Antivaccinationists will be holding a Congressional briefing to attack the Vaccine Court tomorrow

People who follow the antivaccine movement might remember that around this time last year, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), a particularly antiscience legislator who appears to be trying to take up the antivaccine mantle left behind when Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) retired at the end of the last session of Congress. Given that he now chairs the House committee that Burton once chaired, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Issa decided to take up that mantle by following Burton’s lead when he was the chair and scheduled an antivaccine hearing last November, right after Thanksgiving. Not surprisingly, it turned out to be a mummer’s farce, full of pseudoscience, quackery, and antivaccine rhetoric about how we have to “investigate” the “autism epidemic.” Several months later, those of us who pay attention to these things learned that the hearing had been bought and paid for by the antivaccine movement, to the tune of $40,000 for Darrell Issa’s re-election campaign last year.

Murmurs have been rumbling in the antivaccine underground that there would be another hearing this year around the same time. It turns out that it’s probably been delayed until December, thanks to the government shutdown in October, but it is apparently still on. In fact, I’m getting notices and seeing what the antivaccinationists are saying about it, and it appears that there will be a Congressional briefing tomorrow in preparation for the hearing:

Mary Holland and Rolf Hazlehurst will be featured Thursday at a Congressional briefing at noon in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2203. The event will serve as a preview for the House reform committee hearing next month on the vaccine injury “court,” which Congress created in 1986 and now, for the first time, is taking a look at what it hath wrought. It isn’t pretty. Staffers will get a look at the new video on the court’s dysfunctional functioning, narrated by Rob Schneider, and an even newer one on Gardasil’s damaging but widely dismissed effects on so many young women. Hope to see you there if you’re in town. — Dan Olmsted.

There is a FB event you can read HERE. Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to send a staffer – the directory for Congress is HERE.

Since the 1980s, thousands of children have suffered irreparable injuries or death from federally recommended vaccines. Vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and yet the federal government recommends that children receive 70 doses before age 18. Childhood rates of chronic disease, including autism, ADHD, asthma and severe allergies, are exploding. These disorders cost the nation trillions of dollars. Medical and scientific experts have presented credible evidence linking these disorders and diseases with vaccine injury in the VICP.

Come learn about how this system has become a politicized, arbitrary and capricious program that victimizes those who have suffered from federally recommended vaccines. In a program that Congress intended to be swift, generous and non-adversarial, cases routinely last more than a decade; over 80% of petitions go uncompensated; and Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice flagrantly antagonize families who have suffered catastrophic injuries.

The VICP exhibits manifold failings: the normal rules of civil procedure and evidence don’t apply; Special Masters routinely slash lawyers’ and experts’ fees; the Special Masters, appointed to four-year terms, lack judicial independence; limited science is available to petitioners, although HHS maintains vast databases; there’s no jury of citizen peers; and the government has no burden to prove alternate causation. And these are just some of the problems.

Despite vociferous denials from government and industry, hundreds of published scientific articles highlight the causal links between vaccine injury and the chronic conditions from which today’s children suffer. At this briefing, we will review the fatal flaws in the VICP as a program intended to do justice, and we will review the compelling science linking vaccines and chronic childhood conditions.

Almost a year ago, on November 29, 2012, Congress held its first hearing on the relationship between vaccines and autism in almost ten years. Next month Congress will hold a hearing to investigate the manifest injustice that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is imposing on all those who receive federally recommended vaccines. Those who know vaccine injury firsthand include doctors, nurses, researchers, lawyers, parent advocates – in short, your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. We care about our children, and about our country’s future. We know you care too. Please join us.

Congressional Staff Briefing
Nov 7th, 2013
Rayburn House Office Building Room 2203
Time 12:00 pm
1:00pm-2:00pm Panelists available for discussion
Expert Panel
Food & Refreshments

These sorts of briefings are generally not well attended and often only staffers show up, although it’s possible that Darrell Issa might show up. Notice, however, that the two people giving the briefing include Mary Holland, notorious antivaccine lawyer who has skirted research ethics in publishing her “research” by not getting institutional review board approval for a research project involving human subjects. True, it was probably ignorance that led them to fail to get IRB approval before doing human research, but every lawyer knows that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Joining her will be Rolf Hazlehurst, the father of one of the children whose cases were “test cases” before the vaccine court to test whether the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism would fly legally. His child’s case was roundly rejected by the Special Masters of the Vaccine Court. Clearly Holland will provide the antivaccine legal rhetoric, while Hazlehurst will be there for the sympathy factor, to decry what a huge injustice it was that the Vaccine Court found his case wanting, even though the Vaccine Court has some of the most lax rules with regard to scientific evidence I’ve ever seen and, as civil court, only requires a preponderance of evidence. It also pays the legal expenses of the complainants, win or lose.

Particularly hilarious is the intent of Holland to show a video made by The Canary Party and narrated by the latest celebrity antivaccine idiot to make a lot of noise, Rob Schneider. That video was so chock full of misinformation and lies that it has no place before Congress. Well, given the lies that flow from Congress, maybe the video would be right at home there. Still, misinformation and lies such as those contained in the Canary Party/Rob Schneider video don’t belong in any evidence-based argument, even before a Congressional committee.

In any case, I know it’s short notice, but if you live in the DC area and are able, please consider attending this briefing. Regardless of whether you live in the DC area or not, please contact your Representative. At the very least we can make sure that the only voices our Representatives hear with respect to this briefing and the planned Congressional hearing in December don’t come from antivaccine loons. This time around, the Canary Party and the antivaccine movement are clearly out to attack the Vaccine Court. Remember why the Vaccine Court was even necessary in 1986 in the first place: Because bogus lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers were endangering the vaccine supply in the US. Antivaccinationists would like to take us back to those bad old days. They must not succeed.