HEALTH HAZARDS OF DISEASE PREVENTION


BSEM March 2011
(British Society of Ecological Medicine)

The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?

Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD

Neural Dynamics Research Group, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British
Columbia, 828 W. 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8, lucijat77@gmail.com

INTRODUCTION

No pharmaceutical drug is devoid of risks from adverse reactions and vaccines are no exception. According to the world’s leading drug regulatory authority, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccines represent a special category of drugs in that they are generally given to healthy individuals and often to prevent a disease to which an individual may never be exposed [1]. This, according to the FDA, places extra emphasis on vaccine safety. Universally, regulatory authorities are responsible for ensuring that new vaccines go through proper scientific evaluation before they are approved. An equal responsibility rests on the medical profession to promote vaccinations but only with those vaccines whose safety and efficacy has been demonstrated to be statistically significant. Furthermore, vaccination is a medical intervention and as such, it should be carried out with the full consent of those who are being subjected to it. This necessitates an objective disclosure of the known or foreseeable risks and benefits and, where applicable, a description of alternative courses of treatment. In cases where children and infants are involved, full consent with regards to vaccination should be given by the parents.

Deliberately concealing information from the parents for the sole purpose of getting them to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule could thus be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct. Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years, apparently for the sole purpose of protecting the national vaccination program.

Here I present the documentation which appears to show that the JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for “herd immunity”, a concept which with regards to vaccination, and contrary to prevalent beliefs, does not rest on solid scientific evidence as will be explained. As a result of such vaccination policy promoted by the JCVI and the DH, many children have been vaccinated without their parents being disclosed the critical information about demonstrated risks of serious adverse reactions, one that the JCVI appeared to have been fully aware of. It would also appear that, by withholding this information, the JCVI/DH neglected the right of individuals to make an informed consent concerning vaccination. By doing so, the JCVI/DH may have violated not only International Guidelines for Medical Ethics (i.e., Helsinki Declaration and the International Code of Medical Ethics) [2] but also, their own Code of Practice

The transcripts of the JCVI meetings also show that some of the Committee members had extensive ties to pharmaceutical companies and that the JCVI frequently co-operated with vaccine manufacturers on strategies aimed at boosting vaccine uptake. Some of the meetings at which such controversial items were discussed were not intended to be publicly available, as the transcripts were only released later, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). These particular meetings are denoted in the transcripts as “commercial in confidence”, and reveal a clear and disturbing lack of transparency, as some of the information was removed from the text (i.e., the names of the participants) prior to transcript release under the FOI section at the JCVI website (for example,
JCVI CSM/DH (Committee on the Safety of Medicines/Department of Health) Joint Committee on
Adverse Reactions Minutes 1986-1992;http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInformation/Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4135306).


ASSERTIONS

In summary, the transcripts of the JCVI/DH meetings from the period from 1983 to 2010 appear to show that:

1) Instead of reacting appropriately by re-examining existing vaccination policies when safety concerns over specific vaccines were identified by their own investigations, the JCVI either a) took no action, b) skewed or selectively removed unfavourable safety data from public reports and c) made intensive efforts to reassure both the public and the authorities in the safety of respective vaccines;

2) Significantly restricted contraindication to vaccination criteria in order to increase vaccination rates despite outstanding and unresolved safety issues;

3) On multiple occasions requested from vaccine manufacturers to make specific amendments to their data sheets, when these were in conflict with JCVI’s official advices on immunisations;

4) Persistently relied on methodologically dubious studies, while dismissing independent research, to promote vaccine policies;

5) Persistently and categorically downplayed safety concerns while over-inflating vaccine benefits;

6) Promoted and elaborated a plan for introducing new vaccines of questionable efficacy and safety into the routine paediatric schedule, on the assumption that the licenses would eventually be granted;

7) Actively discouraged research on vaccine safety issues;

8) Deliberately took advantage of parents’ trust and lack of relevant knowledge on vaccinations in order to promote a scientifically unsupported immunisation program which could put certain children at risk of severe long-term neurological damage;

Notably, all of these actions appear to violate the JCVI’s own Code of Practice

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