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Marie McCormick & Public Health’s “Protection” Racket

Mccormick1By Nancy Hokkanen

To parents whose child suffers from vaccine-induced autism, public health policymakers’ claims of protecting children ring hollow. Paradoxically many parents now feel they must protect themselves and their families from myopic and insular agency administrators unresponsive to consumer reports of adverse reactions to vaccines.

One example came last fall from Dr. Marie McCormick of the Harvard School of Public Health, who claimed that children with autism are especially in need of immunization in order to “protect them.”

On November 2 HSPH held a forum (webcast here) entitled “Trust In Vaccines: Why It Matters.” The event was held to discuss “the importance of immunization, the safety of vaccines, and the consequences of vaccine hesitancy.” Vaccines were described as a “cost-effective stalwart” and a “target for misinformation.” (One might argue, though, that said misinformation began with the event’s one-sided promotional description, which predictably omitted mention of vaccines’ limitations and failures.)

One of four “expert participants,” McCormick is a professor of maternal and child health at Harvard. Near the forum’s end, at 56:54, an online question was read to the moderated panel:

     “With the surprising volume of science and medical evidence that shows a large percentage of children with Autism Spectrum Disease have a range of immune system dysfunction indicators, i.e. physiology, neurology and genetics, can the panel comment on whether continuing investigation should look at how vaccines may intersect to change the trajectory of ASD development, rather than the cause?”

Oddly, the members of the panel responded with nervous laughter; they then looked to McCormick to respond, and off she went. “I actually think that’s asking the question the wrong way,” McCormick said. “First of all, there is no evidence that I know of that says immunization alters anything in the expression of autism. I just – I don’t.

“But I think – the point that the question makes, that there are a broad range of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. And if you think that the nervous system also regulates your immune system, then it’s not surprising that if you have something wrong in one area that you may have some immune dysfunction.

“What I think IS important is that the evidence clearly suggests that these children are far more vulnerable to infectious diseases than children who do not have neurodevelopmental disabilities. There was a paper published last year about the mortality and morbidity rates among children with neurodevelopmental disabilities due to influenza. And so the fact is that the risk of not immunizing in the context of neurodevelopmental disabilities is really quite severe – that these kids are more vulnerable to these conditions, and really should be immunized because, in order to protect them.”

Should be immunized… in order to protect them.” That is the unending, unexamined, one-size-fits-all public health mantra, despite tens of thousands of families reporting their children’s onset of regressive autism following vaccination. And despite ever-increasing cases of ADD/ADHD, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders… and that’s just the A’s.

Dr. McCormick is being disingenuous when she insists that “no evidence that I know of that says immunization alters anything in the expression of autism.” If the stumble in her voice is any indication, she’s heard of the Hannah Poling case in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. She must know about the Zimmerman report locked up by the U.S. Department of Justice; to whit: “[T]he vaccinations CHILD received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder....”)

As per McCormick’s comment about the intersection of nervous and immune systems, just one example is the purposely misreported 2006 study on the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal: “A team of cell biologists, toxicologists and molecular bioscientists at UC Davis has published a study connecting thimerosal with disruptions in antigen-presenting cells known as dendritic cells obtained from mice…. ‘Even one rogue dendritic cell can activate many inappropriate immune responses.’”)

What public health has institutionalized is a circular perpetuity of health damage. First, the body is injected with substances that disrupt one’s natural immune system, making one more vulnerable to diseases. Then when public morbidity and mortality increase, call for more vaccines.

The vicious cycle of government mandated vaccine-induced immune dysfunction is like a mob shakedown – first you take a pounding from one group of white-coated wise guys, then their union goons insist that you need protection. You pay… dearly.

Published studies of health disorders linked to vaccines include thimerosal-induced inflammation and apoptosis, calcium channel disruption, mitochondrial dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, developmental disabilities after the hepatitis B vaccine, oxidative stress, neuronal insult, and more. Yet according to McCormick, vaccine skepticism arises because consumers just don’t understand how vaccine policymaking committees work.

“I don’t think people appreciate how much work goes into that system,” McCormick said. She referred to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System as “an early warning system that anybody can report to,” though in working reality VAERS has devolved into a de facto data morgue.

McCormick also implied that because some non-government or non-industry individuals sit on vaccine policy committees, it follows that those committees are truly independent bodies acting in the best interest of all consumers. However one need only read the minutes of NVAC, ACIP and other committees to quickly conclude that the minority opinions from members of the general public are unwanted and ignored.

Years ago public health policymakers were tasked with examining evidence linking autism to vaccination, and deciding how to handle their findings. In the leaked minutes of a 2001 Institute of Medicine planning meeting that led to the infamous 2004 “no link” pronouncement, McCormick initially had suggested the following data analysis parameters:

          “It is safety on a population basis but it is also safety for the individual child. I am wondering, if we take this dual perspective, we may address more of the parental concerns, perhaps developing a better message if we think what comes down the stream as opposed to CDC, which wants us to declare, well, these things are pretty safe on a population basis. I offer that as one strategy as we take this dual track.”

Unfortunately that proposed “dual track” of adverse event study was abandoned before the train could leave the station. Though in 2010 the health advocacy group SafeMinds provided 18 pages of additions to the IOM research pool, the subsequent 2011 IOM Report on Vaccine Adverse Effects denied any vaccine/autism link – protecting bureaucrats and pharmaceutical companies, and ensuring that more infants, children and adults would become victims of vaccines for many years to come.

The World Vaccine Congress and Expo meets April 16-18 in Washington, DC. The list of exhibitors and list of speakers make clear just how profitable the vaccine racket has been, and intends to be, for its insiders. But what about consumers? Forget about it. Bada bing, bada boom.

Nancy Hokkanen is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.



Having people "on our side" does nobody any good if they give us a half-smile and a wink but sit on their hands and keep mum while the rate keeps skyrocketing. Seriously, how bad does it have to get? If they can't get off the pot at 1:50, they never will. They are fiddling while Rome burns. They're smart people, that's why they do what they do, they should be able to figure out a way to speak the truth.

Vaccines Cause Autism

"Great way to re-energize the community against the real adversaries. I personally have had enough of us eating our own."

I agree! It's time the community rallied around someone who is not afraid to utter the word "vaccines" if we're going to take on Marie McCormick with her absurd claim that kids with autism need vaccines the most.

"Eating our own" is a perfect description of what SafeMinds and its lobbyist did to Brian Hooker. (Is anybody surprised that an organization headed by an Autism Speaks board member change the subject away from vaccines?) As long as Autism Speaks is influencing our efforts in any way, the children will lose. Let's get back on track. Hopefully, it's not too late.

Foster parent to child in Africa

Tim, I agree with you about Martha Herbert being on our side.


The denial game continues and the vaccine injured and their families continue to suffer..... Some things NEVER change! I am listening to my 9 yr old in the back room screaming her head off right now, oh yes, she is one of the vaccine injured (but they call it autism)


Heee, heeee -- Wall whisperers

As in the tons of doctors out there - including the peds -
I do like the mafia - the white coats beats you up and then the union goons come in to offer you more protection.

Diane W Farr

This news report that mercury in vaccines is good for your child's brain is over four years old. Many of you may have seen this. Just a reminder how ridiculous this all is.

Tim Kasemodel


You are my rock star.

Great way to re-energize the community against the real adversaries. I personally have had enough of us eating our own.

As for Martha Herbert lets all please remember she really is on our side. Maybe if we could go back to ask the Kennedy brothers if they thought there was a more effective way of confronting organized crime they would rethink it and say "be careful with your words, sit back and wait a few months....."

Sorry to bring controversial politics into it but I think I am a few years too late for that.

A lot of people who are in a position to do something know what is happening, it is just a matter of time before they realize they have to "shit or get off the pot" as my dad used to say. But I think respecting that they may take a few more
minutes in the privy may be in order in this case.

First it was Aldo Leopold with "A Sand County Almanac".... Then Rachel Carson and "Silent Spring.... For years we were warned of the curse of progress, of what might happen if we ignore the lessons of our fellow beings on this planet. Now it is not the frogs and fish and fruit flies we see with the effects, but our own children, our own future.

Instead of facing our societal fears and addressing our environmental reality, our bureaucratic officials are dead set on self preservation and protection of corporate profits.

We need to expose, somehow without corporate supported media, the failure of this ideology before its too late.


...........that there are a broad range of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities..........

........And so the fact is that the risk of not immunizing in the context of neurodevelopmental disabilities is really quite severe – that these kids are more vulnerable to these conditions, and really should be immunized because, in order to protect them.”..........

How can these people determine whether your child is predisposed to neurodevelopment disabilities, when they are never screened or tested prior to being given a vaccine?

Elizabeth Gillespie


In case anyone is interested, Dr. Oz tomorrow at 4 PM EST has a segment on mercury in dental fillings.
I used to listen to these lectures with respect and great interest. Now I find myself impatient and basically annoyed. Just no results, always qualifying everything, things that can't be said, things that must be praised. In the end to me it's all a bunch of mer--. I mean, if it doesn't help in some concrete way by now, I just feel like saying Shut Up. I don't care anymore about your wonderful studies, your marvelous credentials. GET SOME RESULTS. I still thing we should have Take Your Autistic Child to Harvard Lab day. These people are too detached.

no vac

I agree that Dr. Martha Herbert is not free to say what she knows and believes, that vaccines are the primary cause of autism. She has to be very careful and say it between the lines, which she does. The vaccine vultures are waiting to rip off the flesh of any doctors or scientist, who says publicly that present US vaccine program is genocidal. We must simply refuse all vaccines. There is no other choice.

Angus Files

Bring on the wall whisperer..


In fairness to Martha Herbert, she did say in "The Autism Revolution" (p. 103) that vaccines might be a cause of autism, and that "we need more data on how children who have autism and perhaps other unknown or unseen vulnerabilities respond to the current vaccination protocol." That was enough to get her book blacked out by the media: no newspaper reviewed it. She didn't use the V-word on Robert MacNeil's PBS Autism program, but she did say that all possible environmental causes of autism had to be investigated. That earned her the ire of Seth Mnookin.

My point is that she has to tread carefully. She's basically on our side, but if she doesn't choose her words carefully, she'll be blacklisted and denied research funding, and then her contributions to autism science will come to an end.


Whatever happened to Vaerstraten? Is he still around?

Jeannette Bishop

Are researchers like Herbert open to considering autism as a multi-step environmentally setup and triggered injury, where vaccination itself, maybe sometimes multiple generations of vaccine injury, could be the factor at each step? I get the feeling that some, maybe like McCormick, find that all the better. It makes culpability almost thoroughly possible to avoid assigning, or maybe all too easy to assign to genetics, while they collect their salary, and earn corporate bonuses.

But for those who seem to want to provide real answers, answers I think a generation with intense vaccination history really needs now as they are becoming parents themselves, are these researchers open enough to look at whether these injuries are man-made at all levels? And if so, how do we get our public funds out of the hands of those who've sold themselves, so the truth can be sought?

cia parker

It's not always true that autistic children are more vulnerable to the vaccine-preventable diseases. I have read about many who are immuno-compromised, but I believe that further vaccines for them will only damage them the more. My autistic daughter (from the hep-B at birth, given without permission) had pertussis, chickenpox, and many flus, and is as healthy as a horse. She did not have a severe case of these diseases, and quickly recovered. I wish she might get measles the way I did as a child, it would further strengthen her already-strong immune system. Maybe it's the hyper-vigilant immune systems which are more prone to react adversely to the antigenic challenge of vaccines. A study should be done to study both groups of autistic children and the factors which differentiate them. My daughter did not get the varicella or the MMR, nor Prevnar, but did get one hep-B, four DTaPs, one DT, three polios, and three Hibs (mea culpa). These wily medical professionals care nothing at all about children's health, only what will promote their bottom line. Lucrative dogma, not science.


I would have an easier time separating out Herbert and McCormick if it weren't for the fact that both of them seem entirely aware that vaccines are a problem and yet both refuse to openly discuss it. I believe that like them, there are plenty of scientists who know the entire truth and yet keep it well locked up with the key thrown away. This is the end result of the "War on Wakefield", which still is relentlessly referenced despite taking place eons ago. Scientists are constantly being reminded of what will happen to them should they stray from the reservation. So they remain fat, happy, Vichy "researchers" and "journal editors", carefully avoiding any truths that might throw them out of favor with their overlords.

John Stone

Leaving Lyn Redwood aside it is quite puzzling to see Insel sitting there in 2004 (I didn't realise the IACC was yet constituted) acknowledging (as Bernardine Healy was later to do) that epidemiology could not rule out sub-groups having susceptibility, but actually that could mean very significant numbers of people (whole percentages?). Of course, Insel was wrong to talk about genetic susceptibility being the single issue, because it could just as easily be health/environmental factors, particularly given the modern lack of caution of administering vaccines to sick or immunologically compromised infants.

Of course, it doesn't evade the real issue that the problems were on the epidemiological level so gross that the studies could not be published without the data being heavily massaged, manipulated or misrepresented first.

no vac

She is clearly crazy, super ignorant and very dangerous! She wants to kill vaccine-injured children with more vaccines.

Shiny Happy Person

Ottoschnaut that is an interesting observation about Harvard.

But maybe too close to dumping Herbert and McCormick in the same bucket...? It's no surprise to McCormick that the broad range of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities may also exhibit some form of immune disfunction - McCormick sees these kids as a specific target group for vaccines based on the claim that they are far more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Yet, Herbert implies that kids in this same group (those with defective immune systems) are a high risk for vaccine adverse reactions. If I understand it correctly, Herbert may not be all about chasing a direct vaccine-autism link, but she doesn't appear to be anywhere on or near the same page as McCormick when it comes to shooting these kids up. Am I missing something?

Jeannette Bishop

"What I think IS important is that the evidence clearly suggests that these children are far more vulnerable to infectious diseases than children who do not have neurodevelopmental disabilities."

The evidence suggests it is really, really stupid for a "disease prevention" program to include neurotoxins in its primary "prevention" tool.

Or really criminal. It's not possible to disagree with the shake-down analogy in this post. If it's not outright intent, it is at best willful ignorance.


Thank you Nancy for a very interesting article.

What is it about Harvard? Dr. Marta Herbert Md is affiliated with Harvard- her book Autism Revolution discusses vaccines for a total of less than one page. Herbert writes (I'm not making this up) that any vaccine adverse reactions are due to a defective immune system in the kid, not due to a problem with the shots. Herbert is affiliated with Autism Speaks as well.

Jilly Ann Beret

Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health
[email protected]
Other Affiliations
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Senior Associate Director of the Infant Follow-up Program, Children’s Hospital

My research involves epidemiologic and health services research investigations in the areas related to infant mortality and the outcomes of high-risk neonates. More specifically, current projects are in the following areas:

Outcomes of infants experiencing neonatal complications like low birth weight, and interventions potentially ameliorating adverse outcomes

Specific studies include:

•The Infant Health and Development Program. We have obtained early school-age data on a multi-site cohort (n = 1000) of low birth weight pre-term children who participated in a randomized trial of an early childhood educational intervention program. This study represents the largest trial of early intervention to date. Follow-up data at age 18 years has been collected and is being analyzed.
•An ongoing accumulating data-base on the follow-up of VLBW children managed in any of the three neonatal intensive care units staffed by the Division of Newborn Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Current studies include an examination of post-discharge growth patterns.
•We are currently analyzing the differences in use of hospital services and outcomes among moderately low birth weight infants managed in community hospitals in Massachusetts and California.
The evaluation of programs designed to improve the health of families and children.

Specific studies include:

•The evaluation of the national Healthy Start program. In collaboration with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., we are assessing the effect of a national program to reduce infant mortality rates by 50% in 15 of the highest risk communities in the United States.
•The Infant Health and Development Program (Cf. above)
•Under the aegis of the PROS (Pediatric Research in Office Settings) network of the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are conducting a study of the transition of young parent in the month following delivery among the patients of a large number of private pediatric practices.
•With personnel at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Department of Health and Human Services, we have initiated an annual report on access to and utilization of health services for children and youth.
Maternal health and prematurity

We are in the planning stages of a study to examine the risk factors for depression in mothers of NICU babies in order to plan interventions to improve the outcomes of both mothers and children.

M.D., 1971, The Johns Hopkins Medical School
Sc.D., 1978, The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health
Honorary Doctor of Human Letters, 2006, Emmanuel College

in case anyone would like to correspond with our Marie :

Bob Moffitt

"Though in 2010 the health advocacy group SafeMinds provided 18 pages of additions to the IOM research pool, the subsequent 2011 IOM Report on Vaccine Adverse Effects denied any vaccine/autism link .. (and) .. one need only read the minutes of NVAC, ACIP and other committees to quickly conclude that the minority opinions from members of the general public are unwanted and ignored."

I hope I am wrong .. but .. it appears minority opinions from members of the general public are not the only unwanted and ignored opinions.

Yesterday .. while comprising a letter for publication in local newspaper .. I viewed the January 13, 2013 Institute of Medicine report on line .. and .. copied verbatim the full paragraph as published:

"Studies have repeatedly shown the health benefits associated with the recommended schedule, including fewer illnesses, deaths, and hospital stays, the report notes. Every new vaccine is tested for safety and evaluated in the context of the entire schedule before it is added. And the systems designed to detect possible harmful effects of immunization have worked well at discovering occasional problems with individual vaccines, such as a rare intestinal disorder linked to a now-discontinued rotavirus vaccine. HOWEVER, THE ELEMENTS OF THE SCHEDULE .. THE NUMBER, FREQUENCY, TIMING, ORDER AND AGE AT WHICH VACCINES ARE GIVEN .. ARE NOT WELL-DEFINED IN EXISTING RESEARCH AND SHOULD BE IMPROVED.

Today .. wanting to identify my source .. I revisited that same report and was stunned to read what I believe is a revised paragraph to what was published just yesterday:

"Under the current schedule, children younger than six may receive as many as 24 immunizations by their second birthday. New vaccines undergo rigorous testing prior to receiving FDA approval; however, like all medicines and medical interventions, vaccines carry some risk."

Surely the IOM wouldn't deliberately "edit" out their OWN CONCERNS over the "elements of the schedule, the number, frequency, timing, order and age at which vaccines are given .. not being well-defined by existing research and needing improvement .. WOULD THEY?


How 'interesting' that McCormick says nervous system influences the functioning of the immune system, but she is unaware (or fails to mention on purpose) how closely the immune system influences and regulates workings of the nervous system. The immune system is absolutely CENTRAL to smooth functioning of the brain, the CNS, the autonomic nervous system, to cognitive function and moods ...

A presentation that McCormick should watch before answering next time:
'The immune system is needed for shaping, protecting and healing the brain'

It is puzzling that there is absolute ZERO serious biological science on how vaccines influence these pathways.

John Stone

Key phrase "developing better messages". The base is public relations, not responsible science.

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