No Transparency in Vaccine Adverse Effects

No Transparency in Vaccine Adverse Effects
- Jagannath Chatterjee

Vaccine adverse effect surveillance is very poor in all countries. Even the VAERS of the USA is a passive surveillance system, it is not mandatory. VAERS reporting is somewhere between 3 to 10%. In India reporting hovers around 1 to 3%, 5% in case of the OPV, that too aided by the press. Now who evaluates these events? The very people who have to ensure the success of the program! So the terms, "coincidence", "program error", "insufficient evidence" comes into the picture. 

Vaccine Safety Data is another contested concept. It is not available in the public domain and attempts to reach it through the Freedom of Information Act in the USA have faced major hurdles. In the case of the Verstraeten report (refuting the link between mercury in vaccines and autism) the data was eventually shipped outside the USA and into private hands to avoid disclosure. 

The CDC Simpsonwood Conference of June 2000, a closed one, decided that whatever the pressure, "we are not going to admit it". The furore over this conference has been rejected as a "conspiracy theory" but FOIA replies cannot be denied. Today the IOM, CDC, FDA, WHO and NIH are seen by the public in a very poor light just like the IMC, IAP, DCGI of India.

We can cite the case of the blotched and highly unethical HPV vaccine trial in India involving tribal girls from Andhra Pradesh and Gujrat. Nine girls died during the trial and nobody is declaring why! The mothers of the girls are blaming the vaccine. Renowned health institions from India and abroad, BMGF included, were involved in the trial. It is very clear that there is no transparency in matters of vaccine safety and the situation will not correct itself in the near future.