Sixty Minutes Response from NVIC

Dear Friends of NVIC:

I have attached a copy of the letter we sent to Sixty Minutes following the
segment on October 20, 2004. While this has been a very difficult time
for NVIC, we have been lifted up by your steadfast support and words of

This is truly a battle of David and Goliath proportions. Even though the
other side is so well funded and has the support of a solid infrastructure,
we will not stop telling the truth about what we know.

Please continue to support our efforts on behalf of parents and children.

Best regards,

Kathi Williams
National Vaccine Information Center
421 Church St., Suite E
Vienna, Va 22180
October 26, 2004

Michael Rosenbaum, Producer
Elliot Kirschner, Producer
60 Minutes (Wed)
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

 Dear Michael and Elliot:

 The sadness I felt after watching the segment you asked me to participate
in (Oct. 20- Saying No To Vaccination) was not just about how you made me
and the three mothers I referred to you look, it was shame for having
believed that you were being honest with me. It was humiliation for having
allowed myself to be deceived into dragging three mothers, who trusted me,
into the most inaccurate and biased broadcast presentation that I have
participated in during the past 22 years of work to prevent vaccine
injuries and deaths through public education. It was a shock when I
realized that, by my participation, I had been used to give you a vehicle
to launch a gratuitous and inaccurate personal attack on Andrew Wakefield,
M.D., while you failed to inform your viewers that the main spokesperson in
your piece, Paul Offit, M.D., is a childhood vaccine patent holder and paid
consultant for Merck, one of the largest childhood vaccine manufacturers.

 From the first discussion we had on the phone to the last discussion the
three of us had while standing in the lobby of the CBS office the second
time I had flown to New York to be interviewed, you promised me that you
would accurately and fairly portray both sides of the vaccine safety
debate. Elliot, we spoke at length in phone conversations leading up to my
persuading the Moms in New York to invite you and Dan Rather into one of
their homes, about how 60 Minutes was going to take a "different" approach
to the vaccine safety debate. We talked about examining it in the social
context of health care consumers questioning vaccines, just as they are
questioning the current medical model in search of alternative and
complimentary ways of preventing disease and maintaining health. That is
why I referred you to mothers who whose health care providers were involved
in an holistic approach to maintaining wellness.

 However, even if you had not misled me into thinking this was going to be
your approach, it was unfair to tell me you "did not want a piece that
talked about the scientific studies" and ask me several times not to talk
about "the scientific studies" on camera when your piece was all about how
parents should "trust the experts" and "the scientific studies."  This was
particularly unfair when the main thrust of my argument (which you both
chose not to use) was that the crisis of trust currently existing between
parents and doctors centers on the fact that what government health
officials and doctors are telling parents is true about vaccine safety in
their "studies" is in direct conflict with what parents are experiencing in
their own homes after their children are vaccinated and they watch them
regress physically, mentally and emotionally into chronic illness and

 I made that point several times in our filmed interview, including
explaining why we want federal officials to open up their closed vaccine
risk databases to independent scientific analysis. But you did not include
any of this and instead chose to imply I was either ignorant or lying when
I said the appropriate studies had not been done by government health
agencies and industry to answer the outstanding questions about vaccine

 I also made the point, several times in our filmed interview, that the
National Vaccine Information Center takes an informed consent position. We
defend the right of parents and all citizens to be fully informed about the
risks and complications of diseases and the risks and complications of
vaccines and be allowed to make an informed, voluntary decision. This is in
the tradition of the right to informed consent to medical treatment, which
is the centerpiece of the ethical practice of modern medicine. We fully
support a parent's decision to use all government recommended vaccines for
his or her child. We worked for 14 years to persuade the FDA and CDC to
license and make available a purified, less reactive DTaP vaccine for
parents who want their children to be vaccinated for those three diseases.
At the same time, we fully support a parent's decision to selectively
vaccinate using an individualized schedule or the decision not to
vaccinate. That puts us in the pro-informed consent or anti-forced
vaccination position not in an anti-vaccine stance but you failed to make
that distinction.

 At the end of the segment, your correspondent, Dan Rather, inaccurately
implies that today states require few vaccines and only recently began
giving exemptions.  He says "You may remember the days when all children
had to be vaccinated before they entered school. While all states still
require some vaccinations for school age children, many now give exemptions
to parents who don't want their children immunized." If you had done your
research, you would have understood that all states have always required
children to be vaccinated since the turn of the 20th century when one or
two doses of smallpox vaccine was required. For many years, the
overwhelming majority of states have had exemptions to vaccination for
medical, religious and, in about one-third of the states, for philosophical
or conscientious belief reasons. The truth is that, today, all states
require many vaccines - most require at least 31 doses of 10 vaccines for
school entry. The CDC recommends 37 doses of 12 vaccines for "universal
use" by all children and the remainder of these are in the process of being

 Following questioning me on film, your correspondent, Dan Rather, stated
to me that he admired my "passion" and my ability to "articulate" my
position but that he had a "bias" toward "the doctors and the science."
When I reminded him that we maintain that the "the science" is inadequate
quantitatively and qualitatively, he admitted that several of my points
made sense, including the fact that "we might be using too many vaccines"
and that the "government database on vaccine risks should be open for
everyone to see." I am left to wonder if his "bias" toward unquestioning
belief in the infallibility of doctors like Paul Offit either got in his
way or your way in the editing room.

 I have debated physicians three times live on the "Today Show" as well as
on other television shows and discussed both the science and the ethics of
mandatory vaccination. I would have gone head to head with any doctor and
talked about the scientific studies, including those concerning pertussis
and pertussis vaccine, which was the subject of the first major book to
critique the mass vaccination system, DPT: A Shot in the Dark (1985,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), which I co-authored. That book was used as a
reference by the Institute of Medicine in 1991 in its report on the adverse
effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines. I will talk about the scientific
studies anywhere with anyone but you requested that I not talk about them
because you obviously wanted to deceive me about what you really intended
to do.

 You opened with a mother talking about the dangers of whooping cough,
which was entirely appropriate because it is important to discuss risks of
diseases if you are also going to discuss risks of vaccines. But you did
not discuss vaccine risks except to categorically dismiss their
significance. You did not include a mother talking about what happened when
her child suffered a vaccine reaction. On camera I talked about what
happened to my child after vaccination. I talked about what happened to
other children after vaccination. I gave you a computer CD with several
hundred pages of descriptions of vaccine reactions reported by ordinary
citizens across this country in an on-line petition calling on the CDC to
open up their vaccine risk databases. But none of that was included.

 You totally ignored the entire point of why there is a crisis of trust
among educated parents when it comes to "trusting the experts" and their
"scientific studies" because you were afraid to address the real issue: too
many educated parents' children are regressing after vaccination and being
left with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and other brain and immune
system disorders that are preventing them from leading healthy, normal
lives. And these educated parents are too educated to buy the line that it
was "just a coincidence" that it all happened after their children were
given multiple vaccines on the same day. Then these educated parents use
their education to analyze the methodologically flawed vaccine safety
studies, many of which are conducted by doctors paid by drug companies
making and selling vaccines. And then they realize they have been deceived.

 Just like parents were deceived by doctors and pubic health officials
about the safety of anti-depressants for children.

 Just like you deceived me.

 Then they don't trust the experts anymore. Then they demand the right to
say no to vaccination. Because they would rather take their chances with a
disease than allow one more doctor to put a loaded syringe into their child
and pull the trigger.

 It is really quite simple.

 Michael, you know exactly what you are doing from choosing the color of
the backdrops, camera angles and lighting for each interview to the
background research you conduct on each person you consider for
interviewing and the edits you make. Elliot, you are young. The next time
you think about setting up someone who trusts you in order to advance your
career, you should remember this: in the end you will reap what you sow in
this life. Always.

 Very truly,

 Barbara Loe Fisher

cc: Dan Rather, Correspondent
Andrew Heyward, News Division Chief
Les Moonves, President