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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
"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
Source: National Vaccine Information Center