Reviewed by Susanne Saltzman, MD
“These senior people do vile, unethical things and no one holds them accountable.”
-Dr. William Thompson, CDC senior scientist and whistleblower
In the last May e-journal of the American Journal of Homeopathy, we presented Part 1 of the review of VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, about an alleged cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) involving its 2004 vaccine-autism study as disclosed by its senior scientist turned whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson. Thompson revealed how the data was manipulated by CDC scientists to cover-up the statistically significant MMR vaccine-autism link for African-American children. Part II will complete this review of this powerful documentary.
When the scientists looked at the rest of the data to discover which children were most at risk for autism from the vaccine, they looked at those children who had no co-morbid conditions apart from autism—no cerebral palsy, mental retardation, hearing or visual impairment, epilepsy or any other birth defect— in other words, all children who were completely healthy their first year before the MMR vaccine. They called this group “isolated autism” (which was essentially all healthy children) and what they found was shocking: there was an astronomical effect—relative risks were as high as 7-8 times or a 700%-800% increased risk of autism—in those healthy children in the first year of life who received the MMR vaccine at 12-18 months compared to those children who were vaccinated with MMR after 3 years of age.
Thompson stated that when he disclosed this data to his four colleagues (see last month’s May issue), they literally “wheeled in the garbage can” and threw out the data—all, of course, except Thompson himself, who kept his hard copies and computer files which he later revealed to Brian Hooker.
Of course, since every child in the study still received the MMR vaccine—albeit at different ages—the relative risk for autism for vaccinated versus unvaccinated children was, and is, still unknown. According to the film, the CDC has refused to do this study even though every pharmaceutical drug has been through this kind of double-blind placebo controlled trial (drug vs placebo). The question is: If the isolated autism study above showed such an increased risk of autism in healthy children who received the MMR at 12-18 months vs 3 years of age, then how much more risk would be shown if we compared vaccinated children to those who were never immunized? It is quite possible that this study, which clearly needs to be done, would help explain the exponential growth in autism that we have seen over the past 20 years.
In defense of Thompson (who stated he was “shocked” by how the data was manipulated behind closed doors from February 2002-October 2004), he sent emails (all revealed in the film) to various CDC department heads raising “red flags,” warning about the “struggles” he was having with the data. One email was sent to Melinda Wharton (one of the CDC directors) on October 18, 2002, stating, “I am writing you once more regarding the Department of Justice request…for MMR vaccine…autism data… I first spoke with you Sept 3rd, 2002, regarding the sensitive results we have been struggling with in the Metropolitan Atlanta Autism MMR/Autism study…I have also tried to bring your attention to some potentially sensitive legal issues surrounding what documents we should provide for this study.” In the email, Thompson threatened to remove himself as an author of the draft. He then sent an email to Walter Ornstein, the director of the National Immunization Safety Program on Oct. 20, 2002, threatening to withdraw himself from the study because he was not interested in taking “all the political heat” that would occur. He apparently never received a response.
It is important to note that around the fall/winter of 2002, there was increasing suspicion of and pressure on the CDC from various government agencies, such as the Department of Justice (DOJ), to provide results of the MMR-autism study that was completed a year prior in November 2001. On December 10, 2002, U.S. Congressman Dan Burton (1983-2013) was shown in front of Congress (C-span) demanding answers from the CDC about the autism epidemic that “will cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars in the future” as these children become adults. He shouted, “We cannot let the pharmaceutical companies and our government cover this mess up today because it ain’t going to go away and for the FDA (Federal Drug Administration)and HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and other health agencies to hide behind this facade that there are studies that have conclusively proved otherwise (that there is no vaccine-autism connection), is just wrong.”
David Weldon, MD, another U.S. Congressman (R-Florida 1995-2008) was also suspicious of the CDC’s activities and he wrote a number of letters to the head of the CDC, Julia Gerberding, MD (CDC director 2002-2009) with serious complaints about the “revolving door” of conflicting interests (with employees moving between the CDC, major universities, and the pharmaceutical companies) and stated that there was no oversight of the CDC to make sure that the vaccine safety studies were done properly and objectively.(1) In a later letter(2), he asked Dr. Gerberding to postpone the February 9, 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee meeting (whose purpose was to review the CDC’s MMRautism study results) which he believed would undermine the credibility of the CDC on matters of vaccine safety and damage IOM’s reputation.(3) Weldon later introduced a bill in Congress with Carol Maloney (D-NY) in 2006 that would give responsibility for the nation’s vaccine safety to an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, removing most vaccine safety research from the Centers for Disease Control.
It was at the IOM meeting scheduled for February 9, 2004, that Thompson, as the lead scientist, was to present the findings of the (allegedly fraudulent) final report. He emailed Gerberding (CDC director) on Feb 2, 2004, “I will be presenting the summary of our results from the Metropolitan Atlanta Autism Case-Control study and I will have to present several problematic results related to statistical associations between the receipt of the MMR vaccine and autism.”(4) Although Gerberding did not reply, Thompson was immediately replaced by Dr. Frank DeStefano to present the findings to the IOM which revealed data that showed no statistically significant associations between the MMR vaccine and autism for any subgroups of children (Black, White/Other.)
In fact, if Thompson had not kept hard copies of the original data before October 2002 (when he stated the files were tampered with and destroyed), then no one would ever know what transpired.
Deprived of the truth, the IOM declared MMR safe in its Immunization Safety Review stating, “The committee does not consider a significant investment in studies of the theoretical vaccine-autism connection to be useful at this time” effectively shutting the door permanently and completely on the MMR-autism link. Thompson stated that this was the lowest point in his career.
Soon afterwards, Dr. DeStefano and his team received the Department of Human and Health Services “HHS Secretary’s Award For Distinguished Service” for their study showing no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This study was published in Pediatrics in 2004, “Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.”(5)
It is important to understand that this was the last study done by the CDC, the leading national public health institute of the United States, on the vaccine-autism link because of the results of this 2004 study that its own senior scientist claimed was a complete fraud. Although there have been other studies concluding that there was no vaccine-autism link, most of these studies were done in major universities, the majority of which receive their funding from the pharmaceutical industries.
Fast forward to 2014 when Hooker was contacted by Thompson (who described the “terrible shame” he felt every time he saw a family with an autistic child, knowing that he was “part of the problem”). Hooker stated he was horrified by what Thompson told him and he contacted Dr. Andy Wakefield, whose reputation by now—10 years later—was destroyed and who had left the UK to live in the US. He then told Hooker to record Thompson’s phone conversations (perfectly legal in some states according to the “one party consent” law) to protect Thompson as well.
When Hooker saw the data from the original documents before they were allegedly tampered with by CDC researchers ((Thompson found a legal loophole that allowed him to reveal this data to Hooker), he filed a complaint with The Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. He received a letter stating that every co-author of the study (except for Thompson) denied that such “secret” meetings had taken place or that data had been changed or discarded. Thompson predicted this would happen and saved and provided meeting notes to Hooker at precisely the times the other researchers said no meetings took place. You can see these meeting notes clearly dated in the film. “These senior people do vile unethical things and no one holds them accountable,” stated Thompson to Hooker.
Hooker then published a paper on “Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination Timing and Autism Among Young African American boys: A Re-analysis of CDC Data” in Translational Neurodegeneration.(6) (After publication, the journal later retracted the article due to “postpublication peer review.”) Since the information in this article could only have come from an insider at the CDC, Hooker and Wakefield decided to publicize Thompson’s name in order to protect him. At this point, Wakefield told Hooker to get Thompson a whistleblower lawyer and to make sure his CDC documents were with Congressman Bill Posey since “whistleblowers are in danger only as long as the only people who know their identity are their enemies.”
Del Big Tree, the executive producer of this film and Emmy award-winning producer of the daytime talk show, “The Doctors”, described his own “awakening” when he expected to see the news of Thompson as the CDC whistleblower all over the major news media outlets such as Fox, CNN, etc. Yet while he saw the information “explode all over the blogosphere,” he was shocked that not one major media reported it. “This is when I realized that all of television is essentially supported (owned) by Big Pharma,” he stated.
This is made evident in the film, which showed clips of the mass media hysteria over the Disney measles outbreak in December 2014 where various government agencies urged parents to “get your children vaccinated.” Dr. Paul Offit from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was shown stating that there was no good reason for parents to not vaccinate their children. Chief Medical Correspondent of CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, stated, “We don’t know what causes autism but we know vaccines do not,” and even Bill Gates blasted Dr. Andrew Wakefield for “lying” about the whole vaccine debacle.
However, one of the most outrageous scenes in the film was when the audience learned that Dr. Julia Gerberding, head of the CDC from 2002-2009, accepted a new high paying job in 2010— as the president of the vaccine division at Merck Pharmaceuticals!(7) In fact, Gerberding did such a good job promoting Merck’s vaccines that Merck became the global leader in the vaccine market based on sales under her expert leadership.(8)
Finally let’s discuss some very important information from the film on the “Vaccine Court.”
The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act passed by Congress was a result of intense lobbying by Big Pharma. It basically shields drug companies from liability for injuries and deaths caused by the vaccines they manufacture. Instead of suing the pharmaceutical companies directly, parents are forced to petition the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and, if federal health officials oppose compensation, the case is then argued in the U.S. Claims Court or “Vaccine Court.” The pharmaceutical company (that manufactured the vaccine in question) does not have to participate in the proceedings at all. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) acts as the government’s lawyer with taxpayers footing the bill for their defense.
Beginning in 2002 there were already thousands of cases accumulating in vaccine court with an average compensation for an autistic child of approximately 5 million dollars. The government was facing potentially trillions of dollars in liability.
James A. Moody, a public interest attorney at law, stated: “As the autism epidemic grew, they had to develop a fraudulent study that would exonerate MMR (vaccine) to deliberately defeat the cases in vaccine court to avoid paying all these compensations. (The fact that) thousands of parents who petitioned were denied their due day in court by a corrupt and deliberate obstruction of justice is one of the most unethical medical decisions of all time because it was made with knowledge to sacrifice these children as a direct affront to the Congressional mandate that they all be compensated.”
Since 1986, the Vaccine Court has paid approximately 3 billion dollars for vaccine injuries.
Towards the end of the film, Congressman Bill Posey (R-Florida) is seen before Congress on July 29, 2015, demanding that parents be told the truth by public health agencies. By this time, Thompson had provided all the original untouched documents to Posey who said, “A hearing and thorough investigation is warranted. I implore you to please, please take action.” That was almost one year ago and Congress has still not subpoenaed Thompson.
Finally, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, MIT, senior scientist who is well known for her studies on the link between glyphosate (Round Up) and autism (and other chronic conditions), stated that if the vertical trend in the prevalence of autism continues, then it is estimated that by the year 2032, 50% of children and 80% of boys will be autistic!
It was revealed during the live panel discussion (attended by Hooker, Wakefield, Del Bigtree and others) following the film that Thompson is still at the CDC, but he cannot speak voluntarily for legal reasons. In fact, in another interview with Brian Hooker, Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield that I recently heard with Lisa Garr on “Coast to Coast” AM radio(9), Hooker stated that the CDC would rather keep Thompson there than have him out in public where he could potentially do more damage by speaking to the press.
Finally, the film calls on us to contact our political leaders and demand the following:
- That Congress subpoena Dr. William Thompson and investigate the CDC fraud.
- That Congress repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and hold manufacturers liable for injury caused by their vaccines.
- That the single measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines be made available immediately.
- That all vaccines be classified as pharmaceutical drugs and treated accordingly.
Editor’s Note: Just a word about item 4 above. Considering the history of the manipulation of data on drug trials by Big Pharma(10,11,12), the move to make all vaccines classified as pharmaceutical drugs may not be the solution we need to creating safer vaccines!
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Susanne Saltzman, MD
Editor, American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine
Review first published in the May edition of the American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine with part 2 published in the June edition.
- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a group of doctors and researchers that review the available data on vaccine safety and advises the government on vaccine research policy. It was because Dr. Wakefield had put forth the theory of a possible MMR vaccine-autism connection in front of Congress in 2000 that the IOM requested that the CDC do the (2004) study on whether the earlier age of exposure to MMR increases the risk of autism.