Compass: Parents right to question need for vaccines and potential dangers

In "Vaccination is a duty we owe to others," The Washington Post's Michael Gerson wrote a convincing piece - that is, if one is unaware of certain facts.

Gerson states "...vaccines have a very small risk of serious side effects..." mostly based on his wholesale dismissal of adverse events reported to VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System instituted and maintained at a great cost by the CDC and the FDA. As of May 4, 2014, the CDC website had processed 37,433 serious vaccine-related adverse events. Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler once stated that only 1 percent of serious adverse events are reported in a passive reporting system such as VAERS. A vaccine manufacturer testified to an Institute of Medicine Committee that under-reporting of passively followed adverse vaccine events was 50-fold.

It is unknown what percentage the 37,433 reported serious events actually represent, but to assert that the administration of multiple vaccines and vaccine combinations only results in a very small risk of serious side effects is scientifically unfounded.

Furthermore, by dismissing serious reported side effects, Gerson upends scientific inquiry and clinical observation by holding vaccines to a different standard than the FDA applies to all other approved medications. This is particularly outrageous given that over half of those serious adverse events occurred within three days of vaccination and in over 26 percent of reported cases they occurred on the very same day.

Some "experts" would have us believe that such incidents are "normal" and thus merely "coincidental". But normal for whom? We know virtually nothing about the incidence of such events among those who have never been vaccinated simply because they have never been studied and compared. In the absence of properly designed and conducted vaccination studies using the only appropriate "control group", the never-vaccinated, all we do know is that the vaccinated have the same outcome(s) as the vaccinated, including autism. And until we know what does cause the now 1 in 68 to have an autism spectrum disorder, we do ourselves no favors subscribing to the "anything but vaccines" theory of its causation.

Moreover, relentless characterization of the vaccination controversy as a battle pitting parents against science, an example of which occurred in a PBS Frontline piece called "The Vaccine Wars," does nothing to get at the truth. While most, if not all, of the multitude of scientific studies indicating vaccine harm are dismissed, industry sponsored "research" is swallowed whole. Doctors and scientists with concerns about vaccines are at best ignored and at worst vilified. Case in point: Although Frontline had interviewed Drs. Jay Gordon and Robert Sears, their interviews were not included, while Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine developer, was included and treated as a virtually unassailable authority.

Beyond all that, there's no getting around the material significance of vaccine manufacturers heavily funding and influencing research, or that in 1986, the US Congress effectively eliminated their liability.

Furthermore, the facts simply do not support the constant and brutal blaming of the unvaccinated for disease outbreaks when they are known to happen in 100 percent vaccinated populations.

In actuality, most of the so-called vaccine-preventable diseases and death rates were already on the decline in the developed world prior to vaccination, essentially due to improvements in living standards. Using Third World health challenges and statistics to rationalize health policy in the developed world is patently unjustifiable.

The history of medicine is a literal graveyard of misbegotten claims. In no other medical arena, though, are the rights of those who don't agree so callously discarded. As Albert Einstein once wrote, however, "A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth". And so it is here.

We parents deserve the right to choose what is best for the children we love and for whom we are solely responsible. No one else will be expected to care for our children if the vaccines or diseases maim them. No one else's heart will be broken like ours if they are killed or otherwise permanently harmed.

Health freedom is a basic human right. Violation of that right imperils us all.

Sandy Gottstein, a 30-plus year vaccination informed-choice advocate, is President of the non-profit news and information website, Vaccination News ( , which has been reporting on the vaccination controversy on a daily basis since 2001. She lives in Anchorage.