Home > Get Involved, Policy, Preventable Diseases, Science & Research, Vaccine Myths > Take Action In Support of National Vaccine Program

Take Action In Support of National Vaccine Program

November 12, 2013

By Amy Pisani, Executive Director of Every Child By Two

Last week a group of activists from The Canary Party held a Congressional briefing which was intended to raise criticism of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).  In response, Shot of Prevention posted a detailed rebuttal, written by vaccine advocate and law professor Dorit Reiss, which addressed the issues raised during the hearing.  We have since learned that Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has responded to the briefing by scheduling a full hearing to review the NVICP.  Unfortunately, since the Canary Party openly subscribes to the belief that ingredients in vaccines cause harm, there is reason to believe that this hearing may not only address concerns regarding the NVICP, but will once again question the widely refuted hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.

We have been down this road before.  Several times actually.  And the science is clear on this issue.  Vaccines don’t cause autism.  That is why vaccine advocacy organizations, like Every Child By Two and many others, are asking for your support.  We’re working to educate the committee members regarding the benefits of the current compensation program, to alert them to improvements that have already been suggested by the Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV), and to help suggest experts who can testify in regards to each of the concerns raised.

But the members of the committee need to hear from you as well.  Below is a summary of our collective concerns and we’re asking you to include discussion of these points in a phone call or email to the committee members for their consideration.

Some background information on the 

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP):

In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, creating the NVICP as a no-fault alternative to the tort system.   NVICP is the quickest, easiest way to ensure that those rare individuals who have been injured by a vaccine are appropriately compensated. Because petitioners do not have to prove fault but only causation, it is easier to prevail in the NVICP than it would be in civil court.   The program has paid out over $2.7 billion to 3,412 petitioners since the program’s first filings in 1989.  In order to encourage attorneys to take on these cases, the program is the only court that pays attorneys’ fees regardless of whether the petitioner is successful.  The program has paid over $162.4 million to attorneys in both successful and unsuccessful cases.

Fortunately, when the program was created a mechanism for ongoing oversight was initiated with the creation of the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV).   The ACCV consists of nine voting members (two of whom are parents of vaccine injured children) who meet regularly each year to make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues relating to the NVICP.  Every Child By Two would like to urge people to email members of the Committee in order to ensure that the NVICP remains in effect and that the focus remains on areas where the program can be improved, without digression into other matters.

Some points to include in your correspondence:

The program works. NVICP is critical to ensuring the compensation of individuals who, in rare instances, have been harmed by vaccines. Over 3,000 petitioners have been compensated over $2.7 billion since the program’s inception.  A few people, making false claims against vaccines, should not be allowed to derail the entire system.

The program advances vaccine development.  This program has saved lives by encouraging vaccine companies to develop life-saving  vaccines such as those against hepatitis, pneumococcal disease, HIB, HPV, and meningitis, to name a few.

Remedies to the current program can be facilitated through the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV).  Recommendations for improvements to the program which have been made by the commission in place, are not always acted upon, but are already detailed at the following link http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/commissionchildvaccines.html.

The science is in: Vaccines do NOT cause autism. Countless public health agencies around the world have tested and retested the theory that vaccines cause autism.  All have concluded that they do not. For a list of safety studies see our Vaccinate Your Baby website.

Some petitioners are not awarded compensation because they are not vaccine-injured. To dismantle the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in order to appease fringe groups that have had their day in court would be a great disservice to public health.  In 2009 and 2010 a panel of Special Masters ruled on six test cases of theories alleging that vaccines cause autism.  The Special Masters concluded that in these cases, vaccines do not cause autism.  Three of the six test cases explored the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines, in combination with the MMR vaccine, cause autism and three cases explored whether vaccines containing thimerosal alone cause autism.  The evidence was so poor the petitioners did not even try their third theory that MMR vaccine alone can cause autism. In both cases, the court ruled unequivocally that “vaccines do not cause autism”.  The rulings, written up in lengthy summaries by the separate Special Masters, made it abundantly clear that the evidence on the side of science far outweighed the anecdotal evidence of the claimants.  Special Master George Hastings wrote about one of the tests cases,

“This case, however, is not a close case. The overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners’ causation theories…In short, this is a case in which the evidence is so one-sided that any nuances in the interpretation of the causation case-law would make no difference to the outcome of the case.”

For more on the Omnibus cases please visit our Vaccinate Your Baby website.

If the hearing steers towards the autism/vaccine connection again it may cause families to delay or decline vaccinations. Media coverage of hearings on vaccines and autism in the late 90’s, early 2000’s resulted in a spiraling downward trend in vaccine confidence among the public.  The increasing number of parents who are delaying or declining vaccines based on this misinformation has resulted in disease outbreaks across the country and abroad.  We cannot afford to lose one more child to a disease that can be safely prevented by vaccines.

The witness panel needs to be balanced.  The Committee should ensure that the hearing includes public health witnesses who can testify to the importance of this program on the nation’s health.

How to take action:

Every Child By  Two is encouraging everyone to contact the members of the committee today.   Please feel free to use the wording contained in this letter (click here) and to reference the points listed above.  We suggest that you also include your personal interest in this issue.  For example, “I’m a concerned parent, “My child contracted a vaccine preventable disease“, “I’m a public health advocate and have witnessed the outbreaks“, “I fear that the increase in vaccine exemptions in my community may put children at risk” etc.

For a listing of the committee members and their contact information click here.  We encourage you to email all of the members as soon as possible and/or call their offices to express your concerns.  If a member is from your state/district it would be most effective if you send them a personal email stating that you are their constituent.

If you care about the health of our children, please take action on this immediately.  There is a concerted effort among those who doubt the safety of vaccines to reach out to members of the committee.  Therefore, it is imperative that we voice our support as quickly and affirmatively as possible.immunize_cmyk_fullcolorlogo

If you would like to be informed about future calls to action regarding immunization policies be sure to add your name to Every Child By Two’s vaccine advocacy list here.

  1. November 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Done & Done – my Representative has been swayed by woo in the past, but I’m going to call her office (and follow up with a letter / email) right now.

  2. November 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Can I send a letter/email to support this if I am Canadian?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Cindy Lewis
    November 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Vaccines don’t cause autism, they cause the things that cause autism. Very hard to follow I know.

  4. November 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    @Cindy….ummm, that doesn’t make any sense. Care to explain?

  5. November 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Cindy, vaccines are not linked to autism. Directly or not.

  6. November 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I hate you

  7. reissd
    November 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Anyone know what Mike is talking about? Mike?

  8. Cindy Lewis
    November 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Dori, you are misinformed…Just one example, vaccines can cause encephalitis which causes the symptoms we call autism. That’s just one example.

  9. reissd
    November 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Cindy, encephalitis is not autism; many ASD people have never had an encephalitis and many people with encephalitis have never had autism. See:

    http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/neuroimmunopath/autism_faqs.htm

    Is the neuroinflammation observed in autism similar to encephalitis or meningitis ?

    NO. In meningitis and encephalitis, the most prominent immune reaction is one of adaptive immunity, the main feature being infiltration of the CNS by inflammatory cells such as T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes along with the production of antibodies. There is also activation of astroglia and microglia in meningitis and encephalitis, but the dominant immune reaction is due to adaptive immunity. In contrast, in autism, there is NO evidence of lymphocyte infiltration or antibody mediated reactions; the most prominent immune response is characterized by activation of microglia and astrocytes, features that characterize innate immune responses within the CNS. These observations suggest that the adaptive immune system does not play a significant pathogenic role in this disorder, at least not during its chronic phase, and that the main immune mechanism involves predominantly innate immune reactions. Since our study focused on autopsy tissues, we cannot exclude the possibility that specific immune reactions, mediated by T-cell and/or antibody responses, occurred at the onset of disease, during prenatal or postnatal stages of development.

  10. Cindy Lewis
    November 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    “Cindy, encephalitis is not autism; many ASD people have never had an encephalitis and many people with encephalitis have never had autism.”

    Agreed…encephalitis can cause the symptoms in the brain and body that we call autism. Does it always? No. Can it? Yes.

    There are many roads to autism and this is only one path.

  11. reissd
    November 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    “Agreed…encephalitis can cause the symptoms in the brain and body that we call autism. Does it always? No. Can it? Yes.” – as pointed out above – that’s not accurate. And at any rate, since encephalitis is much, much more common from the diseases than from the vaccine (a thousand to one from measles compared to less than one per million from MMR), if that’s your concern, you really should strongly support vaccines.

  12. Amy pisani
    November 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    mike7367 – I think letting our members know that the misinformation on vaccie safet that is spread through hearings has worldwide ramifications is a legitimate message to send. I met a family in Kenya who did not vaccinate due to their religious leaders guidance and their son Job now has polio.

  13. Cindy Lewis
    November 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    reissd, you can not say that encephalitis doesn’t cause the health issues associated with autism. Encephalitis would affect any number of people in any number of ways both physically and mentally.

  14. November 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    @Cindy – are you just talking semantics now? Or do you have an actual argument?

    At the end of the day, encephalitis is not a cause of autism…..because if it was, it would be extremely easy to identify (due to the after-effects of encephalopathy on the brain, which aren’t evidence in an autistic brain)….

  15. November 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Of course Tara is upset. One of her Facebook photos include one photo taken with Mr. Andrew Wakefield, clearly showing she’s been hoodwinked by the con-artist himself. Therefore she deems it necessary to follow the anti-vaccinator party line and thus ‘hate’ science.

  16. Chris
    November 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Cindy Lewis: “reissd, you can not say that encephalitis doesn’t cause the health issues associated with autism.”

    Except the diseases themselves cause encephalitis, like measles. Please provide a PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more encephalitis than its disease or diseases.

    I am curious because my son suffered seizures from an illness a few years before there was a vaccine prevent it. Than you.

  17. Narad
    November 13, 2013 at 12:22 am

    There really should be some sort of rule that “the Canary Party” only be presented in scare quotes.

  18. November 13, 2013 at 6:33 am

    @Narad – didn’t we have this conversation before that “the Canary Party” isn’t appropriately registered as a PAC, Political Party or other lobbying organization, despite presenting itself as one & donating / advocating for various political candidates and initiatives?

  19. lilady
    November 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hmmm, nothing about autism in this publication “The Management of Encephalitis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America”, which may lead to encephalopathy. There’s a whole of information about the pathogens (many of the vaccine-preventable-diseases), which cause encephalitis:

    http://www.idsociety.org/uploadedFiles/IDSA/Guidelines-Patient_Care/PDF_Library/Encephalitis.pdf

  20. Cindy Lewis
  21. reissd
    November 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Cindy, why are you bringing the reference to Mr. Kirby’s somewhat misleading article about these two encephalitis NVICP settlements? To show that NVICP does actually compensate children who the government concedes may have had a table injury?

  22. November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    @Cindy – apples and oranges….you do know the difference, right?

  23. Chris
    November 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Ms. Lewis, that is not a PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher. Mr. Kirby was a travel writer who sold articles to the NY Times (not employed by them), he was hired by Lyn Redwood of SafeMinds to write Evidence of Harm. He is not a qualified medical researcher.

    Again, Ms. Lewis, please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more encephalopathy than the disease or diseases it is intended to prevent.

    My son has been diagnosed with static encephalopathy which may or may not be from the seizures he suffered from a now vaccine preventable disease. He may never be able to live on his own. For those whose children suffer encephalitis leading to encephalopathy within a certain period after a receiving a vaccine receive payment from the NCIVP as a “table injury.” This is not available to those children who suffer encephalitis from an actual disease.

    So, please, tell us with supporting verifiable documentation the relative risk of encephalitis between vaccines and the diseases.

  24. Chris
    November 14, 2013 at 12:32 am

    From the article: “We encourage you to email all of the members as soon as possible and/or call their offices to express your concerns.”

    So I send them all the message that an actual disease injured my kid? Okay, I can do that!

    (the one member in my state was not my representative)

  25. dingo199
    November 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Cindy,
    I know a man who had a car accident which left him with paralysis in one leg.
    Paralysis of one leg is a symptom of Polio.
    I can now declare, as per your example, that motor vehicles are the cause of Polio.

    You see, this syllogism fails the hurdle of being a valid inductive argument, because although the premises are broadly true, the conclusion is not (hope you can see why).

    With humans, there are many things that could cause autism “symptoms”, but they are not necessarily causes of autism, which is a specific neurological construct rather than a jumble of convenient symptoms that antivaxers can cobble together to try (and fail) to create a coherent argument.

  1. November 15, 2013 at 10:59 am
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