Published September 18, 2016
A recent study published in EBioMedicine conducted by researchers from the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene...
— William Wilberforce
The following is a transcript of a statement read on the floor of the United States House of Representatives on July 29, 2015 by U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) of Florida’s 8th District.
It’s troubling to me that in a recent Senate hearing on childhood vaccinations, it was never mentioned that our government has paid out over $3 billion to a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for children who have been injured by vaccinations. Regardless of the subject matter, parents making decisions about their children’s health deserve to have the best information available to them. They should be able to count on federal agencies to tell them the truth. For these reasons, I bring the following matters to the House floor.
In August 2014, Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worked with a whistleblower attorney to provide my office with documents related to a 2004 CDC study that examined the possibility of a relationship between mumps, measles, rubella vaccine and autism. In a statement released in August 2014, Dr. Thompson stated:
I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request the following excerpts from the statement written by Dr. Thompson be entered into the [Congressional] Record. Now quoting Dr. Thompson:
My primary job duties while working in the Immunization Safety branch from 2000 to 2006 were to lead or co-lead three major vaccine safety studies. The MADDSP MMR autism cases control study was being carried out in response to the Wakefield Lancet study that suggested an association between the MMR vaccine and an autism-like health outcome. There were several major concerns among scientists and consumer advocates outside the CDC in the fall of 2000 regarding the execution of the Verstraeten study.
One of the important goals that was determined upfront in the spring of 2001 before any of these studies started was to have all three protocols vetted outside the CDC prior to the start of the analyses so that consumer advocates could not claim that we were presenting an analysis that suited our own goals and biases. We hypothesized that if we found statistically significant effects at either 18- or 36-month thresholds, we would conclude that vaccinating children early with MMR vaccine could lead to autism-like characteristics or features.
We all met and finalized the study protocol and analysis plan. The goal was to not deviate from the analysis plan to avoid the debacle that occurred with the Verstraeten thimerosal study published in the Pediatrics in 2003. At the September 5th meeting, we discussed in detail how to code race for both the sample and the birth certificate sample. At the bottom of Table 7 it also showed that, for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect, statistical significance was huge.
All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002 not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects. The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to this study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them in a huge garbage can.
However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and DOJ (Department of Justice) requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office and retained all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.
End of quote of the doctor. Mr. Speaker, I believe it’s our duty to ensure that the documents Dr. Thompson provided are not ignored. Therefore, I will provide them to members of Congress and the House committees upon request.
Considering the nature of the whistleblower’s documents, as well as the involvement of the CDC, a hearing and a thorough investigation is warranted. So I ask, Mr. Speaker, I beg, I implore my colleagues on the appropriations committees to please, please take such action.