The folks at the Immunization Action Coalition have sent out an alert (pulled up the drawbridge) trying to diffuse the effect of the Jenny McCarthy GREEN OUR VACCINES rally on June 4th. (You can send Ms. Deborah Wexler of IAC an email, her address is at the end of this post. Be polite!)
Here's the opening paragraph from a letter they just sent out:
This summer will bring renewed efforts by anti-vaccine protestors to bring media and political attention to their cause. As a way of defusing the impact of their rallies and press releases, Voices For Vaccines, a newly formed immunization advocacy organization, is coordinating an Open Letter to Congress, to be distributed to every member of Congress before the first of these anti-vaccine rallies, stating the support of a wide range of professional societies, public health organizations, and immunization coalitions for immunization in general and concern for the potential impact of anti-vaccine activism on public health.
Before you read their full, heartfelt letter, take a moment to recall what Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of NIH, has said about the government having turned a blind eye to the vaccine/autism problem in the name of protecting public health policy. In other words, the sum of the whole population is greater than each individual child when it comes to vaccines.
Dr. Bernadine Healy is the former head of the National Institutes of Health, and the most well-known medical voice yet to break with her colleagues on the vaccine-autism question. In an exclusive interview with CBS News, Healy said the question is still open. "I think that the public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis as irrational," Healy said.
"But public health officials have been saying they know, they've been implying to the public there's enough evidence and they know it's not causal," Attkisson said. "I think you can't say that," Healy said. "You can't say that." Healy goes on to say public health officials have intentionally avoided researching whether subsets of children are “susceptible” to vaccine side effects - afraid the answer will scare the public. "You're saying that public health officials have turned their back on a viable area of research largely because they're afraid of what might be found?" Attkisson asked.
Healy said: "There is a completely expressed concern that they don't want to pursue a hypothesis because that hypothesis could be damaging to the public health community at large by scaring people. "First of all," Healy said, "I think the public’s smarter than that. The public values vaccines. But more importantly, I don’t think you should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you’re afraid of what it might show."
As an example, Healy points to the existing vaccine court claims.
CBS News has learned the government has paid more than 1,300 brain injury claims in vaccine court since 1988, but is not studying those cases or tracking how many of them resulted in autism.
The branch of the government that handles vaccine court told CBS News: “Some children who have been compensated for vaccine injuries…may ultimately end up with autism or autistic symptoms, but we do not track cases on this basis.”
"What we’re seeing in the bulk of the population: vaccines are safe," said Healy. "But there may be this susceptible group. The fact that there is concern, that you don’t want to know that susceptible group is a real disappointment to me. If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group… what can I say?"
Government officials would not respond directly to Healy’s views… but reiterated, vaccines are safe.
** TIME SENSITIVE ** ACTION NEEDED ** TIME
SENSITIVE ** ACTION NEEDED **
May 28, 2008
Dear Immunization Coalition Partners:
This summer will bring renewed efforts by anti-vaccine protestors to bring media and political attention to their cause. As a way of defusing the impact of their rallies and press releases, Voices For Vaccines, a newly formed immunization advocacy organization, is coordinating an Open Letter to Congress, to be distributed to every member of Congress before the first of these anti-vaccine rallies, stating the support of a wide range of professional societies, public health organizations, and immunization coalitions for immunization in general and concern for the potential impact of anti-vaccine activism on public health. The sign-on letter is attached as a PDF document&183;
Voices For Vaccines (VFV) has been formed to represent the enormous majority of individuals who acknowledge the scientific basis undergirding vaccination programs and want the public to better understand vaccines' safety and efficacy. VFV is beginning a membership campaign and aims to become a trusted source for media and policymakers seeking reliable information on vaccine issues. More information about our group is available at www.voicesforvaccines.org or see the second attachment to this message about VFV.
We invite your immunization coalition to sign onto the Open Letter to Congress. Because VFVplans to distribute this letter in advance of an anti-vaccine demonstration planned for June 4, please contact us with your assent no later than Sunday, June 1, 6pm ET.
If your immunization coalition wishes to sign onto the letter, contact Lisa Randall, JD,
Interim Executive Director, Voices For Vaccines, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to include your organization's full name, and mailing address in order to be included.
We hope you'll join us in reminding our elected officials of the overwhelming scientific
consensus favoring sound vaccine policy.
Deborah L. Wexler, MD
Immunization Action Coalition
Voices For Vaccines Steering Committee Member