Johns Hopkins Press/Project Muse Journal Narrative Inquiries in Bioethics reaches key policy makers in medicine and public health. The current issue Volume 6, Number 3, Winter 2016 is entitled, “To Vaccinate or Not?” The journal’s editors’ sought parental narratives describing how they came to their current views on vaccination.

IPAK is happy to announce that Josh Mazer, on our Scientific Advisory Board, was selected to present his family’s personal story of vaccine injury. We invite you to read the entire journal to view the entire spectrum of views presented. Thank you to Josh and his family, and all the other contributors, for having the personal courage to tell their very compelling story.

Full citation: Mazer, J. and J. Mazer.  2016. We Failed to Protect Our Child. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research. Narrative Symposium: To Vaccinate or Not? Parents' Stories. 6(3);156-E8. 10.1353/nib.2016.0056 © Johns Hopkins University Press*.  

Reproduced here with permission to the authors. To reproduce elsewhere, please contact Johns Hopkins University Press

To access all of the articles in the Narrative Symposium: To Vaccinate or Not?", please  visit Project Muse

We Failed To Protect our Child

Josh and Jennifer Mazer

We are parents of three children ages 17, 15 and 11 (“Z”,” M”, and “E”). We fully vaccinated our first two children and have refused virtually all vaccines for our youngest.

Our middle child (M) became ill after his 14 month “well baby visit.” He was feverish, lethargic, and crying constantly in a high–pitched voice. His pediatrician told us it was a genetic issue. In 2003, he was examined by a clinical director of a major East Coast teaching hospital. He told us that our son was suffering a severe vaccine reaction—he used the term “vaccinosis”—and stated that if we wanted him to get better we should seek out medical practices that specialize in treating autistic spectrum disorder.

Two years later, our youngest child was born with an infection. We informed the hospital that we declined the birth dose of Hep–B vaccine for our child. That turned out to be a good decision, as she spent her first nine days outside the womb in the NICU with a lung infection. We feel that if she had been given the Hep–B vaccine, her systemic infection would possibly have been dismissed as a “normal reaction” to her Hep–B shot and the more serious infection she actually had may not have been diagnosed and treated.

Despite the hit our middle child took, we consented to a spread out vaccine schedule for our youngest. After her second DTaP, her arm swelled up so badly she was put on a steroid med pack at age five. When I brought her to the pediatrician to have her arm swelling evaluated, I was struck by the obvious fear in the doctor’s eyes when she saw our daughter. That was a very sobering experience. From that point forward, our attitude towards vaccination became “trust but verify.”

Our vaccine education continued as we sought treatment for M, now carrying a diagnosis of autism. His stomach was bloated and distended. He experienced episodic explosive diarrhea several times a week, expelling yellow, loose, foul smelling stools so violently and copiously that it would spatter against the walls and foul his bed. We had to restrain him in his crib to prevent him from wandering. He developmentally regressed, lost eye contact, molded his stomach to furniture, and isolated himself. The doctors who gave him the vaccines disdainfully dismissed the claim of vaccine injury out of hand, as well as his terrible stomach distress. They continue to push more shots. Our relationship became strained as they simply ignored M’s suffering, and treated us as an inconvenience.

The Journal of Pediatrics November 2012 supplement discussed undiagnosed gut issues related to autism. Based on the article we took M to a pediatric gastroenterologist. We learned he was suffering with treatable, chronic gut inflammatory symptoms. After a course of Budesonide followed by a round of Pentasa, his stomach receded, his body mass index dropped from 29 to 18, and his neurotransmitter levels normalized. We presented this data to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in 2016 as a case study and were very warmly received.

 After our negative vaccine experiences, we felt it was our parental obligation to educate ourselves about vaccine safety policy. I began reading first source, peer reviewed, medical journals. Our go to source for information had previously been our doctors. We were surprised to discover that much of the information they had provided us is not supported by evidence based medicine. For example, they said that mercury in shots is not a problem. That is contradicted by a 1991 Merck internal memo where Dr. Maurice Hilleman states that six–month–olds received vaccine mercury exposure 87 times greater than FDA guidelines for dietary consumption. The takeaways from our experiences and our research—the things we wish we had known before we consented to vaccination—include the following points:

1) The vaccine schedule is predicated on the systematic and calculated suppression of the legal, ethical, and moral imperative of informed medical consent. We were told that vaccines are “safe and effective” by the people who sell them. We were not told that vaccines are indemnified from legal action by the Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. If the shots are safe, why do they need liability protection? What parent would consent to giving their healthy, newborn child 57 doses of 14 vaccines by age 5, starting on the day of birth, if they were clearly informed that the companies making the shots, and the providers, cannot be sued in a court of law? Probably not very many, us included. Families claiming vaccine injury are not afforded the legal tools of discovery, subpoena powers, nor the use of precedents to establish causation. It was the plaintiff’s bar that uncovered the egregious, deadly, criminal activities of Merck in their marketing of Vioxx. Vaccine policy has blanket immunity from such rigorous inquiry, and that circumstance effectively dismantles the application of informed medical consent in the vaccine marketplace.

2) Vaccine hesitancy and refusal is not a product of Internet searches, celebrities, or “anti- vaccine nut jobs.” First and foremost, it is a result of vaccine injury. Many highly credible voices up to and including the late Dr. Bernadine Healy have spoken publicly about their safety concerns. The British Medical Journal, May 2013, piece Marketing Vaccines by Marketing Disease by Doshi describes how county health officials are in reality county vaccine sales officials, and that vaccine benefits are overstated and disease risks exaggerated as a sales technique.

3) Precisely the same individuals who produced junk science for NIH in the 1980s demonstrating that Agent Orange exposure was not a cause of disability are right now working at CDC and NIH producing science that declares vaccines are safe, effective, and rarely if ever cause serious problems. These scientists were egregiously incorrect with the science before–why are they still entrusted with public policy? They have no credibility, and they need to go.

4) The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a secretive organization that creates the appearance of being fundamentally corrupt. Having a financial stake in a vaccine up for consideration to be included on the recommended schedule does not preclude a member of ACIP from voting to approve the shot. It should. ACIP members should never have the opportunity to “vote themselves rich.” Yet there are voting members, past and present, which have reaped personal fortunes by their advocacy and votes.

 5) The US Government, through various agencies, attempts to control the public narrative about vaccine safety. HHS has “reached out” to “media partners” to avoid discussing negative stories about vaccination, as reported by Readers Digest. That is censorship, pure and simple. The Immunization Action Committee (“I.A.C.”), comprised mainly of past and present CDC career employees, “sprang into action,” reports a March 2016 article in The Guardian, to suppress the recent documentary movie Vaxxed—which purports to reveal malfeasance on the part of CDC vaccine officials. The federal government provides $25 million in annual funding to the lobbying group National Association of City and County Health Officials (“N.A.C.C.H.O.”) explicitly to push state legislatures to buy and distribute vaccines—in violation of laws barring that type of lobbying activity.

6) The media is utterly culpable for enabling this iatrogenic horror to unfold. Direct to Patient medical advertising has breached the vaunted firewall that is supposed to exist between news and advertising. Investigative journalism has ignored embarrassing recent vaccine stories, such as: the CDC and CDC Foundation operating budgets are funded up to 1/3 by vaccine sales and grants from Pharma; the federal indictment (on 21 counts) of Poul Thorsen; the ongoing federal lawsuit against Merck alleging falsification of data about the mumps vaccine; the role of vaccine failure in recent outbreaks of mumps, measles, and pertussis; the 2015 report from American Association for Cancer Research demonstrating that the early cohorts of children who took the HPV4 vaccine are more likely than unvaccinated kids to be infected with high risk, low risk, and all strains of HPV; and the August 2014 public press release by senior CDC vaccine researcher Dr. William Thompson that he has neither denied not retracted. Vaccine industry insiders are disingenuously promoted as “vaccine experts” with no disclosures of conflicts of interest.

7) Doctors’ offices, counties, and school boards receive retroactive monetary incentives to reach vaccine sales goals. Our public health policy is being driven by a “sales contest” marketing culture.

8) The doctor/patient relationship is compromised by financial incentives and government mandates to sell vaccines. A well–respected physician in California currently has his license under review for writing a medical vaccine exemption. Pediatric medicine has devolved into a relentless vaccine marketing operation. “Well baby visits” are thinly disguised “capture opportunities” for the doctor to alternately shame, harass, and bully parents into accepting vaccines.

It is important to remember that vaccines are interventions given to healthy patients. They are classified as biologics, not as drugs, therefore safety testing is not as stringent. Current policy with vaccines is “one size fits all”—a circumstance unique in the annals of modern medicine. Health authorities are financially conflicted because their counties are in effect bribed into compliance. Science now takes a back seat to pure salesmanship. A case in point, are the varied, convoluted explanations about why injecting ethyl mercury into humans is perfectly fine—after the fact of it having been standard medical practice since the 1930s. People who defend this practice as harmless are obviously uninformed or willfully lying. The same is true with the current practice of aluminum containing vaccines. There are unanswered questions about microglial activation and release of tumor necrotic factor that the vaccine proponents simply will not address.

Industry attempted to discredit the idea of removing ethyl lead from gasoline, despite the obvious health hazards, using exactly the same play book and vernacular the vaccine complex uses to savagely attack credible scientists for simply asking questions. Dr. J. Anthony Morris correctly predicted that the 1976 swine flu program would be a disaster—and he was cashiered for being correct.

Vaccine defenders are losing ground, and they are getting mean. They are peddling the fiction that unvaccinated children must be coerced into taking a medical procedure that could kill or harm them, for the good of the community. This is pure hooey. The science shows that recent vaccinees are asymptomatic carriers of vaccine strain pathogens, and can infect vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. The Journal Vaccine reports that the reemergence of measles in first world countries is as much a result of vaccine failure as anything else. The decline in infectious disease mortality is supposedly due to vaccination—but 99% of the decline happened before vaccines were introduced. Credit improved sanitation, hygiene, medical care, and clean drinking water.

The vaccine pushers who want to take away my right to informed medical consent need to get their story straight. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) consensus opinion is that vaccine refusers should be ejected from pediatric practices, and that there is no “alternate childhood immunization schedule (ACIS).” Yet in 2011, the Journal Pediatrics reported that 61% of pediatricians surveyed are “comfortable using an ACIS if requested by parents.”

The New York Times rips the clothes off the vaccine emperors once and for all with their amazing 2015 article on how the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) accepted $3 million from Coke to deflect research away from the role that soft drinks play in the obesity epidemic among young children. If a paltry $3 million got the AAP to say that, one can only imagine what they are doing in exchange for the vaccine largess totaling hundreds of millions of dollars showered on them by Pharma.

The vaccine schedule was ramped down years ago in veterinary medicine because of recognition that vaccinosis was harming and even killing horses, cats, and dogs. My family leaned about vaccinosis when it happened to our child. The vaccine schedule is causing grave harm to our country and it is past time to get the properly conducted comparison of never vaccinated to fully vaccinated cohorts done and published. Unfortunately, it seems that Pharma’s control over our entire public health care apparatus may preclude such a study from ever being done.

We didn’t ask the tough questions, and our child is permanently injured. We failed to protect our child.

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