by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News:
In a previous article for Children’s Health Defense, titled “Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines”, we looked at how it can be true that government agencies are misinforming the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The very prospect is treated by the mainstream corporate media as a “conspiracy theory”, but no such theory is required to explain it. On the contrary, the existence of institutionalized biases within the medical establishment and scientific community are well recognized in the scientific literature, and the Congress itself has criticized the endemic corruption within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“…a particularly salient example of government corruption and malfeasance: the case of the rotavirus vaccine.”
For example, we saw how both agencies were criticized by the June 2000 report of an investigation initiated by the Committee on Government Reform within the House of Representatives. That investigation touched on a particularly salient example of government corruption and malfeasance: the case of the rotavirus vaccine.
Among the Congressional investigation’s findings were that three out of five members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) “who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine”, while four out of eight members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine”.
Included among the half of ACIP members who had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies while deliberating what CDC policy should be with respect to the rotavirus vaccine was one Dr. Paul Offit.
“…the government approved the first rotavirus vaccine and added it to its list of vaccines children are typically required to get to attend public school despite clinical safety trials having indicated that it might cause intussusception…”
Corruption and Hypocrisy
Paul Offit is currently director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He also holds the Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology, created in honor of the former senior vice president of Merck, which provided a $1.5 million endowment to the hospital and the University of Pennsylvania to “accelerate the pace of vaccine research”.
Offit joined the ACIP in October 1998 and three times voted in favor on decisions related to the use of the rotavirus vaccine, including a vote to add the vaccine to the CDC’s “Vaccines For Children” program—all while sharing ownership of a patent for a rotavirus vaccine being developed under a grant from Merck.
A member of the CDC’s advisory committee until June 2003, Offit’s vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006 under the trademark “RotaTeq”. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was listed alongside Offit as a patent owner on the filing certificate issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the hospital sold its stake in RotaTeq in 2008 under a deal in which Offit profited handsomely; he has acknowledged that he made “several million dollars, a lot of money”.
Offit also happens to be a routinely cited go-to “expert” on vaccines for the mainstream media. He once penned an op-ed for the New York Times accusing parents who choose not to vaccinate their children of child abuse on the grounds that Jesus, were he with us in the flesh today, would advocate forcibly vaccinating children against their parents’ will.
As it so happened, in October 1999, the first rotavirus vaccine licensed for use in the US, Wyeth’s RotaShield, was withdrawn from the market because it was found to be causing intussusception, an often excruciating and potentially fatal condition in which part of the intestine telescopes into itself.
“…while the FDA instructed Wyeth on specific areas it ought to focus its postmarketing safety studies, the risk of intussusception was not one of them…”
In addition to the conflicts of interest within the CDC, the FDA had approved RotaShield as “safe” despite clinical trials having shown an increased incidence of intussusception in vaccinated infants.
Since the increased risk did not reach statistical significance, this finding was dismissed as “probably due to chance” by the FDA’s advisory committee—which, again, included three out of five members having ties to pharmaceutical companies developing rotavirus vaccines.
Furthermore, while the FDA instructed Wyeth on specific areas it ought to focus its postmarketing safety studies, the risk of intussusception was not one of them.
Researchers monitoring publicly available postmarketing surveillance data nevertheless did pick up on the incoming reports of intussusception after vaccination, and studies were conducted that confirmed the association between vaccination and an increased risk of the intestinal disorder.
“…CDC spokesman John Livengood summarized the findings, “We feel there is a strong causal relationship between rotavirus vaccine and intussusception. It’s of high magnitude…”
As the CDC spokesman John Livengood summarized the findings, “We feel there is a strong causal relationship between rotavirus vaccine and intussusception. It’s of high magnitude and it appears to be about one in every five thousand children who are vaccinated with the vaccine.” Estimates ranged from one in five thousand to one in ten thousand. Prior to being pulled from the market, the vaccine was administered to half a million children. Surveillance data showed that during its short time in use, there were 98 confirmed reports of vaccine-related intussusception, over half of which required surgery and one of which resulted in death.
When the CDC voted on October 22, 1999, to withdraw its recommendation for routine use of RotaShield in children, Paul Offit recused himself from the vote on the grounds that it would create a “perception” of a conflict of interest for him to participate in the vote while he was also serving as a consultant for Merck, which was developing a vaccine to compete with Wyeth’s RotaShield. Instructively, he considered his glaring conflict of interest as a reason only to abstain from voting against the use of the vaccine—not to abstain from voting in favor.
“The CDC is essentially a marketing and distribution division of the vaccine industry.”
The Government Is the Vaccine Industry
As an additional twist to the story, the virus used in the manufacture of RotaShield was developed by the US government.
With the development of a rotavirus vaccine having been considered a priority for researchers since the virus was discovered in the early 1970s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created a “live simian-human reassortant virus” for the purpose. (A reassortant virus is one containing two or more pieces of nucleic acid from different parent viruses, produced by coinfecting a cell with the parent strains. The simian virus in this case was from a rhesus monkey.)
The NIH then licensed Wyeth to use its patented vaccine technology for RotaShield.