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How The FDA Responds When Asked To Prove That It’s Safe To Inject Mercury (Thimerosal) Into Babies

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By Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, Executive Director, World Mercury Project 

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Background: Peter Patriarca, an FDA employee, admitted back in 1999, in a confidential e-mail obtained through FOIA, that, “… the greatest point of vulnerability on this issue is that the systematic review of thimerosal in vaccines by the FDA could have been done years ago and on an ongoing basis as the childhood immunization schedule became more complex.  The calculations done by FDA are not complex. I’m not sure if there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization policy bodies may have been “asleep at the switch” re: thimerosal until now”. 

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Since 1999, an entire generation of children both in the US and internationally has continued to be exposed to thimerosal – and it is time for this to stop.  Nobody should be exposed to a known neurotoxin.

The Ongoing Saga: On March 30, 2017, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and the World Mercury Project (WMP) team met with the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues to discuss the agency’s ongoing refusal to ban thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, from vaccines in the United States. CBER is the division of the FDA responsible for approving and monitoring the safety of all biological products, including vaccines, allergenic products, blood and blood products, and cellular, tissue, and gene therapies.

At the meeting, we presented a large amount of research showing the toxicity of thimerosal in humans, animals and cellular models, including at levels similar to those resulting from vaccine exposures.  We expressed our alarm regarding the total lack of adequate safety testing of thimerosal prior to licensure, especially given its current use in vaccines approved for infants and pregnant women and its worldwide use in millions of vaccines given to children, particularly in developing countries.  Dr. Marks promised to look over the studies and seriously consider our concerns.

After many months of back and forth emails, Dr. Marks sent a letter to us on July 11th that didn’t even look like he was in the same meeting. World Mercury Project was dismayed by CBER’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From his follow-up response, it is clear that none of the information WMP provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  He made it clear in his letter that CBER does not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  His letter was simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

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Below is my letter back to Dr. Marks. We are awaiting his response.

Re: Response to your letter regarding the use of mercury in prescription drugs and vaccines.

Dear Dr. Marks,

On March 30th, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and members of the World Mercury Project met with you and your colleagues at the FDA to discuss our concerns regarding the continued use of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, in prescription drugs and influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children.

During the meeting and in written letters following the meeting, we voiced concerns regarding:

  • Lack of adequate safety studies prior to marketing thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.
  • Thimerosal’s toxicity and ineffectiveness as a preservative.
  • Mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccine administration resulting in mercury levels known to cause adverse outcomes.
  • Exposure to vaccine-level thimerosal resulting in harmful depositions of inorganic mercury in the brain.
  • The California Environmental Protection Agency’s listing of all mercury-containing products as reproductive and developmental toxicants under their Proposition 65 law.

Thimerosal was removed from all over-the-counter products when the FDA issued final rules in the Federal Register in 1998 acknowledging that thimerosal is not generally recognized as being safe or effective (GRASE).  Why is this same product allowed in prescription drugs and vaccines?

At the end of our meeting, you reassured us that you would take our concerns seriously and would “follow the science” wherever it might lead you. For several months after our meeting, I contacted the FDA public liaison Ms. McNeill inquiring when we might expect to hear back from you regarding our concerns. Ms. McNeill told me that we had provided the agency with extensive information and that it was taking additional time to review the material.  I was hopeful that FDA might finally, therefore, implement the 2001 recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that pregnant women, infants and children not be exposed to thimerosal-containing vaccines.

On July 11th, we received your written response to our concerns. I was dismayed by your agency’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From your follow-up written response, it is clear that none of the information we provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  You make it clear in your letter that you do not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  Your letter is simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

You cite in your written response FDA’s mushy biologics regulations which define safety as “the relative freedom from harmful effect to persons affected, directly or indirectly, by a product when prudently administered, taking into consideration the character of the product in relation to the condition of the recipient at the time.” 21CFR 600.39(p). You report that in applying this elastic regulatory standard, “FDA must weigh the risk of a vaccine or any drug against its benefits when determining whether a product is safe. If the benefits of the vaccine or other pharmaceutical product outweigh the risks of its side effects, then the FDA finds the product to be safe.”  You further acknowledge that “the determination of a products safety is a relative rather than absolute measurement”,entirely subject to FDA’s “discretion and expertise.”  Even operating under these malleable standards, FDA should consider that vaccines are products given to healthy individuals, and their risks should be measured by an extremely high bar since they are not treating a disease.  Furthermore, FDA has no capacity to evaluate risks of thimerosal since, by FDA’s own admission to Congress, there has never been a long-term safety study performed on thimerosal in any human population including infants and pregnant women.

Vaccines containing thimerosal in the U.S. are predominantly influenza vaccines.   Furthermore, thimerosal is still widely used in vaccines given to tens of millions of children in the developing world and, since U.S. policy influences worldwide policy, FDA bears responsibility for these policies.  In the U.S., thimerosal-containing vaccines are administered to healthy six-month old infants, young children and pregnant women despite never having been safety tested in those populations.  According to their product inserts, influenza vaccines have been associated with an increased incidence of seizures and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Recent studies have linked influenza vaccines to miscarriageautism and, possibly, birth defects.  A significant percentage of influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal and studies should be done to see if thimerosal played a role in these outcomes.   There has been limited testing of influenza vaccines in animal models, however, there have not been any adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal studies are not always predictive of human response, the package inserts for flu vaccines reiterate that flu vaccines “should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed”. In addition, there are numerous VAERS reports of injuries from thimerosal-containing vaccines.  Therefore, it is imperative that vaccines administered to sensitive populations (pregnant women, infants and children) be held to the highest standards of safety.  I think parents and the American public would be appalled to learn that vaccine safety determinations are “relative” and are within an FDA employee’s “discretion and expertise.”  That discretion and expertise should actually require a factual basis, not just opinion.  Needless to say, these decisions should be guided by the precautionary principle.

I have organized the remainder of my response into addressing the erroneous claims made in your letter.

Your Claim:  The agency evaluates whether a preservative contained in a product is at such levels that when used at the recommended dose is not toxic to the recipient and that the “FDA … has repeatedly found that the vaccines currently being marketed that contain thimerosal are safe…”

WMP Response: Please show us the data used to evaluate thimerosal safety in infants and pregnant women.  We do not believe they exist.

In an email discussion regarding the use of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children, in 1999, Dr. William  Egan, acting Director of the Center for Drugs and Biologics (CDER), recommended that the statement, “The chronic, daily ingestion reported (in several studies-primarily Seychelles study) greatly exceeds the amount of mercury that a pregnant woman would receive from a single annual dose of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine”  might well be deleted.”  Egan went on to justify his recommendation by saying that the statement “…in some ways is misleading.  I am not sure that I would want to argue, for example, that one could take the allowed amount of mercury for a year and administer it as a bolus injection with the same outcome as having it spaced out evenly over the year: the issue then becomes one of how much of a bolus can one give at one time without harmful effect and this data does not exist (or at least I’m not aware of them).”  

Dr. Egan was right then and he is right today; such safety data do not exist.  In fact, many toxicologists believe that large bolus dose exposures such as those resulting from thimerosal-containing vaccines are more harmful in comparison to small daily dose exposures that the body is much more capable of excreting without overburdening detoxification pathways in the body. This concern is supported by research that found a mercury dose given acutely may produce toxic effects, whereas the same dose distributed over a period of time may give no evidence of poisoning. (Koos and Longo,1976).

Your Claim: “Thimerosal has a long record of safe and effective use in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines with no ill effects other than occasional hypersensitivity and minor local reactions at the site of injection.”.

WMP Response:  There is ample evidence provided in multiple studies by federal agencies and independent scientists that spans the last 90 years which documents that thimerosal is neither an effective nor a safe vaccine preservative.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1948 titled “The bacteriostatic and bactericidal actions of some mercurial compounds on hemolytic streptococci,” the authors vigorously argued that thimerosal was ineffective as a “disinfectant, germicide and antiseptic.”  In the review of the literature in this paper, the authors cited eight studies from 1928, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1944 all of which drew similar conclusions.

In 1975, the FDA convened a panel of experts to evaluate mercury-containing over-the-counter (OTC) products.  The panel issued its reports in 1980 and in 1982.  The FDA issued a report of the panel’s findings in the Federal Register where they concluded that “some mercury-containing preparations are not effective and others are not safe and effective for OTC topical antimicrobial use”.

With respect to thimerosal in particular, that panel found evidence from 1950 which concluded that “thimerosal was no better than water in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal infections.” Additionally, citing a 1935 study, the panel reported that thimerosal was “35.3 times more toxic for embryonic chick heart tissue than for Staphylococcus aureus.” Most of the literature reviewed addressed mercury’s lack of antibacterial properties. One review published in 1971 titled, “Three thousand years of mercury. A plea for abandonment of a dangerous, unproven therapy,” addressed mercury’s lack of effectiveness against fungal contamination as well.  

The FDA-appointed expert panel concluded that “thimerosal was not safe for OTC topical use because of its potential for cell damage if applied to broken skin and its allergy potential.  It is not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriostatic action can be reversed.”  However, it wasn’t until 1998 that the FDA issued its final report banning the use of thimerosal in topical OTC products because it was not “safe and effective.”

There are also several more recent published reports of thimerosal’s failure as a preservative.  Clusters of disease from Group A streptococcus infections were traced back to multi-dose vials of diphtheria toxoid, pertussis, and tetanus toxoid (DPT) vaccine which were contaminated after being opened.  Additionally, in 2004, a Chiron plant that manufactured Fluvirin was forced to close because its vaccine was contaminated with Serratia marcescens.   This vaccine used thimerosal as a preservative. In this case and in the many others cited, thimerosal failed to prevent bacterial growth.

In response to the reports from the FDA expert panel who reviewed the use of thimerosal in over-the-counter products in the 1980’s, the FDA published in the April 22, 1998 Federal Register Status of Certain Additional Over-the-Counter Drug Category II and III Active Ingredients. (April 22, 1998);63(77):19799-19802. 21 CFR Part 310 [Docket No. 75N-183F, 75N-183D, and 80N-0280 concluding that the use of thimerosal in over the counter products is not “generally recognized as safe or effective” (GRASE).

In the final rulemaking, the FDA states that “safety and effectiveness have not been established for the ingredients (mercury-based preservatives) included in this current final rule and manufacturers have not submitted the necessary data in response to earlier opportunities. The agency’s experience has been that under these circumstances companies have not submitted data in response to yet another opportunity. Consumers will benefit from the early removal from the marketplace of products containing ingredients for which safety and effectiveness has not been established.”

The World Mercury Project would like to know how is it possible that one division of the FDA recognizes that there is absolutely no safety or effectiveness data available for the use of mercury in over the counter products and essentially bans its use, while your FDA division of blood and biologics continues to recklessly allow its widespread use in over 100 prescription products including vaccines?

Your claim: “Under the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997, the FDA conducted a comprehensive review of the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines.  Conducted in 1999, this review found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than local hypersensitivity reactions (Ball et al. 2001).”

WMP Response:  It’s disturbing that according to internal emails obtained by FOIA, Dr. Ball never conducted an extensive review of reports of harm.  On November 23, 1998, Dr. Leslie Ball of the FDA asked internal reviewers to perform a Medwatch query on thimerosal.  Medwatch is the FDA’s database for reporting adverse drug events.   On January 7, 1999, Dr. Ball was informed by Fredrick Varricchio of FDA that there were 7000 reports containing the word thimerosal on FDA’s Medwatch.  He stated, “I have some results for you.  Problem is that there are 7000 reports that mention thimerosal. What to do now.  Obviously looking at all 7,000 is a brute force approach.”  Dr. Ball responded by saying, “perhaps you can get records on a subset of 50 or so we can look at them and get a general feel for what’s been reported before we go any further.”  In a subsequent email on January 19th, Mr. Varricchio noted that the “plan is to get whatever is on the summary for every 100th report.” This means that only 70 adverse events out of 7000 reported to the FDA were actually reviewed by Dr. Ball and her team. This email calls into question the findings reported by Dr. Ball and also suggests that an extensive investigation has never been conducted by the FDA with regard to adverse events associated with the use of thimerosal.  Would you allow any other medical product to be widely used based on review of one percent of the information available?

I am also, Sir, frankly shocked at your unwillingness to acknowledge the robust body of literature that has been published the last 18 years since concerns regarding thimerosal first surfaced within the FDA in 1999.

There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies that document the toxicity of thimerosal. Many of these investigated levels of mercury known to occur from vaccine exposure in cell and animal models.  In 2013, Jose G. Dorea published a meta-analysis of thimerosal research related to vaccine exposure.  Dorea searched major databases for human and experimental studies that addressed issues related to early life exposure to TCVs. The author concluded that: “ a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants; b) etHg metabolism related to neurodevelopmental delays has been demonstrated experimentally and observed in population studies; c) unlike chronic Hg exposure during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental effects caused by acute (repeated/cumulative) early life exposure to TCV-etHg remain unrecognized; and d) the uncertainty surrounding low-dose toxicity of etHg is challenging but recent evidence indicates that avoiding cumulative insults by alkyl-mercury forms (which include Thimerosal) is warranted.”  Dorea emphasized the importance of “a) maintaining trust in vaccines while reinforcing current public health policies to abate mercury exposure in infancy; b) supporting WHO policies that recommend vaccination to prevent and control existing and impending infectious diseases; and c) not confusing the ‘need’ to use a specific ‘product’ (TCV) by accepting as ‘innocuous’ (or without consequences) the presence of a proven ‘toxic alkyl-mercury’ (etHg) at levels that have not been proven to be toxicologically safe.”

For your convenience, I have included a sampling of 35 abstracts that represent the more current state of the science regarding thimerosal that has emerged since 1999 as an appendix.  Even if Dr. Ball’s review had been adequate at that time, surely 18 years of further research should prompt an updated evaluation by the FDA.

Your Claim: A 2014 modeling study by your own Centers for Biologics Evaluation and Research employee, Dr. Robert Mitkus, showed that “peak body burdens of mercury following episodic exposures to thimerosal in this worst case did not exceed the corresponding safe body burden of mercury from MeHg at any time”.

WMP Response:  The Mitkus study reported that the body burden of mercury in infants, over the first 4.5 years of life following yearly exposures to thimerosal from annual flu vaccines, was two orders of magnitude lower than that estimated for exposures to the lowest regulatory threshold for MeHg over the same time period. The author relies completely on these findings to conclude that their pharmacokinetic analysis supports the safety of thimerosal when used as a preservative at current levels in certain multi-dose infant vaccines in the United States. Mitkus fails to acknowledge the past levels of exposure that infants received from vaccines starting in the late 1980s and extending well into 2000, that were 187.5 mcg etHg the first year of life versus 12.5 mcg etHg from flu vaccines annually. He also makes the assumption that there are no other mercury exposures outside of thimerosal, which is not supported by either established science or common sense.

The model developed by Mitkus relied solely on blood levels and did not take into consideration the accumulation of mercury in the brain tissue.  Data from the Burbacherstudy that assessed exposures from both methyl and ethyl mercury in infant non-human primates, based on vaccine level exposures, found that although there was little accumulation of Hg in the blood with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants did occur. In fact, there was a much higher proportion of inorganic Hg in the brain of thimerosal monkeys than in the brains of MeHg monkeys (up to 71% vs. 10%). Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the thimerosal-exposed monkeys were approximately twice that of the MeHg monkeys. Burbacher concluded that “the safety of thimerosal drawn from blood Hg clearance data in human infants receiving vaccines may not be valid, given the significantly slower half-life of Hg in the brain as observed in the infant macaques.”  But that is exactly what Mitkus does in his model and reports in his study.

Mitkus also makes the statement that thimerosal is more quickly and extensively metabolized to inorganic mercury in the brain than is MeHg and that process of dealkylation “may be” a detoxification step.  According to Burbacher, who is the author of the studies relied on by Mitkus in the development of his model, the statement that dealkylation may be a detoxification process is purely speculative and has not been established.  Mitkus is referring to previous reports that have indicated that dealkylation of Hg is a detoxification process that helps to protect the central nervous system (Magos 2003Magos et al. 1985). These reports are largely based on histology and histochemistry studies of adult rodents exposed to Hg for a short period of time. The results of these studies indicated that damage to the cerebellum was observed only in MeHg-treated animals that had much lower levels of inorganic Hg in the brain than animals comparably treated with ethylmercury. Moreover, the results did not indicate the presence of inorganic Hg deposits in the area where the cerebellar damage was localized (granular layer). In contrast, previous studies of adult M. fascicularis monkeys exposed chronically to MeHg have indicated that demethylation of Hg occurs in the brain over a long period of time after MeHg exposure and that this is not a detoxification process (Charleston et al. 199419951996Vahter et al. 19941995). Results from these studies indicated higher inorganic Hg concentrations in the brain 6 months after MeHg exposure had ended, whereas organic Hg had cleared from the brain. The estimated half-life of organic Hg in the brain of these adult monkeys was consistent across various brain regions at approximately 37 days (similar to the brain half-life in the Burbacher study). Stereologic and autometallographic studies on the brains of these adult monkeys indicated that the persistence of inorganic Hg in the brain was associated with a significant increase in the number of microglia in the brain. (Charleston et al. 19941995,1996). The microgliosis and neuroinflamation documented in the brains of the adult monkeys in association with deposits of inorganic mercury are two hallmark findings in brain tissue of both children and adults with autism.  Neuropathological studies of brain tissues from cerebellum, midfrontal, and cingulate gyrus obtained at autopsy from 11 patients with autism demonstrated the presence of an active neuroinflammatory processes in the cerebral cortex, white matter and, most notably, the cerebellum.  In a subsequent study, microglia appeared markedly activated in five of 13 cases with autism, including two of three under age six, and marginally activated in an additional four of 13 cases. The authors concluded that microglial activation “represents a neuropathological alteration in a sizeable fraction of cases with autism. Given its early presence, microglial activation may play a central role in the pathogenesis of autism in a substantial proportion of patients.”

In responding to the Mitkus study, I also need to refer back to previous meetings with FDA CBER employees. When FDA assigned its pediatrician, Dr. Leslie Ball, to oversee the review, analysis and public reporting of thimerosal, Dr. Ball had little knowledge of toxicology or thimerosal.  In 1999, Dr. Ball and her colleagues conducted an analysis that was prompted by the Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997 which required FDA to compile a list of drugs and food that contain “intentionally” introduced mercury compounds and provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the exposure levels. They reported that the limits of exposure to mercury for an infant in the first year of life should be between 200-230 mcg total.  Infants are exposed to approximately 80 to 100 mcg of organic mercury from environmental sources alone.  Therefore, additional exposures from thimerosal-containing vaccines should be below 120 to 130 mcg the first year of life according to the FDA’s own findings.  At the time this analysis was done, American children were routinely receiving 187.5 mcg of organic mercury during the first year of life from vaccines.  This means American children were being exposed to cumulative levels of organic mercury in excess of federal safety guidelines.

The FDA consulted with an expert in the field of toxicology, Dr. Barry Rumack, MD, to better understand the potential impact of these exposure levels.  Dr. Rumack had a private consulting practice where he offered “toxicologic and pharmacologic evaluation of drugs, biological and potentially toxic or hazardous agents for government and industry”.  After creating several scenarios based on infants’ ages and weights, Dr. Rumack modeled both blood and body burden levels.

The models predicted sharp peaks of mercury concentrations in both blood and tissue, in a stair step sequence following each of the new thimerosal-containing vaccines given during the first six months of life.  Based on these models, Rumack predicted exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dosing American children with mercury levels far exceeding all three federal safety guidelines established by EPA, FDA and ATSDR.  There was no point in time from birth to approximately 16-18 months of age that infants were below the EPA guidelines for allowable mercury exposure.  In fact, according to the models, blood and body burden levels of mercury peaked at six months of age at a shockingly high level of 120 ng/liter. To put this in perspective, the CDC classifies mercury poisoning as blood levels of mercury greater than 10 ng/liter.  What is even more concerning is that the models developed by Dr. Rumack did not take into account background exposures from environmental and dietary sources of mercury.

In reporting the mercury exposure levels that result from thimerosal containing vaccines, the FDA chose not to report the findings from Rumack and Ball.  Instead, they averaged the exposures over the first six months of life, even though the exposures only occurred at birth, two, four, and six months of age or during four days out of 180 days.  In doing so, the agency could report that the exposures were below FDA and ATSDR guidelines in an effort to minimize concern.

In discussing this with independent toxicologists, I have been told that averaging exposures is not appropriate due to the fact that large bolus dose exposures are known to be more injurious than small daily dose exposures. If the FDA had reported the exposure levels from a daily dose perspective, it would reveal that infants were being exposed to mercury far in excess of ALL federal safety guidelines: FDA, ATSDR and EPA.

For example, my son at two months of age weighed 5 kg and received 62.5mcg Et Hg from his vaccines.  According to the EPA methyl mercury guidelines of .1 mcg per kg per day, his maximum exposure level for that one day was 0.5 mcg of mercury.  He received 125 times his daily allowable exposure level or 125 days of his daily allowable exposure. An analogy would be that it would be allowable to give my infant son a ½ tsp of Tylenol four times a day (320 mg), but if I gave him a 30-day dose of Tylenol (9,600 mg) on one day, it would be lethal. When I personally asked Dr. Ball why she reported the mercury exposure levels in this deceptive fashion, she responded, “That is what I was told to do.”

In a subsequent email to her superiors at FDA on July 6th, 1999 (six months after she had started her review of thimerosal), marked as being highly important and confidential and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Ball asked Norman Baylor, PH D, Director of the Office of Vaccines Research Review, “Has the application of these calculations as exposure guidelines received the sign off by toxicologists?  In prior discussions, the toxicologists seemed reluctant to state any Hg (mercury) level was “safe”.” Although there was no response back from Dr. Baylor in the FOIA documents we received, it is obvious that the answer was no.

By 2000, there was already a mountain of evidence that thimerosal was unsafe and ineffective.  For example, in 1987 the Commission of the European Communities initiated a research project on 10 known or suspected spindle poisons including thimerosal. In 1993, as described in Mutation Research, 287 (1993) 17-22 thimerosal was identified as a strong inhibitor of microtubular assembly, a process which is essential for proper neuronal development.  In 2000, Stajich et al.  measured blood Hg levels in newborns administered the Hepatitis B vaccine, containing 12.5 mcg ethyl mercury, and found elevated post-immunization concentrations relative to pre-immunization levels in all neonates studied.  Levels of blood mercury after exposure in low birth weight infants were 7.36 mcg/L (± 4.99).  One infant was found to have mercury levels of 23.6 mcg/L after exposure, which supports the inter-individual variability of mercury intoxication.  The study subjects had measurable blood Hg concentrations prior to immunization, indicating that risk assessment must include background mercury levels from other sources.

I also find it disturbing that safety assessments you reference take the position that thimerosal is a necessary ingredient for influenza vaccines.  This, of course, is not true.  Influenza manufacturers presently make approximately two-thirds of the U.S. influenza vaccine supply without the use of thimerosal by placing the vaccine in a single dose vial or syringe, which completely eliminates the need for a preservative.

Your Claim:   The scientific evidence collected over the past 15 years does not show any evidence of harm, including serious neurodevelopmental disorders from the use of thimerosal in vaccines. The Institute of Medicine report from 2004 concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a link between thimerosal and autism based on several epidemiological studies.

WMP Response:  A causal relationship between autism and vaccinations cannot be proven or rejected based on evidence from population-based epidemiologic studies – period. Epidemiological studies, by definition, are not designed to prove causality; they can provide only statistical associations.  Therefore, the committee’s conclusion that the “body of epidemiologic evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship…” has no scientific meaning.

Further, in the IOM report the committee admitted that population-based studies would not be able to detect subpopulations that could be genetically more vulnerable to mercury at lower doses than typical. On page 139, the report states that “This hypothesis cannot be excluded by epidemiological data from large population groups that do not show an association between a vaccine and an adverse outcome.  Depending upon the frequency of the genetic defect, a rare event caused by genetic susceptibility could be missed even in large study samples.”

What you also failed to acknowledge is that several of the same epidemiological studies reviewed by the IOM in 2004 documented an association between thimerosal-containing vaccine exposures during infancy and the subsequent development of motor and phonic tics.  Tics are a family of neurological disorders that are also associated with a diagnosis of autism. A significant association between Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and a diagnosis of tic disorder (TD) has now been found in six epidemiological studies (Verstraeten et al. 2003Andrews et al. 2004Thompson et al. 2007Young et al, 2008Barile et al. 2012Geier et al. 2015).   The Thompson study states that, “The replication of the findings regarding tics suggests the potential need for further studies.”  Tozzi et al. 2009, also found trends towards increased motor and phonic tics with increased thimerosal exposure but these did not reach statistical significance, possibly because of the lack of a non-exposed control group. These studies employed various epidemiological methods such as case–control or cohort designs, and were conducted on cohorts of children from several different countries. In addition, several of these studies observed significant dose-dependent relationships between Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines and the risk of diagnosed TD. A study by Young et al. found a dose-dependent relationship between increasing Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines given between birth and seven months and also between birth and 13 months of age and the risk of a diagnosed TD. Researchers observed that, for a 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and seven months of age, the risk for diagnosed TD was significantly increased (3.39-fold). For the same 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and 13 months of age, the risk for diagnosed tics was also found to be significantly increased (4.11-fold).

Autism etiology and severity have also been associated with mercury levels.  In June of this year, the international journal Science of the Total Environment published a compelling study from the Republic of Korea. The study identifies a strong relationship between prenatal and early childhood exposure to mercury and autistic behaviors in five-year-olds.  The  MOCEH study examines environmental exposures during pregnancy and childhood and their effects on children’s growth and development. A unique feature is that it includes five different blood samples: maternal blood from early and late pregnancy; cord blood; and samples from children at two and three years of age. In addition, the study asks mothers to complete three follow-up surveys and—when their child reaches age five—the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), which assesses autistic behaviors.

The investigators report a significant linear relationship between mercury exposure and autistic behaviors (as indicated by a scaled score called an SRS T-score). Strikingly, they find that with a doubling of blood mercury levels at four time points (late pregnancy, cord blood, and at two and three years of age), SRS T-scores are significantly higher. They also looked specifically at SRS T-scores greater than or equal to 60. Sixty and above is the accepted threshold for detecting “mild to moderate” deficits of social behavior related to autism; scores of 76 or more are in the “severe” range. In these analyses, the same linear relationship holds for late pregnancy and birth (i.e., cord blood). With a doubling of blood mercury levels at these two time points, there is a 31% and 28% increase, respectively, in the risk of an SRS T-score of 60 or more. Finally, the researchers identify a stronger association between late-pregnancy mercury exposure and autistic behaviors in five-year-old boys versus five-year-old girls, perhaps due to mercury’s endocrine-disrupting properties.

Your Claim:  Schechter and Grether, 2008, showed that California’s rates of autism continued to rise while thimerosal was being phased out from three of the early childhood vaccines.

WMP Response:  This study has significant limitations in addressing what was really going on in the time period from 1999 to 2003.  Schechter and Grether estimated exposure for each birth cohort but made no attempt to look at the actual thimerosal exposures of individual children relative to their diagnosis.  In fact, looking at the data for the CDDS for the years immediately following their study, there was a notable flattening of the autism prevalence growth curve in the 2004-2006 birth cohorts, suggesting a possible effect of thimerosal phase-out.  At the same time, however, any downward effect on autism rates would have been blunted by three national autism awareness campaigns, by Autism Speaks, the CDC and the AAP , starting early in 2005 and continuing into 2006 which raised public awareness dramatically.

While thimerosal was being phased out of the Hepatitis B, Hib and DTaP vaccines over those four years, thimerosal exposure through influenza vaccines was increasing.  In 2004, the CDC started recommending flu shots for pregnant women in any trimester.  In 2004, over 90% of the supply of influenza vaccines contained thimerosal.  Studies of methyl mercury show that mercury is typically 1.7 times higher in cord blood than in maternal blood and there are no studies investigating the pharmacokinetics of ethylmercury in pregnancy.  Concurrently, in January 2003, the CDC recommended flu shots with thimerosal for all children starting at six months of age.  The idea that children were no longer being exposed to thimerosal was and is a fallacy.

Beyond California, in the spring of 2016, the CDC’s ADDM network finally reported the autism prevalence of children born in 2004.  For the first time that data did not show an increase in autism prevalence compared to the 2002 birth year cohort.  They both had a one in 68 prevalence.  This suggests that the removal of thimerosal from the three pediatric vaccines may have flattened autism rates prior to the widespread uptake of the flu vaccine and increased awareness. That same paper, based on children born in 2004, reported a prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders with IQ<70 of 4.0 per 1000.  This was a 15% drop from the previous report based on children born in 2002, when the prevalence of ASDs with IQ<70 was 4.7 per 1000.  Note that this had nothing to do with percentages of the ASD population or additional higher-functioning children being diagnosed – this meant that there were actually fewer severely affected children on a population basis.

Finally, your focus on autism ignores the evidence of thimerosal’s associations with a range of other disorders including ADHD, speech disorders, seizure disorders, autoimmunity and eczema and the broader associations of mercury with auditory and speech impairment, nephrotoxicity and somatosensory disorders.  According to the CDC, one in six American children of the thimerosal generation now suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder. An HHS funded study found that 54% of children have a chronic disease.  What evidence have you, if any, that thimerosal is not a major culprit in the epidemics that have devastated this generation?  “None” is the answer!

Dr. Marks, I perceive you to be a smart man and sincere in your desire to protect children from harm. Do you, as an individual, not as the Director of CBER, really believe that the continued use of thimerosal in products given to pregnant women, infants and children, when it is completely unnecessary, is appropriate? I’m appealing to you as the mother of a young man who will never be able to take advantage of his full potential because he was harmed by thimerosal and other sources of mercury. It is my life’s mission, much like the mother who started MADD, to protect all children from this completely unnecessary exposure to mercury. I ask that you please again take our concerns to heart and help support our efforts instead of regurgitating the inaccurate and indefensible positions of your agency.

Sincerely,

Lyn Redwood RN, MSN, Executive Director

World Mercury Project

Read our overview — background and all of the letters between FDA and World Mercury Project.

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Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Telegram Passes 500 Million Users As People Seek Facebook & Twitter (Big Tech) Alternatives

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Messaging app Telegram has now surpassed 500 million users after more big names/pages flock to the platform due to censorship by Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we really want to live in a world where freedom of speech is limited even if it's not causing any harm? Should we not have the freedom to access information and decide for ourselves what it is we choose to believe?

Telegram is a social media platform, currently known as a messaging app, that now has more than 500 million users worldwide. Telegram founder Pavel Durov recently confirmed the fact on his personal Telegram channel (@Durov).

Here at Collective Evolution we’ve experienced a tremendous amount of censorship from Big Tech platforms like Facebook, for example. We’ve been working in the field of “alternative media” since 2009. We have since grown our Facebook page to well over 5 million followers, and for years we’ve been subjected to algorithm changes, Facebook “fake news” strikes that are clearly unwarranted, and much more. Most recently, Founder Joe Martino and Myself had our own personal Facebook pages completely deleted with no explanation.

We have been dealing with and coming to terms with the fact that we just don’t know how much longer our Collective Evolution Facebook page will be around or how much longer will have access to it, and this is why we are transitioning our followers over to our recently made Telegram account.

All of this censorship has also resulted in a very significant demonetization. What we do here at Collective Evolution is being threatened, and has been threatened for quite some time. We want to keep doing what we do but sometimes worry that we cannot produce the means necessary to do what we do. This is why we started CETV.

CETV is our own platform and our attempt to move away from dependance on Big Tech. If you’re interested in helping us continuing our work, you can support us by joining there. It’s what is now barely helping us to continue to do what we do, conduct interviews, create personal development courses, write articles, attempt to expand human consciousness, inspire change from within and more. CETV is in its beginning stages, it’s still growing and we are still trying to improve it. We hope you join us there.

Last but not least, and perhaps one of the most important ways  you can keep up to date with what we are doing, apart from CETV, is by joining our email list

It’s not only Collective Evolution that has been subjected to extreme censorship. Doctors, scientists, various academics, peer reviewed science, journalists and more have and all are experiencing the same thing. There is a digital authoritarian “‘Orwellian” fact-checker going around the internet telling people what is and what isn’t. Any information, opinion, or piece of evidence that seems to go against the grain or threaten the status quo seems to be subjected to this nowadays.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. – Edward Bernays, Propaganda 1928

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Encounters With Star People: Three Native Indians Describe An Encounter Of The “First Kind”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University who is Cherokee/Choctaw has been researching the Star People, and collecting encounters between them and Native Indians for many years. This article shares one of many.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we alone? If not, what are the implications when the public becomes fully aware of this? How will it change the way we look at the nature of reality and how we live here, and why we live the way we do?

Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University who is Cherokee/Choctaw has been researching the Star People and collecting encounters between them and Native Indians for many years. In her book, “Encounters With Star People, Untold Stories of American Indians” she details many of these stories, and explains how her fascination with Star People came from stories told to her by her older relatives, like her grandmother, when she was a child. Be sure to visit her website to find out more about her work.

I’ve been reading the book for quite some time now and I find myself having a great deal of trouble actually finishing it because everytime I come across a new story, I want to share it with our readers. I’ve written multiple articles that take excerpts from her book. So far I’ve written about a story she shared regarding an elder who told her about a ship that crashed on his reservation. You can read that story here. I wrote about another elder who shared a story of a petrified alien heart, which he claimed belonged to the Star People, and you can read that one here. I’ve written one about an elder who claimed to have been told that humans were one of four violent species in the universe, you can read that here. I wrote about a fascinating story  regarding a man who had an encounter  during an Alaskan blizzard, you can read that here, and another one where a gentlemen was told “not to be afraid.” You can read that here.

This particular story comes from three American Indians who are military veterans. All three of them were stationed together at an Air Force base when this event occurred. An encounter of the “first kind” refers to a UFO sighting in close proximity.

Arlan:

Clarke knew Arlan 15 years before he told her his story. She describes how they first met while he served on the interview committee established by her school (Montana State University) in the hiring of a new faculty position that would recruit American Indian students and teach in the College of Education. Arlan was on the hiring committee, and after Clarke was hired she stayed in contact with him and became part of his extended family,

He frequently stopped by my office at the University on his monthly trip to Helena to meet with the governor’s liaison on Indian Affairs. On one such visit, we sat in my office discussing tribal politics, when I noticed he was staring at the poster hanging on the wall. It pictured a UFO with words underneath it that read, “I believe.” “Do you believe?” he asked, pointing to the poster. “I do,” I replied. “I believe too,” he began.”

“When I was in the service, I was in the Air Force, most indians join the army, but I joined the Air Force. One night the whole base was on alert. An unidentified object appeared on radar. It was headed straight for the base. Several jet fighters scrambled in pursuit. They returned but the base remained on alert. That meant we were all in full combat uniform and dispersed around the perimeters.”

This story corroborates with information that has now been declassified by multiple governments and intelligence agencies around the world. It’s a well known fact than when a UFO, or as they are termed within the mainstream now, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon” (UAP) is tracked on radar, the military scrambles jets to take a closer look. One (out of thousands of similar cases) great example comes from a case I’ve shared a number of times. This incident occurred on the night of September 18th, 1976. A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and NSA report describes the encounter in detail. Furthermore, both of the pilots involved discussed the event years later.

Residents of the city  (Tehran, Iran) noticed a big bright object in the sky. The airport traffic controller also noticed, “it was an intensely bright object that was not supposed to be there.” The Iranian Air Force was contacted and they dispatched two F-4 fighter jets to check out the object.

Both of the F-4 interceptor pilots reported seeing the object visually, it was also tracked on their airborne radar. Both planes experienced critical instrumentation and electronics go offline at a distance of twenty-five miles from the object. Here is an excerpt from the report:

“As the F-4 approached a range of 25 nautical miles it lost all instrumentation and communications. When the F-4 turned away from the object and apparently was no longer a threat to it, the aircraft regained all instrumentation and communications. Another brightly lighted object came out of the original object. The second object headed straight toward the F4. ”

Back to the story. I just wanted to provide a brief example.

Arlan continues:

Around 2 a.m., a spacecraft appeared. It hovered over the base for a good 30 minutes. There were windows where you could see shadows moving, like someone walking around. We all stood there, our rifles ready to fire. The order never came. The UFO just hovered there, not moving, not making a sound. One foolish airman broke rank and ran in the direction of the craft, shouting and waving his rifle in the air. A beam of light shot out of the craft. He was frozen on the spot. When the light retracted, he fell on his face. A few seconds later, the craft flew away. Two hours later, we were called together and told it was a test and ordered not to talk about the event. I never did. I kept it a secret until this moment.”

“Why now” Clarke asked.

It’s that poster. That craft looked identical to the one we saw that night. “After the incident, did you ever talk to your buddies about it?” I asked. I never did. Within hours of the sighting, I was transferred to a different base. My friends were transferred out the same day. We were given 12 hours to prepare for our transfers. There was a lot of paperwork. We didn’t have much time to talk about the transfers or about the UFO. Some of us exchanged home addresses, but you know how it is when you’re 18. You think you’ll write, but you never do. I never saw or heard from any of those guys again.

Arlan did however know the names and addresses of the men when they were enlisted, and through that Clarke was able to track them down for a chat. Keep in mind this incident occurred decades ago.

Max:

Clarke asked Max about the UFO incident.

Yes, I remember. The brass told us never to talk about it. In fact, they said if we did talk, they would come after us. They told us we had witnessed a top-secret test to determine how we would react under unusual and stressful situations. I never believed them. It was a barefaced lie, and they thought we were so inexperienced and dumb that we would buy into anything…They said it was an experimental craft. It was all lies. Not even the big boys knew what that craft was or where it originated. They were shaking in their boots and the last thing they wanted was for the word to get out.

The idea that this could be some sort of experimental craft/technology that the military possesses is not so far fetched. There are documents, for example, that show the U.K. was “desperate” to get their hands on UFO technology. There are interesting statements from interesting people, like Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell who once said that “yes, there have been crashed craft and bodies recovered.” Even an article in the New York Times from last year covered the story about retrievals of “off-world vehicles not made on this Earth” in a serious manner. (You can read more about “mainstream UFO disclosure” here.) In his book, “Forbidden Science 4,” Dr. Jacques Vallee explains how he came in possession documents showing that forced “UFO abductions” were conducted by the CIA as psychological warfare experiments. I obtained a document from the CIA’s electronic reading room that details a story about a famous German Engineer, George Klein, describing his experience with “Flying Saucer” technology in Germany, claiming that it’s been operational since 1941.

The point is there is a lot of information out there suggesting that governments, or even more powerful institutions have had and do have this type of capability.

But for some reason, I do believe Max in this case. Despite all of the evidence that we have suggesting some of this technology is in our possession, UFO lore is littered with stories like this from military bases and nuclear weapons facilities.

Max continues:

Arlan, Hank and me – we were sent to protect the entrance to the base. We took our positions and waited for an unknown enemy. We must have been there for over an hour. I was cold and my teeth were chattering. That’s when it happened. The craft came out of nowhere. Not a sound. Suddenly it just appeared hovering silently over the base. We didn’t know what to do. We are all nervous as hell. Our commanding officer told us not to fire, but to be ready to respond if something happened. This one guy, I don’t know if he lost his mind or what, went running toward the craft shooting. A light came out of the craft and he was stopped in his tracks for just a moment as though he was paralyzed, and then he dropped to the ground unconscious. A few moments later, the craft moved silently upward and disappeared into the night.”

A couple of years later, after I re-enlisted, I ran into one of the medics who was on-duty at the hospital that night when the UFO appeared. He told me that the guy was burned all over this face and body. He said he heard a doctor say it was radiation. He said they kept him in a sleep-induced coma for a while, and then they just let nature take its course. He died within a month of the incident.”

This is interesting and it also corroborates with other incidents out there. Stefan Michalak, for example, was involved in a UFO incident in Manitoba, Canada. It’s known the “Falcon Lake Incident” and is quite famous among Canadian UFO researchers. Stefan also suffered severe burns from the crafts he encountered.

According to Stefan’s son, Stan Michalak, who co-authored a book detailing his father’s encounter titled When They Appeared: “I recalled seeing him in bed. He didn’t look good at all. He looked pale, haggard. . . .When I walked into the bedroom there was a huge stink in the room, like a real horrible aroma of sulphur and burnt motor. It was all around and it was coming out of his pores. It was bad.”

Below. you can see the burn marks left from the encounter. Stefan is of many who have had this type of ‘evidence’ left on their body after an alleged encounter. Below is a sketch done by Stefan of the craft he encountered. You can read more about this story here.

Max continues:

Clarke asks Max to describe the craft.

It was huge. Bigger than anything I had ever seen. It just hung there in the sky. Like it was suspended on strings. It made no sound. I would say it was probably about 50 or 60 feet around. Maybe 25-to-35 feet tall. There were windows but you couldn’t see through them. Very small windows but only a dull light emitted from them. The craft was gray metal, perfectly smooth. No angles. Just a perfect circle. It was dark but all the lights at the base were on so we had a good view. I couldn’t see any seams on the craft. That was unusual. It was like it was one piece or there was a skin stretched over it to make it look that way. I saw blue and white lights when it hovered over the base. There were reddish-orange flashing lights that came on as it moved away. It flew upward at first and then disappeared into the night sky within seconds.”

We saw them in Vietnam sometimes. Frequently we would see several at a time, but they never came close. They just flew over, sometimes, in formation. It was like they were observing the war. The pilots talked among themselves. Those of us who worked on the planes heard their conversations. The pilots were concerned about the UFOs. At first they thought they were some kind of communist aircraft sent to scare us out of Vietnam. There were stories of jets that crashed when they pursued them, but most pilots knew what we all knew: these craft were not from this planet. We were no match for them.

Clake goes on to find the third man, Hank, and he tells the exact same story as Max and Arlan. If you want to read more stories like this, make sure you check out the book. The link is at the top of this article.

The Takeaway: I’ve said it many before, so I apologize if this is a repeat for you but I’ll say it again, the ET phenomenon truly leaves no aspect of humanity untouched and greatly expands human consciousness and the way we perceive ourselves, the cosmos, and the nature of reality. Just think of all that would change when we consider not only the existence of off-world civilizations but also the technology they use to get here. Perhaps other races use their technology for discovery, advancement, service to others and more instead of simply using it to profit in some way, or use it to make weaponry like we do? I don’t know. At the end of the day what we need more on our planet is to question the way we live here, what we are doing here and why we live the way we do when we have so much potential to create a human experience where everybody can thrive. The question of “are we alone” is a big one, but thousands of other questions will come forth when we realize, for sure, that we’re not and that we are being visited and have been visited for quite some time.

Cover Photo Credit: Billy Meier. Supposed authentic picture of a UFO he captured. 

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

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Nearly Half of All Health Care Workers At Chicago’s Loretto Hospital Refuse COVID-19 Vaccine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A survey conducted at Chicago's Loretto Hospital shows that only 40 percent of healthcare workers will not take the COVID-19 vaccine once it's available to them.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy not only among people, but healthcare workers seem to be growing larger and larger every single year?

What Happened: Earlier this month Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, said that a survey was administered there to healthcare workers in December regarding who would get the COVID-19 vaccine and who wouldn’t. The survey found that 40 percent of the hospital staff said they would not get vaccinated and 60 percent said they would.

Juvvadi said that, “in her hospital, a lot of that hesitancy is based on minority groups’ deep-rooted mistrust of vaccinations and other large-scale health care programs; “I’ve heard Tuskegee more times than I can count in the past month – and, you know, it’s a valid, valid concern.”

In 1972, a government whistleblower, Peter Buxton, revealed that for the previous forty years, beginning in 1932, both CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted the so called “Tuskegee Experiment” to study the progression of untreated syphilis in impoverished African-American men in rural Alabama. Public health regulators lured illiterate sharecroppers with the promise of hot meals, funeral costs and free health care from the U.S. government. According to the Centers for Disease Control, which took over the study in the early 1960’s, none of 299 syphilitic sharecroppers were ever told they had the disease. CDC purposefully withheld penicillin after the antibiotic became a proven treatment in 1947. CDC actively prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs elsewhere. CDC’s victims in that study included numerous men who died of syphilis, 40 wives who contracted the disease, and 19 children born with congenital syphilis.

When, in 1966, Buxton sent a letter to government regulators complaining about the ethics and morality of the study, CDC reaffirmed the need to continue the research until all subjects had died and been autopsied. To bolster its position, the CDC sought, and gained support for the study’s extension, from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Buxton finally told his story to my uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy in July of 1972. Senator Kennedy convened Senate hearings, at which Buxton and HEW officials testified and CDC finally terminated the study. – Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Why This Is Important: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine hesitancy in general is nothing new. Riverside County, California has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials, and fewer than half of the hospital workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, Calif., were willing to be vaccinated. You can read more about this story here.

Roughly 55 percent of surveyed New York Fire Department firefighters said they would not get the coronavirus vaccine, the Firefighters Association president said last month.

 A recent survey by Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly a third of health care workers across America would probably or definitely would refuse the vaccination.

A recent Gallup poll showed that only 58% of Americans plan on getting the COVID vaccine when it’s available. An October poll conducted by Zogby found that nearly 50% of Americans have concerns about the safety of the coming COVID vaccines.

Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, and it’s been an issue prior to the COVID vaccination. A number of studies point this out, for example, a study published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection in 2017 titled “Addressing vaccine hesitancy: the crucial role of healthcare providers” is a great example.

Another one published a year before titled “Vaccine hesitancy and healthcare providers” is also a good example. One of the authors of this study, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference on vaccine safety at the end of 2019.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider. (More information and links to the conference here)

There are many studies regarding vaccine hesitancy, and if you go through the literature the main causes seem to be a lack of trust for pharmaceutical companies and various concerns about vaccines that have yet to be answered. Aluminum, for example is one. The adjuvant is blamed for adverse reactions and injuries, and science is and has been raising cause for concern for many years.

 A recent publication in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by one of its associate editors, Dr. Peter Doshi,  titled ” Pfizer and Moderna’s “95% effective” vaccines—let’s be cautious and first see the full data” calls into question these claims by the COVID vaccine manufacturer. I thought I’d post it here in case you were interested in reading it. It raises a few of many issues as to why some people are hesitant as well.

When it comes to a lack of trust, this is completely understandable, is it not?  For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Concerning conflicts of interest, specific to the COVID-19 vaccine also seem to be raising concerns. According to Kamran Abba, executive editor of the BMJ and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, “The UK’s pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines.”  Perhaps this is why other therapies and treatments that have shown success have been brushed off, ignored and in some cases labelled as “fake news.”

Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)

Another recent article published in the BMJ by journalist Paul D. Thacker highlights the conflicts of interest that exist between the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 advisors, which also seems to be a common theme around the globe. Based on my research this seems to be a global phenomenon.

A few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers. The scientists outlined great corruption that happens at “all levels” within the CDC.

The Takeaway: Vaccines are not a one size fits all product, in the US alone nearly $4 billion has been paid out to families of vaccine injured children, and a number of studies are calling into question their safety.

For the most part anybody who is concerned about vaccine safety is usually dubbed an “anti-vax conspiracy theorist.” Concerns that many scientists, doctors and people are bringing up with regards to vaccine safety are never really acknowledged or addressed, which brings me to my next point.

Why do we have such a hard time discussing controversial topics? Why are things always made out to seem so black and white? Why are we so polarized in our beliefs to the point where we can’t look at another viewpoint that challenges our own? Why can’t we understand why some people disagree with us and why they feel the way they do?

Should freedom of choice not always remain?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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