November 5, 2009

Head of Consumer Group Advocates More Investigation into Vaccine

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Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center urges parents to take an active role in learning about vaccines and their children.

Barbara Loe Fisher:

One size fits all national vaccine policies which do not respect bio diversity really penalize those who have genetic and biological high risk factors that place them at higher risk than others for having a bad outcome after vaccination.

And I think that it -- it's really too bad that in 2009 we are in a situation where we're rolling out an H1N1 vaccine asking millions of people to take it and we don't know how to screen out individuals for whom that vaccine will be reactive and could potentially cause permanent brain and immune system dysfunction or even end in their death.

I think that you have to look at the fact that in the last quarter century, we have more that tripled the number of doses of vaccines that we're giving our children.

And in that last -- in that 25 years, we have seen a rise -- a dramatic rise in the numbers of children who are suffering chronic brain and immune system dysfunction.

We now have in this country one child in six is learning disabled. One in nine has asthma. One in 100 is diagnosed autistic. One in 450 becomes diabetic. In this country today seven babies in a thousand die before age one. We are among the lowest of the technologically advanced countries in infant mortality.

Now, I'm not saying that vaccination is potentially the only factor in the development of these cases of brain and immune system dysfunction among children, but you can't leave vaccination off the table, not if you're being scientifically rigorous, not if you're being intellectually honest.

And, so, these questions are being asked today as H1N1 vaccine is being rolled out and the government policy is all children should get it, all young adults, particularly those who have underlying health care conditions. And what parents are asking themselves is, is it worth the risk for my child to get two more doses of the vaccine.

I think we have to have much more information before we can conclude that the benefits outweigh the risk in this situation with an influenza that appears to be mild for most people. But again that's an individual decision, that's not a decision that I believe anyone can make for you.