The Hill Says Vaccine Injuries Are Exaggerated Personal Anecdotes

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

vaccine injuries exaggerated personal anecdotes

Story at-a-glance -

  • Political newspaper and website The Hill has become the latest to belittle people interested in vaccine choice and safety, and practically deny adverse events after vaccination
  • The article discusses what can be done to silence those who question vaccine safety or speak about their own experiences with adverse vaccine reactions
  • The beginning paragraphs go so far as to call personal adverse vaccine reactions “exaggerated personal anecdotes”
  • The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) revealed that approximately $4 billion has been paid out to vaccine-injured victims since 1988 — in response to only 31 percent of the filed petitions

Political newspaper and website The Hill has become the latest to belittle people interested in vaccine choice and safety, and practically deny adverse events after vaccination.1

They start out by acknowledging that "internet censorship is anathema to Americans, whose free speech is protected by the First Amendment," but then go on to discuss what can be done to silence those who question vaccine safety or speak about their own experiences with adverse vaccine reactions.

To be clear, the article is written by Rachel Alter, a graduate research assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, president emeritus and co-founder of the Children's Health Fund, and published by The Hill.

A disclaimer at the top reads, "The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill." Still, even the headline — Time to Dispel Vaccine Myths Spreading on Social Media — reeks of censorship. The beginning paragraphs go so far as to call personal adverse vaccine reactions "exaggerated personal anecdotes":2

"[W]hat can be done about the growing amount of harmful misinformation intended to influence thousands of people to make decisions that put not only their lives, but the lives of their and others' children, at risk?

Such is the situation for the anti-vaccination, or 'anti-vax,' community, thousands of whose members flock to social media pages where they promptly remove 'pro-vax trolls,' and post fear-mongering memes and exaggerated personal anecdotes."

Are Vaccine Injuries 'Exaggerated Personal Anecdotes'?

The authors of this piece in The Hill are only the latest to downplay or deny that vaccine injuries occur. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), recently did the same in an interview with CBS News.3

"[T]he lack of safety and adverse events, things like autism … that issue is based purely on fabrication and that's been proven … there is no association whatsoever between the measles vaccine and autism," he said. The reporter questioned Fauci's claims that there are no studies showing vaccines may cause harm and asked if he were perhaps not looking at the right studies.

"That's just not true … that's just not true, period," Fauci said, refusing to even entertain the notion that vaccines may cause adverse reactions in some people, and that parents of vaccine-injured children may be justified in their hesitation to vaccinate their other children.

So what's the truth? Every vaccine comes with a risk of adverse reactions, including death, and it's up to each person to decide if that risk outweighs the benefit of the vaccination.

"For example," Dr. K. Paul Stoller, fellow, American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, wrote in Acta Scientific Paediatrics, "it has not been proven that the MMR vaccine is safer than measles," continuing:4

"The nonprofit organization Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) recently reported in The BMJ that every year an estimated 5,700 U.S. children (approximately 1 in 640 children) suffer febrile seizures from the first dose of the MMR vaccine — which is five times more than the number of seizures expected from measles.5

This amounts to 57,000 febrile seizures over the past 10 years due to the MMR vaccine alone. And, as 5 percent of children with febrile seizures progress to epilepsy, the estimated number of children developing epilepsy due to the MMR vaccine, in the past 10 years, is 2,850."

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$4 Billion Paid Out to Victims of Vaccine Injuries

To deny that adverse vaccine reactions occur is the fabrication. There is, in fact, a federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) available to victims of vaccine injuries. Congress created VICP under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act as an alternative to a vaccine injury lawsuit, which acts as a shield from liability to vaccine manufacturers.

In their latest release of data and statistics, the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) revealed that approximately $4 billion has been paid out to vaccine-injured victims since 1988 — in response to only 31 percent of the filed petitions.6

"There is no telling how much more money the taxpayer-funded program might have shelled out if the court had not chosen to dismiss the remaining petitions (56 percent) — possibly doing so fraudulently in at least some cases," Children's Health Defense, which is working to end childhood health epidemics by eliminating harmful exposures, explained.7

One in 168 — Not 1 in 1 Million

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that vaccines are safe, and serious adverse reactions are rare. For serious allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, they state such reactions occur "at a rate of approximately 1 per million doses for many vaccines."8

However, serious adverse events occur far more common than publicly admitted, with 1 in 168 children requiring emergency room admittance following their 1-year wellness check when vaccines are given, according to Canadian research.9

One in 730 children ends up in the emergency room after their 18-month vaccination appointment, as well, and researchers noted an additional 20 febrile seizures occurred for every 100,000 vaccinated at 12 months.

"There are significantly elevated risks of primarily emergency room visits approximately one to two weeks following 12- and 18-month vaccination. Future studies should examine whether these events could be predicted or prevented," the researchers concluded.10

Research from Shanghai, China, also provided some insights into the frequency of vaccine adverse reactions among children. The Shanghai study, based on reported pediatric adverse drug reactions (ADRs) for 2009, found that 42 percent were caused by vaccines, with reactions ranging from mild skin rashes to deadly reactions like anaphylaxis.

Of all the drugs causing adverse reactions among children, vaccines were the most commonly reported.11 The vast majority of reports came from physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers, with less than 3 percent coming from consumers.

In the U.S., underreporting of adverse reactions to vaccines is common, with an estimated 99 percent of such reactions never reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). As noted in 2011 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:12

"Adverse events from vaccines are common but underreported, with less than 1 percent reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Low reporting rates preclude or delay the identification of 'problem' vaccines, potentially endangering the health of the public. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed."

Refusing Vaccination 'Silly'

In their belittling of people who value informed consent and choose to refuse one or more vaccinations, The Hill article calls such personal choice "silly":13

"If it were only a matter of putting oneself at risk by refusing vaccination, we would not necessarily be called to action. After all, a personal choice is just that, regardless of how silly it may seem to outsiders. But people who refuse vaccines for themselves and their families are putting the most vulnerable members of their community at risk of severe illness or death."

They're invoking the commonly parroted idea that vaccines confer herd immunity if a high-enough percentage of people in a population are vaccinated. However, vaccines do not work in the same way as natural immunity, and there is evidence that vaccine-induced herd immunity is largely a myth.

In his book, "Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness," Dr. Thomas Cowan explains how vaccines cause a distortion in the two branches of your immune response — the cell-mediated immunity (innate) and the humoral immunity (adaptive). This, in turn, radically increases your risk of immune dysfunction, including development of autoimmunity and even cancer.

When you get a viral childhood disease, the virus enters your body and infects your cells. The subsequent disease process involves your cell-mediated immune response, which activates white blood cells and chemicals that attract them to the site of infection in order to clear the virus.

During recovery, your humoral immune system kicks in and starts generating antibodies against the virus to help prevent the same kind of disease process from occurring again in the event you're exposed to the virus again at a later date.

As long as the cell-mediated immune system is activated first, and the humoral immune system is activated second, you will have a longer-lasting, qualitatively superior immunity against that disease. Vaccines, however, circumvent the possibility of creating robust herd immunity in a population, as they often avoid a cell-mediated immune response, provoking a humoral response instead.

Vaccination triggers the creation of vaccine-strain antibodies, but since vaccination skips the cell-mediated response, it only confers an artificial temporary immunity.

This is also why most vaccines, especially inactivated vaccines, require booster shots to try to extend artificial immunity. (Live attenuated viral vaccines, such as measles vaccine, are thought to more closely mimic the natural disease process, but even live virus vaccines confer an artificial immunity that is not identical to natural immunity.)

Open Discussion Into Vaccine Safety — Not Name-Calling — Is Urgently Needed

In the vaccination debate, what happens all too often is not an open, scientifically based discussion but rather inappropriate name-calling and threats. A scathing article in the Los Angeles Times even labeled unvaccinated people "cockroaches."14 Many parents are also left feeling belittled or threatened by their children's doctors should they so much as question the U.S. CDC's vaccination schedule.

At least one study has found the vaccination schedule may put premature babies at increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders,15 but should parents question their pediatrician about it, they may risk being rejected from the practice and left without a source of medical care for their child. Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), explained:16

"These days, a well-baby checkup can be a frightening and gut-wrenching experience for a new mom bringing her baby to the pediatrician's office.

That is because, with the approval of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), many pediatricians have taken the hardline position that they do not have to discuss vaccination with parents or, if they do, they can threaten them with dismissal from the practice for not obeying a direct order."

The ability to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices for yourself and your children must be protected, because vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all-solution, nor is the U.S. public as a whole a one-size-fits-all population. Stoller also questioned whether vaccine policy is really about safeguarding the public, and his stance deserves consideration:17

"In the U.S., the pharmaceutical industry is the largest campaign donor to politicians and the largest advertiser in all forms of media, but even that level on influence should still yield to safeguards on human rights and bioethics.

For when a medical intervention becomes shielded from liability and is then mandated by governments who are often in an unholy partnership with the corporations responsible for that intervention then we are all in peril.

When coercion becomes part of the equation, a crime against humanity is being perpetrated. The intellectual and social suppression of views, research and information inconvenient to vaccine stakeholders and proponents is no different today than it was for those who opposed the practice of bloodletting and dosing patients with mercury.

The difference today are the economic factors, for it is projected that by 2020, global vaccine revenues exceed $60 billion, so with that amount of money in play vaccine and public health policies have been made to support the desires of a criminal cabal where informed consent is perhaps the only remaining firewall."