Legal Immunity Set For Swine Flu Vaccine Makers and government officials

In Past, Thousands Filed Claims Contending They Suffered Side Effects

MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer
POSTED: Friday, July 17, 2009
UPDATED: 8:22 pm EDT July 17, 2009


ATLANTA — The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off. Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday. Since the 1980s, the government has protected vaccine makers against lawsuits over the use of childhood vaccines. Instead, a federal court handles claims and decides who will be paid from a special fund. The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed. The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it’s worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine. First identified in April, swine flu has so far caused about 263 deaths, according to numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. The CDC said more than 40,000 Americans have had confirmed or probable cases, but those are people who sought health care. It’s likely that more than 1 million Americans have been sickened by the flu, many with mild cases. The virus hits younger people harder that seasonal flu, but so far hasn’t been much more deadly than the strains seen every fall and winter. But health officials believe the virus could mutate to a more dangerous form, or at least contribute to a potentially heavier flu season than usual. “We do expect there to be an increase in influenza this fall,” with a bump in cases perhaps beginning earlier than normal, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the regular winter flu vaccine, a final step before shipments to clinics and other vaccination sites could begin. The last time the government faced a new swine flu virus was in 1976. Cases of swine flu in soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., including one death, made health officials worried they might be facing a deadly pandemic like the one that killed millions around the world in 1918 and 1919. Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans during a national campaign. A pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome or other side effects. “The government paid out quite a bit of money,” said Stephen Sugarman, a law professor who specializes in product liability at the University of California at Berkeley. Vaccines aren’t as profitable as other drugs for manufacturers, and without protection against lawsuits “they’re saying, ‘Do we need this?'” Sugarman said. The move to protect makers of a swine flu didn’t go over well with Paul Pennock, a prominent New York plaintiffs attorney on medical liability cases. The government will likely call on millions of Americans to get the vaccinations to prevent the disease from spreading, he noted. “If you’re going to ask people to do this for the common good, then let’s make sure for the common good that these people will be taken care of if something goes wrong,” Pennock said. AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report from Washington.

Arkansas State Health Department: Mandatory Vaccines Are Constitutional

Paul Joseph Watson Prison Friday, June 26, 2009

Arkansas State Health Department: Mandatory Vaccines Are Constitutional 260609

A member of the public who was concerned about a mandatory mass vaccination program in light of the swine flu pandemic called the Arkansas State Health Department for advice only to be told that mandatory vaccines were constitutional and could be enforced at gunpoint by the government if necessary. The editor of the popular blog “Pissed Off Former Democrat” phoned the legal council at the Arkansas State Health Department to seek advice about obtaining waiver forms for a future mass swine flu vaccination program. One of his main concerns centered around the fact that the company chosen to mass produce the swine flu vaccine, Baxter International, were recently caught in a scandal after it emerged they had sent out vaccines contaminated with the H5N1 avian flu virus to 18 countries from their Austrian branch. It was only by providence that the contamination was found after the batch was first tested on ferrets in the Czech Republic, before being shipped out for injection into humans. The ferrets all died and the shocking discovery was made. Some Czech newspapers speculated at the time that Baxter was embroiled in a conspiracy to provoke a pandemic from which it would reap billions in profits from producing the vaccine to counter a bird flu outbreak.

As we have previously covered, the last time the government ordered a mass vaccination drive in response to a swine flu outbreak, the program had to be stopped short after the shots caused over 500 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe paralyzing nerve disease. 30 people died as a direct result of the vaccinations.

During the phone conversation, the legal council discusses the potential of a future mandatory swine flu vaccination program and states, “That’s constitutional, there’s no doubt about it….mandatory vaccinations are legal under the Supreme Court….absolutely.”   The caller responds, “I’m an American and I have a legal right to make my own decision whether or not someone sticks a needle in me,” to which the legal council responds, “That’s not true….no.” “As a lawyer you believe that I don’t have the right to deny a vaccination,” asks the caller,” to which the legal council responds, “Absolutely….I don’t know why you have a problem with that….mandatory vaccines are constitutional,” adding that it doesn’t matter about personal or religious objections.

The caller then asks how the mandatory vaccine would be enforced by law, “for example somebody sticking a gun in my face,” to which the legal council responds, “you could be held liable.” The legal council at the Arkansas State Health Department cites the 1905 Supreme Court case of Jacobson v Massachusetts to argue that governments can force citizens to take vaccines. Less than 50 years before, in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court also ruled that black people were slaves – property of their slaveowners with no inherent rights whatsoever. 22 years after Jacobson v Mass., in Buck v Bell, the Supreme Court also ruled that people designated “feeble-minded” by the government could be sterilized. The fact that the Supreme Court made a ruling over 100 hundred years ago saying the government could inject people by force doesn’t make it morally or constitutionally justifiable.

To stick needles in people at gunpoint by government decree is blatantly unconstitutional under any reasonable definition of basic human rights or the freedoms enumerated by the founders in the constitution itself. American Indians were rounded up and sent to death camps under legal orders, but that didn’t make it right or justifiable. Hitler’s mistreatment of Jews, Gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals and others who resisted government policies imposed during times of “emergency” in Nazi Germany was all perpetrated behind a thin veil of legality, but that didn’t make it right either. As a member at the Prison Planet Forum points out, “Tyrannical evil loves to mask itself in the robes of righteousness, to justify itself with legal documents, to trample the very ideas of what Law and Right mean. Resisting that evil, rising against that tyranny, by saying No More. That is right.” As we previously reported, Time Magazine has been preparing Americans to accept the idea of mandatory vaccinations, reporting on April 28th that a mass vaccination program is being readied to combat swine flu while also urging Americans to “trust that the government is working for the greater good” and to not resist draconian measures. Listen to the phone call below.

Phone Conversation

When Government Plays Doctor

This week, concerns about swine flu have dominated the media and many government officials.  While the American people should be made aware of infectious diseases and common sense preventative measures, much of the hysterical reaction from government only serves to remind us how detrimental to your health it can be when government plays doctor.

As a physician, I have yet to see any evidence that justifies the current level of alarm.  Influenza typically kills around 36,000 people every year in this country and hospitalizes a couple hundred thousand.  So far there are only a handful of confirmed deaths attributable to this strain, and most of those sickened have or will fully recover.  Every death is tragic, but I see no reason to deal with this flu outbreak any differently than we typically deal with any other flu season.  Instead, government in its infinite wisdom is performing even more invasive screening at airports, closing down schools and sporting events, and causing general panic.

We had a similar outbreak in 1976, with only 1 death from the flu, but mandatory vaccinations killed at least 25 before the program was abandoned.

When government gets involved in healthcare decisions, the cure is so often worse than the illness.  And yet, this administration will likely consolidate the government’s power over your health with sweeping new reforms that are already being discussed in the Senate.

Government has not improved healthcare, and has not made it cheaper.  Quite the opposite; costs have skyrocketed, and quality has gone down in many ways.  Gone are the days of the country doctor making house calls, or of voluntarily giving away medical services at charity hospitals.  The bureaucratization of healthcare these past 45 years has made things worse.  It saddens me as a doctor that physicians are less and less accountable to patients, but more and more accountable to government red tape, insurance companies and attorneys.  It seems so perverse to me that important medical decisions that will directly affect the lives of all or nearly all Americans are being hashed out behind closed doors in Washington rather than between doctors and patients.

There is perhaps nothing more valuable to a human being than his or her health, which is why I’ve always considered the practice of medicine so crucial to our well-being.  Any intrusion by government into the privacy and trust between doctor and patient is detrimental to the art of medicine.  It distorts the whole dynamic of who the client really is when doctors must answer more to government or insurance companies than to their patients.  The best solutions to improving quality and lowering costs of healthcare would be measures that put decisions back into the hands of patients and doctors, where they rightfully belong.  I have introduced HR 1495 The Comprehensive Healthcare Reform Act, which promotes health savings accounts and tax deductibility of healthcare costs as an important step in this direction.

The unfortunate reality of this recent health crisis, as with any crisis, is that it presents opportunities that the unscrupulous will take advantage of, while the fearful become more compliant.

Merck sees 57 percent drop in first-quarter profit

Drugmaker Merck posts 57 percent drop in first-quarter profit on lower sales, partner revenue

* Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer *

Tuesday April 21, 2009, 8:26 am EDT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Merck & Co. on Tuesday posted a 57 percent drop in first-quarter profit, falling short of expectations, because of a drop in both sales of its drugs and income from its partnership on cholesterol medicines.

full article here

Annual flu vaccine – sales pitch vs common sense

I have been having the annual conversation with a few patients that are thinking of getting the flu shot.

Now, I try really hard not to be judgemental, afterall I really beleive each of us has the right and responsibility to take care of our own bodies.  I do however, try to help people make informed decisions.

Here are few facts as I know them.  (This is off the top of my head so I will not be giving references, thou I can find them if you are interested.)

1.  The flu is  a virus that gets into your body through your nose, or mouth.  Your body knows this and concentrates its immune system defenses in these areas of first contact.

2.  The flu “shot” is injected into your arm.  This is not a normal place of first contact, so your immune system is not very strong here.  In fact, it has been repeatedly published injecting vaccines into the body in this manner drastically increases your risk for Geillon Bar Syndrome and Alzimers Disease.

3.  They guess at three brands of flu viruses to put in each years vaccines.  This guess is based on what viruses were going around Asia last year.  It is very unusual that this guess is anywhere close to accurate.  In fact, the flu virus mutates so fast, by the time the vaccines are ready the virus has already mutated.

4.  Even after congressional direction to remove mercury from vaccines, the flu shot still contains a mercury preservative called thymerisol.  There is a growing body of evidence of a connection between this chemical and autism.

5.  Beyond mercury, the flu shot contains aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG and other toxic chemicals that they want to inject directly into your body!

Any health decision is about risk versus benefit.  If the benefit outweighs the risk, it is a good choice.  But if the risk outweighs the benefit find a less risky option.