Those who have been patiently waiting for a true debate surrounding vaccine safety science to occur have been out of luck. To the surprise of few, the most recent episode saw Peter Hotez, again, back down from an open offer, and nearly $2.7M, to debate RFK, Jr. on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Nevertheless, the situation capitulated much-needed public attention to an important topic.    

For those new to this story, members of government health agencies and medical bodies all the way down to established medical professionals have praised these extremely lucrative, injectable pharmaceutical products, free from liability for any harms they may cause. ‘Safe and effective was the talking point, any other discussion was ‘debunked’ they told you, a conspiracy theory.

The public has been given nothing but constant assurances that vaccines were safe despite little to no discussion of a laundry list of possible risks, and no true informed consent. Then came the reality that vaccines are not tested against inert placebos or subjected to the “gold standard” double-blind placebo study to establish safety prior to licensure during pre-licensure safety testing.

The inconvenient truths mounted. No studies have ever compared the total health outcomes of the CDC’s vaccine schedule between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. No system is in place or body of scientific investigation in the books to assess who may be more susceptible to adverse reactions to preempt injuries. Broken adverse event reporting systems and an adversarial vaccine court continued to tarnish the government assurances backing the vaccine medical products of multinational corporations. Greed, conflict of interest, regulatory agency revolving doors, and billions paid in criminal fines by Big Pharma from past product failures and frauds have been demanding for open debate to occur.


The story didn’t start with Joe Rogan’s podcast. Many were relieved to learn a debate was set to occur in full public display, just down the road from the CDC, in Atlanta in 2018. Doctors, researchers, journalists, professors, and vaccine developers were set to give the public the facts. Until the entire ‘settled science’ side of the vaccine debate withdrew. Most cited communications from their superiors and medical groups as their excuses for not confidently appearing to present their exhaustive, ‘settled science’ the public keeps hearing so much about.

Among the Atlanta debaters with cold feet was Dr. Peter Hotez.

A year later, Hartford’s Legislative Office Building was the site of another hopeful vaccine debate put together by Connecticut Rep. Josh Elliot. The forum included three Yale doctors representing its Schools of Public Health, Epidemiology, and Medicine respectively. And for good measure, a 35-year pediatrician and longtime member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group would face none other than Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Yet less than 10 hours before the forum was set to start, Rep. Elliot abruptly canceled the debate as the infallible Yale intelligentsia ran for the doors.


Meanwhile, operating in the background was another powerful avenue delivering blunt force legal truths about vaccine safety in a court of law under oath. Attorney for the Informed Consent Action Network, Aaron Siri Esq. was busy serving the public much needed, informative wins against America’s top public health luminaries.

First, was longtime vaccine developer known as the ‘Godfather of vaccines,’ Dr. Stanley Poltkin who volunteered to be an expert witness in a child custody case where the parents were split on vaccinating their child. Siri expertly deconstructed Plotkin and the entire ‘settled science’ for two full days on the stand. It remains a historically significant time capsule in the safety science conversation.

Next up on the stand was world-leading vaccinologist, Dr. Kathyrn Edwards, who couldn’t city any of the exhaustive evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism. Another high water mark showing the willful knowledge gap in the ‘settled science’ vaccine safety science many seem to be fine with.

Even the CDC conceded to any deeper knowledge when it failed to produce scientific studies that back up its long-declared assertion that vaccines given to babies in the first six months of life do not cause autism. 

Underpinning an aspect of ICAN’s legal approach was a meeting, largely unknown to the public, of historical proportions in 2017. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Del Bigtree, and Aaron Siri along with a  small delegation of scientists and parents of vaccine-injured children appeared on the campus of the National Institute of Health (NIH), an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for a meeting regarding the “Safety Of Vaccines.”

The meeting was arranged by the newly elected President, Donald Trump, who had expressed concerns about vaccine safety throughout his campaign. Sitting across the long conference room table from the Kennedy delegation were scientists that are considered the world’s leading specialists on child health, mental health, and vaccines from across the NIH, including Francis Collins, Anthony Fauci, Lawrence Tabak, and many others.

Reed Cordish, President Trump’s appointed Assistant on Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives, was tasked with moderating the discussion.

In the end, it was clear that the greatest minds of vaccine science were unprepared to answer the basic questions about vaccine safety the Kennedy delegation asked, even though most of the points and questions raised had been culled from HHS’s own literature, studies, and websites. 

The only thing settled about the science represented at that meeting by top agency representatives around vaccine safety was that it was woefully incomplete.

“..the promise of a thorough discussion on vaccine safety came to a grinding halt and died behind the closed doors of the NIH. From its ashes was born the idea of the HHS Notice” writes ICAN on their website.

ICAN’s HHS notice has been the most exhaustive, modern-day correspondence regarding vaccine safety between a nonprofit and America’s leading health agencies. A must-read for anyone new to this conversation as it exposes the public health skeletons in the closet regarding the stunning lack of safety science underpinning the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule.

As media across all mediums is now enjoying a bump in interest surrounding the prospect of an upcoming debate, the typical lack of engagement by medical power centers and those representing the dominant orthodoxy is unsurprising yet again.

While American health agencies and their mouthpieces complain about the loss of public trust post-Covid, they continue to do nothing to bridge that trust.

For them, the attention now on vaccine safety is an uncomfortable blip on the radar they hope will go away soon. For the public, this is an incredible educational opportunity. The ongoing conversations being generated along with the open questioning of sore spots for public health agencies around basic vaccine safety points are all wins.      

American history continually confirms free and open debate allows the best ideas and courses to be decided upon by The People.

Simple insulting slogans like ‘the science is settled’ and ‘safe and effective’ droned on about in legislative hearings to justify the passage of bills and in the media which prepared audiences for mandated shots has done little to ease the ugly reality that America has slipped into the authoritarian-leaning practices of so many despotic regimes history has warned about.

A now surging, vocal resistance who are seeing these early warning signs serve as reminders that our long-inherited ideals that have made this country great will always overshadow corporate product lines, pharmaceutically-influenced politicians, and low information legislators in the universe’s long arc towards justice.

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.