by Louise Kuo Habakus
Scroll down for all 4 recordings
In an effort to efficiently share a few highlights, the following quotes are not strictly transcribed (professional transcript to follow soon, so check back). As with all four recordings, I urge you to listen. You can hear the angst, the struggle, the fear, the despair, and the essential humanity of these two scientists wrestling with one of our most urgent and challenging societal issues.
This extends far beyond the safety of vaccination and the wisdom of the current U.S. childhood vaccine policy. These recordings do not, in and of themselves, constitute proof of wrong-doing. They do, however, raise shattering questions about a breach of the social contract; a broken and corrupt government agency; a pediatric health catastrophe; misuse of taxpayer funds; structural and institutionalized conflicts of interest; the overwhelming influence of corporations and other powerful interests; groupthink; the silencing of much needed contrarian voices in a democracy; and, always, the pivotal role of a small number of individuals.
It also raises a deeply personal question, as we listen to Dr. Thompson’s plea for us to bring political (and other) pressure to bear. What can we do?
REDUCING DATA SIGNIFICANCE IN AFRICAN-AMERICANS
Dr. Thompson: “We didn’t have an external review panel for the MMR autism… [study], so it was the one study where we could end up just replicating what Tom Verstraeten ended up doing…”
Dr. Hooker: “.. and then you had your Verstraeten “Oh shit!” moment.”
Dr. Thompson: “Yup.”
Dr. Hooker: “Then you basically deviated from that particular plan to reduce the statistical significance you saw in the African American cohort.”
Dr. Thompson: “We didn’t report findings that… all I will say is that we didn’t report those findings… The other co-authors will… say that the race variable was reliable…”
Dr. Hooker: “But… as a statistician, that doesn’t make any sense.”
Dr. Thompson: “I’m not going to defend it… the only two people who can really answer the question will be Marshalyn [Yeargin-Allsopp] or Coleen [Boyle]. Frank [DeStefano] would not know that. I don’t.”
TRYING TO GET INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS OF SEED DATA
Dr. Hooker: “I want to switch gears here really quick. Going to the SEED data…”
Dr. Thompson: “I have direct access to that data…”
Dr. Hooker: “I did request access to the public use data sets… and they referred me to the State of Georgia SEED site… I thought “OK… this is what I expected.” But if I had another trusted scientist…”
Dr. Thompson: “Well… I’ve been having a lot of discussions about this… there’s the project officer who just does all the contract stuff for the studies… She said, “I heard you told Marshalyn that you think someone outside should do the vaccine studies.” So it sounds like Marshalyn is trying to move forward on that idea… [she] wants… one of the principal investigators… to take the lead. But I told her… “The CDC should not be involved at all; bring in outside people”… I can promise you, if you apply political pressure, things can happen.”
CDC DOES NOT TOLERATE CONTRARIAN VIEWS
Dr. Thompson: “At this point, I’m just trying to get comfortable with everything that I’ve shared with you, that I can share with you… I’ve tried to share with you as much information as possible. If you say that you spoke to me, I promise… everyone will paint me as the bad guy… I’ll become… the next Brian Hooker that can’t be listened to… I will be the next scapegoat for the drug companies.”
Dr. Hooker: “What about those… inside that are sympathetic to you?… do they exist?”
Dr. Thompson: “I don’t think there’s anyone sympathetic inside to what I’m doing or what I have… My position is one the that the drug companies will jump all over… Nothing I’ve shared with you is classified… privileged information in any way. And if anything, people that have been my supervisors have broken laws… But I’m not going to be the judge of that…”
Dr. Hooker: “Why not?…”
Dr. Thompson: “… it’s gonna turn into hearsay… my opinion versus four other coauthors… [they] have a lot of support from the… CDC… no one would come to my defense… I’ve been involved in the separate situation that’s unrelated to this, where senior people just do completely unethical, vile things and no one holds them accountable.”
Dr. Thompson: “… I just don’t think the time is right… you’re not going to get a lot of… Bob Chen… was the one that was pushing really hard to get Immunization Safety moved out of the CDC… he actually almost succeeded but then they reprimanded him and slapped him around and…”
Dr. Hooker: “Transferred him.”
Dr. Thompson: “Yes, and then they moved him out… So I just think the current environment in the federal government… is hostile to anyone who says anything negative about any industry… I don’t know how we get independent studies.”
#1 of 4 — May 8, 2014
#2 of 4 — May 24, 2014
#3 of 4 — June 12, 2014
#4 of 4 — July 28, 2014
Louise Kuo Habakus is the founding director of Fearless Parent™, lead host and producer of Fearless Parent Radio™, and mom of two. She is a published author and runs the non-profits Center for Personal Rights and Health Freedom Action. Louise was a Bain consultant and a C-level executive in the financial services industry. She holds two degrees from Stanford University. She is an advisory board member of GreenMedInfo and The Documenting Hope Project.