|Why are American infants and
schoolchildren being forced to submit to hepatitis B vaccinations even
though the French Health Ministry has suspended them in schools because
of evidence they can cause neurological disorders or multiple sclerosis? (New York Times, Oct. 3, 1998) Has
America become a nation where the government can force controversial
medical procedures on children without allowing their parents informed
choice? If you think such things only happen in Communist China, think
again. Compulsory health treatment is on the march in the United States.
"Force" is not too strong a word. Across the country, newborn babies
are being injected with hepatitis B vaccine only hours after birth (even
when their mothers test negative for hepatitis B), and children are told
they must present proof of having received three hepatitis B shots
before they can be admitted to daycare, kindergarten, fifth grade or
I first became interested in the hepatitis B vaccine when, in
connection with the birth of two new grandchildren, I learned that
hospitals are routinely injecting newborns with the vaccine during their
first 24 hours of life. A series of inquiries produced no convincing
medical reason or scientific evidence for this procedure. My new
grandchildren were not at risk for hepatitis B, which is primarily an
adult disease transmitted through bodily fluids. Those most at risk are
the highly promiscuous (heterosexual or homosexual), needle-sharing drug
addicts, health care and custodial workers exposed to blood, and babies
born to already-infected mothers.
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, there were
only 10,637 cases of hepatitis B in the United States in 1996, including
only 279 cases in children under the age of 14. Hepatitis B is not fatal
for most who contract it, and it is not epidemic except among high-risk
For the problem of 279 children who have hepatitis B, millions of
U.S. children are being forced to submit to vaccination consisting of
three hepatitis B shots (at about $40 each)! The government isn't just
trying to vaccinate the people who are at risk for Hepatitis B
-- that might "stigmatize" them. Instead, the CDC recommends that
all babies be vaccinated at birth to be ready for risky activities
a dozen years later. "Infants are considered the easiest to immunize,"
says Dr. Walter Orenstein, Director of CDC's Immunization Program.
(New York Times, July 30, 1997)
To win parental support for hepatitis B vaccinations, the vaccine
police de-emphasize sex and drugs as risk factors, instead citing
alleged dangers from ear piercing and contact sports. A hepatitis B
coordinator said, "We didn't want to have to battle people's moral
philosophy over children's vaccinations and having parents tell us, 'My
sixth-grader doesn't have sex.'"
("Lining Up for
Hepatitis Shots," New York Times, July 30, 1997, p.B10)
More than 24,000 reports of hospitalizations and injuries, including
about 400 deaths, following hepatitis B vaccinations have been reported
since 1990 to the U.S. government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting
System. There have been no controlled studies to evaluate these reports,
there is no adequate proof of the vaccine's long-term safety, and little
is known about the effect of vaccines on a newborn baby's immune system.
One nationally respected vaccine developer has been repeatedly turned
down by the National Institutes of Health for a research grant to study
hepatitis B vaccine-related injuries.
magazine, "A Shadow Falls on Hepatitis B Vaccination Effort," July 31,
Vaccines: the Key to
It's been clear since 1993 that the Clinton Administration is
steadily working toward federal control of the entire health care
industry, and a major feature of this control is to compile the health
records of all Americans on a government database. The 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum
Act gave the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to
establish "unique health care identifiers" so the government can
identify and track our medical records. Thanks to Eagle Forum and other
alert citizens, last year's Congress postponed this authority until
Congress takes further action.
The Clinton Administration is using vaccines as the reason to build a
massive database of the health records of individual Americans. The
bureaucrats expect vaccines to be non-controversial because of the
remarkable success of the smallpox vaccine in completely eradicating
that disease. Here is how the Clinton Administration's plan works.
The 1993 Comprehensive Childhood Immunization Act, signed by
President Clinton, gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
$400 million to assist states to computerize state vaccine databases, or
registries, to tag and track children's vaccinations.
The CDC uses carrot and stick to force the states to obey federal
"recommendations." The CDC has the power to withhold money grants if
state health officials don't show proof of designated vaccination rates,
and the CDC has doled out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to
reward state health departments for promoting mass vaccinations. States
receive either $50, $75 or $100 per child who is fully vaccinated with
all federally recommended vaccines, including hepatitis B.
In 1995, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala gave the states the power to get
access to newborn babies' Social Security numbers in order to put them
on vaccine tracking databases. Now, the CDC is trying to link
the state vaccine databases, or registries, into a de facto centralized
database containing every child's medical records. Once in place, the
national vaccine database can serve two important goals:
First, the database will enable the government to enforce mandatory
vaccination of all children, thereby conditioning Americans to accept
compulsory control of their individual health care. Although American
children entering kindergarten have a 97% to 98% immunization rate for
most prescribed vaccines (Statement of Dr. Alan R.
Hinman, Director of CDC's Center for Prevention Services, to the U.S.
House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, Mar. 7, 1990),
government officials are determined to let no child escape.
The federally monitored vaccine database, which will have all
children tagged from birth with an I.D. number, will serve as a
gatekeeper to deny the child admission to daycare, kindergarten, school
or college, or even access to medical care, without showing proof of all
Second, once the vaccine database is in place, it will be easy to add
all medical records. This will accomplish one of the major
goals of the Clinton Administration's nationalized health care plan, and
will be the key to government's ability to dictate the giving and
rationing of health care.
Before any of this happens, it is vital to pass state privacy
protections to forbid state officials from sharing personal health data
with other states or the federal government. It's also important to keep
the feds from preempting existing state privacy laws, which Congress
tried to do last year in the so-called Patient Protection bill that
fortunately did not pass.
How Are Vaccines Made
Medicine used to have a grand tradition of according patients the
right of informed choice before being given drugs or submitting to
medical treatment, including the right to refuse unwanted medical
procedures. The only vaccination required when I entered public school
was for smallpox, and that's the only immunization I ever had.
A national campaign to enforce mandatory vaccination laws started
with the Jimmy Carter Administration, and then was aggressively
accelerated during the 1990s. Most states have now passed laws requiring
children to be injected with about 33 doses of 9 or 10 different viral
and bacterial vaccines, including three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, in
order to enter public school. A New Jersey court recently upheld the
right of a private school to deny admission to a student who objected to
taking a vaccine.
When it comes to vaccines, instead of "choice," some states tolerate
limited and hard-to-get "exemptions." Most states permit a medical
exemption, but that must be signed by a doctor. All but two states
permit a religious exemption, but that can be interpreted
narrowly or broadly. Some 16 states permit a philosophical
exemption, but that can be arbitrarily interpreted by state bureaucrats.
There's a big difference between exercising free choice or having to
plead with some government functionary to tolerate your exemption.
Where do these intrusive and expensive vaccine mandates originate,
and how can they be enforced nationally since immunizations are a state,
not a federal, matter? The vaccine police have figured out how to
override state authority (and even overrule pediatricians who might
otherwise act in the interest of their patients). They have developed an
intricate system of control outside the spotlight of public scrutiny and
U.S. vaccine policy is set by a quasi-governmental group of
mandatory-vaccination promoters called the Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices (ACIP), whose members are appointed by the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC). ACIP members can have financial ties
to the drug corporations, which is a gross conflict of interest since
the vaccine manufacturers' profits depend on laws that force vaccines on
all children instead of just those at risk. One would think that ACIP's
objective would be to promote the health of Americans or to provide
information to aid informed choices by patients, but it's not. ACIP's
stated purpose is "to increase the safe usage of vaccines."
After ACIP and CDC endorse a given vaccine, then state health
officials move to make it mandatory for all children. Sometimes the
state law designates a specific vaccine, and sometimes the state law
delegates to the state bureaucracy the authority to add a new vaccine to
the mandatory list. The unaccountable bureaucrats make regulations that
follow CDC instructions and have the impact of law. The drug
corporations are involved every step of the way in securing CDC
endorsement of a vaccine and in lobbying legislators and bureaucrats to
make its use compulsory.
The New York Times recently published a front-page report on
how the pharmaceutical corporations spent $5.3 billion last year sending
their representatives into doctors' offices and hospitals, with gifts
and meals, to sweet-talk physicians into using their brand-name
products. The Times headlined the news story: "Fever Pitch:
Getting Doctors to Prescribe is Big Business."
1999) The Times explained that "business is a big part
of medicine now." Indeed it is. But, of course, doctors have complete
freedom to accept or reject the drug corporations' sales pitches.
It's time to hear the rest of the story about how politics is an even
bigger part of medicine. With a $5.3 billion marketing budget, the drug
corporations can easily afford to lobby thousands of state legislators
and federal and state bureaucrats to pass laws that force us to buy
their products, particularly vaccines. It is the mandatory feature of
vaccines that makes them so profitable for the industry.
(How the Hepatitis B mandate was lobbied through the Ohio legislature,
bypassing the proper committee, with no notice, study or debate, is
described in "Hepatitis B vaccine for Ohio's kindergartners
unnecessary," Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 15, 1999.)
Vaccines are designed to give us immunity from certain diseases, but
the most interesting immunity is the drug corporations' immunity from
any liability related to vaccine side effects, which Congress gave them
by law in 1986. That, combined with coercive state laws, has made
vaccines extremely profitable for the drug corporations.
Physicians who respect the traditional Hippocratic Oath have a duty
to work for the well-being of their patients (rather than the good of
society or any other social goal). This presents a conflict with CDC
vaccine policy, which is to promote public health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issues vaccination
guidelines for pediatricians. In 1995, however, the AAP and other
physician organizations agreed to endorse schedules determined by
federal authorities. Some HMOs are requiring pediatricians to achieve a
near-perfect vaccination rate of their patients as a condition of their
HMO contract, and even be subject to on-site inspection of records to
It's time to have a free and open debate on the pros and cons of the
policy considerations that go into laws that make the use of drugs
compulsory. Better yet, it's time to give all parents the right of
informed choice about medical treatment for their healthy children.
Vaccines a Miracle of
Smallpox has been virtually eliminated from the face of the earth,
and polio is well on its way to the same fate. We don't hear much about
diphtheria, whooping cough, or scarlet fever any more, and the cases of
once-common childhood diseases such as measles and mumps have
dramatically decreased. Conventional wisdom credits vaccines for these
remarkable changes. But there are many variables and unknowns in matters
of disease and health. No vaccine was responsible for the dramatic
decline of scarlet fever.
Vaccines are supposed to fool the body's immune system into producing
antibodies to overcome viral and bacterial diseases in the same way that
actually having the disease usually produces future immunity. Natural
recovery from infectious diseases usually stimulates the immune system
to produce a type of immunity that lasts a lifetime. Once a child has
had chickenpox, for example, he will never get it again. However,
vaccines provide only an artificial, temporary immunity. That's why
booster doses of vaccines are often needed.
Vaccines contain either inactivated (killed) bacteria or viruses
or they contain live viruses that have been attenuated
(weakened). Sometimes, live-virus vaccines can cause the disease they
are designed to prevent. The live-virus polio, measles and chickenpox
vaccines can cause vaccine-strain infections of these diseases. Drug
corporations grow the viruses and bacteria used to make vaccines in
either chicken or pig embryonic cell cultures, monkey kidney cells,
human embryonic lung cells, yeast cells, or other mediums. Chemicals
such as formaldehyde are used to inactivate the viruses or bacteria.
Vaccines also contain such additives as aluminum, thimerosal (mercury),
gelatin and antibiotics.
It is not clear that the increased use of vaccines always promotes
the health of individuals. No vaccine is 100% safe or effective. We hear
persistent reports that some children, following vaccination, develop
chronic health problems such as seizure disorders, asthma, persistent
ear infections, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, autism, diabetes,
arthritis, or other autoimmune or neurological disorders. Virginia's
Lieutenant Governor John Hager is in a wheelchair because he acquired
polio from the vaccine given to his infant son.
Between 12,000 and 14,000 reports of hospitalizations, injuries and
even deaths following vaccination are reported to the Vaccine Adverse
Event Reporting System every year. The National Vaccine Injury
Compensation Program has already paid out $925 million in claims for
vaccine-caused injuries and deaths. Nobody knows the real total of
adverse reactions following vaccinations because very few doctors report
vaccine-associated health problems.
When we ask questions of the scientists who created the vaccines, the
drug corporations that make and sell them, the public health officials
who issue regulations, and the legislators who pass laws forcing every
child to be vaccinated, the answers are unsatisfactory and disturbing.
The more we ask questions, the more we find that the subject of vaccines
is not all based on science -- some of it is politics.
Many vaccines are required without publication of the risks and
benefits. The vaccine establishment's attitude is that such information
unduly alarms parents and, anyway, the government knows what's best for
New Vaccines Are Coming
A new live virus varicella zoster (chickenpox) vaccine has recently
come on the market. Chickenpox is highly contagious but is a mild
disease for most children. More than 95% of all American children get
chicken pox between the ages of 1 and 9, recover without complications,
and have lifelong immunity. The movement to make the chickenpox vaccine
compulsory for all children is moving rapidly. Maryland, Oregon,
Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts have already used rulemaking
authority to mandate use of the chicken pox vaccine, and legislation is
pending in several other states. Radio and newspaper advertising for the
chicken pox vaccine is designed to frighten parents about the disease.
In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration licensed a live rotavirus
vaccine to block one cause of infant diarrhea, even though the vaccine
has been shown to be only 50% effective.
The principal selling point used by public health officials in
mandating the new chickenpox and diarrhea vaccines is not the health of
the child, but that it will save working mothers money from wages lost
if they have to stay home with a sick child.
("Cost-effectiveness Analysis of a Rotavirus Immunization Program,"
JAMA, May 6, 1998 p.1371, concludes that this factor accounts for
3/4ths of the alleged savings from the vaccine.)
More than 200 vaccines for a variety of diseases are now under
development by drug corporations and government scientists, and there is
much talk among government officials about more mandates. A prominent
vaccine policymaker has said that all 12-year-olds will be targeted for
injection with an AIDS vaccine when it is put on the market.
Can Vaccines Be Worse than
The Economist, in an article entitled "Plagued by Cures"
(Nov. 22, 1997, p.95), stated: "There is growing
evidence that preventing diseases in infancy may be a mixed blessing.
Can intervening in an illness sometimes be worse than doing nothing at
all? . . . The first possible effect is the replacement of one disease
by another. As the incidence of childhood infections has fallen, a
number of chronic ailments, such as diabetes and asthma, have become
more frequent. In parts of the world where childhood diseases are still
common, these chronic ailments are rare. . . . Childhood infections do
indeed seem to reduce the probability of chronic disease -- an idea
known as the 'hygiene hypothesis.' . . . The second possible effect of
intervening in a disease is that the intervention makes the disease
worse in the long term, not better. A number of viral infections are
more dangerous to an adult than an infant."
Science News, in an article entitled "The Dark Side of
(Nov. 22, 1997), reviewed several
studies by New Zealand and by British researchers showing that
vaccinated children have a higher incidence of asthma and diabetes than
do unvaccinated children. The article notes that animal studies indicate
that an absence of contact with naturally occurring viruses increases
the risk of diabetes, and that research in humans suggests that some
childhood infections may be advantageous in priming the child's immune
system to fight off asthma. A 1994 study suggested that the pertussis
vaccination of infants may increase the risk of asthma five-fold during
childhood. (Odent MR, Culpin EE, Kimel T., "Pertussis
vaccination and asthma: is there a link?" JAMA, 1994;
None of this provides conclusive proof, so we need basic science
research and large clinical studies, conducted by independent,
non-government, non-industry-financed scientists, on the side effects
and long-term effects of vaccines and of multiple vaccinations. But
neither the government nor the drug corporations appears willing even to
talk about this.
Who Should Decide a Child's
When it comes to balancing risks versus benefits, it's not always
obvious how to weigh the risks. Parents, not government politicians or
bureaucrats, should be balancing the risks and benefits of vaccines for
their own children based on complete information.
State legislators and state and federal bureaucrats are seldom
physicians or scientists. They get their information from other
unaccountable bureaucracies such as the CDC and from the lobbyists for
the drug corporations. Scientists and physicians aren't infallible. When
I was growing up, tonsillectomies were routinely performed on children.
I now am glad my family couldn't afford that unnecessary surgery.
Freedom in America should include allowing parents to make their own
informed choice about injecting their babies with potentially dangerous
vaccines. Parents should do their own research. Helpful information
about vaccines is available from a non-government educational
organization: National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), 512 W. Maple
Ave., Suite 206, Vienna VA 22180; 1-800-909-SHOT; fax: 703-938-5768;