Although S.A.N.E. Vax, Inc. does not participate in political lobbying, we understand that sometimes it is the only way to get things done. Therefore, we will periodically offer articles on how to make your voice heard in the political arena and links to groups that are politically active, from whom you may receive advice or guidance should you wish to become an activist.
U.S. Supreme Court will Rule on an Important Vaccine Case
By: Emily Tarsell
09 October 2010
Imagine how you would feel if you were in a serious accident caused by faulty breaks in your new car, but there was a law prohibiting you from suing the manufacturer for the defective car. Well there is a law which prohibits vaccine manufacturers from being sued for vaccine adverse events, and things could get worse as the US Supreme Court begins hearings this month regarding an important vaccine case. The case is Bruesewitz vs. Wyeth Laboratories and a lot is at stake.
What is it about?
In 1995, Russell and Robalee Bruesewitz had a healthy infant daughter, Hannah. But their little bundle of joy suffered a serious adverse reaction to a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT) vaccine. Shortly after the injection, Hannah developed a devastating seizure disorder. Her family has had to provide for her life-long extraordinary care which has been emotionally and financially draining. Hannah’s family has been seeking compensation on the grounds that the DPT vaccine Hannah received was defectively designed. Wyeth Laboratories, the manufacturer, knew of a safer alternative. Had Wyeth used the safer alternative, Hannah’s injuries could have been avoided. The Bruesewitz family initially filed a claim for compensation in the vaccine court.
What is the “vaccine court”?
The vaccine court is the common name for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ( NVICP). This program was created in 1986 by an act of Congress. In the 1980’s several manufacturers threatened to discontinue making vaccines because of rising numbers of lawsuits. In response to the potential impact on American health and safety, Congress passed a law protecting manufacturers against lawsuits from adverse reactions to vaccines. Alternatively, to handle claims from victims of vaccine adverse reactions, Congress created the NVICP where a vaccine court functioned as a no-fault compensation alternative to civil litigation for vaccine related adverse reactions. (1)
The NVICP Act of 1986 stipulates that all vaccine injury or death claims must be filed in the vaccine court. However, the Act does allow an alternative next step for civil litigation against the manufacturer under certain conditions. If the plaintiff can prove a defective design caused the injury and that it could have been avoided, the plaintiff can file a lawsuit in civil court against the manufacturer. Or can they?
After filing a claim in the vaccine court, the Bruesewitz family exercised the alternative option of filing a lawsuit in civil court against the manufacturer, Wyeth Laboratories. They argued that Hannah’s injuries could have been avoided if Wyeth had chosen to use the safer vaccine design. However, the lower courts have ruled that the NVICP Act of 1986 preempts all vaccine design defect claims, even those in which the design defect was avoidable. After 14 years of appeals, the case will be heard in the US Supreme Court beginning October 12, 2010.
Why is this case important?
The question before the Supreme Court will be whether or not the Act of 1986 preempts all vaccine design defect claims against the manufacturer. If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision, it means that vaccine manufacturers would have full immunity from litigation regardless of the circumstances. Think about that.
1. Pharmaceutical companies would never be held accountable for vaccine injuries or deaths even if the adverse reactions were a direct result of a defective design that was avoidable.
2. Victims of unsafe vaccines would never be able to seek justice or hold the manufacturer responsible for their actions under any circumstances.
3. The motivation for vaccine manufacturers to ensure vaccine safety would be further compromised.
4. Public trust in vaccine safety would be further impacted.
What can you do to protect citizen’s rights?
Write a letter asking that the US Supreme Court reverse the Third Circuit’s decision that preempts all vaccine design defect claims against the manufacturer. The original intent of the NVIC Program and vaccine court was to provide an alternative to the civil court system, but it did not close the door to tort litigation against the manufacturer. It is very important for reasons stated above, to keep civil litigation as an option. Address your letter to:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts
The Supreme Court of the US
One First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20543
Neal Katyal, Acting Soliciter General
Office of the Soliciter General
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
(1) For more indepth information, see the amicus brief submitted by the National Vaccine Information Center .
More links and information on vaccine litigation can be found at www.gardasil-and-unexplained-deaths.com under the Vaccine Litigation tab.
Effective Communication with Elected Officials
When communicating with an elected official, whether it be a local, state or national representative, there are a few common sense guidelines to follow in order to make your communication more effective. These apply whether you are writing, calling, or meeting them in person.
Use the proper format: Address mail to the Honorable (full name). In the greeting, address the official by their title and last name.
Be specific and brief: Identify in the beginning of your letter or phone call the specific issue to which you are referring. Briefly state your position and keep your communication brief. Keep your communications concise and to the point.
Always be on time: Elected officials frequently have extremely tight schedules, if you are not on time (or better yet, early) you may miss your opportunity to be heard.
Be prepared: Try to anticipate what questions or concerns may arise and have concise answers prepared in advance. If you are meeting in person, always bring documentation to support your position. Be ready to leave copies so they can be examined by your representative at a later time.
Listen and learn: Ask questions and listen carefully to the answer so you are able to gain an understanding of the background and interests of the person you are speaking with. Frequently, they may not advocate for your cause, but you can gain valuable information about who will.
Be calm and reasonable: Emotional appeals rarely work. Back your arguments with facts and figures. Provide solid evidence to support your position.
Remain positive, cooperative and professional: No matter what position your representative takes, keep your communications polite. They will remember it the next time you need to discuss an issue with them and be much more likely to accept your request for future meetings.
Always follow up: There is not a human being on the face of the planet who does not like to know their time and efforts are appreciated. Always send a follow up letter thanking them for their time and add a short review of the critical points of your prior communication. Take advantage of the opportunity to provide additional information and materials that may be pertinent to the issue at hand. Remember to keep it brief.
Thank them when they support your position: Always let them know you appreciate whatever support and/or guidance they have offered.
Jacqueline Dollard – Auckland, New Zealand
Jacqueline is a mother and researcher and not aligned with any political party. She instead sees herself simply as a concerned parent who is interested in actively working within the political arena towards ensuring a safe and healthy future for our children.
Jacqueline can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Vaccine Informed Parents – Mairead Hilliard
Mairead is the mother of a child who was vaccine damaged with the MMR vaccine in the 1990’s. She has been campaigning for some years for parents to be given the manufacturer’s information on State promoted vaccines, so that they can make informed choice before giving their consent to any vaccine, including the HPV vaccine.
She thinks it is outrageous that Irish parents have been misled about the safety of the HPV vaccine. Irish Politicians are giving the deaf ear to parents’ concerns about the reports of a high incidence of serious side effects, and in some cases reports of deaths following vaccination with the HPV vaccine.
Mairead can be reached via email at: email@example.com
Mothers Alliance Ireland, Nora Bennis
Mothers Alliance Ireland is the women’s committee of Christian Democrats the Family First Party, Ireland’s newest political party. This Party was established in 1996 to fight for Family-friendly policies.
One of their top priorities is the upcoming HPV vaccination programme in Ireland. The government in Ireland has bowed to pressure from pharmaceutical lobbying and media campaigns. 30,000 twelve and thirteen year old girls throughout Ireland received their first injection of Gardasil in June 2010.
Mothers Alliance Ireland does not believe the advertised benefits of Gardasil outweigh the potential risks. They are determined to have this vaccine withdrawn BEFORE any more of their young girls are seriously hurt.
During the next Irish election, they are calling for safe, affordable, necessary and effective vaccines to be made available to all, respecting at all times the right of people to refuse.
Nora can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Kleinman, Political Activist
Danielle is the Inspector of Elections for Radnor Township, Ward 3-1 in Pennsylvania. She is also the Secretary of the Radnor Democrats. Both are positions she was elected to hold.
Her mission is to raise awareness about HPV vaccines and their risks to the health of young women.
She can be reached via email at: email@example.com
Freda Birrell, Political Activist
Freda Birrell is a member of the Conservative Party, East Lothian Section in Scotland. Her current mission is to communicate with politicians of all parties in the Scottish Government, as well as the United Kingdom government to let them know and understand that there are great concerns surrounding HPV vaccines. Young girls are being harmed and she believes it is the politicians’ responsibility to investigate these events. Because she is a member of the currently ruling party, she expects her concerns to be heard.
Freda understands that the political systems in various countries differ from each other, but she has kindly offered to attempt to answer any questions you may have about becoming effective in the political theater.
She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Tunley, Political Activist
Stephen Tunley writes to all major politicians in Australia and has met with the Federal Health Minister, Roxon and Chief Medical Officer, Jim Bishop during the last year via the than Federal Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull.
He feels Roxon and Bishop were dismissive. Turnbull has offered to help further, but he is in election, so any benefit from his help will not happen for several months.
Stephen’s main thrust is:
While the original decision to promote Gardasil to Australian women, 9-26, in 2006 was perhaps correct in light of the information provided at the time, there is sufficient evidence that this is no longer so.
The way data is collected (or more accurately-not collected) does not allow the detailed understanding of side effects. This needs addressing ASAP.
The original studies were too narrow and not of sufficient depth or duration to properly understand risks, more particularly, these studies removed ‘certain at risk’ groups, but the vaccine is given to all (including those at risk) and this may be a common link to the health issues.
Given this, Government needs to conduct a genuine independent review of the growing list of health issues; and until that is completed, Gardasil must carry much stronger health warnings.
Finally, given the extraordinary ties between Pharma and medical professionals, these need to be absolutely listed, understood and those that gain direct, or indirect benefit, cannot be a part of any panel that recommends, or subsequently reviews pharmaceutical products.
Stephen will be happy to answer questions emailed to him at email@example.com
Grace Filby – Health Advocate
Surrey, United Kingdom
One point I’d like to let everyone know about is regarding the Cervarix HPV vaccine programme for teenage girls aged 12 upwards. I unearthed a series of factual errors in the original published material intended for GPs, parents and young girls throughout the United Kingdom. Through a FOI question I obtained a public apology from the Dept of Health and later, from the former Minister for Health, Dawn Primarolo. Those basic errors call into question the real likelihood of serious and long term side effects. They also call into question how many people have been misled, making false assumptions about the safety of the vaccines when the original “rigorous testing” studies did not even investigate beyond 30 days, did not include ‘at risk’ groups nor examine the effect it might have on fertility of our young girls. The current little NHS leaflets being supplied via schools simply say that side effects are “quite mild” and really, I don’t think that is good enough.
Julie Jones – United Kingdom
Julie has a daughter, Stacey, who was seriously affected by the HPV vaccine Cervarix. She contacted her Member of Parliament, Mr Pat McFadden, who worked tirelessly for Julie and Stacey. He was able to arrange for her to see the then Health Minister, the Rt Hon Gillian Merron. Many questions were asked by Julie and insufficient answers were forthcoming. This was to be further discussed after the General Election. Further discussions did not take place as Ms Merron lost her seat in the election, but, Mr McFadden is attempting to get a meeting for Julie and other parents with the new Secretary of State for Health, Mr Andrew Lansley. He will also ask the Shadow Health Minister or Secretary of State (Labour) to meet with the parents for fuller discussions.
Julie is determined to fight this all the way as she knows that the condition Stacey has “Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis” was caused by Cervarix and that as it is a very rare autoimmune condition, then it cannot be linked to the more population related encephalitis which is caused by either a virus or an infection. The government will have to recognise that young, healthy girls do not automatically fall ill with such a rare condition but it should be noted that Julie has an autoimmune condition herself as did her father. Vaccines are known to trigger such conditions if the genetic link is there which cannot be regarded as an “underlying condition”.
Julie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org