On Tuesday, March 5th, the Senate held a hearing to discuss disease outbreaks with a panel of 5 “experts.” The hearing was officially titled: Vaccines Save Lives | What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?
From the title alone, we can guess how the hearing would go. And, we weren’t disappointed. The entire focus of the hearing was on how vaccines are great, they’re safe, and they’re necessary to fight disease. Senator Rand Paul was the lone dissenting voice on that (to a degree). Literally everyone else spoke solely in favor of vaccines, and were relatively condescending towards those who disagree that vaccines are always great.
Let’s dive in…to what happened at the hearing, as well as what next steps will likely be.
Important Points of the Congressional Hearing on Vaccines
If you want to watch for yourself, go HERE.
I spoke with several advocates who were present at the hearing. Many told me they showed up at the building around 9 AM. I have had estimates from 200 to 500 who showed up. They were directed to wait in line, and were told that seating was first come, first served.
As they waited, the estimates of how many would get in kept going down. The room seated about 100. In the end, only about 10 – 15 made it into the room. They were made to stay at the back of the room, and out of the way of the cameras. They did not want any opposition visible.
Some of those who did not make it into the room were directed into an “overflow” room, where they were able to watch live on C-SPAN. Others opted not to watch, but instead to visit their Senators to have private meetings.
Some said that police were cordial and friendly, and others said they felt intimidated. Several mentioned that there was a rather strong police presence, despite no actual need for it. (I heard of a few threats of arrest for clapping too enthusiastically or holding signs, but I don’t believe anyone got arrested.)
Many were very angry that so few were allowed into the room, and that this felt planned, staged, and a deliberate attempt to leave them out.
The Meeting Itself
Sen. Lamar Alexander, the leader of the committee, opened the hearing with a statement. He made it clear that his point was this: “Today I want to stress the importance of vaccines.”
During his opening statement, he noted that “70% are vaccinated against all these diseases,” which I took to mean among the entire population. This is not true. While it may be accurate in a pediatric population, it is not true in the population as a whole. (CDC on adult vaccine coverage.)
This is unsurprising, because, despite relatively poor coverage of most vaccines in the adult population (since most weren’t on the schedule until the mid- to late 90s, or after 67% of the current population was past childhood vaccination age), they like to pretend that “herd immunity” could possibly exist in the population as a whole. They always look at pediatric numbers and completely ignore that adults exist and their vaccination statuses should matter, too.
Senator Alexander goes on to say:
“Internet fraudsters who claim that vaccines are not safe, are preying on the unfounded fear and daily struggles of parents, and they’re creating a public health hazard that is entirely preventable. It’s important that those who have questions about vaccines, especially parents, to speak with a reputable health provider. As with many topics, just because you found it on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true.”
I suppose he means me. I’m an “internet fraudster,” for pointing you towards peer-reviewed studies and asking you to make informed decisions. How dare I? You should just go to a ‘reputable health provider’ and do whatever they say, even though they don’t provide you with proper informed consent. That’s clearly the safer plan.
After the opening statements (Tammy Baldwin also gave one, but it wasn’t worth quoting), each Senator had 5 minutes to speak, as well as to ask questions of any of the panel members.
These are the Senators that sat on this committee. The number next to them is the amount of money they got from the pharmaceutical companies last year.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander ($62,700)
- Sen. Patty Murray ($111,414)
- Sen. Johnny Isakson ($68,000)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren ($61,448)
- Sen. Tammy Baldwin ($110,443)
- Sen. Rand Paul ($20,000)
- Sen. Pat Roberts ($27,500)
- Sen. Bill Cassidy ($156,600)
- Sen. Maggie Hassan ($20,163)
The panel “experts” were:
- Dr. Saad Omer, public health expert
- Dr. Jonathan McCullers, pediatric health
- Dr. John Wiesman, WA state public health
- John Boyle, CEO of Immune Deficiency Foundation
- Ethan Lindenberg, high schooler
Note that each of the first four at least has some claim of expertise: post-graduate degrees and years of experience in medicine. But the last is simply a high schooler who decided to get vaccinated even though his mother didn’t agree. He is in no way an expert, and his story should never have made national media. Newly 18-year-old adults make their own decisions all the time. This is not news.
In fact, Ethan’s older brother, 22-year-old Issac, has been speaking out against Ethan’s actions this week. You can see an interview with Issac HERE. He’s been fighting to oppose mandates and traveled to DC to be present at the hearing today, too, along with their other brother, Noah. Oddly enough, Isaac and Noah’s pro-freedom stance has gotten NO mainstream media attention (other than a brief spot on Fox News yesterday).
Throughout the hearing, Ethan was treated as an equal to the men sitting there. He was even asked, at one point, if he believed that vaccines don’t cause autism, as if he had anything on which to base his opinion. His inclusion was absolutely ridiculous.
But, moving on to some fun quotes from the hearing….
Regarding public health response to measles cases: “This is a staff and time-intensive activity, and is highly disruptive to peoples’ lives. It has cost over 1 million dollars, and required the work of over 200 individuals.” — Dr. Wiesman
Wiesman had just finished describing how they quarantine any individuals with symptoms for 21 days or until symptom-free, and anyone close to them who may be incubating the disease for 21 days, or until they develop and recover from the disease. They grill them about where they have gone and who they may have come in contact with. They contact people who may have been in the same areas. Essentially, this is why the measles outbreaks are so expensive — because of the ridiculous overreaction to a generally mild disease. The costs don’t have anything to do with treating the disease itself.
“We have lost much ground; urgent action is needed. Everyone has the right to live in a community free of vaccine-preventable diseases.” — Dr. Wiesman
That second sentence. No, Dr. Wiesman, nobody has a “right” to live in a society that is free of disease. Do I have the right to never be exposed to strep throat, or a stomach bug? I don’t, because vaccines for these diseases don’t exist. If you are a human and you live among other humans, you will sometimes get exposed to diseases. There is no such right of non-exposure.
Further, they’re arguing this point, but don’t think people have the right to not be forced to accept injections containing neurotoxins and which could kill them. Odd perspective.
Dr. Omer was asked about vaccine exemptions. He had this to say about imposing further restrictions on exemptions: “They change the balance of convenience vs. non-convenience.” He essentially admits that the whole goal is to make it too annoying for people to exercise their rights, thus coercing them into vaccinating. It’s not about families being informed and making a choice they’re comfortable with; it’s just about making it too inconvenient to opt out.
Of course, they spent quite a bit of time at this hearing talking about the problem of “vaccine hesitancy” and “vaccine refusal.” Their goal wasn’t to understand why people are opting out, or what they could be doing to create a less-intense vaccine schedule or safer vaccines. This problem is not their fault. It is the fault of the stupid parents who won’t do what’s good for their kids (obviously).
Senator Alexander asks Dr. McCullers about parents refusing vaccines because of autism concerns. Dr. McCullers actually begins to give a reasonable response, stating that parents usually have many different concerns and they are looking for real answers. Senator Alexander interrupts him, and tells him to only focus on the autism objection (because that fits the narrative that it’s the only reason parents opt out). McCullers then goes on to share the false narrative about Dr. Wakefield that is commonly passed around — liar, fake, retracted, etc.
A quick side note here. On Monday, a new “definitive” study on vaccines vs. autism came out, which of course they mentioned during the hearing. The timing was not coincidental.
Too bad that the study is garbage.
The study (which you can see HERE) just looks at population data on vaccination with the MMR and autism rates. It didn’t look at medical charts for any child. It didn’t look at any other vaccines. Oh, and it was funded by a pharmaceutical company that makes vaccines. So…big swing and a miss. But they didn’t report any of those conflicts.
“Vaccine refusal is high and getting worse in many states. … Reading uninformed opinions in the absence of accurate information can lead to really understandable concern and confusion in these parents.” –Dr. McCullers
McCullers calls our opinion, backed by numerous peer-reviewed studies, “uninformed.” I’m sorry, but using information from quality sources (peer-reviewed journals) means our opinions were, in fact, “informed.” He just doesn’t like our conclusion.
Then, Dr. Omer goes on to a tired refrain: “Vaccines are victims of their own success. … Parents see and hear about real or perceived about adverse events, not disease, and their perception changes.”
He’s arguing two ridiculous points. One is that we don’t understand how ‘severe’ the diseases really are because we’ve never seen them. Which is untrue — many of us have had these diseases, or have parents or grandparents who have. Some of our children have, too. We’re not ignorant of them. In fact, we have a more realistic profile of what they’re like vs. their risks than do most parents who haven’t seen them, but have been taught to fear them.
Second, that reactions are either so rare we don’t see them, or that what we think are reactions, really aren’t. That we just ‘hear scary stories’ about them and they feel so real and terrible.
These are two conflicting points, by the way. He’s arguing that despite their attempt to tell us scary stories, we’re still not scared enough of disease. And that when other random people tell us scary stories about vaccine injury, we’re too scared of those. Why would we be immune to one set of risks and averse to another? Just from stories? This is not logical.
Obviously, we’re more scared of vaccine injury because many of us have seen both, and vaccine injury is worse (in most cases).
Further, why should we be focusing on fear? Shouldn’t we be looking at the facts and making an informed decision? Either they think we’re too stupid to do so, or incapable of understanding, or…well, their conclusion can’t be nice.
Sen. Isakson asks if we can do more vaccines. Dr. Omer says yes! He wants to vaccinate pregnant moms for RSV and strep B to “protect babies.” He calls the trials “mother’s gift.” This is what’s coming next, moms — they’ll try to load you up with vaccines during pregnancy for your baby’s “good.”
“I don’t know any organization that does more for health in our country than CDC.” Sen. Isakson. Gag with me.
The only breath of fresh air during this hearing was Senator Rand Paul. He used his entire 5 minutes to talk about his position, and did not ask any questions of the panel. “This may be the only medical procedure in the modern world where informed consent is not required.” He said of vaccines. He also noted that $4 billion has been paid out due to vaccine injuries, that force is not required. He received applause after his speech — which did not happen during any other portion of this hearing.
By the way, C-SPAN started a poll at the beginning of the hearing, asking if vaccines should be mandatory. Last I checked, about 75% said no. The comments section was more telling, though — the vast majority said things along the lines of “I think vaccines are a good idea, but they shouldn’t be mandated.” Very, very few people were truly pro-mandate. They are trying to make it seem like most people are in favor of it, but they aren’t.
A couple of the most ridiculous moments happened towards the end.
Senator Pat Roberts got his turn to speak. He is an older man, and spoke specifically to vaccination to protect the elderly. He told some rambling story about a woman who thought vaccines were important, but just ‘forgot’ to get her flu shot, and she and her husband both got the flu and died. This was supposed to be some kind of evidence or facts…but made no sense and was clearly a scare tactic.
He also talked about a girl who “died of measles.” He said she had cancer, was immunocompromised, had several health issues going on, and got exposed to measles at school. He talked about how horrible it was that she was exposed to measles. When he asked the panel to clarify if she died, the panel remember replied “Several years later.”
He was attempting to imply that this girl was killed by “anti-vaxxers,” which she didn’t even die after exposure to measles, nor was her death even remotely related to measles. That’s despicable.
Senator Cassidy’s turn. This little gem of a quote. He was speaking to Ethan Lindenberger when he said it. The irony is, he thinks that Lindenberger is smart enough to understand this issue, but all the parents who disagree with his stance, aren’t. That’s a huge double standard!
In fact, they’re constantly calling us out for not being smart enough to understand the science because we don’t have backgrounds in immunlogy. They have extremely high standards for those of us who want to question them, and we’re always found lacking, no matter what our background or information. Those who toe the mainstream line are automatically intelligent. There’s a huge problem with defining someone’s intelligence by what their beliefs are.
At the end of the hearing, they began to talk about the best ways to combat “misinformation.” They flat-out say that they will be using fear tactics — choosing scary stories to try to manipulate people. Since “sharing information” didn’t work, they’ll have to resort to this.
I’m not sure when they stuck to information and didn’t parade photos of sick children and use scary stories to manipulate (that’s been going on for years), but now they apparently are making this an official, announced part of their strategy. If they can’t convince you with coercion, mandates, overstated risks of disease and understated risks of vaccines, they will try to play to your emotions.
What We Learned from the Congressional Hearing on Vaccines
Really, this was nothing new.
They used the same, tired talking points they always do. Including:
- Vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary
- Vaccines save lives
- Vaccines don’t cause autism
- Vaccines are a victim of their own success
- Misinformation on vaccines runs rampant on social media
- Parents aren’t scared enough of disease
Literally nothing has changed in the last 10 years. They haven’t been able to come up with any new, legitimate studies that prove that vaccines are safe. They haven’t done the studies we’ve demanded, over and over — looking at the full schedule given together, looking at vaccinated vs. (fully) unvaccinated, using true placebos, doing population-level follow-up studies of VAERS data. None of it.
An increasing number of studies on the risks of aluminum adjuvants and their link to neurological damage have come out. But they don’t look at the DTaP vaccine for a link to autism; only the MMR. Could it be because they know what they’ll find…and they don’t want to?
The media covered this hearing as if Lindenberger was the star and a hero. They also said — not for the first time — that there are not two sides to this debate, just one. (Pro-vax side.)
This smacks of utter desperation. They don’t have anything new to say, so they’re just going to try to control the conversation. They have been saying these things for years. Heck, Lindenberger said “correlation doesn’t equal causation,” at the hearing, which is ironic, because I guess they think it does when they wear those “Vaccines Cause Adults” shirts.
My initial reaction to the hearing was anger. But in the morning light, I realize it was nothing more than a show. They’re hoping to sway the people to believe the tripe that no one has really believed for years, and they are losing, badly. They still somehow think they can say the same things and work to take our rights away and it will work — but it won’t.
What We Need to Do Next
They’re going to pull out all the stops now, because they don’t have anything else they can do. Expect to be bombarded by every scary disease story possible on the media and across social media. They will pounce on anything anyone shares and amplify it massively. They’ve been doing that awhile; they’ll do it more frequently. They are going to try to make you doubt your decision and yourself. Don’t fall for it.
More state-level bills will be introduced, to try to eliminate exemptions or make them harder to get (i.e. requiring counseling by an MD, or an MD signature on a religious exemption)
This pro-forced vaccine narrative does not reflect what most people actually think. They’re hoping that people don’t ask too many questions and they believe that most others think these things and only the ‘fringe’ doesn’t. They have tried to paint us as uneducated lunatics to dissuade others from talking to us or coming to think like us.
This tactic worked great before the advent of social media, because communication couldn’t happen as quickly. People would mostly believe what they were told, because they didn’t have access to information to prove otherwise (and no real need to fight it if it wasn’t “their” issue). This is why they’re so furious about social media! It isn’t allowing them the control they want.
Here’s what we need to do.
Speak Up to Friends
Many of your friends are on the fence about all this. Many believe in the right to choose, even if they choose vaccines. And many don’t even know there is another side yet. Speak up! Tell them they have the right to choose. Tell them that the state wants to take away that right. We can’t let “them” control this conversation, and since we’ll talk to all the people and we’re more trustworthy (we’re “one of them”), we need to speak out NOW.
Communicate to the Government
Write, call, visit your reps at all levels. Get involved at the state level primarily (because that’s where the bills are), but don’t forget about national. Let them know you do NOT support mandates of any variety. If you’re close enough to your state’s capitol building, set up meetings with your reps, or plan or attend a rally. They mostly have to know that we’re here, we have large numbers, and we’re NOT going away.
Vote with Your Dollars
Pharmaceutical spending and revenue is out of control. Sales of OTC medication went from $10.4 billion in 1990 to $35 billion today, with a projected revenue of $187 billion by 2024. It’s increasing exponentially!
The $5.2 billion per year they spend in direct-to-consumer advertising has been very effective in convincing us we need a pharmaceutical for every little thing.
It’s not just about opting out of vaccines. It’s about finding alternatives to as many pharmaceutical products as we can. Start learning about how to support your immune system, and treat simple stuff naturally. It’s a big deal because they’ve purposely hidden this knowledge from us, but we can — must! — get it back! If we keep buying all their other stuff, they’ll know we’re still hooked on them, and that must stop.
Information and alternatives have never been more important!
We can fight this. And we will win. Don’t let your guard down, and don’t stop working towards this. We, the people, number many more than they do. And despite all their money, they can’t actually force the masses to do anything – if the masses are coordinated and prepared to fight.