BRUNSWICK — I was interviewed for an Aug. 9 front-page article by Joe Lawlor, titled “More Maine families are skipping or delaying childhood vaccines.” What was published was a complete misrepresentation of the interview I gave him.

As I told Mr. Lawlor, I’m neither anti-vaccine nor opposed to vaccination, and I vaccinated my children. My opposition is to the current U.S. vaccine program, which has become corrupted by bad law and policy, the failure to disclose known risks to families, the failure to pre-screen children who are showing symptoms that they are at risk for vaccine reactions and the denial of vaccine injury cases – rather than the proper recognition, diagnoses and treatment of vaccine-injured children.

In 1986, Congress gave liability protection to all vaccine interests – pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, doctors, nurses, etc. – so no one in this country can sue for vaccine injuries or deaths. As a result of this disregard of Americans’ Seventh Amendment rights, a vaccine injury case hasn’t been brought before a jury in almost 30 years, there is no longer accountability in vaccine safety and the vaccine program has fallen into massive corruption.

The effectiveness of vaccines is overstated, safety claims made are overstated and parents no longer get accurate risk information. Instead, vaccine consumers are offered a single sheet of information in the doctor’s office that leaves out almost all of the side effects listed on the vaccine package insert, on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Vaccine Injury Table and the disorders that HHS has concluded can be caused by a given vaccine.

Doctors are not trained on federal guidelines for vaccine injury, nor are they required to know the side effects listed on the vaccine package insert. Therefore, few physicians know how to recognize adverse reactions in their patients. As a result, such cases are usually ignored or misdiagnosed and are rarely properly medically assessed, and patients can become victims of medical neglect for a lifetime.

Further, the vaccine schedule has tripled since 1986, so a child born today will receive more doses of vaccine by the time he’s 6 months old than I did by the time I went to college. There is almost no long-term safety testing of vaccines, and no safety testing of the overloaded schedule as a whole.

This breakdown in the U.S. vaccine program’s accountability to consumers is at the heart of the country’s decline in vaccinations, because when parents take the time to look into physicians’ safety claims, they find they’re being given incorrect and biased information.

Case in point: The claim that the vaccine-autism controversy began as the result of one debunked study is utter misinformation. In fact, more than 80 research papers demonstrate the associations between vaccines and autism, and the mechanisms by which vaccines can cause autism.

When Mr. Lawlor asked me why I believed my son was vaccine-injured, I directed him to the HHS Vaccine Injury Compensation Table and walked him through the symptoms of pertussis-vaccine-induced “encephalopathy,” the medical term for brain damage, which my son exhibited following his 18-month shots:

n Decreased or absent response to environment (responds, if at all, only to loud voice or painful stimuli).

n Decreased or absent eye contact (does not fix gaze upon family members or other individuals).

n Inconsistent or absent responses to external stimuli (does not recognize familiar people or things).

My son’s case is not unusual. Because few doctors have ever read the federal vaccine injury table, children exhibiting symptoms of vaccine-induced brain damage are often diagnosed with “autism” without ever being evaluated for this vaccine reaction.

The Press Herald has published a follow-up article and an editorial that make clear its agenda is to not investigate and report the facts on this issue, but to coerce families who have safety concerns into vaccinating according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended schedule – against their better judgment, by removing their legal right to exercise informed consent in medicine.

Parents are not declining vaccines because of Jenny McCarthy or because of a 15-year-old British research paper. Parents are justifiably hesitant because the vaccine program has become overly aggressive, dosing is one-size-fits-all, promoters don’t disclose true risks to patients and program managers are not taking responsibility for helping the countless children and adults who have serious adverse vaccine reactions. Parents like me found out the hard way that once your child suffers a vaccine injury, you are on your own.

— Special to the Press Herald