WGME Town Hall Vaccine Debate

By Ginger Taylor

This week in Maine an unprecedented event occurred. A mainstream media outlet hosted an extended, live debate on vaccines, invited a balanced panel and a balanced audience, let the audience questions drive the debate, and in no way biased or edited the final product.

This bold media outlet, CBS affiliate WGME in Portland, Maine, along with their media partner the Bangor Daily News, hosted this as a part of a national Town Hall event series. The panelists were former pediatrician and current Medical Director for MaineCare Kevin Flanigan, MD, MBA, former pediatrician and Vice President for Clinical Affairs for the University of New England Dora Anne Mills M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., authority on the anthrax vaccine Meryl Nass, M.D., and myself, Ginger Taylor, MS, BA, AM (autism mom).

Turns out there is a good reason that public health officials and vaccine program defenders don’t participate in fair, open, unedited, extended debates with critics of the vaccine program… they have dramatically different outcomes than the biased, prepackaged media pieces we are used to seeing. Public health loses control of the narrative quickly.

WGME has placed the entire debate on their web site and on YouTube. We at the Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice encourage you to take an evening to watch this unique debate, and to share it widely with those who are interested in more in depth discussions on vaccine matters.

In preparation for this article, I contacted my fellow panelists to tell them that we would be writing a follow up to the event and asked them to send any citations that might apply to the topics that they discussed so that those interested could continue to research the material. Below the videos you will find each of their notes.

Currently there are five vaccine bills in the Maine Legislature. Two that restrict and remove vaccine exemption rights, one that adds more vaccines to the list of those mandated for school entry, one that prevents discrimination against those who are unvaccinated, and another, written by me, to create a vaccine safety office at the Maine CDC to prevent vaccine injury, and to get vaccine injuries properly assessed, diagnosed, treated and compensated via the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

These bills will be heard in the Joint Committee on Health and Human Services on May 11th. We will be holding an all day advocacy push that day which includes a scheduled visit from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who will be educating legislators on what he has learned about vaccine safety after investigating parental vaccine injury claims.

We encourage Mainers who want to retain their right to vaccinate as they choose, and who want to work to prevent vaccine injury, to join our mailing list on http://mainevaxchoice.org/, join our group on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaineCoalitionforVaccineChoice/, and to join us in Augusta on May 11th as we educate the legislators on what is really going on in the vaccine program and why parental rights must be respected. https://www.facebook.com/events/1593889950828752/

On behalf of myself, The Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice, The Canary Party, HealthChoice.org, and the thousands of families we represent, we thank CBS 13/WGME and the Bangor Daily News for holding such an unbiased and in depth town hall discussion on vaccines. We hope that this will be a shining example of how mainstream media can restore their reputation with the public on this topic, and that it will be the first of many such events in the US.

Notes by Dr. Meryl Nass:

The Pertussis Discussion

Pertussis vaccine may not protect, and may enhance spread of pertussis if exposed after vaccination: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3896208/


This was written up in Science, Scientific American, NY Times, yet ignored and disputed during our debate:

Science has a better article than Scientific American on the FDA findings on pertussis vaccine:

Here the FDA responds to those who dispute the validity of the baboon model:

The Swine Flu/GBS Discussion

The former head of CDC who led the 1976 swine flu vaccine program admits there was Guillain Barre Syndrome as a result: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/suppl_1/S4.long

A review this month acknowledges GBS due to the 1976 program:

NYT: Fear of a Swine Flu Epidemic in 1976 Offers Some Lessons, and Concerns, Today:

Book by National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine about the program:
The Swine Flu Affair: Decision-Making on a Slippery Disease

Richard E. Neustadt, Professor of Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Assistant Professor of Health Services, School of Public Health, Harvard University

With an introduction by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978


World Health Organization/CDC slide show that says the relative risk was 7.6 based on 8 studies, and “several reanalyses with same conclusions” (slide 4): http://www.who.int/immunization/sage/Sejvar_GBS_influenza_2slides_page.pdf

A 2012 paper that notes the risk of GBS increased more than 6 times in vaccinees:

The CDC’s admission on the matter:
J Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 15;198(2):226-33. doi: 10.1086/589624.
Anti-ganglioside antibody induction by swine (A/NJ/1976/H1N1) and other influenza vaccines: insights into vaccine-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Nachamkin I1, Shadomy SV, Moran AP, Cox N, Fitzgerald C, Ung H, Corcoran AT, Iskander JK, Schonberger LB, Chen RT.



Receipt of an A/NJ/1976/H1N1 “swine flu” vaccine in 1976, unlike receipt of influenza vaccines used in subsequent years, was strongly associated with the development of the neurologic disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Anti-ganglioside antibodies (e.g., anti-GM(1)) are associated with the development of GBS, and we hypothesized that the swine flu vaccine contained contaminating moieties (such as Campylobacter jejuni antigens that mimic human gangliosides or other vaccine components) that elicited an anti-GM(1) antibody response in susceptible recipients.


Surviving samples of monovalent and bivalent 1976 vaccine, comprising those from 3 manufacturers and 11 lot numbers, along with several contemporary vaccines were tested for hemagglutinin (HA) activity, the presence of Campylobacter DNA, and the ability to induce anti-Campylobacter and anti-GM(1) antibodies after inoculation into C3H/HeN mice.


We found that, although C. jejuni was not detected in 1976 swine flu vaccines, these vaccines induced anti-GM(1) antibodies in mice, as did vaccines from 1991-1992 and 2004-2005. Preliminary studies suggest that the influenza HA induces anti-GM(1) antibodies.


Influenza vaccines contain structures that can induce anti-GM(1) antibodies after inoculation into mice. Further research intoinfluenza vaccine components that elicit anti-ganglioside responses and the role played by these antibodies (if any) in vaccine-associated GBS is warranted.

A sample of six vaccine and injectable medication disasters in the US during the past 60 years

All have been due to failures of testing or failures in manufacturing processes.
Meryl Nass, M.D. March 21, 2015

1. 1955: (Improperly inactivated) live polio vaccine caused polio in thousands of children

Cutter (now part of Bayer) incident 1955–This early US Salk polio vaccine contained live polio virus, which had not been inactivated in the factory. It caused 40,000 polio cases in the US due to inadequate inactivation of live virus. Cutter was the major company involved, but other companies also had problems with viral inactivation. The NIH director and others lost their jobs in the aftermath, since Bernice Eddy, an NIH scientist, had earlier found the vaccines paralyzed monkeys, but her findings were suppressed in the rush to vaccinate.



2. 1950s-1960s: SV-40 (Simian Virus 40, a cancer-causing virus) contaminated polio vaccines given to tens of millions of Americans.

SV-40 causes cancer in animals and has been found in human cancers, though its relationship to human cancers remains uncertain, as the research has been contradictory.


3. 1970s-1985: Factor 8 Concentrate. a pooled blood product used to prevent bleeding in hemophiliacs, was contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C, but continued to be sold worldwide, even after manufacturers became aware of the contamination.

Its manufacturers knew it was contaminated with HIV (and Hepatitis C), which spread through the injectable blood products used by hemophiliacs. About 8,000 US hemophiliacs at the time developed HIV infections this way, and an estimated 150,000 developed Hepatitis C, which frequently results in chronic liver disease, cirrhosis or death. The practice of distributing contaminated blood was widespread internationally, with many companies involved, and continued even after the problem was identified. It led to suits against pharmaceutical companies in a number of countries. It led to thousands of deaths. Doctors went to jail.

Cutter/ Bayer knowingly sold HIV-contaminated products in the US and overseas, seemingly having learned nothing from its polio-contaminated vaccine disaster 25 years earlier.




4. 1976-1977: Swine flu vaccine given to 45 million Americans for a non-existent disease, causing hundreds of cases of paralysis

A new flu virus was discovered in a soldier who died at Fort Dix, NJ. Concern that the virus might cause a 1918-like influenza pandemic led to a huge federal program to develop a vaccine and vaccinate every American against the virus. But the epidemic never occurred. And the affected soldier, despite having an acute infection, had undertaken a forced march, and then died. No one knew if the flu had killed him. The vaccine manufacturers, meanwhile, were given a waiver of liability.

After 45 million inoculations of the newly developed vaccine, about 400 people developed paralysis from the vaccine (Guillain Barre syndrome, at a rate 6-8 times expected during the six weeks post-inoculation) and about 30 died. The program was then ended. The Secretary of HEW, Joseph Califano, asked that a thorough investigation be done of the science, the policy and the processes involved. The result is a bird’s eye view of how personal and political agendas came together to supercede considerations of the public health:


http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=394635 (unfortunately now behind a paywall)

5. 1999: Rhesus rotavirus vaccine (Rotashield) caused intestinal tract damage.

This oral vaccine was designed to prevent a usually mild form of gastroenteritis that kills (via dehydration) an estimated 30 US babies per year. However, it caused 22 times the expected number of cases of intussusception of the bowel, and many affected babies required surgery to repair “telescoping” of the guy. Several died. Four months after being licensed, the vaccine was taken off the market.


6. 2009-10 Pandemrix swine flu vaccine, used in Europe, caused about 900 cases of narcolepsy.

Children aged 5-19 were about 15 times more likely to develop narcolepsy if they received the Pandemrix brand of swine flu vaccine in Europe. Other age groups were also at an increased risk or narcolepsy due to the vaccine, but to a lesser degree. Narcolepsy is caused by autoimmune destruction of cells in the locus ceruleus of the brain. It is a newly recognized vaccine adverse reaction. The narcolepsy cases were quite severe and generally associated with cataplexy.



The adverse effect profile of drugs and vaccines is generally not well known until millions of people have received the drug or vaccine. This occurred in each of the cases above.

New federal legislation, removing manufacturer liability for (even unlicensed) products developed for emergencies, increases the speed at which these products are manufactured and tested, increasing their potential risk. citizehttp://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm125127.htm#categories


For these reasons, citizens deserve to retain the right to choose for themselves and their children whether or not to receive medical products and procedures.

State Legislators Organization (NCSL) Targets Vaccine Exemptions and Supports Meningitis Vaccines

How might state legislators be influenced/manipulated by pharmaceutical companies to remove vaccine exemptions and mandate more vaccines? Through their non-partisan national organization, which appears to provide “value-free” information on many subjects of interest to legislators.

The NCSL (national conference of state legislatures) sponsor list includes many Pharma companies


This organization (NCSL) appears to target vaccine exemptions at this site


This organization highlighted vaccinations in the February issue of their magazine


For example:

“Between 2009 and 2012, lawmakers in 18 states introduced 36 bills involving vaccine exemptions, 31 of which would have made opting out of shots easier. None of the 31 passed, largely because of strong evidence that withholding vaccinations leads to outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other diseases. States with easier exemption policies were “associated with a 90 percent higher incidence of whooping cough in 2011,” according to a 2013 Institute of Medicine report.

(This does not make sense, since the main driver in whooping cough epidemics is the waning of vaccine immunity, not lack of vaccinations—Nass)

Children who are vaccinated against preventable diseases such as influenza and whooping cough also have fewer doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California, Vermont and Washington now require parents who want exemptions to get a doctor’s signature. In Oregon, parents must get a doctor’s signature or watch a video about the risks and benefits of vaccines. In Colorado, where whooping cough cases have topped a 60-year high, lawmakers passed HB 1288 in 2013 requiring schools to collect and make publicly available information about their vaccination and exemption rates.”

With a date of 1/12/2015, this organization has a page titled “Immunizations Policy Issues Overview”


This organization has especially highlighted meningitis vaccine legislation


and HPV vaccine


legislation, even though neither vaccine is associated with herd immunity; your child will not “catch” either of these infections through casual contact with other children.

Notes by Ginger Taylor:

99 Research papers supporting the vaccine/autism link.

CDC recommended childhood vaccine schedule from 1973 to 1988 as compared to the current schedule following the liability protection put in place in 1986: http://mainevaxchoice.org/images/1983v2015.gif

The CDC adult vaccine schedule:

The National Adult Immunization Plan Draft:

HHS has become a vaccine patent holder while approving, regulating and recommending vaccines, and while and adjudicating vaccine injuries, without disclosing its serious conflicts of interests to consumers.

The current Congressional investigation into the #CDCwhistleblower scandal, triggered when senior CDC vaccine scientist William Thompson admitted publicly that he and his research team had actively hidden vaccine autism links from the public.

The DOJ indictment of CDC vaccine safety researcher Poul Thorsen on 21 counts of fraud and money laundering for embezzling more than a million dollars from CDC and his university, whose research CDC is still using to support vaccine safety claims.

The US Government Accounting Office, Associated Press/NYT and American University/George Washington School of Law investigations into the failures of the VICP to properly compensate families of vaccine victims.

NYT/Pace University Environmental Law Review research showing that, although the federal government will not officially establish the vaccine/autism link, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has been quietly paying autism cases since 1991.

Full information on the proposed Maine Vaccine Consumer Protection Act.

Our opposition to the bills in Maine proposed to restrict and remove vaccine choice rights.

Johns Hopkins database of vaccine package inserts: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm

Vaccine Injury Compensation Table:

All research into vaccine uptake shows that it is the mostly highly educated parents who are the ones choosing to opt out of vaccination.

Notes by Kevin Flanigan:

Dr. Flanigan wrote very gracious notes to both myself and Dr. Nass about our participation in the debate. He thanked us for the offer to add notes, but shared that the state of Maine believes that the debate as aired speaks for itself.

Notes by Dora Anne Mills:

As of this publishing Dr. Mills has not responded to our offer to include her notes. We will amend should she forward any comments to us.

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