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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/22/16

Vexed by Vaxxed

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We might also consider producing and administering the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines separately. After all, a lot of suspicion about the vaccine, reflected in the disputed data, has to do with the risks of giving a combination of pathogens all at once to a very young child. Why not just eliminate that doubt? Especially since there is no claimed scientific or medical reason not to. The three vaccines are, in fact, manufactured separately and mixed later, for reasons of cost-saving, not science. In fact, Japan, that nest of scientifically-illiterate flat-earthers, has banned the trivalent MMR vaccine since 1993, after a record number of children developed nasty reactions like non-viral meningitis, including blindness, and loss of control of limbs. Why not give parents and doctors the choice of using single vaccines?


I think it would also be sensible to require the same safety testing for the vaccines we pump into our children's bloodstreams as we do for any other pharmaceutical drug. This is a complicated issue. There is testing of vaccines, but it is not exactly the same as for other drugs. Most testing is done by the drug manufacturers. Testing for efficacy is mainly testing for "immunogenicity"--the ability of the drug to stimulate antibody production. But an antibody is not the whole story of immunity. There are no routine long-term before-and-after tests for adverse effects; most are limited to a few days or weeks. There is no routine double-blind placebo testing, except using a previous vaccine as a placebo. There is no testing for the possible synergistically adverse effects of administering a mixture of multiple pathogens and adjuvants all at once. These differences in testing are acknowledged, and are defended on the grounds that vaccines are a public health necessity. Current legislation is actually seeking to loosen testing requirements. I think the safety testing of vaccines should be strengthened, and should be at least as strict as that of any other drug.


I certainly think the regime of liability-free profit mongering instituted by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (NCVIA) is outrageous and should be changed. It gives vaccine manufacturers absolute immunity from lawsuits resulting from any damage caused by their products. The government absorbs all the liability, via the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), funded by a $0.75 excise tax on all vaccines. It forces injured parties to take their grievances to a special master in what's known as vaccine court. This is not really a court, but a closed (no public or reporters) administrative review that does not require the pharmaceutical companies to show up, lacks a normal discovery process that might reveal incriminating documents, and is notoriously slow to take up cases and pay complainants' lawyers. All the costs and all compensation are paid by the public, not the vaccine manufacturers.


So, one of the most profitable industries in the world--an industry that spends tens of millions in campaign contributions ($51 million in 2012 and $32 million in 2014), and hundreds of millions in lobbying ($273 million from 1998 to 2009), and whose CEOs take home hundreds of millions of dollars a year--has been handed, by law, the opportunity to make any number of profitable products, which the government will virtually force people to take, with no risk whatsoever of paying damages for the harm they may cause. And liberals and lefties and filmmakers have nothing to say about this except to tell anyone who questions it to shut up. Because when it's vaccines they're selling, Big Greedy Pharma becomes Humanity's Selfless Servant.


Defenders of the system will say this is all necessary for the public health. The drug companies wouldn't make vaccines otherwise. Let's pretend not to notice that this could be said of any product that carries a risk of harm; and that the need for such radical impunity for this product implies that it is a product that carries much more risk of harm than any other--a product that is, as the Supreme Court has said, "unavoidably unsafe." Let's instead suggest an alternative leftist response: If vaccines are so important, such a public health necessity, and the drug companies won't make them without having us limit their risk to zero, then we should damn well limit their profits, too. How about a million dollars a year per vaccine? Why not zero, the same as their liability? Reimburse them for costs, for their important contributions to public health. And if they don't like that, why doesn't the government take up the responsibility of making and distributing this public health necessity? It seems to me those are things leftists should be saying about this enterprise, rather than: "Shut up, stupid."


And what is the likelihood, if we did any of that, if we took the unlimited profit out of it, that we would have nearly 300 vaccines in the pipeline, every one of which, if history is a guide, will be hyped as absolutely, no discussion permitted, necessary for the health of our children (and adults!) and put on the mandatory vaccination schedule?


Now, you can agree or disagree with any of those suggestions, and, really, I am open to arguments that might change my mind about them. But I vehemently deny that anything about them is anti-vaccination, anti-scientific, or reactionary. Rather, I charge those who insist that we must not discuss these issues--indeed, must not allow them to be discussed--with taking a position that is patently, and dangerously, anti-scientific and authoritarian. That is the path to the corruption of the scientific method itself.


As it happens, these four points--let Thompson testify; make separate M, M, and R vaccines available for parents to choose; require the same testing for vaccines as for other pharmaceuticals; and abolish the liability dispensation given to Big Pharma by the NCVIA--are the entire point of Vaxxed. They are listed on the final screen as the desired take-away. The film supports them with the strong prima facie evidence of Dr. Thompson's revelations. Again, there's nothing remotely anti-science or anti-vaccination about it.

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Former college professor, native and denizen of New York City. Blogging at www.thepolemicist.net, from a left-socialist perspective. Also publishing on Counterpunch The Greanville Post, Medium, Dandelion Salad, and other sites around the net. (more...)
 

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