SafeMinds: Federal Members of Advisory Committee Block Vaccine-Autism Research
Struggling to Communicate: Autism and the Media

TACA: IACC Rescinds Vaccine Research Initiatives

TACA 160 Managing Editor's Note: The following is from our sponsor TACA.

The Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee Meeting Rescinds Vaccine Research Initiatives from the Strategic Plan of Combating Autism Act

Statement prepared by TACA's Rebecca Estepp
January 16, 2009

What happened Wednesday January 14, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland?

In a dramatic turn of events, the National Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel, MD Chairman of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) called for a vote on a previously voted-on and approved decision to the Strategic Plan of the Combating Autism Act of 2006. December 2008, IACC approved two studies to address vaccine safety as it pertains to autism.  The vote to reverse this previous decision was a surprise to the public members of IACC. It was not listed on the meeting’s agenda. 

Who is IACC and what do they do?

IACC is made up of eighteen seats.  Twelve members are government representatives and six members are from the general public.  IACC is responsible for developing and updating the Strategic Plan for Autism Research under the mandate of the Combating Autism Act. They decide which studies get funding from the $940 million that was allocated to autism research under the Act. The two vaccine research studies in question totaled $16 million, less than two percent of the available funds.

What is the reason for the re-vote?

Ed Trevathan from the Centers of Disease Control (the government agency who promote the vaccine program) brought up the idea of removing the vaccine studies from the Strategic Plan.  Dr. Insel agreed under the auspices of conflicts of interest since the Department of Health and Human Services is the defendant in Vaccine Court.  Dr. Insel also felt that the National Institute of Health was poorly equipped to do vaccine research.

How did the vote go?

It was decided to reject the previously approved vaccine research studies by a vote of 11 to 7.  Five out of six public committee members voted against rejecting the approved studies.  The one lone public voice that voted with most of the government representatives was Alison Singer, former Executive Vice President of Autism Speaks. 

What has been the fall out?

There has been plenty of fall out and this situation is only hours old.  Autism Speaks has withdrawn its support of the Strategic Plan.  They have issued a very good press release detailing the events of the meeting.  Read it HERE.

Alison Singer no longer works for Autism Speaks. It gets even more interesting.  The Autism Speaks’ Press Release was issued early in the afternoon on January 15th.  A few hours later a new press release came out by Every Child by Two about Alison Singer’s departure from Autism Speaks.  Read about it HERE.

Does this mean that Alison Singer will be working at Every Child by Two? That is not clear.

The Strategic Plan has lost support from Safe Minds (Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders). Safe Minds is also asking incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Daschle to remove the National Institute of Mental Health as the lead agency for autism research. They have another request to Congress to get the repealed studies reinstated.

TACA supports both Safe Minds & Autism Speaks press release and response to the recent IACC actions.  In light of the recent Mind Institute Study (Reference HERE) environmental research including vaccines must be completed as part of the Combating Autism Act funding.

Silver Lining?

There may be a silver lining to these actions.  Dr. Insel brought up a good point, although, it may not have been his intent. Our country does need truly independent vaccine research.  The department of Health and Human Services is the defendant of Autism Omnibus Cases; it is a conflict of interest in having them research vaccine safety.   Independent studies are something the autism community must demand.

Alison Singer left her position at Autism Speaks. Alison was not friendly to the bio-med and environmental research community. With her departure, there could be an easing of the relationships between Autism Speaks and the bio-med / environmental research community.

There is also a feeling that the repeal of this IACC vote is tantamount to the 2002 Homeland Security Rider which briefly gave exoneration (it was later repealed) to the drug companies for injuries that occur because of vaccination.  That rider was so egregious that it got the attention of a journalist named David Kirby. Look how that turned out. Hopefully we have the same situation here.

What to do?

The response plan is still being hammered out by many of the Autism Organizations.  In the next weeks, we may have call to actions for parents, friends and family to take part in as this situation evolves.  Please check the TACA website and E-news for more information.




And new reports suggest the Autism rate could be as high at 1 in 38. Thank you IACC! As long as your kids are good and the kickbacks keep coming, don't worry about the other millions who will suffer.

You guys should put a bundle together with big tobacco. Maybe a bonus carton of smokes for all toddlers who keep their immunizations current? You know what I'm talkin about! Cha Ching!!!


how can they vote something in and then take it away? only in america. so, what the cdc heard they might get found out? there is obviously a cover up going on here. it is a little too much now for everyone to not see. yet there are people who don't see. people who think we are crazy. how can they put money out there for our kids but then turn away after getting so close? (well close to a study) i don't know, something isn't adding up..


Somehting is rotten in the state of Denmark:

Great point! Apparently Ms. Singer was privy to more than anyone on the vaccines connection side of this argument. Is that legal givne that she holds a public seat?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

"...The vote to reverse this previous decision was a surprise to the public members of IACC. It was not listed on the meeting’s agenda..."

So how come then Singer knew about this in advance? She is a public member, right? How come she was not kept in the dark, like the other public members?

Are some public members of IACC then less public than others?


this "re-vote" was not listed on the IACC meeting's agenda? WTF??!! I'm not a lawyer but isn't that a wee bit problematic for them?


I second Kathy Blanco


Correction: In 2006, Dr. Trevathan was paid as a consultant by GlaxoSmithKline (not Merck) for approval of the drug Lamotrigine. See link:


Financial Disclosure: This study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Lamictal (lamotrigine). Dr Trevathan has served as a paid consultant to GlaxoSmithKline but did not receive compensation for writing this article or for assisting with the analysis of these data. Ms Kerls, Ms Hammer, Mr Voung, and Dr Messenheimer are full-time employees of GlaxoSmithKline.


The IACC is citing Conflict of Interest?? the hypocrisy is astounding!! Before getting a highly paid job as a department head at the CDC,
Dr. Ed Trevathan was a paid consultant for Merck. So why is not surprising that a former Merck consultant is advising IACC that vaccine studies be taken off the table. Shame on Dr. Insel for caving in.

I think Obamas Health transition Team should be notified of this fiasco. hey are listed on

Re: What is the reason for the re-vote?

Ed Trevathan from the Centers of Disease Control (the government agency who promote the vaccine program) brought up the idea of removing the vaccine studies from the Strategic Plan. Dr. Insel agreed under the auspices of conflicts of interest since the Department of Health and Human Services is the defendant in Vaccine Court. Dr. Insel also felt that the National Institute of Health was poorly equipped to do vaccine research


Dear Realist

Could be was used

One can be HOPEFUL


"With her departure, there could be an easing of the relationships between Autism Speaks and the bio-med / environmental research community."

Doubtful. Consider that Alison was not fired from Autism Speaks. She resigned.

Bob and Suzanne Wright showed their true colors last year when they sided with Alison Singer (genetics genetics genetics), Mark Roithmayr (mainstream at all costs - no controversy), and Peter Bell (pharma alum who worked for Janssen, maker of Risperdal) over their own daughter.

Autism Speaks is upset at the moment with Singer's vote because her vote unmasks the organization. It will be harder for them to appear to be interested in vaccine research now. They sometimes talk about vaccines but fund genetic research. A vote with the other public members would have allowed Autism Speaks to APPEAR to support vaccine research, without doing anything about it.

Bob and Suzanne let Alison Singer write this press release trashing Katie, which is still on the Autism Speaks website.


Thank you Rebecca for writing this and explaining all of this for those of us that may not understand the intracies of governmental procedures. You pointed out key things here: Why within 7 days after the MIND inst. publish'd a study to prove its not "over diagnosis," others come out and say environmental impact studies are not warranted? ummmm....what??? Timing is ironic no? Did gov't members go out of their way to protect others ??? Hmmmmm...
The timing is not a coincidence.
The timing is deliberate.
Its time we paid attention.

Thank you for the article. we have to keep marching or die trying. Thank you.

Thank you Rebecca. i will forward this on ....

David M.

AMAZING!! - I have seen it all now. Congress finally passes a law to combat autism and at the last minute, the CDC and the rest of the vaccine happy talk people on the IACC, including Alison Singer a.k.a. "Judas" pull the rug out and have a study on whether vaccines cause autism pulled. Like everyone associated with Autism Speaks and Safe Minds, I am outraged at this. Who do all these people think they are fooling. Follow the money. Big pharma makes huge money from vaccines and The CDC is in their pocket. I hope Bob Wright and everyone else who has any kind of political muscle screams at the top of their lungs to the incoming administration to throw all these bums out and start from scratch.


Great insight, Becky!! Thanks for all your hard work!! Keep us posted!

Kathy Blanco

I'm going to say it....look, some of this is our fault. Workable parents? I think not (at least not me). "We are not anti vaccine" (not me)...yeah right...let's get this straight...the only thing they WORRY about is public perception of the safety of vaccines. I call for the entire community of autism parents to totally (if not already) actively and vocally boycotting the vaccine program IN TOTAL possibly outreaching to all the family members in touch with that family as dual sponsers, possibly even reaching out to the ADHD/MR community as well, if not picketting programs in every state for a month or two at pediatric offices...that should sufficiently make them pee their pants...and lets be honest, if we had that much boycotting/activity/media coverage going on (in every state, specific times, specific places), then they would be FORCED to look at the studies that show the connections of autism and vaccines. UNTIL THEN, the workable parent crap/working/marching down Washington DC, appearing to work with the devils to green a vaccine (yeah right, try to do that one), is going to only muddy the waters more, and make us appear as whimps. I want a real type of anti war "against disease" protest, that real angry parents deserve and want. My kids were sent off to a war, that was not even there!! I'd be happy to organize such a project. Even with two autistic adults...I am mad as hell.

Then, the money we save from not vaccinating/going to pediatric appointment (a waste of money I may add) should be donated to a collective fund to research them in full, and I mean FULL, for long term safety, what it does in predisposed children, vaccine vs unvaccinated populations etc...We should appoint what organization best fits this scenario, hire the damn researchers and darn it, do it. I would be happy to organize that too. I know a few of them, personally.

So, let's get going, put up or shut up.

Sorry for the boldness/frankness and finger pointing, I am just so picken pissed right now...

Do we get this? The government is AGAINST us, the PHARMA is against us, and damn it, I think some autism organizations are really against us...I speak for myself here, but I think most of them are useless...wher is the cure? Where is the prevention model? Where is the "this is what autism is caused by"? My gosh, does it take decades? Give me a break?

Change hsa come to America? Obama, oh Obama, wait till you see how pissed parents can get? THIS IS THE ONLY WAY to stop this dropping research nonsense...and ok, I can see th econflicts of interest thing...but let's be very susinct here...they don't want to do it, PERIOD, because they know what is causing autism, PERIOD.

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