Rally_weapons_of_mass_4By Beth Clay
June 5, 2008

Yesterday, close to 10,000 families came to Washington, DC to join Jenny McCarthy, her son Evan and actor Jim Carey for the “Green Our Vaccines” Rally.  Many of these families have children who developed an autism spectrum disorder subsequent to a vaccine injury.  After marching from the Washington Monument to the Capitol grounds, these families participated in a rally to demand a safer vaccine supply and schedule. Many went on to meet with their elected officials to ask for their support on the issues.

Since the very first Congressional hearing looking at vaccine injuries, opponents to the vaccine safety discussion accused first Congressman Burton and then the families of the vaccine injured of being “Anti-Vaccine”.  These families would better be portrayed as “Anti-Injury.”

These opponents typically have been representatives of vaccine manufacturers, doctors who have a financial stake in the vaccine industry, and sadly many individuals within the public health arena who seem more interested in protecting vaccine programs than preventing vaccine related medical injury.  It is the only incidence I am aware where individuals who are asking for improved safety for a medical intervention are routinely accused of being opposed to the intervention.   

Autism Community Driving the Train to Safer Immunizations

Since 1999, it has been the autism community rather than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the American Academy of Pediatrics that have been driving the train towards safer immunizations.  Their ten year investment into investigation, advocacy, research and raising public awareness around the topic of vaccine safety has already stimulated improved communication between pediatricians and parents about both the benefits and risks associated with immunization.  Autism organizations have raised money through walks, t-shirt and jewelry sales and from their own pockets to fund much needed laboratory and animal studies when the government failed or refused to fulfill this need.   

Some of the families I talked to yesterday have children whose autism is not vaccine injury related.  And yet, at their own expense often under extraordinarily difficult circumstances they traveled to Washington to fight for safer vaccines.  The reality is that just as not all autism is related to vaccine injury, not all vaccine injury results in autism.  There are dozens of other very serious consequences to vaccine injury that are recognized and seldom discussed by the media. 

I believe raising awareness of these other injuries is overdue.  Children and adults alike are routinely vaccinated.  Many suffer no adverse event, some minor aches and pains, and some suffer serious and life altering or life ending adverse events.  Some of the similarities found within the vaccine-injured autism community, may relate to other vaccine injuries.  They include, a family history of auto-immune disorders, low birth weight, a mother who received MMR or Rho-gam during pregnancy, administration of vaccination while ill, and frequent ear-infections (with subsequent antibiotic treatment). 

Medical Injury and the Constitutional Right to Seek Legal Recourse

The United States of America was founded on the premise of certain inalienable rights including the right to a free press and the right to practice the religion of our choice.  Our Founding Fathers provided for the preservation of these rights in the Constitution and made provisions for individuals to seek legal recourse.  From time to time Congress passes laws that abridge our freedoms for purposes they believe to be ‘for the greater good’.  In the 1980s, because of ongoing vaccine related litigation in the civil court system, vaccine makers went to Congress and threatened to stop making vaccines if the government did not provide liability protection.  Congress in a desire to protect the vaccine supply abridged the rights of Americans to seek legal recourse for a vaccine injury or adverse event.  Legislation championed by Congressman Henry Waxman provided immunity to both vaccine manufacturers and medical professionals who administered vaccinations through the creation the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).  The US Court of Federal Claims website provides the following background:

The VICP originally covered vaccines against seven diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), and polio. Subsequently, coverage was extended to four additional vaccines - hepatitis B, hemophilus influenza type b (Hib), varicella (chicken pox), and rotavirus. In July 2005, the annual influenza (flu) vaccine became covered as well. An excise tax for each dose of vaccine sold funds a trust fund, which pays awards and administrative costs of the program. 

As of May, 2008, over 12,500 cases have been filed, 5,365 representing autism cases. Of the total, 6,740 have been adjudicated, with 2,147 being compensated. Claims arising from vaccinations given prior to October 1, 1988, were paid from general fund appropriations. Petitioners filed 4,259 pre-1988 claims, with 1,187 being compensated. Over 890 million dollars of general revenue was paid for pre-October 1988 cases, including attorneys’ fees at the statutorily capped level. Payments for post- October 1988 cases come from a trust fund supported by an excise tax on each dose of vaccine that is covered by the Program. Thus far, 8,313 post-1988 claims have been filed, with 956 being compensated. Over 859 million dollars has been paid in compensation from the trust fund for the post- 1988 cases, including attorneys’ fees and costs. There is currently over 2.7 billion dollars in the trust fund. There is a wide range of awards depending on the severity of injury, with the highest award currently being $9.1 million in present dollars. (1)

When news of the first autism vaccine injury concession made its way to the public, there was major media attention.  I have heard rumors that more than six and maybe as many as 19 autism cases have been settled and not made available to the public.  A discussion about the fairness to the public as to why a publicly funded program does not provide all rulings (with names redacted where needed) on a freely available internet database is overdue.   

Special Master Makes Award

A quick review of the Published cases from 2006 to 2008 in which Special Master within the Federal Court of Claims determines that a vaccine injury had occurred and that entitlement was deserved finds the following vaccine injuries: 

1. Hepatitis B vaccination caused:

• Development of Wegener’s granulomatosis, a disease that eventually necessitated a kidney transplant
• Transverse myelitis leading to multiple sclerosis
• Optic neuritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
• Jaw and facial pain, headaches, confusion, memory problems, dizziness, joint pain, and depression
• An inflammatory response and reaction within an individual that led to or caused a significant aggravation of pre-existing Lupus
• Multiple Chemical Sensitivity:  Onset of a respiratory illness including bronchospasm and asthma and an immunological dysfunction involving sensitivity to various chemicals
• Onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
• Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
• Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
• Or significantly aggravated Multiple Sclerosis
• Or was a substantial factor in causing polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)

2.  Varicella Vaccination causally connected to:

• Myasthenia gravis

3.  DTaP:

• Resulted in fatal encephalopathy
• With HIB were substantial factors in causing a child’s fever, initial seizure, seizure disorder, and subsequent developmental delay
• And/or inactivated polio vaccine caused a lesion that partially obstructed the signals to child’s lower motor area, causing her left leg pasticity or monoplegia

4.  Rubella Vaccination caused:

• Chronic joint pain

5.  MMR:

• Was the legal cause of an intractable seizure disorder that provoked a child’s death 
• Was a substantial factor in causing a child’s opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS) also known as Kinsbourne’s disease.  [This is a syndrome of movements of the eyes (opsoclonus) and trunk (myoclonus), occurring in conjunction with a number of conditions, including viral infections, trauma, drug toxicity, tumors, and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma. It also occurs as a paraneoplastic syndrome.]

6.  Tetanus Vaccine resulted in:

• Brachial neuritis

7.  Prevnar:

• Was a substantial factor in causing a child’s aplastic anemia

8.  Vaccinations:

• Led to onset of scleroderma
• Were a substantial factor in causing the onset of seizure disorder that has developed into epilepsy

Government Denies Injury But Agrees to Pay a Settlement

On a separate section of the Court’s website are “Unpublished” cases.  In these cases the claim of vaccine injury has been ‘informally settled’ through a ‘stipulation.’  In each case, a short informal statement has been published in which the petitioner’s vaccine injury is stated, the government stipulates they do not agree that the illness is vaccine related but agree compensate the petitioner.  In 2008, the following stipulated settlements were made public:

Hepatitis B

• Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
• With Diphtheria-Tetanus-Acellular Pertussis (“DtaP”), Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (“Hib”), Inactivated Polio vaccine (“IPV”) and pneumococcal vaccines caused the death of a male child
• Caused common variable immunodeficiency syndrome
• In combination with tetanus-diphtheria vaccine, an autoimmune disorder developed
• Onset of flu-like symptoms and myalgia
• In combination with DTap, Hib, and IPV, encephalopathy and resulting death of a child
• Rheumatoid Arthritis (multiple cases)
Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination
• Injuries to upper extremities and joint pain
Influenza Vaccine
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) (multiple cases)


• Chronic arthropathy and fibromyalgia
• In combination with a diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (“DTaP”) vaccination, and an inactivated polio vaccine (“IPV”), the development of Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (“ADEM”) and optic neuritis

A Voice for Their Children – A Voice for the World

The autism families and organizations that traveled to Washington this week to ask our government to clean up vaccines and make them safer are not just the voices for their children; they have become the voice of the world.  A world that envisions a time in medicine when vaccines are completely free of potentially harmful chemicals; a time in medicine when a comprehensive family history or diagnostic test will identify those at higher risk for vaccine injury and common sense is restored to the implementation of the recommended vaccine schedule.  With the autism community driving the train to safer vaccines, we are on our way to achieving this world vision.  We can all hope that sooner rather than later  the Public Health Community jumps on the train and begins to add some fuel to speed us down the track towards this vision.

About the Author:  Beth Clay led the health investigation team of the Committee on Government Reform Committee under the Chairmanship of Congressman Dan Burton and oversaw the vaccine injury, autism epidemic investigation.  She is the co-author of the Staff Reports on Mercury in Medicine and Conflicts of Interest of HHS Vaccine Advisors.  Now in the private sector, Ms. Clay can be reached at   



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You obviously do not have a child who was vaccine injured. We do. Some of us witnessed our child go into a seizure at the pediatrician's office as the vaccine was administered. Some of us had a perfectly normal child who developed a very high fever and diarrhea immediately following a vaccine, and then watched as our children sunk in the world of autism. Some of us have had to burn through our life savings just to help our children return to health.

I am one of those parents. So please rethink your perspective when you admonish those who regret what happened to their children due to being vaccine injured.


"Passing it on to someone who is too old/young to receive vaccinations or they are medically exempt."

Maybe it is these people that are marching who have kids that should have been medical exempt, but they are not being medical exempt untill it is way too late, and they end up dead, or with epilepsy or brain injuries.

A Mind is a horrible thing to have damaged.

But thank you for concern, your compassion, and keep vaccinating yourself, your family, your dogs, your cats because now you know there are some of us out here that even though we HAVE vaccinated out kids and found out they reacted to the vaccine-- that we cannot still NOT ALLOWED TO complain that vaccinations caused their illness/INJURIES with out you/Medical establishment getting all upset and claiming that we are not doing our fair share toward our fellow man. My fellow man starts at home with my kids/ the next generation.
But thank you for being so kind, so understanding, compassionate, putting your love out there for our concern

For Nick

Nick, many of us have children with serious vaccine injuries - telling us we have irrational fear is more than a bit rude. It's like telling someone who has been in an airplane crash to suck it up and get back on board - it's safer than driving.

Irrational fear is what the gov't used during H1N1 and uses each flu season.

We respect your decision to set aside the risk of injury to your own child for the sake of others. Once bitten, most of us are reluctant to continue down that path - that's what landed us here in the first place.

Nick Lozano

Dumbest thing ever. The reason why vaccinating your childeren is a good idea is if not for your own benefit, it eliminates the risk of you contracting a disease, and passing it on to someone who is too old/young to receive vaccinations or they are medically exempt. Don't put others at risk for something that is an irrational fear. It's more dangerous to drive a car than not vaccinate.(based on the risk of getting in an accident or crash)

Josh Day

Terri, wow, what a great comment. Powerful.

Denial and delusion so often go hand in hand. Deny an overwhelming percentage of vaccine reactions and injuries are not reported, blatantly covered up, or the reports conveniently disappear. Delude yourself into thinking the medical professional is always right and has no vested interest in their actions, and that there can't possibly be any connection between vaxxes and neurological disorders despite overwhelming observational evidence and common sense. It isn't so because these people and entities "smarter and more educated than me" (which is a logical fallacy and in reality couldn't be further from the truth) say it isn't so.

"Predictably Irrational" is a book that discusses decision-making and peoples' responses to stimuli which defy inherent reason. The author, who was severely burned in a military training exercise in his youth, talks about his agonizing experience in the hospital and the constant irrational behavior he witnessed.

He goes on to break down the placebo effect and invasive medical procedures. A study was done on knee arthroscopic surgery, comparing the real surgery to a procedure where a cut was made but nothing was done. The placebo group, interestingly enough, reported the same benefits as those who had the real surgery. You can imagine the flak from surgeons after this as they went into a collective hissy fit to disprove the study with counter studies and -- aren't we familiar with this -- "real science." The author concludes in this area wondering how many other surgeries are as equally useless.

It's a telling read especially when you apply the concepts to the vaccine debate.

I've linked a good review of the book in my name.

Terri Lewis

"Am I being singled out, or is everyone else getting mad, threatening, hateful things going on? :)"

Julie, I'm not personally getting any of that (of course, I wasn't there) but I do get a lot of people who just "shut down" when I try to talk about vaccines and autism.

In my hands right now, I have a tiny piece of reason as to why "they" are behaving this way.

In this month's Discover magazine (July, 2008) there's a brief little book review on page 71. The book is "The Science of Fear: Why We Fear The Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger," by Daniel Gardner. The main premise of the book, according to this review by Jane Bosveld, is that certain threats "such as asteroid impacts, online pedophiles, and terrorist attacks trigger gut reactions so powerful that they override rational thought."

"Pretty soon," according to this author, "we are willing to carry gas masks to protect ourselves from a chemical weapons attack--but not to exercise and eat our fruits and veggies."

Pretty dumb, when you consider that the risk of death by terrorist attack is less than 1 in 10,000, but death from heart disease or cancer is almost 1 in 3.

Reading this, I had a real "Ah ha!" moment, and realized that fear of death by disease--for many people--falls squarely into the category of pedophiles, terrorist attacks, and other relatively unlikely, but emotionally overwhelming events.

". . .gut reactions so powerful that they override rational thought. . ." Simply put, and so true.

Fear of autism, or any other type of vaccine damage, is still (in most people's minds) a much, much lesser fear, based on:

1. A failure to recognize how common vaccine damage is (calling it so many different things has been a great "divide and conquer" strategy) and
2. A failure to realize how bad vaccine damage can be, including (of course) a risk of death.

But even if/when we're able to successfully argue the two points above, most people are still left with such a powerful gut reaction against contagious disease that it overrides reason.

When we do a better job of first addressing these very real fears, we may begin to move ahead faster.

Currently, this is hard to do, because there is no general consensus about just how quickly "deadly" diseases may (or may not) come back if we stop vaccinating against them.

Have we largely overcome the deadliest diseases due to vaccines, or due to better sanitation, frequent hand washing, pure water and decent nutrition (relative to a hundred years ago, say)?

The quickest ways forward might be to first address the extremely low risks associated with the least deadly diseases: to tear apart, for example, the outrageous lies about how deadly the flu is, and to replace them with truths about how dangerous the flu shot ingredients are, and how very risky overvaccination is, thus leading to the obvious conclusion that the flu shot is something all of us could do without.

But even this isn't something that all of us here would agree on. There are many people here, I'm sure, who want the option of a flu shot, just a safer one. And they want to protect their child against all disease, while some of us would argue that's an impossible goal, and we would do better to protect against the most dangerous diseases only, given the inherent risks of vaccination.

There are also some (perhaps many) who shouldn't be vaccinated at all. Period.

But rather than go on about how to proceed from here, I'm going to think about how to address anyone who's interested by first realizing and listening to their fears--no matter how irrational they may be.

That's where so much of their anger--and even hatred for us--is coming from.

Terri Lewis

Julie R.

This woman on youtube developed a “video response” to our rally, and continues to send me hate mail. You have to watch her video, as it was a response to mine, but I blocked most of what she did and said, as youtube allows me to decide. Am I being singled out, or is everyone else getting mad, threatening, hateful things going on? :) Maybe we are getting under their skin a little ;)

Here are the links to the 2 videos. The first one is hers, obviously!!!

Silence her, she's anti-vaccine!!!

"Check out this vaccine reaction...She says bad things can happen to you from these shots... Why would they even pass out the shot...."

The mom is anti-vaccine, the mom is anti-vaccine. Let's crucify her. How dare she say such things, vaccines save people from HPV. Would you rather have HPV instead?

Whose insane? Is "are you insane" from the morning still around?

Tanner's Dad

Check out this vaccine reaction...She says bad things can happen to you from these shots... Why would they even pass out the shot....

I guess we are asking the same questions but in our case our children are not able to ask the question themselves!


Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for publishing this list. We all know very well that this list has ascertainment bias written into it -- it includes only those cases that went to court and won as is therefor only representative of the tip of the injury iceberg. Vaccine-related neurological and immunological injury goes far, far beyond autism. Children, pregnant women and those with a family history of auto-immune disorders are not the only vulnerable populations. Think of the elderly population who are receiving the bulk of the Thimerosal-laced flu shots these days. Much like children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed, they are at greater risk because their aging cells cannot so easily recover from such insult -- their immune systems and ability to regenerate cells, proteins and new DNA are already compromised by the process of aging. We must protect the most vulnerable among us. "Anti-injury" is right -- that's our new slogan. Thank you once again for all that you do for humanity.


One of my many heroes, is a man named John Salamone. He was president of Informed Parents Against Vaccine Associated Paralytic Polio, or IPAV. IPAV was a non-profit organization representing families affected by vaccine associated paralytic polio. Their mission was to eliminate (vaccine associated paralytic polio) cases through the advocacy of an all-IPV schedule in the United States and for physician/parent education.

John Salamone at a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Comittee meeting, May 27, 1998-

"Our goal is to go out of business as soon as possible. However, until an all-IPV program is implemented in the United States we will assume a visible and lead role in educating parents about the risk of vaccine associated polio so that they may make informed and safe decisions for their children.

We do not want what happened to our children to happen to others, especially knowing that there is a safer choice. With respect to this mission, IPAV has asked the FDA to place a black box on the oral polio vaccine package insert."

While a black box warning has never been issued for the OPV, on January 1, 2000, the CDC mandated exclusive use of the safer, injectable "killed-virus" polio vaccine (IPV) .

Here is a heartbreaking, yet inspiring article. It details children who have contracted VAPP, and how their families worked towards successfuly eliminating the use of the live virus polio vaccine in the US.

Each day I think of John Salamone, his story gives me the inspiration and determination to make a difference.


Beth thank you so much for all the work before helping us prepare for our meetings after the Rally.
I went in this time confident and prepared.
I hope we can just keep storming Washington until they change the CDC management/vision and regulate vaccine makers instead of indemnifying them.


Appreciations for your summary, Beth. Very helpful.

Please keep involved in the debate. With your background, you're invaluable as a resource, and commentator.


D's Advocate

"Children and adults alike are routinely vaccinated. Many suffer no adverse event, some minor aches and pains, and some suffer serious and life altering or life ending adverse events. "

Does anyone have any links to the actual numbers? What are the proportions relative to the number of injections given?

Thanks in advance.


Thank you Beth for your work and efforts.

I found Peter Bell of Autism Speaks comments at A1 about how they were the ones who would work for a "diplomatic' solution rather than protesting (in a tone that made that sound like it was so beneath him) insulting to folks like you and Liz Birt.

Keep up the work and thanks for this info!



thank you Beth!

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