By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
I'd hoped the Special Masters of the Vaccine Court would put an end to the vaccine/autism catastrophe. Nobody was more surprised than me by the decisions earlier this year in the cases of Cedillo, Hazlehurst, and Snyder.
As an attorney I have great respect for the judicial system but the decisions struck me as terribly flawed. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. The Vaccine Court isn't really part of the traditional legal system. It was a creation of the pharmaceutical companies to shield themselves from liability. Why else would a plaintiff be unable to force a defendant to produce a single document or witness without the permission of the Special Master? These companies and the U. S. government know they have something to hide.
The Vaccine Court also anticipated a small number of claims. With conservative estimates of 670,000 children with autism and a rate which has gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100 over the course of about two decades it’s probably difficult for those in the medical and legal systems to comprehend the extent of the damage they've caused.Kept out of the regular court system, ignored by the media who view our questions as “fringe” and “irresponsible”, and shunned by most medical professionals, we need a new plan.
I have one. I hope you'll join me in making it a reality.
The parent volunteers of Generation Rescue are spearheading a ballot initiative focused on vaccines and neurological disorders. It will be called the "Green Vaccines" initiative. The effort is also endorsed by Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) who urge their members to support this plan. In addition, I've recruited some of the best political talent in the country to make it happen. Although the effort will initially be in Oregon it will create a national dialog about this issue and serve as a model for future efforts in other states.
I believe this plan will not only put us on an equal footing in the marketplace of ideas, but also allow future generations to avoid this problem, as well as assist those of us currently struggling with children who need even better therapies than are currently available. It's also a process we control. Politicians who can be swayed by pharma money don't make the decisions. We do. Success or failure is in our hands.
Let me tell you how this all came to pass.
Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate to have a great one-on-one aide working with my daughter. The aide was also one of the regional leaders in the California ballot initiative which became known as the “Farm Bill”, legislating better conditions for farm animals. Previously she’d never believed in democracy. The initiative process, though, had shown her that people can make change happen. I began to think about how this strategy might be applied to autism.
Using some of her contacts I eventually ended up talking to the country’s premier political consultants on ballot measures. They said the key to developing a successful ballot measure was a poll testing process in which many proposals were presented to potential voters to see which measures stood the best chance of success and discover what additional information a voter might need to make up his mind.
I was also inspired by the story of the Stem Cell Initiative in California. In 2004, parents of children with diabetes banded together and passed a bond measure to provide critical funding for stem cell research that was blocked at the federal level. In the beginning they faced long odds, but they took matters into their own hands-and they won.The consultants thought the campaign I was suggesting was similar to the stem cell campaign in California. The key to the success of that campaign was an intensive poll testing process in which many proposals were presented to potential voters to see which measures stood the best chance of success. Additional market research was conducted to determine what supplemental information a voter might need to make up his mind.
J. B. Handley and I did a great deal of brain-storming on what proposals should be poll-tested, along with receiving invaluable input from Age of Autism editors, Dan Olmsted, Kim Stagliano, and Mark Blaxill. Additional suggestions were made by autism advocates Julie Obradovic and Angela Warner. Eventually we came up with 27 different ideas which could conceivably be put together in a “Green Vaccines” ballot initiative.
I had initially wanted California since it’s where I live, but such an effort would cost somewhere between 10 to 40 million dollars. J. B. thought Oregon might provide a better venue due to its smaller size and political demographics. An effort in Oregon would also be less expensive, costing somewhere between 2 to 5 million dollars.
The market research stage will cost approximately $200,000 dollars and probably take about two months. In these types of campaigns there are usually a few high-dollar donors, but we don’t have that at this time. Too many of us are shelling out what little money we have trying to help our kids recover. The consultants suggested we might want to make an alliance of somewhere between 5-7 autism organizations, with each one pledging to raise 25-50K from its members. That would give us the “seed money” necessary to start this plan. (But if there are any high-net worth individuals who think this is a worthy cause, this would be the time to let me know!)
Another benefit of starting in a single, smaller state is that we’ll develop a model which can be replicated in other states. I also believe a ballot measure in Oregon will generate a national debate about vaccines which helps everybody. The media will have a much more difficult time ignoring us.
When we get to $150,000 the consultants will be given their marching orders to start the market research stage. If that happens in a short period of time then we should have some answers by January, spend about a month or two getting the initial 1,000 signatures to qualify the measure, then a few more months getting the 80,000 signatures necessary to put it on the ballot. Then starting in late spring and early summer of 2010 the battle for the future of our children will really begin. I believe we can not only win this battle, but generate a fair and honest national debate about what the current vaccination program is doing to a generation of children.
Below, please read the list of ideas to be included in the market research stage of a potential ballot initiative.
Proposal Ideas and Areas for Inclusion in Green Vaccine Bill
a. Opening the Vaccine Safety Database to Independent Researchers - Compel the state of Oregon to petition the federal government to assist in the return of the records of the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) files concerning childhood vaccination records from private industry and to make them available to independent researchers to determine the possible links between increased vaccinations and autism and other neurological disorders. (Background: In approximately 2004 the CDC turned over the VSD developed at taxpayer expense to a private agency, America’s Health Insurance Plans, which has denied access to medical researchers.)
b. Unvaccinated Children – Oregon Department of Health must conduct an independent study of unvaccinated children in Oregon and compare their rates of ASD, asthma, diabetes, and food allergies to vaccinated children.
c. Aluminum Research – Oregon Department of Health must study the safety of using aluminum in vaccines (presuming mercury now banned) and either certify its safety or warn parents through disclosure of any ongoing safety issues. (Aluminum was “grandfathered” into vaccines and has never undergone safety testing.)
2. Disclosure/Informed Consent
a. Comparison of CDC recommended schedules to vaccines required to attend school in Oregon.
b. Comparison of CDC, Oregon vaccine schedules with schedules from first world countries in Western Europe, as well as a comparison of child mortality and rates of autism and other neurological disorders among the differing groups.
c. Explanation of philosophical, religious, and medical exemptions to vaccinations.
d. Explanation of “Vaccine Precautionary Principles” for pediatricians and parents to consider in administering vaccines.
e. Disclosure of any and all toxic ingredients in vaccines, including aluminum and mercury, as well as levels and comparison to EPA/FDA safety standards, and whether such safety testing has been done or the ingredient has been “grandfathered” into the vaccine, which means full safety testing has not been done.
f. Disclosure of death rates from vaccine-preventable diseases.
a. Thimerosal Ban for Children and Pregnant Women - Vaccines given to Oregon children and pregnant women must be 100% free from Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative also used in manufacturing) with absolutely no exceptions. This includes a ban on the use of thimerosal in manufacturing of the vaccines.
b. Flu Shot Ban for Pregnant Women - Flu shots have NOT been safety-tested or
approved by the FDA for use in pregnant women. Oregon must abide by this lack of approval from the FDA and ban the flu shot for pregnant women.
c. Simultaneous Administration Ban - Vaccines have never been tested or approved by the FDA to be co-administered. The new law will allow only one vaccine to be administered per pediatric visit. A minimum of one week must be observed between vaccines.
d. Premature Birth Vaccine Ban - Vaccines have not been safety-tested for premature infants. Any child born premature may not receive a vaccine until they reach a minimum age of 6 months.
e. Infant Vaccine Ban – An Oregon child may not receive any vaccines until they reach a minimum age of 3 months.
f. Thimerosal ban in all Vaccines - Vaccines give to all Oregon citizens must be free of thimerosal as a preservative or in the manufacturing process.
4. Changes to Existing Law
a. Addition of Philosophical Exemption to Vaccination - The addition to Oregon law of a philosophical exemption to vaccination as currently allowed in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
b. Reduction in Required Vaccines – Reduce the number of required vaccines in Oregon to attend school to the following list: DTaP, polio, MMR, and HiB.
c. Future Vaccine Addition Threshold – No future vaccines may be added to the required list by the Oregon Department of Health unless at least 50% of the 30 countries in the first world (see attached list) have added the vaccine to their country’s schedule first.
d. “Precautionary Principles” Guidelines - The Oregon Department of Health will develop a list of precautionary principle guidelines for safe vaccine administration to be shared with all healthcare professionals and to be disclosed to all Oregon parents. The guidelines from Japan can serve as a helpful example.
e. Restriction of National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 to Strict Liability for Unavoidably Unsafe Products – The state of Oregon and the Oregon Attorney General will take the position that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 (NCVICA) does not preempt design defect claims and that those who claim vaccine injury due to design defects can bring their case in the traditional civil court system and be accorded the rights of full discovery against all parties, including pharmaceutical companies and the federal government. The state of Oregon will take the position that plaintiffs need only bring their action under NCVICA if the injurious side-effects of the particular vaccine were unavoidably unsafe under the meaning of strict liability as found in Section 402A, comment k of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. The state of Oregon and the Oregon Attorney General will actively assist Oregon plaintiffs in these efforts. (For further explanation of what’s intended, please refer to the unanimous decision of the Georgia Supreme Court in American Home Products Corporation v. Ferrari, 284 Ga. 384, 668 S.E.2d 236, 2008 WL 4452358 (Ga.))
f. Vaccinations and Military Personnel - Given that a recently released 452 page Congressional report found that approximately 25% of U.S. Gulf War veterans (173,000 service members) suffer from Gulf War Syndrome and the illness resulted from some combination of chemicals, anti-nerve gas vaccinations, and possibly multiple vaccinations given in a short period of time, the state of Oregon will urge the federal government to allow citizens of Oregon serving in the United States military/Reserve United States Military/Oregon Guard and their families to either decline vaccination or choose an alternative vaccination schedule.
5. Consumer/Parental Choice
a. Choice of Aluminum and Formaldehyde Free Vaccines – Parents will have the option of getting aluminum and formaldehyde free vaccines for their children for an additional cost.
b. Choice of a Different Vaccination Schedule from First World Countries – Parents will be given the option of choosing a different vaccination schedule from the top 20
industrialized countries after examining their rates of child mortality and neurological disorders.
c. Choice of Getting a Titer check before Vaccination - Prior to giving a booster shot for the MMR and Varicella vaccines, titers must be checked by a pediatrician to see if immunity has already been achieved.
d. Choice of a Test Screening for Mitochondrial Disorders before Vaccination - Prior to a first vaccination, children must be screened for mitochondrial disorders. If any are present, an alternative vaccination schedule must be developed with the doctor and parent/guardian.
e. Choice of Dividing the MMR Vaccination into Individual Doses – The state of Oregon will demand of the pharmaceutical companies that they give parents a choice of breaking the MMR shot into individual shots (measles, mumps, rubella) so they can be given over a period of time, in addition to the single MMR shot.
Remember, this is an exhaustive list. The purpose of the political consultants is to help us refine this list to something that is attainable through the ballot initiative process.
I’d like you to think seriously about what I'm proposing and read the list of ideas to be included in a potential ballot initiative. With all that's going on in my life I know I can comfortably give $1,000. To help us get things started, I'm also pleased to tell you that Generation Rescue has agreed to donate the first $50,000 of our $200,000 dollar goal. If we are able to raise more than the amount needed for the initial phase it will be set aside for Phase 2.
The parent volunteers of Generation Rescue have made it possible for you to donate directly to this cause by clicking HERE. When you get to the donation page, click that you want to make a donation in honor of somebody, then during Step 2 you can make a personal note as the final field to enter information, please place the word "Ballot" in the personal note section so your donation can be directed to this cause.Thanks for reading and I hope you'll join me in this fight.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism.