Last Friday's shocking news - the revelation of hidden financial ties and influence-peddling behind the World Health Organization's declaration of a worldwide H1N1 pandemic - is only one of our articles this week on the controversial issue of immunization. We'll tell you about flu vaccine deaths, fetal death and injury from mercury, a high government official formerly in charge of vaccines who now works for a drug and vaccine maker, and yet another tragic miscarriage of justice in the case of a pioneer of autism research.

Although the health issues involved are the most troubling, we show how the truth can be uncovered, as always, by heeding that old adage: "Follow the money."

The WHO's H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccine Scandal

Last Friday, two different European groups released reports accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of exaggerating the threat posed by the H1N1 virus, and of having been influenced by the pharmaceutical industry in its recommendations about how countries should respond.

According to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the WHO's over-the-top response to the H1N1 virus caused widespread, unnecessary fear, and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars. They say that when the WHO advised countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications, it had been influenced by the very companies that make the H1N1 antiviral drugs and vaccines.

The second report, a joint investigation by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, said the WHO's global immunization guidelines were based in part on the advice of three experts who received direct financial compensation from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, each of which received a windfall of profits from the pandemic declaration. As Mike Adams of notes,
"During all this, WHO refused to disclose any conflicts of interests between its top advisers and the drug companies who would financially benefit from its decisions. All the kickbacks, in other words, were swept under the table and kept silent, and WHO somehow didn't think it was important to let the world know that it was receiving policy advice from individuals who stood to make millions of dollars when a pandemic was declared."
The BMJ report concludes, "We are left wondering whether major public health organizations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medical science."

A spokesperson for the WHO strongly disputed that its decisions had been tainted. But in response to the criticism, WHO has launched two investigations, including one by an independent panel of experts asked to judge the extent to which WHO's decision-making processes are influenced by Big Pharma.

ANH - International, noted, "The three scientists who authored the World Health Organization guidance document for the swine flu pandemic were in the pay of the drug companies - the very drug companies due to profit so much from stockpiles of vaccines if governments could be persuaded to stockpile. Once again we get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes corporate puppeteering that compromises our freedoms. Such manipulation resulted in a stockpile of drugs and vaccines costing an estimated £1 billion [approximately $1.45 billion]."

Flu Vaccines Causing Deaths Worldwide

Meanwhile, in western Australia, more than sixty children had "adverse reactions" - fever, vomiting, and convulsions - to a three-strain flu vaccine within hours of being immunized, according to the Brisbane Courier-Mail. The vaccine manufacturer has voluntarily withdrawn the vaccine and is trying to retrieve it wherever it has been distributed.

In Taiwan, seventeen children have died after being given the H1N1 vaccine. The Minister of Health said six of the deaths can be attributed to other causes such as myocardial rupture, suffocation due to inhalation of vomit, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, though he did not say what had caused those conditions. Investigations continue into the remaining eleven cases. It was revealed that vaccine had not been tested on humans prior to being administered in Taiwan, but that vaccinations will continue in order "to avoid wasting the vaccine." The deputy director of the Taiwan CDC noted that, "If parents insist, doctors will be asked to explain the possible health risks."

Mercury Rising

CoMeD Inc., a non-profit group hoping to ban the use of mercury in all medications, filed declarations in US District court about pregnant women and their unborn fetuses who have been harmed by influenza shots that contain Thimerosal (mercury). The declarations filed detailed fetal deaths, miscarriages, stillbirths, premature births, and mental retardation or gross mental impairment of live births following the administration of swine flu and regular flu shots that contained mercury.

As Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, one of the country's most knowledgeable and outspoken physicians regarding the impact of vaccines on health, writes:
"The doctors who are forcing these vaccines on pregnant women do not understand what they are giving or doing. We have heard story after story of people challenging their physicians over whether Thimerosal is present in vaccines. When the doctor finally takes the time to read the package insert, they are shocked to see that it is. While most of the mercury has been taken out of most of the childhood vaccines, it has not been taken out of the multi-dose flu vaccines. Each swine flu shot has 25 mcg of mercury."
In light of this, it is all the more interesting that a respected Japanese study recently concluded that vitamin D was as effective as vaccine in preventing flu, including pandemic flu. And of course it is also effective as a treatment. The complete silence of the US government about the use of this simple, cheap, unpatented substance against flu is truly shameful. If vitamin D were a patented drug sold by a drug company, is there any doubt the government would be promoting and stockpiling it?

This is one example of crony capitalism in medicine but not unfortunately the most blatant. For that, see the next story.

Blatant Crony Capitalism in Medicine

Dr. Julie Gerberding was director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the past seven years. Essentially, she was in charge of federal government decision-making about vaccines and disease-response programs. In January, she resigned to become president of Merck Pharmaceuticals' vaccine division.

Merck, as Pulse readers know, makes the Gardasil vaccine, which is marketed as a cervical cancer vaccine even though it's really a vaccine for genital warts - the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are as many as forty different HPVs, only four of which can cause some types of cancer in some women. Gardasil's own small-print disclaimers say the vaccine doesn't protect everyone; it doesn't protect against diseases caused by other HPV types; it doesn't prevent all types of cervical cancer; and it doesn't treat cancer or genital warts once you have them. Yet Merck is marketing it as the great new cervical cancer preventive. You can't take it if you're prone to yeast infections or are pregnant, and the acknowledged side effects include pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting with seizures or rigidity! Unacknowledged possible side effects have included a teenage girl's death. A true miracle drug.

Merck's announcement said, "Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease." This is crony capitalism at its most blatant.

By the way, in 2008, Dr. Gerberding went on CNN's House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and admitted that vaccines can trigger autism. It was buried in a pile of obfuscation, but the admission was there nonetheless. This in turn makes the next story all the more interesting.

"A Clear Miscarriage of Justice"

In March, a federal administrative law judge ruled that the evidence supporting an alleged causal link between autism and a mercury-containing preservative in vaccines was "unpersuasive," and that the families of children diagnosed with autism were not entitled to compensation. The Coalition for Vaccine Safety called it "a clear miscarriage of justice."

These families, representative of than 5,300 cases of parents who believe vaccines caused their child's autism, sought compensation but above all an acknowledgment of wrong from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system set up to shield pharmaceutical firms making vaccines from financial liability and thus to encourage them to make more vaccines.

Now, in another miscarriage of justice, Andrew Wakefield, MD - the British doctor whose research and public statements initially linked a common childhood vaccine to autism - had his license to practice medicine revoked two weeks ago. The British General Medical Council alleged in part that he had conducted invasive medical procedures on children that they did not need. Significantly, no parent or child has ever alleged that they were harmed by Dr Wakefield.

Prior to this controversy, Wakefield was a gastroenterologist and respected researcher. In 1995, he was approached for help by a mother whose child developed a painful inflammatory bowel disorder following a routine MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps, and rubella). The child also became autistic. His research team found nearly 100 children with the same symptoms and the same chain of events, a syndrome now identified in five countries

As part of his investigation, Dr. Wakefield found the safety studies on the MMR vaccine "totally unsatisfactory," and put together a 250-page report on these safety studies.

The manufacturer of the MMR vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), saw its sales drop sharply after the report. One of the members of GSK's board of directors owns the Sunday Times newspaper. That paper wrote a series of articles critical of Dr. Wakefield, which prompted the UK's General Medical Council to investigate. This was the beginning of what ANH - Europe called, in its excellent analysis of the incident, "the longest witch hunt in UK medical history."

As Dr. Sherri Tenpenny notes, "The autism rate, now at least 1 in 150, is more than the childhood rate of pediatric cancer, HIV, and diabetes combined. And yet we deny the connection to vaccines and even deny there is an autism epidemic, with many thousands of children losing their brains. It is more important to be sure we don't have a few cases of mumps or the flu than it is to question the holy water coming through that needle, a solution that contains known carcinogens, animal DNA, and heavy metals."

Dr. Wakefield recently published a book on his experience, Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines - The Truth Behind a Tragedy.

An Interlocking Web

Immunization is not a black-and-white issue by any means. Some vaccines have proved to be tremendously helpful; others have been mired in controversy from the start.

Part of the trouble lies in so-called adjuvants, which are designed to make the vaccines more potent, and in preservatives. Part of the trouble lies in ill-chosen attempts to force more and more vaccines, vaccines given in multiple doses because it is thought that parents will not bring children in for frequent doctor visits, and vaccines given at younger and younger ages. What is missing in all this is simple common sense and respect for how little we know.

Vaccines are now big business. The vaccine establishment consists of a scarily cozy relationship of scientists, drug and vaccine companies, governments (which eliminate vaccine liability, partner in the manufacture of vaccines, and mandate a vaccination schedule for children), and the media (whose income relies in great measure on drug company advertising). This establishment in turn punishes anyone who dissents or even raises objections (as evidenced by the way PBS's documentary "The Vaccine War" refused to air their extensive interview with Dr. Jay Gordon because of his commonsense approach to the whole vaccination question).

The Alliance for Natural Health USA believes that freedom of choice in health care is vital. And this includes freedom of choice in immunization. Very few vaccines these days are designed to prevent old fashioned pandemic diseases such as yellow fever, polio, or typhus that spread rapidly and threatened whole populations. What does Gardasil have to do with this model? Why should little girls be forced to be inoculated three times with this dangerous, expensive, and doubtfully effective vaccine?

If parents and the general public turn against vaccines, good and bad, the government-run vaccine establishment has only itself to blame.