Letter from Edward Pomicter MD, to George Till, MD – April 5, 2012
I heard you quoted on VPR yesterday saying that if the state does not do away with the philosophical exemption that the state would have “failed its responsibility to protect people.” I would like to point out that nowhere in the state or federal constitution is the government given the responsibility (or power) to protect people in the manner that you suggest. You, as a legislator, have been empowered to protect our individual rights (please note that there are no constitutionally protected group rights) the most fundamental of which is our right to self determination. If we do not have the right to determine what goes into our bodies, we are nothing more than slaves.
As allopathic physicians, both of us are “practical scientists” in that we must read and interpret the literature available to us and weigh it in light of our clinical experiences and observations in caring for patients. There are many instances of “good science” turning out to be “bad science” in retrospect. Vermont’s enthusiasm for forced sterilization eugenics programs in the last century should be a glaring example of this. Additionally, there are strong economic forces that are used to try to influence our medical decision making (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-g-yerman/an-interview-with-dr-dian_b_405472.html) and that these financial forces are more apt to succeed when they need only focus on influencing a few political decision makers rather than a whole profession or population.
The science and literature of vaccination is not exempt from having and perpetuating bad science, on both sides, therefore such a medical decision must be based upon an individual evaluation of risks and benefits by the physician and patient/guardian. For the state to force any individual to act against their conscience in health matters based upon a potentially mistaken belief that the action will “protect” that individual (or the child who the guardian is responsible for) is a most ugly and distasteful example of coercion by force.
You and I in our individual practices cannot (and I believe would not even if we could) force patients to do something against their will. Why is it right for the state to do so? I hope that you will reconsider your position and support the right of the individual to their own body.
Edward Pomicter, MD
A Quick Example:
Simian Virus 40 (SV40) was a contaminant of polio virus from 1953 to 1963 and some experts believe that it was a contaminant up until 1999. There is significant disagreement in the scientific community, but smart and educated people interpret the literature to support the contention that SV40 is a causative agent in multiple human cancers including cancers of the brain, thyroid, lymphatics, lung and bone. If this is true, then the polio vaccine, although well intentioned, may have had the unintended consequence of contributing to the explosion of cancers seen in the latter part of the 20th century through today.
Lancet paper linking SV40 to Non-Hodgkins Lymphomahttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11897278
Interview of Dr. Maurice Hileman of Merck telling about SV40 being in polio vaccinehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgBBwOnmy3w&feature=player_embedded#!
Dr. Hilleman was the developer of Merck’s vaccine program. He developed over three dozen vaccines, more than any other scientist in history. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received a special lifetime achievement award from the World Health Organization. Hilleman was one of the early vaccine pioneers to warn about the possibility that simian viruses might contaminate vaccines.