« Home | Almost a century later, a vaccine against "Spanish... » | Anthrax vaccine likely to be made compulsory - Ear... » | Mass vaccination unnecessary in the event of a lar... » | Military Again Mandates Anthrax Vaccines - LA Time... » | DOD makes anthrax shots mandatory for many in CENT... » | Mandatory Anthrax Shots to Return - Washington Pos... » | Pentagon to force anthrax vaccine » | Anthrax shots back on go after 2-year hiatus » | Vaccine Safety Advocates Oppose Pentagon's Return ... » | U.S. military to resume mandatory anthrax inoculat... »




Once upon a time, Americans were warned about the "military industrial complex." Today, the a more descriptive term might be the "military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex." Big Pharma seems get its way on a variety of issues that are seemingly destructive to the health of at least some of the billions of patients around the world that its policies and medications purport to help.

And now Big Pharma is at it again. According to recent reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the Defense Department will resume mandatory anthrax vaccinations for more than 200,000 troops and defense contractors within 60 days. The article pointed out this policy "rejects the concerns of some veterans and service members who say that the vaccine has not been proved safe or effective."
Big Pharma does have opposition. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), for instance, is a main opponent of the unrestrained - mandatory - use of vaccines.

Today, Big Pharma seems to have won a victory, but NVIC is seemingly ready with an answer: the launch of a new initiative, the Military and Biodefense Vaccine Project (www.military- biodefensevaccines.org) "to better inform the public about military and biodefense vaccines which can be forced on both military and civilian populations. [We] will continue our 25-year effort to defend the human right to voluntary, informed consent to vaccination or any other medical intervention."

A percentage of those involved with the U.S. alternative health movement do not believe that vaccines have any efficacy. Proponents of this view claim that the various diseases that vaccines are supposed to have mitigated were in decline before the advent of vaccines. But for others, vaccinations are essentially viable but have different effects on different populations. This would explain a potential link between, say, autism, and vaccines - not for all children but for some.

But the NVIC, in its literature, emphasizes "informed consent." This is in line with the idea that while vaccines may indeed prove effective some of the time, they must be used with care. Side effects that can prove devastating to a small or even substantial minority of individuals, depending on the vaccine.

Yet additional "mandated" vaccines continue to be produced in the West - in increasing numbers. Astonishingly, Big Pharma, confident of its regulatory allies, routinely produces mass quantities of untested vaccines and pushes Western governments for mandatory usage campaigns. This is an economical way of generating a profitable product for mass consumption, but not necessarily a safe one. Big Pharma's corporate methodology may be the product not only of potential profit but also of increasing - frantic - concern. Given the amount of negative press vaccines have received via the alternative, 'Net media, one senses the consternation of Big Pharma is mounting and that top executives sense increasing resistance to this 21st century form of mercantilism. The concern, unfortunately, is taking the form of increased activity, and even coverup. The fate of a number of powerful corporations "hangs in the balance."

As it was with the tobacco companies before them, pharmaceutical manufacturers are seemingly entirely committed to their current business practices and cannot envisage an alternative. Yet one will likely come. As those who advocate "informed consent" regarding vaccines make their voices heard, the prospect of prolonged litigation looms on the horizon - and that will inevitably shake the industry. Yes, for now, the vaccination process grinds on, a well-oiled machine that includes regulators, practitioners and a compliant mainstream media. But insistence on business as usual will not necessarily drown out dissent. In fact, history tells us otherwise, but Big Pharma seems destined to "relearn" what it refuses to accept: Consumers will not inevitably and forever (or not in the era of the Internet) accept choices replete with unqualified health risks.

This goes for the military as well. In a recent press release, the NVIC again put forth a modest but convincing position of informed consent: "America's military servicemembers deserve to be fully informed about the deaths, chronic illness and disabilities that many soldiers have experienced following anthrax vaccination. The FDA-approved anthrax vaccine package insert acknowledges only six deaths and two dozen autoimmune diseases associated with the vaccine, but the FDA has not directed the manufacturer to update the insert in nearly five years. More than 1200 anthrax vaccine-injured soldiers have been treated at the congressionally mandated Vaccine Healthcare Centers, which DOD has attempted to close. They are suffering with crippling, life-altering illnesses that are being swept under the rug. We know the anthrax vaccine is reactive and we suspect it is especially risky for those with hereditary and other risk factors that DOD refuses to investigate or acknowledge."
The NVIC release adds: "Since the 1991 Gulf War, healthy young soldiers have reported severe deterioration in health following anthrax vaccination, including chronic joint and muscle pain, weakness, gastrointestinal disorders, disabling fatigue, loss of memory and ability to concentrate, severe headaches, respiratory and heart problems, and autoimmune disorders that leave them unable to work or live a normal life. Some U.S. soldiers risked court martial rather than submit to anthrax vaccination, or re-vaccination after reactions occurred.


The Business Cycle: The business cycle is not especially correlative to Big Pharma's latest push - or pushes. Vaccines are big business at any time. So long as Big Pharma has the allies in Western governments, it will continue to shove forward its "one size fits all" vaccine programs.

Dominant social theme: Vaccines are a triumph of modern medicine and their mandated, mass dissemination is proof positive that the Western scientific method has changed the world for the better. The only trouble with this theme is that it intermingles a product with a discipline. The scientific method is indeed a jewel of Western thought. It does not follow that giving the same "jab" to every tiny child is efficiacious or safe - or that each puncture is a tiny and necessary offering to the God of Science.

Free Markets Analysis: Vaccines, at least currently, are not about free markets at all. Each massive, government mandated program, at least in the United States, is levered painfully into place with an ever increasing amount of background noise. Mercantilism has a long and colorful history in Western judicial history - however, it well may be that when the smoke clears and the current Big Pharma model is revealed to be levelled and ruined, the tradition of mercantilism itself may be a casualty. It is one thing to start wars for profit. It is another to innoculate one's own citizens with increasingly debiliting remedies.

Conclusion: The final chapter of the anthrax vaccine debate has yet to be written. Here, offered with modesty and care, is the NVIC's conclusion: "The right to informed consent to medical risk taking, which involves risk of injury or death, is a human right whether an American citizen is a soldier or a civilian. The DOD has a moral duty to fully disclose anthrax vaccine risks, as well as benefits, to soldiers and allow them to make an informed, voluntary vaccination decision."
Can anyone truly doubt what point of view must ultimately prevail? -By Anthony Wile

About the NVIC: "The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is a non-profit, educational organization founded in 1982 and dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the informed consent ethic. NVIC has warned that vaccine injury liability protection given to pharmaceutical companies, and lack of informed consent provisions in Project BioShield, as well as other state and federal disease control legislation enacted since September 11, 2001, endanger civil liberties. For more information, go to www.nvic.org.