By Dr. Mercola
“THE GREATER GOOD looks behind the fear, hype and politics that have polarized the vaccine debate in America today.
The film re-frames the emotionally charged issue and offers, for the first time, the opportunity for a rational and scientific discussion on how to create a safer and more effective vaccine program.”
This film recently received the 2nd annual “Koroni Award for a documentary feature addressing an issue of importance to public health” at the Sidewalk Film Festival.
It also received the Cinematic Vision Award at the 2011 Amsterdam Film Festival. From my point of view, this film couldn’t be more timely and, if you have any interest in the vaccine controversy, is a must see.
I sincerely hope you will share this article with family, close friends and social networks, and urge everyone you know to take the time to watch it.
Barbara Loe Fisher summarizes the purpose of the film rather succinctly when she says that the issue of vaccines, “has become so polarized – you’re either pro-vaccine or you’re anti-vaccine.”
“When you take a centrist position, like the National Vaccine Information Center, you are automatically put into the category of being anti-vaccine. But the truth is, we’re just trying to make vaccine policies and vaccines safer.”
Individual Rights versus Politics
The Greater Good “weaves together the stories of families whose lives have been forever changed by vaccination,” and shows how modern medicine, especially when driven by politics and big business, can rob you of some of your most basic rights. The results of such politically- and financially-driven policies can be devastating and one movie reviewer, who saw the groundbreaking documentary, commented:
“What’s being said is staggering, especially if you don’t know too much about the science of, and politics behind, vaccines.” – LA Weekly
But this film is focused on analyzing what can be done to create positive change and reduce irrational fears so parents and doctors can work together to minimize vaccine risks vaccine risks to individuals and our population.
The film seeks to open the channels of communication between parents, doctors, and policy makers to listen and learn from each other in order to begin a rational discussion about vaccine safety. After all, don’t all of us want our kids to be healthy and safe from unnecessary harm?
In order to ensure the safety of as many children as possible, we cannot continue to ignore the signs that maybe we’ve taken vaccines as our primary disease prevention strategy too far; to the point that we’re now seeing too many people being hurt.
Unlike many other TV programs and documentaries on this topic, The Greater Good takes care to acknowledge both doctors and scientists, who advocate for mass, mandatory vaccination policies as well as those, who question the science, policy and ethics of current vaccine policies.
From my point of view, there can be little doubt that we need to review the safety and effectiveness of the current vaccination program in the U.S., and this review needs to include methodologically sound investigative science. If we don’t do that now, we may not be able to stop further damage to the health of future generations of children.
Incomplete Science Shapes US Vaccination Policies
Public health officials have long insisted that vaccines are the best way to protect the public health. As a result, the number of doses of vaccines included in the childhood vaccination schedule has tripled over the past 30 years, from 23 doses of seven different vaccines in 1980 to 69 doses of 16 different vaccines in 2010.
However, alongside the rise in administered vaccines, we’ve also seen a significant rise in children with chronic disease and disabilities. For whatever reason, our kids are getting sicker. Infant mortality has also risen. In 1960, America ranked 12th in infant mortality among all nations of the world. By 2005, we ranked 30th. Furthermore, more full term babies die before their first birthday in the US1 than in most European countries, and the US gives its infants more vaccines than any other country in the world.
So, could it all be a coincidence?
The truth is, we don’t know.
No one has formally and independently studied the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children, and this is something that needs to be done not just for each individual vaccine, but also for multiple vaccine combinations.
The research is INCOMPLETE, and that is a major part of the problem. How can you claim a pharmaceutical product like a vaccine is safe for everyone and that using multiple vaccines from day of birth throughout childhood is a wise public health policy when that policy has not been adequately studied? As a nation, the U.S. is gambling the health of its citizens on assumptions.
As stated in the film:
“The certainty is not scientific.”
Vaccines are currently approved based on the research submitted to the government by the drug companies that have developed the new vaccine and funded the pre-licensure studies. Many of the studies drug companies conduct do not use true placebos and have only a few hundred or a few thousand healthy people enrolled, who do not match the health profile of the millions of people told to get the vaccine after it is licensed.
The safety of vaccine policies are primarily based on the word of the companies that produce and profit from vaccines and enjoy a liability shield from vaccine injury lawsuits in civil court that was given to them by Congress and the Supreme Court.
Is this wise?
Furthermore, the mass vaccination program takes a one-size-fits-all strategy approach. It does not acknowledge that we are all individuals with different predispositions and health status, which can play a significant role in how we react to vaccines or prescription drugs. For example, research by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride indicates that children with compromised gut flora are particularly prone to vaccine damage.
Currently, there is almost no individual screening done by most doctors to assess whether an individual is at high risk for having a vaccine reaction that can end in serious health problems or even death. Wouldn’t it make sense to do everything possible to minimize vaccine risks? After all, while increasing numbers of parents opt to delay vaccinations or opt out of vaccines for their children, there are many parents who want to vaccinate their children and they deserve to have confidence that everything possible is being done to minimize vaccine risks for their child.
Being able to easily and inexpensively decrease a child’s chances of experiencing an adverse reaction should be embraced and encouraged by all health officials and doctors rather than conveniently dismissing the legitimate vaccine safety concerns of parents as “anti-vaccine” and “anti-establishment.”
Why We Should Urge Our Daughters to Be One Less Victim of Gardasil
In 2006, Merck released Gardasil, a vaccine designed to protect young girls and women against being infected with four strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). The idea was that if HPV infection, which is cleared asymptomatically within two years by more than 90 percent of those who get it, is that HPV associated cervical cancers in women would be prevented.
One of the three vaccine injury cases featured in The Greater Good movie is that of Gabi Swank, a 15-year-old honors student who decided to get the Gardasil vaccine after seeing a “Be One Less” Gardasil vaccine advertisement on TV. Like so many young girls, she wasn’t warned about any possible side effects when she got the shots, which are given as a series of three injections.
Gabi is now a Gardasil injury statistic, a young girl permanently disabled by the vaccine.
At the time the documentary was filmed, she had already suffered two strokes and experienced partial paralysis. She also lost part of her vision and today suffers frequent seizures. When she was in high school, many days she had to use a wheelchair to get around school due to muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, recently issued an update on adverse reaction reports relating to Gardasil.2 The documents obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) detail 26 new deaths reported following HPV vaccination between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011. That’s 26 deaths of young, previously healthy girls in just one year. Other serious side effects reported during that time frame included:
- Speech problems
- Short-term memory loss
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Ovarian cysts
Between May 2009 and September 2010, 16 deaths occurred after Gardasil vaccination. For that time frame there were also 789 reports of “serious” adverse reactions, of which 213 resulted in permanent disability and 25 resulting in a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Judicial Watch reported.3
When Politics and Vaccine Safety Collide… You Usually Lose
According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: “These reports raise additional concerns about Gardasil’s questionable safety and provide ample reason to end the push to give it young girls and boys. And the CDC’s continued caginess on reported deaths is disturbing. Federal, state, and local officials need to stop promoting this vaccine for children.”
Unfortunately, many elected officials are doing just the opposite. Texas Governor Rick Perry is a perfect example. In 2007, he signed an Executive Order mandating all 11- and 12-year-old girls in Texas to get the HPV vaccine.4 Fortunately, the law was overturned two months later, after a firestorm of opposition. Many have now connected the dots and exposed his too-cozy ties to Merck,5 the maker of Gardasil. More recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing minors to be given Gardasil vaccine (and other vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases) without their parents’ knowledge or informed consent.
Annual PAP Test Now Discouraged. Why?
According to recently updated guidelines by the federal Preventive Services Task Force,6 women over 21 are now to be dissuaded from annual PAP smears. Instead, the panel recommends that women between 21 and 65 get a PAP smear test every three years, stating that “evidence is still insufficient to weigh harms and benefits of tests screening for human papillomavirus (HPV).”
Other cancer groups agree. As reported by Reuters:7 “‘Everybody agrees on almost everything: Let’s get rid of regular annual Pap testing, let’s get rid of teenage screenings, let’s screen women who aren’t getting screened,’ said Debbie Saslow, the American Cancer Society’s director of breast and gynecologic cancer.”
The problem with this stance is that PAP smears prevent cervical cancer deaths far more effectively than the HPV vaccine ever will. And it’s hard to compare the potential side effects of the HPV vaccine with the potential side effects of PAP tests. I’ve never heard of anyone dying or becoming paralyzed from a PAP smear…
Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with their recommendation to reduce the frequency of PAP testing, but I question the double standard that is so readily visible here. Why are cancer groups recommending getting rid of a safe and effective screening method, which we know saves lives, while vigorously advocating the clearly risky HPV vaccine? For example, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition offers the following response to the question about Gardasil’s safety:
“The FDA has licensed the vaccine as safe and effective. This vaccine has been tested in thousands of females (9 to 26 years of age) around the world. These studies have shown no serious side effects. The most common side effect is brief soreness at the injection site.”
It does not even hint at the many thousands of serious adverse events reported after Gardasil vaccinations to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) since its approval, including 26 deaths in the past 12 months alone!
Furthermore, the death rate from cervical cancer in the United States is a mere 3 per 100,000. Your daughter has a much higher risk of dying in a car accident than she does dying from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer rates are even lower in some European countries. The reason why the mortality rate is so low is because the immune systems of the vast majority of women are usually strong enough to clear up this kind of infection on its own, and does so in more than 90 percent of all cases. The CDC even admits to this fact on their website.
For the ‘Greater Good’ – At What Price?
Rigidly maintaining the assumption that one-size-fits-all mass-vaccinations are necessary and “for the greater good” fails to take into account the possibility that there is harm being done to an increasing number of people, who are not being counted when vaccine benefit and risk calculations are done by health officials.
Keep in mind that to this day, we have NO reliable data indicating just how many children are truly being harmed by any particular vaccine, as adverse event reporting is completely voluntary. Many people are still unaware that the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) even exists, or that you can file a report yourself if your doctor fails to make a report.
The CDC itself admits that only a small fraction of hospitalization, injuries and deaths after vaccination are ever reported. In one 1993 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler estimated that fewer than one percent of all doctors report injuries and deaths following the administration of prescription drugs. This estimate may be even lower for vaccines. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, one survey conducted by the NVIC in New York in 1994 revealed that only one doctor in 40 reported to VAERS.8
In an ideal world scenario, any and all adverse events would be reported following vaccination, and health outcomes would be evaluated long-term. Today, many doctors and health authorities simply dismiss adverse events as “unrelated” to the vaccine. But on what do they base their conclusions?
I urge you to take the time to watch The Greater Good, and start to think about some of the profound questions raised in the film. What we need is an open, intelligent, civil dialogue about how we can ensure the health and well-being of our children, and that doesn’t mean it has to be all or nothing! Everyone should be allowed to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination and that means you should be able to use every recommended vaccine, some vaccines or no vaccines at all. We should all have the legal right to make informed, voluntary decision about any drug or vaccine or medical procedure that carries risk to our health or the health of our children.
When our government recommends doctors give children 69 doses of vaccines and many of those vaccines are mandated, safety MUST become the FIRST priority for public health officials, and doctors giving vaccines. It is essential that the appropriate studies be done to find out if the current vaccine schedule is doing far more harm than good.
Money and Ideology Influencing Vaccine Policy & Law: How Parental Rights Are Being Threatened in America
There’s ample evidence showing that the US government, through the CDC, has an enormous, well-coordinated plan to mass-vaccinate with as many vaccines as possible.9 This plan has been ongoing for years, and has grown exponentially. They’ve covered all their bases by enjoining numerous legislative groups, such as Women In Government10 (whose sponsors11 include Merck, Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline), and physicians’ groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics. These are just two examples–there are literally dozens, and possibly more, groups and individuals that are collectively pushing vaccines.
Churches are one of the latest additions to the ever-growing list of organizations to be pulled into the fold of vaccine pushers. For example, last year, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, along with the U.S. Health and Human Services, the Office of Minority Health, and the CDC, began reaching out to faith-based organizations, urging them to sponsor flu clinics with Walgreens. The reason they’re doing this, health officials said, is that they’ve found that non-traditional settings such as worship services can be highly effective in influencing people’s decisions…
Pushing matters even further, in Indiana, a law now requires churches with day care centers to make sure each child has received “age appropriate” vaccines as determined by the state department of health12 – effectively removing a parent’s right to change their child’s vaccine schedule. The old law only required parents to inform the church day care center that they objected to vaccines for religious reasons. It did not make churches the enforcers of the state vaccine schedule.
When you follow the money, you realize that vaccine makers are the ones pulling the political strings to eliminate vaccine exemptions. Eliminating this right nationwide would be a major coup de gras in terms of making sure everyone is vaccinated with as many vaccines as possible. Make no mistake about it, it’s the Pharma-funded medical trade associations and state and federal health agency employees that are lobbying in state legislatures for non-medical vaccine exemptions to be removed, and it has everything to do with maximizing profits, and nothing to do with protecting people’s health from every disease under the sun. The (ultimately unsuccessful) efforts to strip citizens in Vermont of their right to non-medical exemptions earlier this year is but one example of what is happening, and what the ultimate plan for the entire nation is…
Profit Before Safety
Naturally, there’s BIG money driving all this. The pharmaceutical industry and its cohorts have been really creative about how to influence vaccine uptake. Positive and negative reinforcement strategies are simultaneously employed, from strong-arming physicians with the threat of a bad health grade if they fail to have a good vaccine rate in their practice, to monetary gifts and other ego-boosting incentives.13
Another strategy to increase vaccination rates and coverage is to push combination vaccines.14 This saves money and increases vaccination rates at the same time. Never mind the fact that most drug company pre-licensure studies do not study new combination vaccines given simultaneously with all the other vaccines licensed and recommended to demonstrate that giving children multiple doses of vaccines at the same time is actually safe.
The government is heavily funding the vaccine plan, in a number of different ways. As just one example, the federal government had $1,575,000 in grants available through June 15, 2012 to “increase adult immunization rates through healthcare provider partnerships.”15 And then there’s the “317 grant program,” which funnels hundreds of millions of dollars toward vaccinations. As stated on the Coalition’s website:16
“…in 2005, CDC awarded $431 million in federal grants to state, local, and territorial health agencies for program operations and vaccine purchase. Currently there are 64 grantees: all 50 states, six large cities, and eight territories and former territories.”
At the same time, the CDC is now accepting handouts from, and encourages “partnerships” and “sponsorships” between vaccine makers and private physicians–which really is a form of conflict of interest–to further boost vaccine coverage. To that end, incentives such as cash and grocery gift cards have also been designed to give to parents so they’ll want to vaccinate without any fuss.17 In 1994, the CDC also formed a foundation that that has numerous vaccine programs, many of which are sponsored by major pharma funds.18
And then there’s Big Pharma’s lobbying, which seems almost small compared to the “big incentive guns” that the CDC has pulled out in this effort… It all ties in to the Health and Human Services (HHS) updated National Vaccine Plan.19
What You Can Do to Make a Difference
While it seems “old-fashioned,” the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand vaccine exemptions, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.
Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org not only gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, but when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. Call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don’t let them forget you!
It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect and are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what’s really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the “real life” experiences that you or people you know have had with vaccination.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
NVIC’s Quick Fact Information on Diseases & Vaccines: Learn more about the 16 diseases and vaccines licensed and recommended by doctors for children and adults. Find out what the vaccine manufacturers, government and medical trade groups say, along with independent analyses and live links to references, so you can do your own research.
NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or government officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.
Sources and References
Judicial Watch October 2011
Reuters October 19, 2011
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2009
2 Judicial Watch, October 19, 2011
3 Judicial Watch, September 28, 2010
4 NPR, September 16, 2011
5 See Ref. 4
6 Reuters, October 19, 2011
7 See Ref. 6
8 Testimony of Barbara Loe Fisher, August 1999
9 HHS.gov, US National Vaccine Plan
10 Women in Government
11 Women in Government Sponsors
12 First Regular Session 117th General Assembly (2011), SENATE BILL No. 56
13 CDC.gov, Immunization Strategies for Healthcare Practices and Providers (PDF)
14 CDC, Vaccines for Children Program
15 Grants.gov, Increasing Adult Immunization Rates through Healthcare Provider Partnerships
16 317 Coalition
17 Thecommunityguide.org, Universally Recommended Vaccinations: Client or Family Incentive Rewards
18 CDC Foundation
19 See Ref. 9