Dear PROVE members,

As many of you have seen in the media, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has
come out with their report on child vaccinations and autoimmune dysfunction.

It is important for parents to understand that IOM made their conclusions
not from independent new research, but from a literature review of past
studies.  This does nothing to dispel parents concerns about studies funded
by vaccine manufacturers or done by government groups with a huge stake in
the results.  Sure the panel members supposedly had no conflicts of
interest, but the studies they used to review in many cases were done by
people who did.  Also, a good number of the members of the review panel who
gave "constructive criticism" which influenced the content of the report
have conflicts as well.  In addition, researchers who have identified links
between autoimmune conditions and vaccines were not allowed to present their
findings and research to the committee (eg. Dr. Claussen and his work
linking vaccines with diabetes). The old expression "garbage in garbage out"
definitely applies here.

Another major flaw to the past studies they reviewed was that they looked at
children receiving a whole bunch of vaccines and then the differences in the
incidence of the condition of question when they added one more vaccine -
that is not a scientific control  - they need to be looking at overall
incidence between fully vaccinated children and children who receive little
to no vaccines by choice for a true picture.  They rationalized that any
study which would look at unimmunized children would present some challenges
because  "...non-immunized children typically differ on baseline
characteristics from immunized children in ways that are not always
measurable."  In other words, parents who electively withhold some or all
vaccines often make other healthy decisions for their children and
consequently, they are overall healthier than their fully vaccinated peers.
This is not the first time I've seen this complaint and it always makes me

Probably the most patronizing and annoying statement in the report was that
"a better understanding of parents' perceptions of risk and decision making
may be necessary in order to prevent decreases in immunization rates and
increases in vaccine preventable disease."   The CDC spin doctors hardly
need any more cuing.  Shrugging off strong anecdotal evidence of vaccine
harm that has not been adequately studied to a supposed problem in the
perception of risks by parents will only further erode an already
disintegrating trust in the public health system.

The quote by Dr. Marie McCormick, chairwoman of the panel, in the New York
Times article below sums up the "I never met a vaccine I didn't like"
attitude quite nicely.  When asked about asthma, Dr. McCormick said, "The
evidence is not sufficient to say either yes or no." But, she added, asthma
is a potential risk that has to be compared to "the very real risk of the
disease for which children are being immunized."  Tell that to the parents
of children who have died from asthma or have to live with the limitations
and drugs for asthma every day.

Even with these and other flaws, the IOM could not dismiss some safety
concerns as you will see in the press release by NVIC below.  In addition to
some of the positive points outlined by NVIC, what this report did was
formally identify and confirm once again the failure of public health
officials and vaccine manufacturers from doing adequate research into the
risks of vaccination.

Public heath is far more than a myopic fixation on high vaccination rates
and low infectious disease rates. Parents are becoming too well educated and
informed to settle for the modus operandi of shooting first and asking
questions later.

Sincerely, Dawn Richardson, President, PROVE ============================


The New York Times February 21, 2002 Panel Discounts Some Fears Over
Vaccinations for Babies By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20  Amid growing fears that vaccines may harm babies'
immune systems, an independent panel of experts said today that childhood
shots did not increase the risk of juvenile diabetes, a disease associated
with immune system dysfunction, or certain serious infections like

But the evidence is inconclusive, the study said, on whether immunization
increases the risk of asthma, another immune-related disorder.

The panel, an independent committee of the Institute of Medicine, has been
examining the highly politicized issue of vaccine safety for the federal
government. The new report, the third in a series of nine, said there was no
reason for federal health officials to change the current immunization
schedule, which calls for infants to receive as many as 15 shots in the
first six months of life.

But the panel did call for further study, particularly research intended to
show whether certain children had genetic predispositions for adverse
reactions to vaccines. That pleased critics of vaccination, who have
complained that their concerns are being ignored.

"For 20 years, we have been calling for studies of how and why some children
are unable to handle the process of immunization like other children," said
Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a
group that represents parents who say vaccines have harmed their children.

The report, Ms. Fisher said, "is a major step forward."

In 1980, infants were vaccinated against just four diseases, diphtheria,
tetanus, pertussis and polio. But today American children are vaccinated
against a much broader variety of conditions, like chickenpox, hepatitis,
measles and mumps. As the vaccination schedule has grown, so have parents'

According to the new report, a survey found that 25 percent of parents
agreed with the statement that administering too many vaccines was not good
for babies and could weaken immune systems.

In London, parents are so concerned about reports that the vaccine for
measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, causes autism that one- fourth of
eligible toddlers are not being vaccinated. The Institute of Medicine panel
has already tackled that question, finding no link between the vaccine and
the disorder.

In its report today, the panel did call for the Department of Health and
Human Services to convene a group of experts to examine parents' perceptions
and said doctors needed to learn how to discuss such fears with anxious
mothers and fathers.

"People are just wondering if all of this is necessary," said Dr. Marie
McCormick, chairwoman of the panel and a professor of maternal and child
health at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We really need to have a
much better, more comprehensive approach to understanding what people's
concerns are."

Although it is true that infants receive more shots today than in the past,
the study noted that children were now exposed to fewer antigens, the
substances that vaccines use to initiate immune responses. A streamlined
form of the pertussis vaccine has reduced the number of antigens, to fewer
than 5 from 3,000, the report said. The smallpox vaccine, which contained
200 potential antigens, is no longer in use, and vaccines that have been
added to the immunization schedule have relatively few antigens.

"When you look at the infant immune system," Dr. McCormick said, "it is
quite competent and quite capable of handling larger antigen loads."

In examining a potential link to autoimmune disorders, the panel
concentrated on Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune form of the disease in which
the body produces antibodies against its own insulin-secreting cells. A
review of eight studies found that multiple vaccinations had no effect on
the incidence of the disease.

A review of seven studies found that repeat vaccinations did not increase
the risk of developing infections like colds, ear infections, meningitis and

A review of five studies on the potential link between vaccines and allergic
diseases, including asthma, found some suggestion that certain shots
increased the risk. But there were methodological weaknesses in those
studies, the report said, and the panel urged further research.

Asked about asthma, Dr. McCormick said, "The evidence is not sufficient to
say either yes or no." But, she added, asthma is a potential risk that has
to be compared to "the very real risk of the disease for which children are
being immunized."

Dawn Richardson
PROVE(Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education) (email) (web site)
PROVE provides information on vaccines, and immunization policies and
practices that affect the children and adults of Texas.  Our mission is to
prevent vaccine injury and death and to promote and protect the right of
every person to make informed independent vaccination decisions for
themselves and their family.
This information is not to be construed as medical OR legal advice.
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