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The Great Denial of vaccine risks for the past three decades by vaccine makers, pediatricians, and government officials operating the mass vaccination system is the reason why more and more parents today question and mistrust vaccine science, policy, and law. When Harris Coulter and I co-authored DPT: A Shot in the Dark in 1985 exposing flaws in the mass vaccination system that allowed the highly reactive DPT vaccine to stay on the market unimproved for more than 40 years, we never imagined then that those tragic flaws in the system would remain largely intact in 2009.
I knew then that the alliance between industry, organized medicine, and government was powerful. But it is only after a quarter century of witnessing the Great Denial of vaccine risks, which has produced millions of vaccine-damaged children flooding special education classrooms and doctors offices, that the magnitude of that unchecked power has been fully revealed.
Thomas Jefferson, co-author of the U.S. Constitution, said in 1820: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” When those in power are so afraid of the truth that they abandon reason and are willing to tolerate all kinds of errors in order to hide the truth, people suffer.
Fear of the truth was clearly in play at a Jan. 14 meeting of the Federal Interagency Autism Advisory Committee (IACC) when the Committee took a convenient “revote” to nullify a previous vote to use a portion of congressionally appropriated funds in the Combating Autism Act of 2006 to investigate the long-reported association between vaccination and autism. Whether the “revote” can be blamed on a turf war between federal agencies, a Committee member who defied direction given to her by her employer, Autism Speaks, or a desperate, last minute end-run by health officials to again delay the day when the truth about vaccine risks is known, it is the people who always lose in this high stakes game of denials and delays.
Thomas Jefferson had a lot to say about power, coercion, and freedom. He said “Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons.” Ask Rita Palma of New York what it means to be subjected to an inquisition about her religious beliefs by an arrogant and fallible man governed by passions and driven to harass and coerce her for private as well as public reasons. An attorney, acting on behalf of the state of New York, put Rita on the rack and browbeats her for her religious beliefs and faith in God when it comes to vaccinating her children.
Rita has been working with other parents in New York to support the addition of philosophical exemption to vaccination to New York vaccine laws to protect parents, who exercise religious exemptions, and doctors, who issue medical exemptions from harassment by state officials. A public Vaccine Education Roundtable was sponsored by New York Assemblymen Marc Alessi and Richard Gottfried on Dec. 15, 2008 at Stony Brook University to examine vaccine safety and informed consent issues.
Reason and faith, conscience and science, truth and freedom. Those who participate in the Great Denial of vaccine risks cannot tolerate an unbiased, methodologically sound scientific investigation into those risks. And they cannot tolerate the free exercise of religious belief and conscience by those, whose minds and bodies they must control in order to perpetuate the Great Denial.