When the Reagan Administration passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in 1986, essentially removing vaccine liability from the manufacturer, it enumerated three mandates. The first of these mandates would hold the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary responsible for ensuring vaccine safety. The second mandate created the Task Force on Safer Childhood Vaccines (the Task Force), made up of the heads of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In theory, The Task Force would recommend to the secretary of HHS how to improve vaccine safety. The third mandate of the NCVIA required the secretary of HHS to file a report every two years on its efforts to that end. However, to date, HHS has not filed one report. 

The vaccine-safety task force that Congress mandated back in 1986 disbanded in 1998, which HHS admitted to lawyer Aaron Siri when the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) sued them for failing to file the required reports. Despite being sued over this inaction, HHS still has yet to submit a single report. 

Despite ICAN’s following up with its 2021 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see those reports, HHS has admitted to still having none in January of this year.

Though HHS claims in its “HHS FY 2024 Budget in Brief” that its $2.99 trillion budget goes toward its mission “to promote Americans’ health and well-being,” it doesn’t see fit to spend any money on ensuring vaccine safety. And, though Congress can punish HSS for not producing the reports as mandated, either by withholding funds or eliminating certain powers, it does not

ICAN has also relentlessly gone after agencies regarding vaccine safety in many other instances. In February of this year, ICAN sent a letter to the FDA, requesting information regarding discrepancies in the reported number of deaths in the Pfizer COVID-19 clinical trial data. The data reported that more people died in the vaccine group than those in the placebo group. When the FDA didn’t respond to ICAN’s FOIA request, ICAN sent another request in April. When the FDA did respond, it claimed that it was unable to produce the requested information because it had to process ICAN’s “unprecedented volume of” FOIA requests!

The CDC claims that the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t cause new variants of the virus. ICAN sent three FOIA requests to the CDC for supporting documents of this claim. Still, the organization replied that it had no documents pertaining to ICAN’s request “because COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants.” 

ICAN’s Aaron Siri has said he will continue to fight these agencies until they show accountability for their actions.

Published Friday, November 10, 2023

Brenda Goldstein

Brenda Goldstein is a published journalist of over 20 years. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

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