTC were too stupid, lazy and self-involved to dig their way out of the rubble after the building collapsed on them.

So I am going to wrap this up and get back to digging my son out from under the building that collapsed on him four years ago. I hope that you will take today and muster up some humility and listen to those who will be letting you know how they feel about what you have said about them and their children.

But before I go, let me introduce you to my son. This is Chandler Taylor, a little boy that you have called stupid and lazy and told him that he can't speak normally because his parents were not interested enough in him to make sure he could.

He is beautiful and valuable and loving and is so bright that he taught himself to read when he was three and can do third grade math. His life is hard and right now he is working his ass off to function in a first grade classroom with his typical peers. It crushes me that you would believe otherwise of him and teach people to see him as lazy and stupid.

Please stop.

Ginger Taylor, M.S., A.M.

October 9, 2008

Hey You..... Go Follow Up On The Maloney Bill!

The plan for the day is to push for support for the Maloney Bill mandating a vaccinated v. unvaccinated study. Go read the AOA piece on it.

Louise Rocks Fox and Friends Today

Louise Kuo Habakus and Claudine Liss from the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccine Choice were on Fox and Friends today and did a wonderful job of explaining why forced vaccination is a bad idea.

For the record, I can't remember seeing Fox News do anything on the vaccine autism connection, so props to the ladies for getting this interview!

Don't forget the Vaccine Choice Rally on October 16th.

October 7, 2008

Court Rules That Atlanta Family Can Sue Wyeth for Vaccine Damage

And this is good.

Not just because this family will be able to exercise their rights, but more significantly for our community, that such a suit will include a beautiful thing called:


A large portion of what we learn about harmful products comes into the public forum, not because the companies immediately shared what they knew about the potential harm to the public from their product, as such disclosures tend to effect profits, but when they get sued and are forced to be honest under penalty of law.

One would like to believe that when it comes to the health and functioning of children, corporations would set aside market goals and fully disclose, but sadly history has not always born that out.

We already know that Wyeth's response to the SIDS outbreak caused by a hot lot of their vaccine in TN in 1979 was to change their policies so that no full lot went to one area so cases of damage or death would not be traced back to them. So I think we might learn some new things about Wyeth via the Ferrari’s suit.

Stay tuned to see what comes out of this next big case. It is probably going to the Supreme Court.

From the AJC:

High court: Atlanta couple can sue over vaccination
Marcelo and Carolyn Ferrari can take case to court over son’s disabilities
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, October 06, 2008

An Atlanta couple’s lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers can go to trial on claims a childhood vaccine caused neurological damage to their young son, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In a landmark decision, the state high court unanimously ruled that Marcelo and Carolyn Ferrari’s lawsuit is not barred by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. The court upheld a prior decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which was the first appellate court in the nation to make such a ruling.
Related links:

When the Ferraris’ 18-month-old son, Stefan, received his vaccines, he was a healthy verbal boy. Now 10, Stefan has not spoken since, according to court records.

A year after Stefan received his vaccines, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that thimerosal, a preservative used for multi-dose vaccine vials, be removed from childhood vaccines. The Ferraris filed suit, contending that the manufacturers should have made vaccines without the preservative before Stefan was vaccinated.

The companies argued that the 1986 vaccine act shields manufacturers from liability in civil lawsuits for damages caused by vaccines given after Oct. 1, 1988.

In Monday’s ruling, written by Justice George Carley, the state Supreme Court said the vaccine act “clearly does not preempt all design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers.”

Instead, it provides “that a vaccine manufacturer cannot be held liable for defective design if it is determined, on a case-by-case basis, that the injurious side effects of the particular vaccine were unavoidable,” the ruling said.


More at Law.com:

Ga. Supreme Court Backs Vaccine Suit in Autism Case


Wyeth Can Be Sued For Thimerosal In A Vaccine