Several months ago, it was brought to the attention of vaccine safety groups in Minnesota that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) was proposing to add more shots to their recommended schedule, and lower the recommended age for other shots on the schedule. Luckily, we have a really strong group of advocates here, and representatives from several groups came together to plan what to do. We knew we would have a battle on our hands, as attempts to fight changes a decade ago were unsuccessful. In fact, MDH’s recommended changes to the vaccine schedule have never been successfully stopped. But that would never stop us from trying.
The rule in Minnesota is that if at least 25 people write in to oppose the changes, then a hearing before an administrative law judge must occur. If not, MDH can simply adopt the changes that they themselves have recommended. So step one was to get at least 25 people to write in to the administrative law judge, opposing the rule changes. We sent out an action alert, and about 100 people wrote in contesting the rule changes. So a hearing was set up for June 27, 2013.
Next step for the team – what could we actually fight here? The administrative law judge’s job was to determine:
1. Did the MDH have the authority to make these changes? 2. Did the MDH follow all the required procedures when making these proposals? 3. Were the proposed changes necessary and reasonable?
Knowing they had the authority to make these recommendations (whether or not we believe this authority is justified in the first place), and knowing they had followed the necessary steps to propose the changes, we knew our strongest argument would be on whether these changes were needed and reasonable. As we pored over the lengthy SONAR document (Statement Of Need And Reasonableness) put together by an advisory group appointed by MDH, it became clear that their arguments were shaky. They made these proposals in order to bring Minnesota into alignment with the CDC recommended schedule, but of course the CDC schedule has never been proven to be safe, and has come under intense scrutiny recently by members of congress. And there is no need to mandate some of these vaccines, since the number of people getting the diseases is actually DECLINING in Minnesota in the age ranges for which they are recommending the new requirements.
Which begs the question – why? And why now? As we all know, there are fights heating up in many other states to take away individuals’ rights to opt out of vaccines. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger has publicly stated that he supports removing the rights of Minnesotans to choose when and how to vaccinate their children. Perhaps these changes are simply a way to get more vaccines on the schedule before MDH then tries to remove our rights to refuse them.
So for the past several months, our little band of advocates worked tirelessly to hone our arguments, get the press involved, reach out to medical professionals to submit testimony, fact-check the SONAR document, write and submit our own testimony, and contact parents to urge them to attend the hearing. We had multiple meetings and conference calls, with representatives from several Minnesota groups attending when they could, including The Minnesota Natural Health Coalition, Vaccine Awareness Minnesota, DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome), BEATMN (Biological & Educational Autism Treatments MN), The Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project, The Canary Party and the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota. We were contacted by concerned individuals from all over the country. Minnesotans I had not met before reached out to me through CP and VSCM, asking if we were involved and what they could do. Two of them came and testified. We had two parents of children who were killed by vaccines (but were unable to travel here) submit powerful testimony that was read to the judge by members of our group. And when I called my friend Karen Kain to ask if she would come and testify, she did not even hesitate.
We reached out to attorneys with the National Health Freedom Action group, asking if they could analyze the legal aspects of the proposed changes, and I was excited to find out a few days before the hearing that Ann Tenner would come and testify for us on behalf of that group.
Friendly groups sent out our action alerts to their readership. And several knowledgeable doctors sent in their comments.
The day of the hearing we had two people planning to testify for us that had to leave before they were given an opportunity to speak. One of them had to rush home to take care of his severely vaccine-injured son with autism. I was afraid we would be outnumbered and overwhelmed. But surprisingly, there were more people testifying against the rule changes than for them. And we had far stronger arguments.
After hearing a recitation of all the rules and statute numbers being followed in this proceeding, we heard Kris Ehresmann, Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Prevention and Control Division of the Minnesota Department of Health (and a proud voting member of ACIP) give a lengthy address. She mentioned a polio outbreak in Kenya to throw out the overused “Vaccine-preventable disease is just a plane ride away” statement. She spoke of the Vaccine Safety Datalink as if it held proof that vaccines were safe - but failed to mention that the public and independent researchers cannot access this database, so we really don’t know. She spoke of the decreased number of antigens children receive today in vaccines compared to the number in the 1960’s, but failed to mention additional adjuvants, preservatives, formaldehyde, and other vaccine ingredients. Interestingly, a law was just passed in Minnesota banning formaldehyde in certain children’s products, as it is a known carcinogen – except that vaccines were excluded from this ban.
There were many generalizations and omissions in Ms. Ehresmann’s presentation, and I encourage readers to watch the video of her testimony.
She spoke for 13 minutes, and then the MDH had two special “panel” members present their testimony. Remember, this was a public hearing, and all attendees had been instructed that our testimony should not exceed 5 minutes. The judge stated that once everyone had a chance to present, people could come back up if they had anything further to say, but until everyone in the room had had an opportunity to speak we were to keep our comments within 5 minutes. This seemed fair, but then why did the MDH and their panel members get more time to speak?
Dr. Robert Jacobson, president of the MN chapter of the AAP, gave expected testimony during his uninterrupted 17-minute speech, including stating that “babies still die from the measles” (although he failed to mention that the last known death in Minnesota related to measles was caused by a measles VACCINE, and that was 22 years ago). He repeated the “safe and effective” mantra, spoke of diseases being spread by the unvaccinated (despite the fact that during the small but much-publicized measles outbreak in MN in 2011, between 23% and 38% of those who got the measles WERE vaccinated), and he parroted the “plane ride away” statement. (Honestly, these people need to get some new catch phrases!) And note that when Dr. Jacobson introduced himself, it was as a pediatrician, AAP president and a father. He did not disclose his financial interest in the meningococcal vaccine – the one he is enthusiastically recommending we now require for all Minnesota 7th graders.
But here is what really struck me about Dr. Jacobson’s testimony: He gave a description of a child he treated who had contracted HIB (Haemophilus Influenza type B), which is a horrible disease where “Infants would come to the hospital in the middle of the night with high fevers, inconsolable, and not completely with it. Their skin was blotchy and discolored, and they could not feed”. (This is nearly an exact description of what happened to my son after he received seven vaccines in one visit) Dr. Jacobson then said “One such baby, really a toddler, recently walking and talking, now reduced to a red-faced, inconsolable terror. His mother could not comfort him, he did not seem to hear her voice, and her touch seemed to burn his skin” – a description eerily similar to thousands of reports of vaccine reactions. He went on, “The child never spoke again, never heard his mother’s voice again”. I sat in stunned silence. How did we get to the point where doctors are capable of showing such tremendous concern in the rare cases when babies contract these symptoms from a disease, but can turn around and be shockingly dismissive and indifferent when a child exhibits the exact same symptoms due to a vaccine?
Video testimony from Ms. Ehresmann, Dr. Jacobson and some of the vaccine safety advocates who spoke can be seen on the Canary Party YouTube channel. We made many excellent points, including the fact that there are actually more children ages 0-4 that are reported being injured or killed by the Hepatitis B vaccine than who actually get the disease itself. Conflicts of interest in the rulemaking groups were called out. And most importantly, the officials’ blanket statements that these vaccines “have a proven record of safety” ring quite hollow when you see and hear stories of children who were killed or permanently brain-damaged by them. The vaccines certainly weren’t safe for those children. I left the hearing feeling that we had done a good job of educating the judge and giving him some concrete facts.
So - what happens from here and what can you do to help?
Now that the hearing is over we move into the next phase: Until July 17th at 4:30 pm Central Time, anyone can submit further information – comments, studies or testimony to the judge. He has promised to read it all. Everything that has been submitted up until that point will be put on the MDH website for everyone to see. Then we will have 5 business days to specifically rebut anything submitted up until then. So from July 17 at 4:30 CT through July 24 at 4:30 CT all comments must be in reference to testimony, comments or studies already submitted by either side. No new arguments can be introduced during the final comment period.
Please take the time to review this document, and watch the videos to take note of any erroneous statements. Send in your comments, supporting documentation or studies, or your own personal testimony. Anyone can comment – you do not need to live in Minnesota, or even in the U.S.
Be sure to use: Docket# 8-0900-30570 in the subject line of any correspondence If you want to mail, deliver or fax your testimony, Judge Lipman can be reached at:
Office of Administrative Hearings Street Address: 600 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 64620, St. Paul, MN 55164-0620 Telephone: (651) 361-7842 Facsimile: (651) 361-7936
Again, be sure to reference the docket number 8-0900-30570 in your submission, and be sure your comments REACH the judge no later than 4:30 pm CT on July 17, and that your rebuttals REACH the judge no later than 4:30 pm CT on July 24, 2013.
For other states that are or will be fighting similar battles, the Canary Party will put the documents that were submitted into a database on our website to help you easily access important information. And I will put out a post when a decision is reached here. Sadly though, even if the judge rules in our favor, MDH can go ahead with these rule changes.
Huge thanks to: Nancy, Chris, Jerri, Wayne, Jennifer, Paul, Leo, Jody, AJ, Lee, Karen, Kate, Ann, Diane, Deanna, Michael, Ginger, Sherri, everyone who wrote in, everyone who helped gather data, and to anyone who will join us in fighting these rule changes.
Will we win this battle in Minnesota? It’s hard to say, but if the judge hears the truth from enough sources and bases his decision on the facts instead of generally accepted medical dogma – we certainly should.
Patti Carroll is mom to two beautiful children, one of whom was permanently brain-damaged by his “Well Baby” vaccines. She has devoted over a decade to advocating for families dealing with autism, and fighting to expose the truth about the damage being caused by vaccines. She works as an ECFE paraprofessional, and volunteers for many autism advocacy organizations. Patti serves on the board of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota and is acting Executive Director of The Canary Party.
As Autism Awareness Month winds down, let’s ask for some action in Congress.
Please contact Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, with the following messages:
1) Thank him for holding a great hearing on November 29th, 2012. Let him know that you strongly support his investigation. Last month, the CDC's latest parent survey reported a shocking 1 in 50 school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders - that's 1 in 31 boys - creating even greater urgency in answering the issues he and other members of the committee began to identify during that hearing.
2) Ask Chairman Issa when the responses provided by CDC (Dr. Coleen Boyle) and NIH (Dr. Alan Guttmacher) will be made publicly available. Not only did Guttmacher and Boyle leave the hearing early, they took over four months to provide answers to the committee's important questions. The public deserves to see these responses in the exact context in which they were submitted to the OGR committee - including cover letters, references, and attachments.
3) Chairman Issa stated there is nothing that is off-limits for what the OGR committee will continue to explore. Ask him to promptly schedule the next hearing to investigate government malfeasance in covering up the vaccine/autism connection including, as examples, the following areas:
• Evidence in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program showing clearly that vaccines can and do cause autism
• CDC's cover-up of the thimerosal/autism connection
• CDC's suppression of evidence of the autism epidemic
Four ways to contact Congressman Issa:
1) Call the office of the committee here - 202-225-5074 2) Call his office in Washington, D.C. – 202-225-3906 3) Fax his office in Washington, D.C. – 202-225-3303 4) Send a Facebook message to the Committee’s page
Let’s take action to ensure more hearings move forward.
You have spoken and Congressman Issa is listening! He has set the next round of hearings for November, with apologies for taking so long due to the large workload the Committee is currently carrying. He has also committed to attending AutismOne at the end of May in Chicago to hear from The Canary Party, her sister organizations and the vaccine injury community.
Katie Weisman, Canary Party, Executive Director and SafeMinds Board Member
Now that World Autism
Awareness Day has passed, let’s assess where we truly stand. Last week, two studies were reported and spun
by the CDC in the annual countdown to Autism Awareness Month, also known as
“Let’s see if blue lights and awareness will keep my child from running into
traffic” month. Both studies received a
massive, coordinated and unforgivably uncritical airing in the press. I swear that none of the writers of any of
the articles I read understands the concept of balanced journalism. I can guarantee that few of the writers or
the scientists they quoted actually took the time to read the studies and think
critically about them.
The first study,
based on a phone survey of a nationally representative sample of parents
reported autism spectrum disorders at the terrifying rate of 2% of school-aged
American children (6-17). Let’s say that
again – 1 in 50 children has autism.
With 4 million children born per year in the United States that means
approximately 80,000 children per year will get autism. At its most devastating, polio affected
57,628 people of all ages in 1952. Many
died. Polio was a national health crisis
demanding urgent federal response.
Public health officials went into high gear. For this report of 2% of children with autism,
we get, “We are just getting better at recognizing all these children with no
language and zero social skills. They
have always been here. You can relax”. Unfortunately, many of these children will
die, too – from drowning, accidents and seizures associated with their autism –
and, tragically, sometimes at the hands of those who are supposed to educate
and care for them. With nothing personal
intended against the speakers, here is the CDC’s event for Autism Awareness
month - http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/documents/2013-Autism-Awareness-Month-2013.pdf
. You can judge for yourself if this is
an appropriate response.
Here are the US autism prevalence numbers in the years they
were reported (birth years and ages vary from study to study).
1970 1 in 14,857 (Wisconsin) 2009 1
in 235 (California DDS)
1987 1 in 8333 (North Dakota) 2009
in 110 (11 States, ASDs)
1989 1 in 2500 (Utah) 2009 1
in 91 (National Phone Survey, ASDs)
1999-2003 1 in 321 (California) 2010 1 in
124 (Salt Lake City – 8s, ASDs)
2001 1 in 150 (Brick, NJ) 2010 1 in
83 (Wisconsin Schools, ASDs)
2001 1 in 625 (Texas Schools) 2011 1 in
213 (San Franciso Bay Area, ASDs)
2002 1 in 671 (California) 2011 1
in 108 (EI in Massachusetts, ASDs)
2003 1 in 192 (Minnesota Schools ASDs) 2012 1 in
88 (14 States ASDs)
2007 1 in
150 (14 states ASDs) 2012 1 in 57 (Metro New Jersey
2009 1 in 125 (South Carolina 4s ASDs) 2013 1 in
50 (National Phone Survey, ASDs)
Isn’t anyone worried
While this new study does not have the most reliable
methodology, how much more data do we need to tell that we are headed for a
cliff? It is like a macabre game of
chicken – how high can the autism numbers get before the country actually
realizes there is a problem. I have
decided that we need to rename our lead agency the CFCADEA – the Centers for
Controlling Any Disease Except Autism.
The second study is
worse. In the best tradition of
tobacco science, this one has been publicized as proving that we are not
over-vaccinating our children – that the number of vaccines a child gets has
nothing to do with autism. In fact, the
study didn’t even look at the total number of vaccines given – it only looked
at the number of antigens. The problem
is that they did a shoddy job answering a question that wasn’t really the
question parents want answered. Parents
want to know if vaccinated children (according to the regular schedule) have a
higher rate of autism than unvaccinated kids.
The only way to find that out is to actually do that study. And yes, it is over a decade since we first
asked them to do the study. If vaccines are causing the autism epidemic, that is
Let’s be clear here:
1)It appears that there were no children in the
study who were unvaccinated – therefore, no actual control group. If there actually were a handful who did not
receive any vaccines, they are not mentioned anywhere in the text and they are
rolled into the lowest exposure group, thereby mixing the placebo group with
the exposure group.
2)Children with low antigen exposure were compared
to children with high antigen exposure for their odds ratio of developing
autism. This is like comparing 1 pack a
day smokers to three pack a day smokers for lung cancer and saying that because
they both developed lung cancer, the smoking had nothing to do with the cancer.
3)The study makes an assumption that all antigens
are equally likely to cause problems and that the only thing that matters is
the total number of antigens. This is
like saying that it doesn’t matter what you are drinking, only the total ounces
matter. Sure, throw some formaldehyde
and aluminum in the blender. Don’t worry
about any synergistic toxicity.
4)The study completely ignores all the other
vaccine ingredients besides the antigens – except for thimerosal, which they
studied, but then they didn’t bother to publish the data.
5)The study implies that the reduction in the
number of antigens in the DPT vaccine should have made it safer. Yet, in order to reduce the amount of antigen
in a typical vaccine (which also saves the manufacturers money since the
antigen is the most expensive ingredient), an adjuvant is usually added to
stimulate increased immune response to the decreased amount of antigen. The adjuvant ASO3 has recently been linked to
narcolepsy in children who received swine flu vaccine in Europe. While this particular adjuvant is not found
in US vaccines, others are, and it begs the question of what happens when you
reduce the amount of antigens but have to increase the amount of
adjuvants. There is no evidence that
“fewer antigens with more adjuvants” produces a safer schedule, but this is
what was implied by this study.
6)Due to the large amount of antigens in the old
DTP vaccines, the study is really a comparison of the antigen load between the
old DTP and new DTaP vaccines. The
overwhelming number of antigens in the DTP would make any impact of any other
vaccines irrelevant in terms of categorizing the children as low vs. high
exposure. The authors also knew that the
DTP was being phased out starting in the early 1990’s so antigen load was
decreasing even as autism prevalence was going up. There was no reason to do this study since
these children were born in 1994-1999 and the trends were going in opposite
7)In addition, the authors included 186 children
among the 752 controls who, while they did not meet the cutoff criteria for
Autism Spectrum Disorder, did meet diagnoses of speech delay, learning
disability, ADHD and so on. This is like
doing a study of diabetes cases and intentionally putting people with
pre-diabetes in the control group.
8)To cap this all off, the study design was so
badly flawed to begin with, that any results it reports are invalidated. It reused a dataset that Price et al. used
in 2010 to look at thimerosal exposure and autism. In both studies, negative findings were
reported, which isn’t surprising given the study designs. In a nutshell, when you design a case-control
study, matching is often used to
efficiently control for confounding variables that are associated with the
outcome (in this case, a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder). However, the researchers must ensure that the
confounders that they match on are not associated with the exposure of interest
(antigens or thimerosal) or they will reduce the power of the study to detect
an effect. An example of this would be
studying the effect of high cholesterol on heart disease and matching on the
basis of “high-fat diet”. Since a
high-fat diet is strongly associated with high cholesterol, you have eliminated
relevant differences between the cases and controls in the design of the study. Similarly in this case, the researchers
matched cases of autism and control children on the variables of MCO (managed
care organization) and year of birth.
Since MCOs typically order vaccines in bulk lots from a single
manufacturer and since year of birth is associated with which vaccines are on
the schedule at the time, both of these were strongly associated with the
number of antigens and the amount of thimerosal that the children received –
thereby eliminating the differences between cases and controls in the study
design. For a complete discussion of the
problems with this dataset, here is the link to a recently published rebuttal,
funded by SafeMinds, of the 2010 paper: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/41866/InTechVaccine_safety_study_as_an_interesting_case_of_over_matching_.pdf
For those who haven’t looked at the US vaccine
schedule lately, I strongly suggest that you go to the following link http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html
and look at what our kids are getting. Ask yourself, would I, as an adult, be OK
with getting 9 shots for a total of 13 diseases in one doctor’s visit. That is what we are giving our 15 month
Would you let your doctor give you any 9 drugs at one time?
Would it make you feel safer if I told you that this
combination of shots had never been tested against a placebo for adverse
Would it make you feel better if I told you that if you do
have a reaction to the vaccines, none of the manufacturers has any financial
We seriously need to consider whether this protection from
infectious disease is ultimately producing the healthiest children. Vaccines are the only medical product given
routinely to healthy infants, unlike most drugs which are given only when a
disease already exists. The standard of
safety for these products should be the highest we can achieve.
I would like to point
out that the last three major studies purporting to disprove a link between
vaccines and autism have all been done by the same group of CDC-affiliated
researchers using the same dataset from the same MCO’s . The data had limitations to begin with in
terms of participation rate and the exclusion of preemies and multiples, and it
has not improved with successive iterations.
To assume that the CDC has no conflict of interest in this study is
ludicrous. With its responsibility for
the vaccine schedule and control of infectious disease, along with its holding
of vaccine patents with manufacturers, the CDC is not an unbiased source of
research on vaccine safety. And don’t
get me started on the part where the authors thank Paul Offit, MD, for his
help. It would sure be nice if some of
the reporters out there would recognize that they are being spoon-fed
spin. For those who want to go back and
read the studies, here are the links.
This week we begin to ask our members of Congress to follow up on the Autism Epidemic hearings held in the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform in November of last year. As you schedule and hold meetings and calls with your representatives, please input the information here so that we can keep track of who has met with whom, and what action they are taking.
Inept, disjointed agencies waste almost $1 billion, seek more funds
A government health agency director who a decade ago proposed diluting vaccine/autism data was one of two testifiers interrogated at a Congressional hearing yesterday on the federal government’s poor response to the autism epidemic costing the U.S. $137 billion a year.
Dr. Coleen Boyle, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, testified that her goal is “raising awareness of the importance of this as a health problem and one we need to address.” An April 2000 email obtained via FOIA shows that Boyle contacted the CDC’s Frank DeStefano suggesting dilution of vaccine/autism data by adding one- and two-year-olds to his dataset – children too young to have an autism diagnosis then.
“Does autism in history predate vaccines?” asked Rep. Darryl Issa (R-Calif.), chair of the U.S. House of Representatives House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. Yes, according to agencies administering the shots; no, according to legislators, physicians and parents filling in the gallery, who reported that their children regressed after receiving vaccinations.
Dr. Alan Guttmacher, a medical geneticist from the National Institutes of Health, defended his highly-criticized Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Both Guttmacher and Boyle testified that autism has no known cause or cure, and their only offerings of help were statistical tracking, detection tools, and behavioral therapies.
Outgoing Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) stated that autism has more than one cause, but “the one we’re talking about today is mercury in vaccination and the environment.” He played a video from the University of Calgary showing destruction of brain neurons after low-level mercury exposure (here), and wondered how anybody from the CDC can watch and say that mercury doesn’t have an impact on neurodevelopment. Rep. Burton said that shortly after his grandson got nine vaccines in one day, the boy began banging his head against the wall and lost continence.
When Boyle claimed that since 2001 Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines given to children, voices erupted from the audience. Boyle added, “With the exception of the multi-dose flu vaccine” but omitted mentioning that the 50,000 parts per billion injected is exceedingly higher than the 4 ppb “safe” limit for drinking water established by the Environmental Protection Agency and that it took until nearly 2004, not 2001.
Yesterday was a hallmark day in the vaccine/autism story. For the first time in ten years, Congress took up the issue of vaccine/autism causation and families who care about this issue were pleasantly surprised to find that Congress is figuring out that there is a serious problem in the vaccine program.
And we encourage you to thank Representative Issa and his colleagues for this brave work. Http:/www.facebook.com/darrellissa Congressman Darrell Issa Washington DC Office • 2347 Rayburn House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515 • Phone: 202-225-3906 • Fax: 202-225-3303
The Canary Party is a movement created to stand up for the victims of medical injury, environmental toxins and industrial foods by restoring balance to our free and civil society and empowering consumers to make health and nutrition decisions that promote wellness.
“If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” -Thomas Jefferson