Three weeks ago Microsoft chief Bill Gates labeled those who question vaccine safety as “anti-vaccine” and that claimed that “they kill children” during an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
On Tuesday of this week, the United States Supreme Court told parents we have no recourse to a court of law for compensation when “unavoidably unsafe” vaccines harm our children (or ourselves).
February had more than its fair share of grim news concerning autism, vaccine safety and vaccination choice.
On Thursday, vaccine safety advocates responded passionately but respectfully to these events. Advocates from the tri-state area gathered in front of Microsoft’s executive offices in New York City for a press conference. The advocates demanded an apology from Gates and decried the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s Bruesewitz v. Wyeth decision. Media filming the event included CNN, local CBS and ABC affiliates, and LNS.
Led by Vaccine Epidemic co-editors Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, the advocates demanded a reasoned dialogue on vaccine safety issues to further our common goal of protecting children’s health, rather than name-calling and rhetoric designed to squelch debate and silence dissent.
Habakus demanded an apology from Gates for his “egregious and irresponsible statement.” She admonished Sanjay Gupta and others who have the public ear for allowing Gates’s statement of intolerance to go unchecked. As she said, it is, in the end, Gates and others who demand blind adherence to public health dogma who are damaging the very program they seek to guard: “In truth, the people who deny the reality of vaccine injury are the ones who undermine the nation’s vaccine program. When those in power tell half-truths about vaccines, people reluctantly conclude that their trust was misplaced.”
Mary Holland addressed the Bruesewitz decision. She explained that the Supreme Court removed any remaining incentive vaccine manufacturers had to make vaccines safer by shielding them from legal liability when their vaccines damage those who are required to receive them. The Court sent a clear message to parents that we are on our own when it comes to vaccine injury. Holland read powerful remarks from the Bruesewitz family, as well as from the Cedillo and Hazlehurst families, whose claims of vaccine injury were denied in administrative proceedings - the only recourse now left to those injured by vaccines. The statements can be read in full at www.vaccineepidemic.com.
They were followed by an impressive lineup of advocates. First, John Gilmore, Director of the Autism Action Network, spoke about the “no-choice choice” and vaccine mandates in New York state. He was followed by Lisa Rudley, an advocate who has helped hundreds of families find the right treatments to help their children. Rudley spoke about chronically ill children and asked why it is “anti-vaccine” to ask questions about vaccine safety. Next, Mary Coyle, an advocate and healthcare practitioner, spoke about our children’s stolen future and the legacy of injury and damage. Katie Wright, an Age of Autism contributing editor who frequently writes about federal autism policy, was the final speaker. Holding up a picture of her own injured child, she spoke about government double-speak and the politics of autism causation.
Holland(shown speaking in photo) brought together these themes when she said:
Mr. Gates, these families, and those of us assembled here today, invite you to take a penetrating look at the “miracle of vaccines.” Vaccines may indeed protect some, but they have ravaged others. We are not anti-vaccine –we are pro-safety and pro-justice. We demand an apology for your words of intolerance, and we demand that you, the medical profession, and our government respect the hallmark of ethical medicine -- free and informed consent.
At the conclusion of the press conference, Habakus attempted to deliver a copy of Vaccine Epidemic to the Microsoft offices, asking that it be given to Bill Gates. Her gesture was rebuffed.