Columns/Opinion, Guest Editorials

HHS fails to assure vaccine safety; responsibility falls to state

By Alvin H. Moss

In response to legal action against it on April 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged June 27 that for the past 30 years it has failed to issue even one biennial report as required by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 to promote safer childhood vaccines.
The pharmaceutical companies had requested the NCVIA because the litigation costs associated with vaccine injury lawsuits had threatened to put them out of business.
The NCVIA removed liability from vaccine manufacturers for vaccine injuries and deaths. At the same time it required HHS to create a watchdog task force to ensure that vaccine safety improved.
This task force, by law, was to have reported to Congress every two years and to be actively working to ensure proper safety studies were done for a product used on most American children.
HHS conceded that it has no records whatsoever of this task force reporting to Congress or even being established, leaving a liability-free product on the market with no oversight of safety.
This admission is particularly disturbing because the studies of vaccine safety conducted by vaccine manufacturers are flawed in a number of areas.
For example, an article in Slate noted that the clinical trials of Gardasil were not properly designed to assess safety. Slate found that the Gardasil studies underreported adverse events and restricted the reporting of adverse events to just 14 days after a Gardasil injection, a time-frame insufficient to detect immune and neurological reactions that could take weeks to months to develop.
Similarly Merck reported in its package insert for RECOMBIVAX HB that it monitored vaccine reactions for only 5 days, and GlaxoSmithKline monitored reactions to ENGERIX-B for only 4 days.
How can we be mandating vaccines to the children of West Virginia when HHS has not issued reports to improve vaccine safety? Why should West Virginia mandate vaccines without religious or philosophical exemptions when 47 other states grant one or more of these exemptions?
Should there not be an end to mandatory vaccination until such time as HHS provides the vaccine safety reports to Congress required by law?
Because the federal government has neglected to exercise oversight to protect Americans from vaccine harms for more than 30 years, it is the state’s immediate responsibility to protect West Virginia children from potential vaccine injury. We are calling on the state Legislature to eliminate mandatory vaccination in West Virginia.
Alvin H. Moss, M.D. is a physician who practices and lives in Morgantown. He is member of West Virginians for Health Freedom ( This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.