African-Americans, Vaccines and a History of Suspicion

African-Americans, Vaccines and a History of Suspicion

Overview

By
D. Amari Jackson

A good parent is not sure what to believe. On one side, doctors tell us vaccinations are safe and necessary for our children. They’ve been in existence for hundreds of years, most people get them and they are credited with eradicating diseases and saving lives.

On the other side are numerous horror stories involving vaccinated children like that of Harvard-educated attorney George Fatheree, who was pressured by a pediatrician to resume vaccination despite seizures his infant, Clayton, experienced after a previous round of vaccines. That night, Clayton’s seizures returned and he stopped speaking for three years. He grew into a severely disabled teen, suffering dozens of seizures a day. Because of similar vaccine-related injuries and deaths, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program — a fund under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up to shield vaccine manufacturers from liability — has paid out over $3.6 billion in compensation to affected families.

Given such occurrences, coupled with a dark history of government-backed medical atrocities enacted upon the Black community, African-American parents are often unsure what to think about vaccination. But, whatever one believes, when it comes to injecting potentially harmful materials into our children — among vaccine ingredients listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are known neurotoxins aluminum and formaldehyde, along with human fetal tissue — parents need to be as informed as possible.

“Informed consent means that you have the human right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of vaccines and to be allowed to make a decision without being coerced, harassed or punished,” says Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit she co-founded with parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982. Author of the seminal 1985 text, “DPT: A Shot in the Dark,” Fisher explains vaccines are “pharmaceutical products that carry an inherent risk of injury or death that can be greater for some people than others.”

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“Informed consent means that you have the human right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of vaccines and to be allowed to make a decision without being coerced, harassed or punished,” says Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit she co-founded with parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982. Author of the seminal 1985 text, “DPT: A Shot in the Dark,” Fisher explains vaccines are “pharmaceutical products that carry an inherent risk of injury or death that can be greater for some people than others.”

Last July, upon educating herself on vaccines and potential links to autism and learning disabilities, Dr. Rachael Ross — family physician, Ph.D and co-host of Emmy Award-winning TV show, “The Doctors” — issued a heartfelt apology to “any children and parents that I have unknowingly harmed.” As a Black physician with a Black patient base, wrote Ross, “I am very concerned and very sorry.” With what “I now know, I cannot support mandatory vaccines for children.” Parents, insisted Ross, “have to have the right to choose.”

Such concerns are not inconsistent with a recent Yale University study linking vaccines to mental disorders. However, some feel such linkages to autism and other disorders are misguided.

“Autism is a very complex neurodevelopmental disability and we do not yet know exactly what causes it,” wrote Dr. Adiaha I.A. Spinks-Franklin, in an online response at blackamericaweb.com. A developmental behavioral pediatrician in the Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, Spinks-Franklin went on to stress, “However, we are certain it is not vaccines.”

 

 

Undoubtedly, there are many sides to the debate given most medical professionals are neither for nor against all vaccines. But, in America today, a healthy debate is not taking place. Medical professionals who merely question the existing schedule risk reputation, career and are branded “quacks” in Internet posts and press. Because the mainstream media in this country, says Fisher, is “very much influenced by the pharmaceutical companies who advertise” in their space, “they characterize it as either you are against all vaccines or you are for all vaccines.” Not true, since most “want to use some of the vaccines or a different schedule,” yet are “being forced into using all the vaccines or are being called ‘anti-vaccine’ because they simply want to make informed choices.”