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What are The Advisory Council of Childhood Vaccines and the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

Oz curtainBy Wayne Rohde

Has anyone heard of the ACCV, the Advisory Council of Childhood Vaccines to the Department of Health and Human Services?  Most people have not and what’s worse, a large majority of the public does not know about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The ACCV was formed as the advisory committee to the program or specifically to the Secretary of HHS.  There are several members, most serving as representatives for industry and medical agencies, a petitioner attorney, and two parent representatives, who have vaccine injured children.  The meetings are held quarterly, the last one Thursday, March 7th.  The next meeting will be Thursday, June 6th.  The general public is invited to attend via conference call.  Currently, the meetings are held on one day, for 6 to 8 hours to discuss topics of concern to the committee.  Status reports about the adjudication of petitions are also discussed, as well as the report from DOJ attorneys on the status of cases that are appealed or remanded back to the Vaccine Court.  Lastly, workgroup reports on recommendations that can be sent on to the Secretary of HHS are reviewed.

After reading the transcripts of quarterly meetings for the past several years, I have noticed most of the members are not advocates for the general public or vaccine safety.  The attorney member and parent representatives are the only ones to challenge the status quo of our nation’s vaccine policy during this meeting. 

A topic that should be important to all of us is the committee’s charge and responsibility of conducting public outreach, in other words, educating the general public and medical communities about the VICP.   But as with all issues regarding vaccine policy, special interests and their political clout enters the chambers of the committee and put a damper on what should be a clear and laser focused effort to provide information to the general public about vaccine compensation.

In 2009 and 2010, the committee made an attempt to develop a public outreach program.  Heavy discussion and debate regarding the determination of goals to inform the public was the topic during the meetings.  Was the end result going to be attendance at a few medical tradeshows and handing out a couple dozen brochures to a few doctors who stop by the booth?  Or perhaps the development and expansion of the website to provide more information and links to the program, or even developing a Public Service Announcement and placing it on TV and Radio outlets, or use of social media?

The discussion of developing a PSA was very interesting and telling of the motives of several members of this committee.  The discussion about a PSA would actually scare more people not to vaccinate trumped the discussion of educating them on what happens if you suspect a vaccine injury.

But what I find very frustrating is what happens with most federal committees and commissions.  The committee decided to spend   $300,000.00 to contract with a private vendor, Banyon Communications, to develop a public outreach program. 

The end result was presented to the committee a year later.  For $300,000.00, the ACCV decided to provide a couple of links on the website and publish a couple of documents of their recommendations of reform measures that were sent to the Secretary of HHS a few years earlier.

I think that many of us could have thought about this type of recommendation in a couple of minutes, over a cup of coffee, but over a year later and $300,000.00, here we are.

That was the extent of the public outreach.  Can’t modify the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) to make it more prominent about VICP.  That is CDC territory.  Handcuffed to produce a Public Service Announcement for Radio and TV.  That is taboo because too many people will be scared about what might actually happen to their children. And it will begin a slow decay of one of the cornerstones of the vaccine industry.  That vaccine injury is very rare.  But what is even worse, is the compensation to a vaccine injury is even rarer.  And that civil injustice is very rampant.

The current chair of the ACCV, David King, is a father of a vaccine injured child.  And he is a very qualified and effective chairperson.  He is a strong advocate for many of our children.  And he needs your help. 

During the most recent committee conference call, a few items popped up that are concerning.  One, the announcement by Dr. Vito Caserta, Executive Secretary of the VICP, that future meetings will be by conference call.  When asked by several members of the committee if the opportunity to resume the traditional committee in person meetings, Dr. Caserta told the committee that due to budget concerns and the pending sequester, the quarterly meetings will be held via conference call.  No more face to face discussions, interacting with other committee members, and the ability for a member to look another member in the eye and ask the important questions.  So as new members rotate into the committee, they will not have a sense of who the other members are, the inability to build relationships to allow for collaboration of ideas. 

Now it does not take a PhD to figure out that something is at play.  The budget and expenses of the ACCV are part of an allotment from the NVICP Trust Fund.  Thus, not subject to federal budgets or sequester.  So what is going on?  Could it be a cash flow problem since most of the trust fund is invested in Treasury Securities and this coincides with some recent discussions of why the court might delay payments for attorney fees or large settlements in the second half of the budget year, which ends Sept 2013?

Another development that has taken place is that the December 7th, 2012 meeting was the last meeting to have a written transcript produced.  Thus, the March meeting and going forward, no written transcripts will be made available.  Hopefully an audio recording will be made available.  It has been over 3 weeks since the last meeting and no audio recording has been published on the website.  A written transcript is a physical record of the meeting.

Are there some currents under the surface to slowly drift away from public transparency and scrutiny of the Vaccine Program?  On February 23, 2013, the PACER (Pubic Access to Court Electronic Records) was modified to eliminate a common but very necessary method of searching for petitions by vaccine injury such as MMR injury, HPV death, or Hep B injury.

And the most concerning was the discussion about a report from a working group within the ACCV regarding the increasing number of petitions filed from pregnant women.  Most of them are filing injuries not only to themselves but also to their unborn children.  And the government’s position, (HHS), is that the pregnant mother is being administered the vaccine and the unborn child is not.  So any injures to the child are not covered by the program.  Because of this current precedent, petitions are dismissed because of “Lack of Jurisdiction” ruling.  But this has a lot of people very nervous within the program.  NVAC has been discussing this issue also.  Look for this topic to be front and center as our nation’s vaccination policy ramps up promotion of vaccination of pregnant women.

So people need to start asking, what is the real purpose of the ACCV?  No genuine public education of the NVICP.  A possible reduction in transparency of the program?  No more face to face committee meetings with questions submitted prior to the meeting.  As a result, topics like immunization of pregnant mothers are left without a voice of the people.

Next ACCV Meeting is June 6th 2013.

Wayne Rohde lives in Woodbury, MN.  Father of Nick Rohde, a 15 year old vaccine injured boy who later was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism.  Wayne is currently writing a book about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

 

Comments

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jean public

our govt is not working for the people's benefit.

Benedetta

Paige's aneurism have continued to grow, and now blogging about double bypass -- she is around 16 years old.

Can't sue if they don't have a clue what a vaccine reaction looks like.

Jeannette Bishop

"And the government’s position, (HHS), is that the pregnant mother is being administered the vaccine and the unborn child is not."

So the unborn doesn't even have access to the abysmal "vaccine court?" Does that mean those who get prenatal flu shots can just go straight to a "real" court (assuming the rule of law isn't completely compromised in the U.S., an assumption I'm admittedly very uncertain about)?

Benedetta

First paragraph of this article is exactly right. Vaccine court? What vaccine court?

A quote more or less from a leader on another website:

I talked to the doctor today about getting Paige a flu shot. She was so sick with the flu last year -and she had to stop taking her asprin that is keeping her aneurisms from getting bigger -- and while she was sick those aneurism got bigger. And you know after she suffered from Kawasakis back when she was little --- I thought it was the vaccines -- but the doctor said it wasn't. The doctor even talked us into getting the Gardisil vaccine too, and since Paige's real mother died of cervical cancer well we got that one too. I guess if anything happens to Paige I will just sue.


Peaches02

Theresa 66: Thats a good one, I love it! And so true.

Theresa 66

I hate the seemingly endless supply of vaccine commercials and billboards. Where is the " Got vaccine injury ?",
" Vaccine injury hotline ", "... call for your free vaccine
injury checklist", or " No more kisses for Grandma ? maybe
your toddler has vaccine injury"

nhokkanen

Thank you, Wayne, for following the ACCV's activities. On one hand it's remarkable that the current chair has a vaccine-injured child; however, given the group's lack of meaningful power that makes sense.

People who believe that society could not possibly allow vaccines to cause an autism epidemic lack an understanding of human nature and government dynamics in history. To whit, this quote posted recently on Dr. Mercola's site:

“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
- Winston Churchill

Anne Dachel

It sounds like the ACCV is as secretive as the vaccine court and its records. Vaccine court cases that actually get heard are handled in out-of-the-way places and there are no public announcements of the settlements. The less said about vaccine injuries the better.

Anne Dachel, Media

Louis Conte

The program is putting a unique twist on "transparency" called "invisibility."

It is time for the VICP to open the books to in independent review of the health outcomes of individuals compensated for vaccine injury.

It is time to openly study the ones who got sick. This investigation is just as critical as a vax/unvax study as it could lead to insights into what are the common features of those injured and provide insight into what a vaccine injury actually looks like.

This information does not belong to Secretary Sebelius, DOJ or the CDC's minions. It belongs to all Americans.

Open the books.

Adam M

Actually the industry has made a deal with the devil that is starting to come due. You can't have a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program without admitting that vaccines injure people. The best you can do is try to keep the public in ignorance of it. In the information age that must be getting very hard to do.

Bob Moffitt

"The discussion of developing a PSA was very interesting and telling of the motives of several members of this committee. The discussion about a PSA would actually scare more people not to vaccinate trumped the discussion of educating them on what happens if you suspect a vaccine injury."

Since vaccines have "product liability protections" no other product has .. they are NEVER going to participate in developing a PSA warning of the potential consequences of vaccine injuries .. such as the following highly promoted commercial for a drug product that has NO PRODUCT LIABILITY PROTECTION .. shown on national television throughout the day.

SOFT WOMAN'S VOICE OVER T.V. IMAGE OF FLOATING BUTTERFLIES:

"------- can help with depression .. though ------- is not for everyone .. call your doctor if your depression worsens .. or . you have unusual changes in behavior or thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressants can increase these in children, teens or young adults. Elderly dementia patients taking ------- have an increased risk of death or stroke. Call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles or confusion to address a possible life-threatening condition .. or .. if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these could become permanent. High blood sugar has been reported with ------- and medicines like it. Extreme cases can lead to coma or death. Other risks included increased cholesterol, weight gain, decreases in white blood cells which can be serious .. trouble swallowing, impaired judgement and motor skills.

If you are still struggling with depression .. ask your doctor if the option of adding ------- is right for you. Be sure to ask about the "FREE TRIAL OFFER"."

Do you think this company gave fair warning to their customers on the potential problems associated with ------- because they wanted to inform their customers .. or .. to protect themselves from future liability claims?

Victor Pavlovic

Basically, they want to make it non-existent along with the VICP, and like they are currently doing with the vaccine injured.

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