In an interview for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine website, Heidi Larson, founder of the Vaccine Confidence Project housed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:
Yes, there are potential risks—there will always be potential risks with any medical treatment. And we don’t talk enough about that.
Heidi, it is funny you should say that, because no one is stopping you from talking about it. For the rest of us there are people like you trying to stop us. For instance, Seth Berkley – director of GAVI – back in June was calling for so-called anti-vaxxers to be banned from social media. Now, I am sure you would not dissent from viewpoint that an anti-vaxxer is a blanket label for anyone at all who questions the vaccine program, its safety, the wider project of the vaccine lobby. Meanwhile, the program just expands – vaccines for diseases which may either not be mostly very serious, diseases which may be more serious but which you are relatively unlikely to get. But administered in gigantic clumps to infants who are increasingly diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
And people like us – who are often people who have experienced the harms of vaccines – are really just the people you should be keen to listen to, instead of treating us like scientific specimens, or the objects of loathing to be wiped out as voices on the web. You cannot have a conversation without having a conversation, you cannot put yourself up as some kind of honest broker when what you are really doing is just trying to annihilate dissent.
We have seen this gambit so many times before, but what it comes down to is preparedness to listen to citizens with respect, preparedness to actively monitor, insistence on proper trials with genuine placebos, where are you? I do not see at any point where your theoretical acknowledgment of harm becomes real or compassionate, not just a convenient posture. Why should we trust the products? Why should we trust governments? Why should we trust hard-nosed public relations exercises on behalf of people who just want to extract ever more power for themselves while promoting their merchandise? I do not see any point at which the deeds of the industry or its public relations machine earns confidence.
The British Government has failed to award a single vaccine damage case in seven years, while perhaps hundreds of millions of products have been administered. It created a Catch 22 when it was at risk of becoming liable for narcolepsy cases caused by Pandemrix. No doctor in the UK would normally dare implicate a vaccine in the harm or death of a patient. The WHO has attempted to massage out of existence cases of vaccine mortality. The industry has a dirty record, and it has a hyper-aggressive bureaucracy supporting it.
This may be the path of heavy-fisted, all conquering empires, but it is not the path of trust.
John Stone is UK Editor of Age of Autism