National Vaccine Information Center Says IOM Played Politics in Report on Autism and Vaccines

WASHINGTON -- The nation's largest and oldest parent-

led vaccine safety organization is charging that today's report on autism and

vaccines issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) seriously jeopardizes the

credibility of IOM to make an objective scientific analysis of vaccine risks.

Calling the report a case of "political immunology," NVIC is also releasing a

letter written by NVIC president Barbara Loe Fisher to the National Academy of

Sciences on Dec. 18, 2000 expressing concern about the ideological and

professional conflicts of interest of members of the Committee.

"This report is a case of political immunology masquerading as real

science. With it, the Institute of Medicine takes a step toward weakening its

reputation as an independent body capable of making an objective scientific

analysis of complex medical risk issues which are influenced by government

policy and industry profits," said Fisher.

In her 2000 letter to IOM, Fisher pointed out that, unlike the 1991 and

1994 reports issued by the Institute under a congressional mandate from the

National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the current Immunization Safety

Review Committee was assembled at the request of and funded by the federal

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), specifically the Center's for

Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). DHHS is

responsible for the research, development, regulation, policymaking and

promotion of mass use of vaccines. At the time, she questioned whether the

Committee could remain objective when assessing vaccine risk issues which

affect entrenched public health policy due to the fact that (1) the CDC and

NIH were directing and funding the Committee's work; and (2) Committee members

had a public health policy background and were receiving NIH research grants

or were employed by universities receiving NIH, CDC and vaccine industry

research grants.

"For this committee to reject emerging biological mechanism evidence of a

causal relationship between vaccines and brain damage leading to autism in

favor of flawed epidemiological studies primarily using old medical records is

tragic. For this Committee to basically give the green light to government

and industry to eliminate autism from cost benefit analyses of thimerosal

risks is beyond belief because it could pave the way for mercury to remain in

vaccines here and around the world. Failing to consider the fact that DPT and

MMR vaccine induced brain inflammation can lead to brain damage in some

children, including autism, is just one example of how simplistic and

superficial this analysis of the relationship between vaccines and autism is.

When the real science comes out demonstrating that vaccines can cause autism

in genetically susceptible children, this Committee's conclusions will be

meaningless," said Fisher.

NVIC has been calling for independent, non-governmental, non-industry

research into the genetic and other biological high risk factors of vaccine

associated brain and immune system dysfunction, including autism, for the past

two decades.

Source: National Vaccine Information Center

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