In this investigation, first published in January of 2019, a top pro-vaccine doctor reveals vaccines can cause autism, and says when he told that to Dept. of Justice lawyers, they covered it up and fired him as an expert witness defending vaccines in lawsuits. You'll also hear both Democrats and Republicans in Congress tell how they are threatened and bullied by colleagues, and blocked from holding hearings, if they try to investigate the important topic of vaccine safety.
Watch by clicking the link below. Transcript follows.
Today we investigate one of the biggest medical controversies of our time: vaccines. There’s little dispute about this much-- vaccines save many lives, and rarely, they injure or kill. A special federal vaccine court has paid out billions for injuries from brain damage to death. But not for the form of brain injury we call autism. Now—we have remarkable new information: a respected pro-vaccine medical expert used by the federal government to debunk the vaccine-autism link, says vaccines can cause autism after all. He claims he told that to government officials long ago, but they kept it secret.
Yates Hazlehurst was born February 11, 2000. Everything was normal, according to his medical records, until he suffered a severe reaction to vaccinations. Rolf Hazlehurst is Yates’ dad.
Rolf Hazlehurst: And at first, I didn't believe it. I did not think that, I did not believe that vaccines could cause autism. I didn't believe it.
But there's a hard reality for Yates. The trademark brain disease, pain and inability to communicate that’s common with severe autism.
In 2007, Yates’ father sued over his son’s injuries in the little known Federal Vaccine court. It was one of more than 5000 vaccine autism claims.
Congress created vaccine court in 1988, in consultation with the pharmaceutical industry. In the special court, vaccine makers don’t defend their products—the federal government does it for them, using lawyers from the Justice Department. Money for victims comes from us, not the pharmaceutical industry, through patient fees added onto every vaccine given.
Denise Vowell: Our hearings are all closed to the public. And that’s statutory.
In 2007, Yates’ case and nearly all the other vaccine autism claims lost. The decision was based largely on the expert opinion of this man, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a world-renowned pediatric neurologist shown here at a lecture.
Dr. Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism. The debate was declared over.
But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information. He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out.
Hazlehurst: And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and United States government, the Department of Justice suppressed his true opinions.
Hazlehurst discovered that later when Dr. Zimmerman evaluated Yates as a teenager. That’s when he partnered with vaccine safety advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Junior—who has a voice condition.
Kennedy: This was one of the most consequential frauds, arguably in human history.
Kennedy was instrumental in convincing Dr. Zimmerman to document his remarkable claim of the government covering up his true expert opinion on vaccines and autism.
Dr. Zimmerman declined our interview request and referred us to his sworn affidavit. It says: On June 15, 2007, he took aside the Department of Justice—or DOJ lawyers he worked for defending vaccines in vaccine court. He told them that he’d discovered “exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.” “I explained that in a subset of children, vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation did cause regressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder.”
Kennedy: This panicked the two DOJ attorneys and they immediately fired Zimmerman. That was on a Friday and over the weekend they called Zimmerman and said his services would no longer be needed. They wanted to silence him.
Days after the Department of Justice lawyers fired Dr. Zimmerman as their expert witness, he alleges, they went on to misrepresent his opinion to continue to debunk autism claims. Records show that on June 18, 2007, a DOJ attorney Dr. Zimmerman spoke to told vaccine court, “We know [Dr. Zimmerman’s] views on the issue...There is no scientific basis for a connection” between vaccines and autism. Dr. Zimmerman now calls that “highly misleading.”
The former DOJ lawyer didn’t return our calls and emails. Kennedy has filed a fraud complaint with the Justice Department Inspector General, who told us they don’t “comment on investigations or potential investigations.”
Meantime, CDC—which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety-- never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded vaccines can cause autism - and to this day public health officials deny that’s the case.
Dr. Anne Schuchat: “Based on dozens of studies and everything I know as a physician and a scientist, there’s no link between autism and vaccines.”
CDC declined our interview request. In addition to filing a fraud complaint, Kennedy has delivered Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit to leaders on Capitol Hill. But there he claims, is another key part of this story: roadblocks set up by the pharmaceutical industry—or PhRMA.
Kennedy: But everybody takes money from PhRMA so they've all been corrupted. And it's almost impossible to get anything done on Capitol Hill.
Kennedy, a Democrat, isn’t the only one claiming vaccine industry money rules the day. We spoke to 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who claim they faced pressure, bullying or threats when they raised vaccine safety questions. Several of them agreed to appear on camera.
Burton: There's no question in my mind whatsoever that the pharmaceutical industry had a great influence with people over at the CDC and FDA. There's no question in my mind.
Republican Dan Burton—former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee—has an autistic grandson.
Burton: I am not against vaccinations.
He pursued vaccine investigations in the early 2000s. Beth Clay was one of his staffers.
Clay: There was a lot of pressure from people on the Hill.
When you say people on the hill were exerting pressure, what kind of people? Colleagues?
Clay: Colleagues, there were pharmaceutical lobbyists. The pharmaceutical lobbyists had, you know, they are the same people that have been entrenched. They can walk into any office in Capitol Hill, and they'll talk to staff, they'll talk to members and they'll encourage them to discourage, our investigation.
Sharyl: At the risk of stating the obvious why did they have that kind of access to members?
Clay: It's money. And if you look at the donations over the last 20 years, the pharmaceutical industry, and Republican and Democrat, they're nonpartisan. They put money everywhere.
Former Congressman, Dr. Dave Weldon, a Republican, says he got the message loud and clear.
Sharyl: If you would want to hold a hearing on an issue like vaccines and autism, your own leadership might fight you on that because of the financial influence, the pharmaceutical industry
Dave Weldon: They wouldn’t fight you. They’d kill it. It's dead. They don't even want to discuss it. It's dead on arrival. If you, if you as an individual member want to take on the pharmaceutical industries. It's forget it.
Sharyl: Can you describe an incident or just how it, how that would go?
Weldon: It would typically be in a hallway or the street and people would come up to you and say, “You know, you really need to, you know, back off on this. It could be, it could be bad for the community or bad for the country or bad for you.”
Weldon says he’s generally pro-vaccine, depending on the patient and the shot—and gives flu shots to adults. We asked him to review Dr. Zimmerman’s new affidavit.
Weldon: I found his affidavit and testimony through that affidavit to be consistent with my opinions. That some children can get an autism spectrum disorder from a vaccine.
Republican Bill Posey is a current member of Congress.
Rep. Bill Posey: I don’t have to tell you that industry is a very, very powerful industry. Matter of fact, I don’t know of anyone more powerful than that industry.
Posey says his own party leaders twice promised to hold hearings on the topic, only to scuttle them in the end.
Hazlehurst – who happens to be a criminal prosecutor-- was scheduled to be a witness at one such Congressional hearing. Two weeks before the hearing in 2013, he briefed Congressional staff.
Hazlehurst: I presented at that Congressional briefing and I explained in that hearing, if I did to a criminal in a court of law what the United States Department of Justice did to vaccine injured children, I would be disbarred and I would be facing criminal charges. I think that scared the hell out of them.
The hearing was abruptly cancelled. Meantime, Dr. Zimmerman – the one-time expert used to debunk vaccine autism claims—now says several of his own patients got autism from vaccines. They include Yates Hazlehurst.
Today, with intensive treatment, Yates is doing better. His dad hopes the new testimony from a most unlikely source will get new attention.
Hazlehurst: A child that was unnecessarily sacrificed and hopefully some good, will come from his suffering.
The lobby group representing the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t agree to an interview but told us they’re working with Congress and other stakeholders on the importance and safety of vaccines to support the health and safety of individuals and communities.
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cc chow says
Thanks for sharing. There are a lot more secrets to be uncovered.
Larry Bartlett says
There is an article from around 2000 fromLDonline.com that discusses this and is a must read. This group is partially funded by the NEA.
This is a must read.
You are a great journalist Sharyl. Presenting the facts in an unbiased fashion. Thank you.
John Massaro says
"There's little dispute about this much - vaccines save many lives...." You're wrong, Sharyl. There's plenty of dispute about it. I researched this subject for many years and learned that the entire history of vaccination, going back to Edward Jenner, who started it all in 1796, is an endless saga of delusion, fraud, greed, cover-ups, alibis, and depraved indifference to human life. On my website, endtheshots.com, I offer $30,000 to anyone who can name me one vaccine developer, since Jenner, who wasn't or isn't a failure, a swindler, or a psychopath. The offer has been up for a year and there have been no takers.
I like your comments & looking forward to seeing your website. Thank you for posting.
"There’s little dispute about this much-- vaccines save many lives, and rarely, they injure or kill." How do you know? There are no double blind randomized placebo trails on any of the vaccines. Have you read Dissolving Illusions? The Small Pox vaccines appeared to have spread the illness and didn't seem to have any noticeable long term impact except causing harm and death. The small pox vaccine story is very similar to the C-19 shots. Pertussis is riddled with issues and the vaccinated are the super spreaders of this disease. Did the Pertussis vaccine make the disease endemic? There are more vaccine polio and vaccine measles outbreaks than "wild" disease outbreaks. Do any of the vaccines actual work? Do any of them stop transmission? Do they actually provide any benefit? I used to believe that the vaccines worked (ie: you do not get the disease and you cannot transmit and they were good for life) and there was a small chance of injury from the shots. I didn't know they killed people until about a decade ago. I also thought the odds of serious injury or death were 1 in a 1,000,000 (which is a fake statistic). I hope you dig deeper.
There will be NO digging for me.
Vaccines are not perfect for everyone.
I remember the number of people moving around on crutches or bed bound. Vaccines almost wiped it out until Illegal Aliens were allowed into the US without having to go through the procedures like my Grandparents did in the 1920s.
The same can be said, about several other disease.
The difference with Covid is that they did not know what it was (maybe they did because they created it) before they wanted a vaccine. There were no tests on the short term let alone the long term effects.
At This Point:
I suggest you dig deeper and find the death rate for the the diseases of your concern you mentioned above. Plug in Covid to your graph.
Your wording up there is careless enough that I do not believe your writing.
One of our sons was vaccine injured. I dove into the research pertaining to vaccine safety to find there is NONE! That was 22 years ago, & I thought by now, more people would educate themselves. I was called a conspiracy theorist for becoming well read about the subject. DrWakefield’s research & the reaction to it (by media & governing health agencies) helped me to understand the depth of the money & politics because of the way the media vilified him. The truth has set our son free & ourselves. We found many Naturopathic ways to detox & heal him, which also helped all future choices in healthcare for our family. Never again has anyone in our immediate family taken a shot. That experience was our learning curve for preparation of today’s chaos with the fake Plandemic and the fake shots being pushed.
Doctors should not spread the untrue statistic, that most vaccines are safe, because the parents that believe them will end up with a brain injured child. That’s a huge consequence for trusting an authority.
Is it Karma when you know a pediatrician who just had a stroke due to taking another Covid booster? I believe so.
This is a must watch. Vaccines have NEVER been studied to determine if they cause Autism.
I am current on my shots and vaccines, less one.
I have received about 10 pneumonia shots or vaccines across 30 years. I needed them, but that is another story. I have not had pneumonia since the 1oth one 6 years ago.
The thought of the Covid vaccine concerned me because of the rush job on getting it on the market.
My concerns brought about the right course of action. I do not have to worry about the problems people are dealing with.
Yesterday, I read that Biden said the USA will stand in for Moderna because they are being sued. I did not read anything behind the headline. The Constitution does not allow the President to make that decision, However, if it goes through, I will insist he stand in for the lawsuits against the firearms' industry that he encourages. Precedent, you know.
Thank you Sharyl,
As I read your article my mind drifted back to Senator John Edwards shaking down doctors for autism causing injuries they gave to the babies they delivered. Forcing doctors to seek other branches of medicine because of insurance costs. He some how managed to speak for the babies because they could not speak, because even healthy babies don't speak.
As long as he was shaking down doctors, there was no need to do anything to look any further.