Believe it or not, Congress has a lot to do with whether or not folks get vaccinated.
“As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly disease.”
Sens. Lamar Alexander et al Dear Colleague Letter
Congress and Vaccines
But it isn’t just that members of Congress have their fingers on the purse strings.
Over the years, while the great majority of lawmakers do agree that vaccines work and that they are safe and necessary, a few have created unnecessary fear about vaccines and have likely scared parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
And then there are the Congressional hearings…
Remember Dan Burton?
The former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana (1983-2013) has been described as being “antivaccine through and through” and “organized quackery’s best friend in Congress.”
Dan Burton held over 20 Congressional hearings trying to prove that there was a link between vaccines and autism.
Hearings that gave a high profile platform to Andrew Wakefield and are best described as:
“carefully choreographed to generate as much negative feeling toward the vaccination system as possible.”
Arthur Allen on Vaccine The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver
Who replaced Dan Burton?
It seems to be U.S. Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), who has been described as “vying to take over the title of the most antivaccine legislator in the U.S. Congress since Dan Burton retired.”
He got a little help from Rep. Darrell Issa, who conducted a meeting of the Subcommittee of Government Operations in 2014, Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“Okay. Let’s stop it right there. Because every time we have ever talked about doing one of those studies, some idiot in the media says I am suggesting that children intentionally don’t get vaccinated. And I don’t know that anybody ever has ever proposed that. But there are plenty of children whose parents will not allow them to be vaccinated. There are plenty of cultures where children are not vaccinated. And there are other reasons children are not vaccinated. And there are children who take large doses of vaccination, and children whose parents decide to have them take one vaccination at a time to avoid thimerosal. And I have not been able to ascertain that there has actually been a legitimate study done that wasn’t tainted by the touch of the international colossal scumbag Poul Thorsen.”
Rep. Bill Posey questioning NIH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. in the Congressional hearing on Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders
Who else might be joining him?
There is Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
Maloney also spoke at a 2012 hearing planned by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on the federal response to rising autism rates.
“Are you looking at vaccination? Is that part of your studies? I have a question. Are you looking at vaccination? Are you having a study on vaccination and the fact that they’re cramming them down and having kids have nine at one time. Is that a cause? Do you have any studies on vaccination?”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in a hearing on Rising Autism Rates
Rep. Carolyn Maloney was also a co-sponsor of Rep. Bill Posey’s 2015 Vaccine Safety Study Act bill, which called for “a comprehensive study comparing total health outcomes, including risk of autism, in vaccinated populations in the United States with such outcomes in unvaccinated populations in the United States, and for other purposes,” even though many experts have long pointed out the problems with using intentionally unvaccinated folks as a comparison group.
But Rep Maloney got her start long before Bill Posey ever came to Congress…
In 2006, in response to a series of articles by Dan Olmstead, who later created the website, Age of Autism, Rep Maloney held a briefing at the National Press Club where she proposed the Comprehensive Study of Autism Epidemic Act of 2006, a bill that sounds awfully similar to Posey’s Vaccine Safety Study Act.
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) was another co-sponsor.
But we shouldn’t forget Rep. Dave Weldon MD (R-Fl), who introduced the Mercury-Free Vaccines Act of 2004 and the Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Assurance Act of 2007. Weldon also sent a number of letters to Julie Gerberding questioning a study about thimerosal by Thomas Verstraeten, a study that was investigated and cleared by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in 2005. Because he was a doctor, Rep. Burton also had Weldon do a lot of the questioning during his hearings.
And there is also Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), who was a cosponsor when Maloney reintroduced the Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Assurance Act in 2009.
Not surprisingly, many of these members of Congress have been getting donations from anti-vaccine organizations.
In contrast to all of the folks above, there was Rep. Henry A Waxman (D-CA), who retired after 40 years in Congress, but not before:
- fighting back against Dan Burton’s misinformation in his hearings about vaccines
- introducing the Vaccine Access and Supply Act of 2005
- authoring the stand-alone Vaccines for Children legislation that was included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 that created the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program
- introducing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986
But his work on vaccines has probably been the most low-profile thing that Waxman did, which is why he is often described as “one of the most important Congressman ever.”
You’ll never hear that said about Dan Burton, Bill Posey, Dave Weldon, or Carolyn Maloney…
More on Congress and Vaccines
- On Working for Henry Waxman
- Why Henry Waxman Was One of the Most Important Congressmen Ever
- Rep. Henry A. Waxman’s Record of Accomplishment
- Vaccines Aren’t Partisan
- How Congress Brought the Measles Back
- Sticking with the truth
- Pediatricians Fact-Check Bachmann’s Bashing Of HPV Vaccine
- Insider Explains Why Congress is Responsible For Return of Measles
- Goodbye and good riddance to organized quackery’s best friend in Congress
- Former U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, Vaccine Foe, Now Lobbying For Scientology Outfit
- My grandson became autistic in a very short period of time
- Dan Burton’s last antivaccine hurrah?
- The “CDC whistleblower saga”: Updates, backlash, and (I hope) a wrap-up
- A Congressman, A CDC Whisteblower And An Autism Tempest In A Trashcan
- In which Rep. Bill Posey hits most of the autism-vaccine bingo points at the Congressional autism hearing
- The return of the revenge of the “CDC whistleblower”
- Antivaccine legislators are at it again
- A Congressman, A CDC Whisteblower And An Autism Tempest In A Trashcan
- Oversight panel plans autism hearing
- An open letter to Congressman Posey
- Are congressmen Justin Amash and Rick Nolan being courted by the vaccine/autism community?
- The mummer’s farce that was the Congressional autism hearing last week
- Congress Holds An Anti-Vaccination Hearing
- Will Science Be In Attendance At Latest Congressional Autism Hearing?
- Federal Response to Rise in Autism Rates
- Why you should care that this lawyer running for Congress supports vaccines
- Enzi Says Investigation Does Not Support Allegations Of Misconduct In Autism Research
- 2013 Congressional Oversight Committee Roster By State with Brief Bios and Vaccine Comments
- Hepatitis B Vaccine: Helping Or Hurting Public Health?
- Vaccines–Finding The Balance Between Public Safety And Personal Choice
- FACA: Conflicts Of Interest And Vaccine Development–Preserving The Integrity Of The Process
- Autism–Why The Increased Rates? A One-Year Update
- Mercury In Dental Amalgams: An Examination Of The Science
- Dietary Supplements: Nature’s Answer To Cost Effective Preventative
- The National Vaccine Injury Program: Is It Working As Congress
- The Status Of Research Into Vaccine Safety And Autism
- 1 In 88 Children: A Look Into The Federal Response To Rising Rates Of
- The Continuing Oversight Of The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
- The Nation’s Flu Shot Shortage: How It Happened And Where We Go From Here?
- Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Update Of Federal Government Initiatives And Revolutionary New Treatment Of Neuro-Developmental Diseases
- Preventing Another SV40 Tragedy: Are Today’s Vaccine Safety Protocols
- Truth Revealed: New Scientific Discoveries Regarding Mercury In
Medicine And Autism
- The Administration’s Flu Vaccine Program: Health, Safety And
- Vaccines And The Autism Epidemic: Reviewing The Federal Government’s Track Record And Charting A Course For The Future
- Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders