In recent days the US Vaccine Adverse Events Reports database (VAERS), opened a quarter of a century ago, was updated to top more than half a million reports. While listing on VAERS does not mean a vaccine injury report is confirmed it is also as a passive reporting database likely to under-report by many times and may represent numerically no more than 1 or 2% of cases.
Although monitored by both the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration it is doubtful whether the database has ever led to the official acknowledgment of any single injury. It may be that in one instance a product, Wyeth’s Rotashield, was removed from the market as a result of evidence from the database. On that occasion the removal of the product was greatly to the benefit of the nation’s leading vaccine advocate, Paul Offit, who was piloting a rival product. On other occasions VAERS data may have contributed modestly to policy changes which would anyway have occurred .
A disquieting statistic is that although the schedule is dominated by infant vaccines less than a quarter of the reports are for infants. The concern must be that it is not that infants are less vulnerable to damage, but they cannot tell you what has happened, and if they fail to develop or are chronically sick this is easily passed over. Meanwhile, the schedule grows.
According to statistics I cited in 2011 in an open letter to Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, one in six US children had a developmental disability and more than half suffered from chronic ill-health. The US is also notoriously at the bottom the league in the developed world for infant mortality (presently 56th in the world) . Collectively, US government agencies (the NIH, the CDC, the FDA, the EPA) are captured and failing to protect citizens. The answer is not to accord them more powers, but to hold them finally to account.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.