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All the News December 28-31, 2003



Posted December 31, 2003:

►December 30, 2003 - FDA's Issuance of Final Rule Concerning Anthrax Vaccine Reflective of Legal Gamesmanship - 18 Year Delay In Issuing Final Rule Calls Into Question FDA Conduct - Press Release, Mark S. Zaid, Esq. and John J. Michels, Jr., Esq.

►December 31, 2003 - Vaccinations Credited With Hepatitis B Decline - www.thebostonchannel.com

Comment: For a different perspective on hepatitis B incidence, go to Scandals: The CDC and “The New Math”, where 1 + 1  does not equal 2

►December 29, 2003 - N.H. hospitals warned to 'hyper-vigilant' to meningitis after 5 teens found with symptoms - AP via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

►December 29, 2003 - http://usinfo.state.U.S. Officials Report Progress on Mad Cow Investigation - Risk to consumers "virtually zero" despite recall, USDA says - http://usinfo.state.gov

►December 29, 2003 - Lab testing human West Nile vaccine - AP via Southeast Missourian

►December 29, 2003 - Swaziland: Aids Toll Leads to Flood of Bogus "Miracle" Cures - IRIN via www.allafrica.com

►December 29, 2003 - Mad Cow: Prion research misguided? - UPI via The Washington Times - "The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., openly acknowledges prions have not been established fully as a cause of any disease. Yet nearly all of the $27 million the agency doled out last year for studies on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs -- a group of diseases that includes mad cow, chronic wasting in deer and elk, scrapie in sheep and vCJD in humans -- went toward studies focusing on the prion hypothesis."

►December 29, 2003 - Docs Hunt Teen Meningitis Link - "If all of the strains of the bacteria match, and certainly if there are more cases, that would be more concerning." Jesse Greenblatt, state epidemiologist - AP via CBS News

►December 29, 2003 - Indian scientists discover 3 new genes of SARS virus - Business Standard

►December 31, 2003 - FDA Issues Final Rule And Final Order Regarding Safety And Efficacy Of Certain Licensed Biological Products Including Anthrax Vaccine - FDA via ScienceDaily - "To complete the review of the safety and effectiveness of certain bacterial vaccines and toxoids licensed before July, 1972, FDA today issued a final rule and order that makes final determinations concerning the safety and effectiveness of such products and amends certain biologics regulations. The final order states FDA's conclusion that the licensed anthrax vaccine, Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, is safe and effective for the prevention of anthrax disease - regardless of the route of exposure."

Comment:  How conVENient.

►December 21, 2003 - Serious mind games - Parents of autistic children face years of intensive exercises and structured play with their kids in an effort to unlock abilities that seem trapped inside. New research suggests that diagnosis and treatment has to come early in life to be fully effective. - The Times-Picayune via www.nola.com

Dear Senator Frist....Allow All Vaccine-Injured Children Into the NVICP and Civil Court and Give Them a Good Shot For Once (pdf) - National Autism Association (NAA) Ad #1

Dear Senator Frist...Vote Against the Frist/Gregg Vaccine Legislation and Give Them a Good Shot For Once (pdf) - National Autism Association (NAA) Ad #2

Comment: For more on Senator Frist's inappropriate use of the word "frivolous", go to Scandals: Senator Frist Frivolously Dismisses Vaccine Damage

►December 30, 2003 - Can strep throat cause behavior disorder? - Some say more research needed, but others say problem is rare but real. - Austin American-Statesman

►December 30, 2003 - 'Unlimited Potential' program offers hope - New therapy surfaces in the treatment of autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and brain injuries. - Northwest Indian Times

►December 31, 2003 - BioRad poised for mad cow role - Contra Costa Times - "Should regulators decide to more carefully monitor U.S. cattle for mad cow disease, Hercules-based Bio-Rad Laboratories says it is ready to ramp up manufacture of a test that identifies cattle with the dreaded ailment."

►January 1, 2004 - 2003, a blot on polio eradication drive - Deccan Herald - "Karnataka, which saw the outbreak of dreaded poliomyelitis virus last May, has earned the dubious distinction of recording the highest incidents of polio - 34 - in the country for the year 2003. In fact, it is the second highest in the world!...In its year-end report on polio in India, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the incidence of polio in the State as a 'major outbreak'. Starting May, there has been a spurt in the number of polio cases in North Karnataka despite efforts to control it."

►December 30, 2003 - Chinese Herbalists Laud U.S. Exemption for Ephedra - Reuters -  "When U.S. regulators said they would ban the use of ephedra in weight-loss supplements on Tuesday they allowed an exemption for practitioners of Chinese medicine who have been using the herb for thousands of years to treat ailments ranging from asthma to fevers...Synthetic ephedra-based weight loss pills sold over the counter can be harmful when taken in large doses and by people who have heart ailments, high blood pressure and other health problems, the FDA said...But when taken properly under a health practitioners supervision, the herb -- also known as ma huang -- is good medicine, according to several trained Chinese herbalists."

►December 31, 2003 - Daft science cashing in on the bleeding obvious - People who are sick die sooner and drunk gamblers lose more, according to recent research - www.timesonline.co.uk - "PERHAPS it is time for research into why university personnel continually attract funding for studies with blindingly obvious conclusions...There must be an art to it. How else to explain the work of Amos Zeichner, director of the psychology clinic at the University of Georgia, who proved that 'alcohol facilitates aggression among those who express anger outwardly'. "

►December 31, 2003 - New mercury findings spur group to act - KRT via Chicago Tribune via www.fortwayne.com - "The fish stories continue at the Food and Drug Administration. So does the confusion about whether pregnant women and kids should be eating canned tuna."

►December 29, 2003 - Rare brain illness holds wider clues - Mystery: Scientists say a disease that afflicts natives of Guam could hold the key to treating similar ailments such as Alzheimer's disease. - www.sunspot.net

►December 31, 2003 - Not a Lean Year for Health News - The nation's obesity epidemic raged on, while SARS scared the world in 2003: both lead the list of the top health stories of the year. - HealthDayNews via www.healthcentral.com

►January 1, 2004 - Needles and damage done - To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: Missoula’s question  - Missoula Independent - "So are these parents sensible—or just selfish? It can be unclear whether newborns need this alphabet soup of shots or whether the drug companies are just trying to move merchandise. Regardless of which side of the immunization fence one resides on, all sides agree that the decision is motivated by parents’ concern for their very young children."

►December 31, 2003 - Concern about thimerosal in child vaccines - Knight Ridder via www.fortwayne.com

►December 31, 2003 - Pentagon's past errors heighten vaccine fears - PalmBeachPost.com - "The Pentagon's shameful record of stonewalling active military members and veterans about toxic exposures inspires no confidence in the claim that the vaccinations are safe. Soldiers have been guinea pigs many times before."

►December 31, 2003 - F.D.A. Rules Shots Effective for Anthrax That Is Inhaled (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times - "In its statement on Tuesday, the F.D.A. said the new 'final rule and order' made clear that it 'does not regard the approved anthrax vaccine as investigational for protection against inhalation anthrax.' The new determination, the statement said, was 'relevant and should be considered in any further litigation in this matter.'...But Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who is challenging the Pentagon's mandatory anthrax vaccine program, said the timing of the announcement was driven by politics, not science...'This alleged final rule is nothing more than after-the-fact gamesmanship to overrule the court's findings,' he said in a telephone interview. 'It appears reflective more of policy duress than independent analysis.'

►December 29, 2003 - Healthy Defence - Contrary to what the US Institute of Medicine suggests, economic realities such as low profits and costly R&D are not barriers to vaccine innovation for pharmaceutical companies. In fact, Merck chief Raymond Gilmartin argues that the development of vaccines is a profitable venture. ANNA TEO reports - The Business Times

►December 31, 2003 - Reader Responses - The Politics of Autism (requires registration) - The Wall Street Journal

►December 15, 2003 - Business, Bush Look for Lawsuit Limits in 2004 - Reuters

►December 30, 2003 - State faces shortage of anti-diphtheria serum - Ahmedabad Newsline via cities.expressindia.com

►December 31, 2003 - Religious heads join polio drive - Times of India - "Minister for family welfare Ahmad Hasan on Tuesday made a special appeal to members of the minority community to ensure that no child remained deprived of polio drops and called for full cooperation from all sections of people to completely eradicate the disease."

►December 30, 2003 - FDA: Anthrax vaccine 'safe and effective' - CNN - "Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit issued a statement saying that the FDA's ruling is nothing more than 'after-the-fact gamesmanship to overrule the Court's findings.'...Attorney Mark Zaid cited research from an FDA panel in 1985 -- which was also mentioned in the FDA statement Tuesday -- that said that 'no meaningful assessment of [the vaccine's] value against inhalation anthrax is possible,' Zaid said."

Posted December 30, 2003:

►December 30, 2003 - Schafer Autism Report

►December 29, 2003 - Schafer Autism Report

►December 18, 2003 - WHO post-outbreak biosafety guidelines for handling of SARS-CoV specimens and cultures - WHO

►December 29, 2003 - Update on suspected SARS case in Southern China - WHO, Western Pacific Region

►December 28, 2003 - Health expert to aid China in possible SARS case - CNN

►December 24, 2003 - New understanding of why brain cells die after stroke will lead to development of new treatments - University of Toronto via www.eurekalert.org

►December 28, 2003 - Chemical Company Studies Brain Cancer Rate - AP via The Herald-Sun

►December 30, 2003 - Meningitis Cases Have Unrelated Strains - AP via The Herald-Sun

►December 30, 2003 - USDA Stands by Mad Cow Detection System- AP via The Herald-Sun

►December 19, 2003 - Confronting Influenza: Prevention Strategies That Work - (registration required) - CME via www.medscape.com

►December 23, 2003 - UK Tests "Panic Button" for Health Staff - (registration required) - Reuters via www.medscape.com

►December 22, 2003 - UK Drug Watchdog Set to Reject Lilly's Evista - (registration required) -Reuters via www.medscape.com

►December 28, 2003 - Woman dies from meningitis; fifth case suspected - AP via www.boston.com

►December 29, 2003 - Opt-Out Military - Hysteria leads to judicial overreach — and national-security danger. - National Review Online - "In fact, extensive epidemiological studies have shown that Gulf vets are just as healthy as matched vets who didn't deploy and healthier than matched civilians. They are somewhat less likely to have died thannon-deployed vets and are dying at less than half the rate of the general population. This is not only the case here, but in the U.K. as well. There is no GWS."

►December 28, 2003 - Parents must make sure children are immunized - Abilene Reporter-News

►December 28, 2003 - Flu taking its toll on children - Plenty of rest, fluids can help fight infection - The Post-Crescent

►December 29, 2003 - No symptoms from 42 people in contact with south China SARS suspect -  AFP via www.channelnewsasia.co

►December 28, 2003 - Hepatitis blame won't kills suits, lawyers say - AP via Knoxville News Sentinel

►December 28, 2003 - Blood test may detect breast cancer - Los Angeles Times via Sun-Sentinel

►December 27 - Mad cow’s cost could hit billions - AP via Lincoln Courier

►December 2003 - Childhood Adversity and Later Mortality in an Urban African American Cohort - American Journal of Public Health via http://mentalhelp.net

►December 28, 2003 - Heartening news about food content - The Edmonton Journal via www.canada.com

►December 29, 2003 - Mixed reaction to Bush mercury rules in Minnesota - AP via www.kaaltv.com

►December 28, 2003 - Liaisons fueling AIDS in Africa - Washington Times

Comment:  On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that it is not sex, but the use of re-usable needles that is largely fueling "AIDS" in Africa (1,2).

►December 29, 2003 - China Grapples With Possible SARS - Wall Street Journal via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 29, 2003 - FDA Warns Against Unauthorized Flu Shots - Los Angeles Times via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 29, 2003 - No Anti-Rabies Vaccine at Hindu Rao Hospital - Times of India www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 29, 2003 - Teenager Dies From Meningitis in 1 of 5 Cases in New Hampshire - New York Times via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 28, 2003 - U.S. Has New Concerns About Anthrax Readiness - New York Times via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 27, 2003 - New Flu Vaccine Easier to Get - Boston Herald via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 26, 2003 - Measles Outbreak Kills 29 Central African Children - Agence France Presse via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 26, 2003 - Nigeria: Health Minister Assures on Safety of Polio Vaccines - BBC News via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 21, 2003 - Specialists Urging Action in Wake of Vaccine Shortage - Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel via www.immunizationinfo.org (abstract)

►December 29, 2003 - Child's autism inspires creation of support centre - Precious Minds will get permanent home/Mothers' venture fills demand in rural areas - Toronto Star

►December 29, 2003 - Imaging Study Pinpoints Brain's Myelin Insulation as a Key to Alzheimer's - UCLA Health Sciences

►December 31, 2003 - Vitamin A deficiency in half of Pakistani children - Daily Times, Pakistan - "Dr Mehnaz emphasized the need for integrating children’s Vitamin A supplement programme with routine immunisation to ensure optimum effect."

►December 30, 2003 - Looking forward to 2004: HIV vaccine prospects - www.aidsmap.com

Comment: What if, as some believe (1,2), AIDS has nothing to do with HIV?

►December 29, 2003 - Africa is dying of Capitalism, not AIDS - www.khilafah.com - "The problem lies with the fact that American drugs companies have developed a treatment program for AIDS, spending enormous resources in research and development under the protection of the patent. Their reasons for doing this are simply financial; they intend to recoup their expenditure by selling the treatment at a massive profit."

Comment:  And what if, as some believe, it is AIDS medications, not "AIDS", which are killing people?

U.S. Marines Press Release - Marine Corps News - "At first glance Savine and Jacob look like any ordinary six and four year old, but their normalcy runs only skin deep because of a disorder they both have: autism...One Miramar Marine quickly learned that autism affects every aspect of the entire family's life."

►December 30, 2003 - In-Home Autism Program Eliminated - www.wbay.com - "Three hundred-fifty families across Wisconsin are looking for backup since a Fond du Lac clinic they relied on for their children is no longer an option. After the first of the year, the State is cutting back funding for an in-home therapy program for autistic children."

►December 30, 2003 - Money Recovered from Flu Vaccine Scam - www.wtvm.com

►December 29, 2003 - Troop anthrax shots in question - North County Times - "At least two local Marines remain in legal limbo as federal officials and a Washington district court judge wrangle over whether the military can force members of the armed services to take anthrax vaccinations...The two Marines refused to take mandatory inoculations a year ago and have since faced stiff punishment for refusing direct orders. One claims to have suffered intimidation and even a death threat from his superiors for refusing the vaccine."

►December 30, 2003 - Health:- In 2004, health for all remains the goal - Vanguard, Nigeria - "In developing countries like Nigeria, communicable diseases still represent seven out of the 10 major causes of child deaths."

►December 30, 2003 - Story is laborious testament to mother's love (book review - The Boy Who Loved Windows: Opening the Heart and Mind of a Child Threatened With Autism) - The Boston Globe

►December 30, 2003 - Reaching out to the autistic child - Ahmedabad Newsline via cities.expressindia.com

►December 30, 2003 - Bill would help autistic kids - Proposal would tack surcharge on fines for drunken driving - Rocky Mountain News

►December 30, 2003 - Scientist's work may aid testing - The Tallahassee Democrat - "A Florida State University researcher has spent her career developing ways to detect unwanted food products. Peggy Hsieh's now-patented work can help identify banned beef parts in feed that could lead to mad cow disease."

►December 30, 2003 - Retired doctor fights polio - Nikolai, wife, 200 Rotarians to head to India - Marshfield News-Herald - "As a part of a world polio eradication campaign known as PolioPlus, Nikolai, his wife, Hilda, and about 200 other Rotarians from the United States and Canada will leave for India in late February and early March."

►May 2000 - CDC Refuses to Deny Conflict of Interest on Vaccine Policy Committee - AAPS Newsletter - "Government witnesses were not so forthcoming in admitting bias or conflict of interest. Dr. Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician who receives money from vaccine manufacturers to give pro- mandatory vaccine presentations across the country, is a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC-the supposedly "independent" government group which makes recommendations on national vaccine policy. His official statement only acknowledged his "collaboration on the development of a rotavirus vaccine." When pushed by a question submitted to Rep. Burton by Ms. Serkes about his financial ties to Merck & Co., Dr. Offit would only admit an "apparent conflict- of-interest." [Dr. Offit pushed mandatory vaccines at a symposium underwritten by Merck at the August meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Nashville, attended by Dr. Orient and Ms. Serkes; Dr. Orient was refused a place on the panel.] "

►December 30, 2003 - New Tests Ordered for Man in China Tied to Possible SARS (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 30, 2003 - U.S. Bans Dietary Supplement Linked to Number of Deaths (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 30, 2003 - North Coast firm reduces tuna mercury - The Ukiah Daily Journal - "Albacore caught off the Humboldt County coast are smaller than those caught mainly by foreign boats, and haven't accumulated much mercury. By singling out the smallest of the fish that are caught, Bill Carvalho of Carvalho Fisheries of McKinleyville has canned a product that falls below even stricter European standards for mercury."

►December 30, 2003 - Pocatello woman helps stop mandatory anthrax vaccinations - Idaho State Journal - "A Pocatello woman helped influence the decision when she refused to take the anthrax vaccine last March. Sarah Holder, a former soldier at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Pocatello native, took a general discharge under honorable conditions Nov. 29 ending her five-year military career in communications...Holder, who now lives in Portland, Ore., told the Seattle P-I Tuesday she might try to have her discharge upgraded to honorable."

►December 30, 2003 - Anthrax Toxin Inhibitor Identified; Findings Could Lead To More Effective Therapy For Deadly Agent - Harvard Medical School via ScienceDaily

►January 2004 - Concerns continue over mercury and autism (Letter to the editor) - by Mark F. Blaxill, Director Safe Minds - journal article (American Journal of Preventive Medicine) via www.elsevier.com - "Stehr-Green et al.[1] have misrepresented my work and confused the debate over autism and mercury exposure with ecologic data from Sweden and Denmark. Their report has many flaws. Four stand out."

►January 2004 - Authors' reply to Mr. Blaxill's "concerns continue over mercury and autism" (Letter to the editor) - by Paul Stehr-Green DrPH, MPH - journal article (American Journal of Preventive Medicine) via www.elsevier.com

Comment:  The letters above refer to this article: August 2003 - Autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines*1 - Lack of consistent evidence for an association - by Paul Stehr-Green DrPH, MPH et al - journal article (American Journal of Preventive Medicine) via www.elsevier.com

►December 30, 2003 - Ark. Limits Info Regarding Flu Deaths - Ark. Officials Limit Sharing Information About Flu Deaths, Citing New U.S. Medical Privacy Law - AP via ABC News

Comment:  What's that about?

January 2004 - Effect of age on immune parameters and the immune response of dogs to vaccines: a cross-sectional study - journal article (Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology)

►December 30, 2003 - Smallpox attack simulation uncovers critical communications problems: report  CP via Health Canada Network - "Thank God it was only a simulation...A multi-country bioterrorism exercise held earlier this year highlighted critical weaknesses in intergovernmental communications capabilities and national response capacities, a report on a mock smallpox attack reveals."

►December 30, 2003 - FDA Says Anthrax Vaccine Safe for Troops - Reuters - "The anthrax vaccine is safe for use in protecting U.S. troops against inhaled exposure to the potentially deadly bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday...'The FDA-approved labeling for the anthrax vaccine does not specify the route of exposure, and the vaccine is indicated for active immunization against Bacillus anthracis, independent of the route of exposure,' it said in a statement...It also said an expert panel put together by the independent Institute of Medicine had found the vaccine to be safe."

Comment:  It is hard to believe that the plaintiffs could have argued, and the judge would have accepted, that the vaccine was only approved for cutaneous use, if the labeling, in fact, did "not specify the route of exposure".  Stay tuned.

►December 30, 2003 - Genital Herpes Vaccine to Be Tested - HealthDayNews via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

►December 31, 2003 - 80,000 health workers not paid for 4 months - The Daily Star - "The mismanagement has also created uncertainty about the scheduled National Immunisation Day (NID) programmes on January 14. Funds are still not available for payment of about Tk 6 crore to about 60,000 volunteers and porters to be engaged in the drive."

►December 30, 2003 - Court To Rule On Marines' Anthrax Vaccinations - One Marine Court-Martialed, Another Awaits Trial - www.nbcsandiego.com

►December 30, 2003 - Ephedra Ban Comes Too Late; FDA Should Have Acted Much Sooner - Statement of Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen's Health Research

►December 30, 2003 - Agriculture Secretary Announces New Rules for Safety of Beef - The New York Times - "Effective immediately, she said, the Agriculture Department will ban all sick, or "downer," cattle from the human food chain. She also announced bans on the use of small intestines and head and spinal tissue from older cattle for human consumption."

Comment: Better late than never....

December 19, 2003 - The Milky Way of Doing Business - www.hipmama.com - "At issue is a letter dated November 3rd that Dr. Johnston sent to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Tommy G. Thompson, officially expressing the AAP’s concern over the “negative approach” of the federal agency’s soon-to-be-released, pro-breastfeeding advertising campaign. What Dr. Johnston didn’t mention in his letter, however, was that he had developed this sudden and seemingly urgent interest in this issue not via a last minute clinical review of the scientific literature, or even after consulting with the AAP’s own recognized lactation science experts...In fact, his concern came immediately after aggressive, personal lobbying by representatives of one of the AAP’s biggest financial contributors, the $3 billion U.S. infant formula industry. Within days of a New Orleans meeting with worried formula industry reps, Johnston hurled the considerable credibility and persuasive impact of the esteemed American Academy of Pediatrics into an explicit effort to stifle the most ambitious initiative ever undertaken to promote breastfeeding in the United States."

Comment:  The American Academy of Pediatrics is apparently making a habit of confusing the interests of the children it is charged with protecting and those of industry.  For evidence of its considerable conflict of interest with vaccine manufacturers, go to Scandals: "There are no secrets that time does not reveal"  - What time and the legal system are beginning to reveal about what vaccine manufacturers and the CDC know.

►December 30, 2003 - Trinity Scores With HIV Test - The Motley Fool - "Yesterday morning, Ireland-based Trinity Biotech (Nasdaq: TRIB) said it received FDA approval to market its Uni-Gold Recombigen HIV test in the U.S. Since the announcement, its shares have been on a tear, climbing 57% to $5.14 yesterday, and another 22% to $6.30 by early this afternoon...The 10-minute, one-step test is for the detection of HIV antibodies in human serum, plasma, or whole blood, and is the only test approved for use in all three sample types. Trinity's test is also approved for use in the World Health Organization's HIV testing program in Africa, where the company sells four million tests per year."

►January 5, 2004 - No longer a threat (Editorial) - AirForceTimes.com - "The Defense Department’s mandatory anthrax vaccination program has been snakebit from its inception...Now, in the face of a U.S. District judge in Washington who ordered the Pentagon to stop forcing service members to take the anthrax shots, the Pentagon has backed down. For now."

►December 29, 2003 - Pharmaceutical companies find new ways to reach anxious parents -- go direct (Editorial) - www.sfgate.com 

Bizarre Mad Cow Games - Even a child would understand that the official explanation of the cause of the disease is irrational - by Mark Purdey at the Online Mad Cow Disease Conference @ www.redflagsdaily.com

►2003 - Transmissable Encephalopathies: Speculations and Realities (pdf) - by Dr. Laura Maneulidis - journal article (Viral Immunology) via www.redflagsdaily.com


►November/December 2003 -Yet Another Government Scandal - Breast Cancer Action Newsletter

►November/December 2003 - Conflicted Science: How Industry Corrupts Research - Breast Cancer Action Newsletter - "It's worse than you think."

►December 29, 2003 - Meningitis victim was sent home by hospital - N.H. teen lacked 'classic' symptoms - The Boston Globe - "Greenblatt said the 15-year-olds appear to have spread the disease to one another, but health officials had found no links between the other cases. Ells, Gilman, and Perry all contracted a strain of the disease that cannot be prevented by vaccination. Health officials were testing to determine whether the Colebrook boy had the same strain, and suspect the Concord-area boy did, as well....'If all of the strains of the bacteria match, and certainly if there are more cases, that would be more concerning," Greenblatt said. "It would mean that there is potentially more risk from a new strain that has entered the area.'"

Additional comment: Given the propensity for serotypes to change, and the possibility that vaccination can drive such changes, perhaps there is marginal benefit in exposing people to any possible risks of meningitis vaccine.  (There have been 644 adverse meningitis vaccine-associated reactions, representing in all likelihood between 6,440 and 64,400 cases, reported to VAERS so far.)  For more on the this problem, go to Scandals: Changing Disease Epidemiology Via Vaccines - Are We "Robbing Peter To Pay Paul"?

►December 30, 2003 - Officials Hope Break Brings Flu Downturn (requires registration or subscription) - AP via The New York Times

►December 30, 2003 - Experts Try to Assess Risk From Diseased Cow (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 29, 2003 - Gender specific medicine - Approach acknowledges differences between women, men - The Courier-Journal - "Put simply, gender-specific medicine is the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and how those differences affect — or should affect — diagnosis and treatment of disease."

Comment:  While vaccination policy continues to sacrifice untold healthy infants and children to its "one-size-fits-all" approach to "prevention", evidence continues to mount that recognizing and allowing for individual differences is paramount to the success of drugs and other biological products. 

►December 30, 2003 - Flu shots didn't exist, dealer says - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

►December 30, 2003 - Flu vaccine still starts out in the egg - The Salt Lake Tribune

►December 30, 2003 - Health Official Plays Down Reports of Measles Epidemic - IRIN via www.allafrica.com

►December 30, 2003 - Reps And the Polio Vaccine Controversy - Daily Trust (Abuja) via www.allafrica.com - "The House on August 19, mandated the committee to carry full-blown investigations into the allegations that the vaccine contains anti-fertility agents and causes cancer among others, to allay people's fears and lay the lingering controversy to rest...The current row on the polio vaccine has its roots in assertions made by the chairman of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Dr. Datti Ahmed on July 26 that the vaccine has been contaminated with anti-fertility agents and should therefore not be administered on children until full investigations were conducted."

►December 30, 2003 - Scientists disagree on cause of infection - Seattle PI - "Drowned out by calls for more testing and regulation to protect against mad cow disease are major disagreements over what causes the illness, how it is transmitted and even what parts of a contaminated cow may be unsafe to eat."

►December 30, 2003 - Edgecombe baby dies from flu - Rocky Mount Telegram via Rocky Mountain News - "The flu crept into the Edgecombe County home of Charles Evans and Travoya Richardson, claiming North Carolina's seventh young victim on Dec. 23...Kamahriun received five immunizations on Dec. 16 and was given amoxicillin, an antibiotic, at Pitt county Memorial Hospital pediatric center in Greenville for a possible ear infection, Evans said."

Comment:  What immunizations did this infant receive?  Why did this infant receive vaccinations when sick enough to need an antibiotic?  What role, if any, did the vaccinations and/or antibiotic play in this child's death?  If this child received the flu vaccine, did he die in spite of, or because of, the vaccine?

►December 30, 2003 - EPA Led Mercury Policy Shift - Agency Scuttled Task Force That Advised Tough Approach - Washington Post - "For nearly 21 months, a government task force steadily moved toward recommending rules that within three years would force every coal-fired power plant in the country to reduce emissions of mercury, which can cause neurological and developmental damage to humans."

►December 29, 2003 - New drug could beat anthrax poison - UPI via Washington Times - "A U.S. discovery could produce a drug to counter the deadly effects of the anthrax toxin, the BBC said Tuesday...Experts from Harvard Medical School have found six chemicals which they believe could stop a toxin called "lethal factor" getting into cells. In the journal Nature Structural Biology, they say a drug could be more useful than mass vaccination."

►December 30, 2003 - Experts Seek New Effort to Control Hepatitis A - The New York Times - "the wake of recent food-borne hepatitis A outbreaks, scientists and medical experts are urging the federal government to intensify its efforts to quash the disease...Now more than ever, some argue, there is a need for widespread vaccination against hepatitis A."

Posted December 29, 2003:

►December 24, 2003 - When it comes to vaccines, let soldiers call the shots - Commentary, Chicago Sun-Times - "Soldiers must obey orders. Normally that would begin and end our thinking regarding the U.S. military's desire to inoculate its troops against anthrax...But the military, which has performed so skillfully and admirably during warfare, has a terrible record when it comes to guarding the health of its personnel off the battlefield, and has lost the right to dictate, unquestioned, what troops should be required to automatically undergo."

►December 29, 2003 - Compounds stop anthrax toxin: studies - www.cbc.ca - "Researchers have discovered a way to stop a deadly anthrax toxin in tests on cells. They say it could lead to new ways of treating the disease...Rather than vaccinating whole populations, a therapeutic combination of antibiotics and protease inhibitor drugs would need to be used only in actual cases, Cantley said."

►December 27, 2003 - Bird flu gives South Koreans a case of `chicken flesh' - AP via Taipei Times

►December 27, 2003 - Louisiana one of five states to avoid flu outbreak - AP via www.nola.com

►December 28, 2003 - Flu suspected in death of second Wisconsin child - Pioneer Press - "State officials wouldn't provide any other details on the children. Haupt said the deaths should not cause alarm. 'It happens every year,' he said."

Comment:  Why the media hysteria, then?  And while some might argue that little harm can come from encouraging widespread use of flu vaccines, regardless of the circumstances, given that since 1990 and prior to any widespread use there were almost 18,000 adverse vaccine-associated reactions reported to VAERS, drawing such a conclusion would seem to be premature at best, foolish at worst.

►December 27, 2003 - Scripps' arrival opens animal research debate - Sun-Sentinel - "'With more reliable and more humane alternatives available today, [Scripps] has no business conducting gruesome and archaic animal tests,' ARFF President Nanci Alexander said in a news release. 'If [Scripps] is using animals in their research, we believe the public has the right to know exactly what and why.'"

►December 27, 2003 - New flu vaccine easier to get: No doc OK needed - Boston Herald - "As the flu's grip on Massachusetts continued to spread, Bay State public health officials this week agreed to allow pharmacists to administer a new influenza vaccine without a prescription...'It's another way of trying to maximize the availability of the flu vaccine,'' said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, director of the state Department of Public Health's communicable disease bureau."

►December 27, 2003 - UNRWA needs $193 million for emergency relief in 2004 - (subscription required) - www.zawya.com

►December 28, 2003 - Pot belly 'is alarm call for GP tests' - The Observer, UK via The Guardian, UK

►December 28, 2003 - Official: shocking scale of crisis in Britain's health - The Observer, UK via The Guardian, UK - "The full scale of the health timebomb caused by Britain's descent into lazy lifestyles is to be exposed in a landmark report by the Government's Chief Medical Officer...Sir Liam Donaldson will spell out for the first time how two-thirds of Britons are now so inactive - with most people, particularly women, failing to do even the minimum recommended amount of 'moderate' exercise - that they are at risk of getting cancer, diabetes and heart disease."

►December 28, 2003 - 'Bad breath' clue to lung disease - People with lung diseases have bad breath, according to scientists in the United States. - BBC

►December 28, 2003 - Cancer spread 'could be halted' - Scientists have uncovered more evidence of a "switch" which allows breast cancer to grow and spread. - BBC

►December 28, 2003 - The Next Generation of Diseases Are in Hiding, Somewhere (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 29, 2003 - Meningitis victim was sent home by hospital - N.H. teen lacked 'classic' symptoms - The Boston Globe - "The mother of an 18-year-old New Hampshire woman who died Saturday of meningitis said she took her ill daughter to a Peterborough, N.H., hospital on Christmas Eve, the same day the state issued a meningitis warning, but the emergency room doctor diagnosed the teenager with the flu and sent them home."

►December 28, 2003 - Lifesaving clues found in drop of baby's blood - Expanded testing of infants pays off - Chicago Tribune - "Had Noah O'Connell been born four months earlier, his brain probably would have begun to disintegrate from a genetic defect that turned food into poisonous wastes...But he was spared mental retardation and possibly early death because of Illinois' recently expanded newborn screening program that picked up his disorder in time for him to be put on a brain-saving diet."

►December 29, 2003 - U.S. Scientists' Deals With Drug Firms Under Review  Director of the National Institutes of Health may increase disclosure of consulting payments. (requires registration) - LA Times - "Zerhouni's letter, dated Tuesday, added: 'Our mission is too important to the public health of the nation to have it undermined by any real or perceived conflicts of interest…. I believe that the public's interest is best served by complete transparency, full disclosure, independent review, and proactive management and monitoring of all outside relationships.'"

►December 29, 2003 - The Politics of Autism - Lawsuits and emotion vs. science and childhood vaccines. (requires registration) - The Wall Street Journal - "Vaccine makers stopped using thimerosal a few years ago, but the autism lawsuits threaten those companies with enough damage that their ability to supply vaccines is in jeopardy."

Additional comment: Apparently the Wall Street Journal is not concerned about the CDC's own early  recognition of a connection between thimerosal and autism, and the ostensible later cover-up, as described by Congressman Dave Weldon, MD in a letter to the new CDC head, Julie Gerberding.

►December 29, 2003 - Look more deeply into autism (letter) - The Times-Picayune

►December 29, 2003 - HRT Should Be Stopped at Breast Cancer Diagnosis - Cancer via Ivanhoe

►January 5, 2004 - AMA vows united voice in battle for tort reform - Medical courts and state legislative action were also on the medical liability agenda at the AMA Interim Meeting. - www.ama-assn.org

►January 5, 2004 - Physician shortage predicted to spread - The AMA becomes the latest of many expressing concern that there might not be enough physicians to go around, now or in the future. - www.ama-assn.org

►January 5, 2004 - Flu vaccine stampede offers preview of pandemic - State health departments scrambled to connect those in need of a flu shot with dwindling supplies. - www.ama-assn.org - After the panic caused by last fall's severe and early flu outbreak, people may in future years place a higher priority on rolling up their sleeves for that annual pre-Thanksgiving shot, thus providing manufacturers a more predictable market and cutting down on the estimated 36,000 deaths attributed to the flu each year..."'We've tried to scare people for years to get them to get their flu shots. But they didn't respond until this year,' said Richard Raymond, MD, chief medical officer for the Nebraska Health and Human Services System."

►December 29, 2003 - To fight disease, it pays to have the right hit man - The Boston Globe - "How do you find an effective hit man? It's a dilemma biologists have been struggling with for more than a decade now, looking for brutish molecules that can whack diseases before diseases whack you. Specifically, what they want is a way to hack up, or "cleave," the RNA that carries the messages that will give you diabetes, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease, or any number of other undesirable conditions...This is one of those rare cases when killing the messenger -- the RNA inside your cells that bears the blueprints for disease -- is actually a very smart thing to do."

►December 29, 2003 - Haj pilgrims told to get vaccinations, undergo check-ups - www.dubaiinteract.com

►December 29, 2003 - Your ABC of healthy eating - So you're resolving to eat better in 2004.  But which foods and supplements can improve your health - and which are harmful? - The Independent, UK

►December 29, 2003 - The Politics of Autism - Lawsuits and emotion vs. science and childhood vaccines.  requires subscription) - The Wall Street Journal - "Vaccine makers stopped using thimerosal a few years ago, but the autism lawsuits threaten those companies with enough damage that their ability to supply vaccines is in jeopardy."

Comment:  Until and unless the Wall Street Journal produces credible scientific evidence of the cause(s) of autism, now epidemic in incidence, it should refrain from dismissing a known neurotoxin as a possible contributor.  They also might consider trying to get their facts straight - for one, even the CDCas well as Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Vaccine Safety and at least one flu vaccine manufacturer (Aventis Pasteur) acknowledge the continued presence of thimerosal in vaccines.

Comment:  To write the Wall Street, please send your emails to wsj.ltrs@wsj.comThe fax number for The Wall Street Journal is 212-416-2255.

►December 8, 2003 - Unexpectedly high incidence of persistent itching nodules and delayed hypersensitivity to aluminium in children after the use of adsorbed vaccines from a single manufacturer - journal article (Vaccine) - "The itching was intense and long-lasting. So far, 75% still have symptoms after a median duration of 4 years."

►December 29, 2003 - Schools accused of criminalizing disability - Discipline leading to lawsuits - The Houston Chronicle - "The Herzogs and Spring Branch officials will not discuss the lawsuit, but advocacy groups say such incidents indicate a disturbing attitude by many school administrators toward behaviorally disabled children...They say some administrators use school police to dodge the time-consuming processes dictated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires specially trained teachers and a separate program for each disabled child...'This is a major problem,' said Richard Lavallo, attorney in the Austin office of Advocacy Inc., which Congress created to protect the legal rights of the disabled."

►December 24, 2003 - Autistic man wins court fight - icSouthLondon - "An autistic man is set to receive substantial damages from Greenwich council after it failed to give him the education he needed."

Autism and Childhood Bipolar: A short history by Donna Williams - Autism Today

The 14 Signs of Autism - Autism Today

►December 29, 2003 - Kwara Health commissioner berates critics of oral polio vaccines - www.dailytimesofnigeria.com

►December 27, 2003 - A local man says his business is caught in the middle of a dispute between the state of Georgia and a Houston medical company, over the flu vaccine.

►December 29, 2003 - "Smart Bomb" Delivery Destroys Tumors in Mice - American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science - "Weizmann Institute scientists have destroyed malignant tumors in mice using a chemical that occurs naturally in garlic. The key to the scientists' success lies in the development of a unique, two-step system for delivering the cancer-wrecking chemical straight to the tumor cells...Allicin, as the chemical is called, is the substance that gives garlic its distinctive aroma and flavor.For many years, scientists studying allicin have known that it is as toxic as it is pungent. It has been shown to kill not only cancer cells, but the cells of disease-causing microbes, and even healthy human body cells. Fortunately for our body's cells, allicin is highly unstable, and breaks down quickly once ingested. However, the rapid breakdown and undiscriminating toxicity presented twin hurdles to creating an allicin-based therapy."

►December 26, 2003 - For Biotech Firms, A Booster Flu Points To Need For New Vaccines  - Hartford Courant via www.ctnow.com - "Scientists at Protein Sciences Corp. in Meriden and other biotechnology companies say the technology now exists to quickly produce vaccines as effective or better than the current flu vaccine. Producing the current vaccine requires about six months and tens of millions of fertilized chicken eggs...If the public maintains its healthy fear of flu, then new vaccines may be on their way, said Dan Adams, president and chief executive officer of Protein Sciences."

►December 29, 2003 - This Year's Flu Vaccine Likely To Be Much Less Potent Than Usual - AP via www.wavy.com - "The flu shot available this year was formulated to protect against three strains of the virus. But the strain actually circulating this year is somewhat different from those three, and it is probably too late to develop a new formula...Even though one of the three is a close cousin of this season's bug, whether that will be enough to help people ward off the flu is simply unknown. Some experts expect the level of protection to be 50 percent or less."

Keys to the Treasure Chest - The Journey Continues - autism conference alert - January 30 & 31, 2004 - Vancouver, BC Canada

►December 29, 2003 - A dose of restraint ordered for Pentagon - Opinion, The Virginia-Pilot - "Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said of the vaccine, 'It’s not experimental. It has been approved by the FDA.'...Yes, but only for cutaneous anthrax...And one attorney who worked on the case told The Washington Post that the only thing Pentagon officials received from the FDA to bolster their claim was the personal opinion of a political appointee, not full agency sanction that the shot can be used against both types of anthrax.

►December 29, 2003 - Brain damage link to flu in pregnancy - www.theage.com.au - "According to the guidelines, the benefits of immunisation in preventing flu in pregnant women during the second or third trimester outweigh the risks, which can include miscarriage."

Additional Comment:  Given that there are still flu vaccines that contain thimerosal (at least according to the CDC, Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Vaccine Safety and at least one flu vaccine manufacturer (Aventis Pasteur) , it would seem to be counter-productive recommending a product that can contain mercury in order to avoid brain damage.  Adding this exposure to the proposed fetal vaccine schedule, however, adds a less obvious source of mercury, one that might not be acknowledged.  Thus, adding this route of exposure has the potential to make it appear as if thimerosal exposure is less than it really is.  If autism incidence then continued unabated, unscrupulous people might use that fact to unjustifiably, perhaps even dishonestly, try to argue, using bogus assessments of thimerosal exposure, that thimerosal cannot be responsible for autism.

►December 28, 2003 - Mad cow disease expert says precautions may be too late - Fond Du Lac Reporter

►December 29, 2003 - Cow's Meat Reached Retailers in Eight States - Washington Post

►December 29, 2003 - Worried Pain Doctors Decry Prosecutions - Washington Post - "Jeri Hassman, one of Tucson's busiest pain doctors and a specialist in rehabilitation, was getting ready to inject a patient with a pain-killing treatment one day in March when federal officials burst into her Calmwood clinic, took off her jewelry, put her in handcuffs and led her to jail...Hassman was stunned. She does not deny that she prescribed a lot of powerful drugs to many patients, but she insists she was following good medical practice when she did."

►December 29, 2003 - Taking Steps to Make Sure a Diagnosis Is Accurate (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times - "Initial tests show no evidence of antibodies to SARS in the patient's blood, Dr. Klaus Stöhr said in a telephone interview."

►January 5, 2004 - Advocate for vaccines, but not for candidates - How should you counsel parents opposed to childhood vaccinations? - www.ama-assn.org - "In fact, when rates of coverage for certain diseases reach a certain high level, a resistance of the community to disease attack might occur because a large portion of the population is immune. This is what is known as herd immunity and allows for limited numbers of individuals to avoid vaccination, yet take advantage of vaccine protection...But parent refusal of vaccination without personal exemption status poses serious moral and legal problems that put public health at risk.

Comment: To read an overview which addresses many of the arguable points made in this article, click hereAnd for another perspective on "herd immunity", go to Scandals: Is the theory of "herd immunity" flawed?

►December 27, 2003 - Airing anthrax - Editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune - "The question of whether anthrax vaccine used during the first Gulf War caused or contributed to the set of ailments referred to as Gulf War Syndrome is unresolved. Up to 20,000 veterans of that conflict continue to suffer memory loss, fatigue, rashes and muscle and joint pains and still are trying to get compensation from the Department of Defense for their medical expenses. So it is easy to see why today's troops balk at taking the vaccine when so many questions remain unanswered."

Posted December 28, 2003:

►December 28, 2003 - China Quarantines Possible SARS Case - Officials on Alert for Winter Resurgence - Washington Post

►December 26, 2003 - Taiwan cleared of SARS infections: official - AFP via www.abc.net.au

►December 26, 2003 - Company that was supposed to supply Georgia with flu vaccine owes back taxes - AP via First Coast News

►December 26, 2003 - Therapy in bloom - Program sheds light on healing plants - The Topeka Capital-Journal

►December 26, 2003 - Beijing: Special Fund Offers Vaccine for Migrant Workers - www.china.org.cn/english

►December 23, 2003 - U.S. Government Provides $1.3 Million For Immunization, Vitamins, and to Fight Malaria - http://addisababa.usembassy.gov

►December 24, 2003 - “Mad cow” in US brings hope to organic producers - The outbreak of the first “mad cow” case in the United States could force a rise of beef prices in the international market benefiting organic producing countries such as Uruguay and Argentina. - Merco Press via www.falkland-malvinas.com

►December 27, 2003 - Health alarm over sunburnt children - Herald Sun, Australia

►December 27, 2003 - Jikei med school fires three doctors standing trial for malpractice death - The Japan Times

►December 26, 2003 - Nursing homes should be quick to adopt pet therapy - Abilene Reporter-News

Special Report - Mad Cow Disease (requires subscription) - in the Combat Zone @Redflagsdaily.com

Art of the M.I.N.D.: The Art Collection of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute (book for sale) - "The UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has assembled a significant collection of artwork created by children and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The pieces of art featured in this book — pencil drawings, watercolors and oil paintings — are on permanent display throughout the institute's building."

►December 26, 2003 - Scientist is winning converts on Alzheimer's - AP/Wall Street Journal via USA Today - "Ashley Bush, a 44-year-old researcher at Harvard Medical School, was pilloried after he put forth a radical theory of Alzheimer's disease in 1994...Bush's theory is that the real culprit in Alzheimer's is a copper and zinc buildup in the brain — an idea few scientists have looked at...Now scientists are giving Bush more credence. He has a five-year grant from the NIH and this year won an American Academy of Neurology prize for Alzheimer's disease research."

►December 28, 2003 - How Georgia got fooled in hunt for flu vaccine - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

►December 28, 2003 - Anthrax drill shows weaknesses, officials say - CNN - "A drill testing U.S. agencies' ability to distribute and administer antibiotics in the event of an anthrax attack found the federal government unable to respond quickly enough to prevent large numbers of deaths, officials said Sunday."

►December 28, 2003 - GIs in Iraq have mixed reactions on halt to anthrax shots - Stars & Stripes - "But one thing the military assured them they would have some protection against was the specter of anthrax: Before deploying here, each and every U.S. soldier had to take an anti-anthrax vaccine...But after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued a ruling Dec. 22 that ordered the military to stop requiring soldiers take the vaccine, the word in the desert is mixed."

Overview of Vaccine Manufacturing - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - FDA - "The nutrient media that are used to support the growth of bacteria and the cell cultures in which viruses are grown often contain animal-derived components and, commonly, bovine-derived (from cows) components. As examples, the cells that are used to propagate viruses generally require calf serum for their maintenance and growth and the nutrient broths that are commonly used to grow bacteria contain beef extracts (e.g., a beef broth)."

►December 28, 2003 - Your donation can help medics fight Africa's measles epidemic - A charity battling against diseases in Africa will be helped by our appeal, which has raised £221,721 so far. Rory Carroll reports from Congo - The Guardian, UK - "Measles is a viral disease spread by infected droplets during sneezing and coughing, and by touching contaminated objects. It causes fever and rash, and can lead to convulsions, pneumonia, bronchitis, mental retardation and death...In the rich world, it is seldom fatal because infected children eat well and have proper medical care, and because immunisation has restricted epidemics over the past 30 years...But in poor countries it kills 800,000 children every year. More than half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, and about 50,000 in Congo, according to Lieven Desomer, a vaccine specialist with Unicef, the United Nation's children's agency."

Comment:  For Scandals columns on the measles and measles vaccine, go to What Is Wrong With This Picture?;  More confusing disease stats;   Playing With Fire - It's Not EASY To Fool Mother Nature;   Don't Worry, Be Happy;  Measles In The Vaccination Age:  Is It Now Deadlier?;   Why We Won't Take No* For An Answer  (*No relationship between MMR and autism);  and Shoot First, Don't Ask Questions Later

►December 28, 2003 - SARS patient to soon be released from hospital - eTaiwanNews.com - "The more significant development is that antibodies have appeared in his system, showing that the amount of viral infection is slowly being reduced, Huang said."

►December 28, 2003 - Flu is expected to reach its peak early in January - Fond Du Lac Reporter - "Whooping cough, flu shots and now measles, are all on the mind of Fond du Lac County Health Officer Diane Cappozzo...Fond du Lac became a communicable disease statistic with its whooping cough outbreak, which Tuesday peaked at 210 confirmed cases out of 430 cases of pertussis reported in Wisconsin so far this year."

►December 28, 2003 - Testing starts for West Nile vaccine - Trials now taking place on 60 volunteers in Kansas City area - AP via The Lawrence Journal World

►December 27, 2003 - Anthrax protester wants the Marines to apologize - www.signonsandiego.com - "Anthony Fusco would like the Marine Corps to say it's sorry and then some...The Camp Pendleton Marine was demoted from corporal to lance corporal this year for initially refusing to be vaccinated for anthrax...Now a federal judge has ruled that the Pentagon's mandatory vaccination program is illegal, and the program was temporarily halted this week...Fusco, 23, feels he's been vindicated, and he's upset about the reduction in rank and loss of pay."

►December 29, 2003 - Call to stop deadly viruses getting into wrong hands - www.smh.com - "Ian Ramshaw...was critical of US researchers who have genetically modified cowpox virus, which can infect humans, in a way that is likely to make it extremely deadly...The team at the University of St Louis has said the research is necessary to understand what terrorists might achieve. "But I cannot see any scientific justification for it," Professor Ramshaw said...Sufficient knowledge could be obtained by restricting studies to mousepox virus, which is similar to cowpox but cannot infect humans, he said."

►December 28, 2003 - Inquiry after error over baby MMR - An investigation has been launched after a baby was accidentally given the controversial MMR injection.  - BBC - "The three-month-old girl was supposed to have received a meningitis jab. It is understood the mistake was made at Gorbals Health Centre in Glasgow...Guidelines state babies should be at least 13 months old before they get the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine...Public health experts said the incident should not cause any long-term problems for the child...Politicians described the mistake as appalling."

►December 29, 2003 - Brain damage link to flu in pregnancy - www.theage.com.au - "According to the guidelines, the benefits of immunisation in preventing flu in pregnant women during the second or third trimester outweigh the risks, which can include miscarriage."

Comment:  Even if there is a "brain damage link to flu in pregnancy", in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to use the flu vaccine during pregnancy, the risks of flu need to be compared to the risks of getting the vaccine.  Given how poorly studied vaccine risks are, a reasonably informed decision is difficult, if not impossible to make. (For a description of how poorly studied the Institute of Medicine found vaccines to be, click here.)

►December 28, 2003 - Millions paid out to kids hurt by shots - Congress created fund to ensure companies keep making vaccines. - News-Leader - "The program is 'fair and generous,' Balbier says. 'It serves the needs of families who do have a very, very rare instance of adverse reaction.'"

Comment:  Not everyone thinks the program is "fair and generous".  For more on this, go to The Victim Friendly National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act: You've Got to Be Kidding!

►December 28, 2003 - In China, a Possible SARS Case Alters Few Routines (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 27, 2003 - Third Case of Meningitis Reported in BR Area Within Past Three Weeks - www.wafb.com

►December 26, 2003 - Flu outbreak worst in years - Fatal influenza arrived in the Valley early and struck hard. - The Fresno Bee

►December 26, 2003 - Vaccine for flu easier to get - Daily News Transcript

►December 26, 2003 - Grant funds childhood vaccinations - Three agencies try to ensure that students receive necessary shots to stay in class. - Statesman Journal

►December 26, 2003 - Bio-terror team seeks volunteers - Sun-Herald

►December 26, 2003 - New war on germs - A new Biodefense Laboratory will help to protect a 17-county area from possible terrorist attacks, epidemics and other catastrophes - The Buffalo News

►December 26, 2003 - Easter Seals program helps autistic boy improve - Sun-Sentinel

►December 28, 2003 - Scientists, consumer groups debate individual disasters, general good - Such considerations as mercury's problems and the risks of autism and allergies come to fore. - News-Leader - "Consumer groups raising concerns about the risks say they are not anti-vaccine. But they want federal health officials to use what they know to make vaccines safer. Many scientists, doctors and parents believe that states' overzealous vaccination policies have contributed to dramatic increases in asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, autism, attention-deficit disorder, diabetes and other chronic neuroimmune illnesses."

►December 28, 2003 - Teen disabled by vaccine prepares for life on own - A rare reaction to an immunization crippled J.J. Coffelt's muscles, but not her spirit. - News-Leader - "J.J. is a statistical anomaly, one of 638 kids nationwide who, since 1988, have been compensated by the federal government for crippling disabilities suffered after getting immunized against childhood diseases."

Comment:  For a highly critical view of the compensation program, go to The Victim Friendly National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act: You've Got to Be Kidding!

►December 28, 2003 - U.S. Has New Concerns About Anthrax Readiness (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times

►December 28, 2003 - Despite Mad-Cow Warnings, Industry Resisted Safeguards (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times - "During a House debate last summer over a possible ban on using sick and injured cows for meat, Representative Gary L. Ackerman, a Democrat from New York, held up a photo of a crippled cow and cautioned that such "downer animals" carried the highest risk for mad cow disease."

Comment:  "Penny-wise but pound-foolish" just about sums up the arguments against prohibiting "downer animals" from being sold.

►December 28, 2003 - China Tightens Health Screenings After Suspected SARS Case (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times


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