MICHAEL BELKIN TESTIMONY TO CONGRESS (Tuesday May 18, 1999)
My daughter Lyla Rose Belkin died on September 16, 1998 at the age of
five weeks, about 15 hours after receiving her second Hepatitis B vaccine
booster shot. Lyla was a lively, alert five-week-old baby when I last held
her in my arms. Little did I imagine as she gazed intently into my eyes
with all the innocence and wonder of a newborn child that she would die
that night. She was never ill before receiving the Hepatitis B shot that
afternoon. At her final feeding that night, she was extremely agitated,
noisy and feisty -- and then she fell asleep suddenly and stopped
breathing. The autopsy ruled out choking. The NY Medical Examiner ruled
her death Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
But the NY Medical Examiner (Dr. Persechino) neglected to mention
Lyla’s swollen brain or the hepatitis B vaccine in the autopsy report. The
coroner spoke to my wife and I and our pediatrician (Dr. Zullo) the day of
the autopsy and clearly stated that her brain was swollen. The
pediatrician Dr. Zullo’s notes of that conversation are "brain
swollen ... not sure cause yet ... could not see how recombinant vaccine
could cause problem."
SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion ..it wasn’t this, it wasn’t that,
everything has been ruled out and we don’t know what it was. A
swollen brain is not SIDS. Through conversations with other
experienced pathologists, I subsequently discovered that brain
inflammation is a classic adverse reaction to vaccination (with any
vaccine) in the medical literature.
I set out to do an investigation of the Hepatitis B vaccine and
attended a workshop at the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of
Medicine on “Neo-Natal Death and the Hepatitis B Vaccine," the Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) February meeting, and a debate
in New Hampshire between the Chairman of the ACIP, Dr. Modlin, and Dr.
Waisbren about the safety of the Hepatitis B vaccine. I also obtained the
entire Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database on
Hepatitis B vaccine adverse reactions and have investigated it thoroughly.
These are my conclusions, supported by the following pages of text and
analysis that are too lengthy to present in entirety in the time allotted
for this appearance. Please read the results of my investigation, as it
will help you understand the magnitude of the hepatitis B vaccine issue.
· Newborn babies are not at risk of contracting the hepatitis B disease
unless their mother is infected.
· Hepatitis B is primarily a disease of junkies, gays, and promiscuous
· The vaccine is given to babies because health authorities couldn’t get
those risk groups to take the vaccine.
· Adverse reactions out-number cases of the disease in government
· Nothing is being done to investigate those adverse reactions.
· Those adverse reactions include numerous deaths, convulsions and
arthritic conditions that occur within days after Hepatitis B vaccination.
· The CDC is misrepresenting hypothetical, estimated disease statistics as
real cases of the disease.
· The ACIP is recommending new vaccines for premature infants without
having scientific studies proving they are safe.
· The U.S. vaccine recommendation process is hopelessly compromised by
conflicts of interest with vaccine manufacturers, the American Academy of
Pediatrics and the CDC.
Conclusion: If (as with the recently-recommended rotavirus
vaccine) Hepatitis B vaccine was recommended in 1991 without scientific
proof that it was safe in a broad sample of racially and genetically
diverse babies less than 48 hours old before they established that
recommendation, then the CDC has been experimenting on babies like guinea
pigs and this Committee should suspend that universal immunization policy.
The Hepatitis B vaccine was effectively mandated in 1991 for universal
immunization of newborn babies by the Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices (ACIP) -- an adjunct of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). Paradoxically, the CDC’s own Fact Sheet on the
Hepatitis B disease does not include newborn babies as a risk group for
that disease. That Fact Sheet lists the risk groups as injection drug
users, homosexual men, sexually active heterosexuals, infants/children of
immigrants from disease-endemic areas, low socio-economic level,
sexual/household contacts of infected persons, infants born to infected
mothers, health care workers and hemodialysis patients NOT NEWBORN
Question: Why then, did the ACIP establish a policy mandating
that newborn babies not at risk of the disease be automatically
administered the 3-shot Hepatitis B vaccine as their first involuntary
indoctrination into the pediatric care of America?
Answer: Here is that rationale from the original ACIP 1991
statement establishing the official vaccination policy "Hepatitis B
Virus: A Comprehensive Strategy for Eliminating Transmission in the United
States Through Universal Childhood Vaccination ..." "In the United
States, most infections occur among adults and adolescents ... The
recommended strategy for preventing these infections has been the
selective vaccination of persons with identified risk factors ... However,
this strategy has not lowered the incidence of Hepatitis B, primarily
because vaccinating persons engaged in high-risk behaviors, life-styles,
or occupations before they become infected generally has not been feasible
... Efforts to vaccinate persons in the major risk groups have had limited
success. For example, programs directed at injecting drug users failed to
motivate them to receive three doses of vaccine ... In the United States
it has become evident that HBV transmission cannot be prevented through
vaccinating only the groups at high risk of infection ... In the long
term, universal infant vaccination would eliminate the need for
vaccinating adolescents and high-risk adults ... Hepatitis B
vaccination is recommended for all infants, regardless of the HBsAg status
of the mother ... The first dose can be administered during the newborn
period, preferably before the infant is discharged from the hospital, but
no later than when the infant is 2 months of age ..." (emphasis
So in the CDC and ACIP's own words, almost every newborn U.S. baby is
now greeted on its entry into the world by a vaccine injection against a
sexually transmitted disease for which the baby is not at risk -- because
they couldn't get the junkies, prostitutes, homosexuals and promiscuous
heterosexuals to take the vaccine. That is the essence of the
Hepatitis B universal vaccination program.
Question: What are the risks and benefits for administering this
vaccine to infants?
Answer: Hepatitis B is a rare, mainly blood-transmitted disease.
In 1996, only 54 cases of the disease were reported to the CDC in the 0-1
age group. There were 3.9 million births that year, so the observed
incidence of hepatitis B in the 0-1 age group was just 0.001%. In the
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), there were 1,080 total
reports of adverse reactions from Hepatitis B vaccine in 1996 in the 0-1
age group, with 47 deaths reported. Total VAERS Hepatitis B reports for
the 0-1 age group outnumber reported cases of the disease 20 to 1.
Question: Why don't they just screen the mother to see if she is
infected with Hepatitis B (since that's about the only way a baby is
likely to get the disease), instead of vaccinating all infants?
Answer: Selling vaccines is extremely profitable and the process
of mandating vaccines is fraught with conflicts of interest between
vaccine manufacturers, the ACIP and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The business model of having the government mandate everyone must buy your
product is a monopolist's delight.
Question: What studies are being done on the data from the FDA's
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)?
Answer: Absolutely nothing. The 25,000 reports are going into a
drawer and being forgotten.
How many reports are enough to show a drug or vaccine is dangerous --
2,500? 25,000? 250,000? Chen of the CDC and Ellenberg of the FDA monitor
this data, write reports and deliver speeches about how VAERS Hepatitis B
adverse reaction reports show nothing out of the ordinary and show "the
relative safety of HB vaccine when given to neonates and infants." VAERS
shows nothing of the kind. TAKE A LOOK AT THE VAERS DATA YOURSELF.
The health authorities continue to negligently downplay the steady stream
of serious adverse reactions to this vaccine and more infants and adults
continue to die and suffer central nervous system and liver damage after
Question: Why do the CDC, ACIP and Merck say that there are
140,000-320,000 new infections/yr (70,000-160,000 symptomatic
infections/yr) when their own CDC data shows only 10,000 reported cases
Answer: They are passing off estimated, hypothetical numbers as
actual cases. This is statistical fraud. In the financial world
such mis-representation would lead to criminal charges. If a company
inflated its earnings or revenues by 300% (as the CDC does hepatitis B
disease statistics) and foisted those figures off as official data (and
not some back-of-the-envelope guess-timate) -- that company would be
investigated by the SEC and sued by shareholders. Why doesn't that happen
in the medical world? There's no regulator to keep the CDC honest. They do
not say those figures are hypothetical estimates, they misrepresent the
data. Go try to audit those 320,000 supposed new infections/yr. You will
not find them. The whole exercise is designed to increase public hysteria
about the risk of a low-risk disease so the CDC can extend it's pervasive
influence and Merck can increase it's $900 million/year vaccine revenues.
Question: What process does the Center for Disease Control
employ to make a vaccine recommendation?
I attended the February Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
meeting in Atlanta and was absolutely appalled. Every vote by the
Committee on new vaccine mandates was unanimous (except for one dissenting
vote on Rotavirus vaccine for premature infants). There was hardly any
discussion of adverse reactions, the ACIP simply rubber-stamped every
proposal on the agenda. I call it Vaccination Without Representation.
In one instance, the ACIP passed a recommendation for Rotavirus vaccine
for premature infants even though no scientific studies had been
done showing it was medically safe. Dr. Modlin, (Chairman of the
ACIP), said in a pro-Hepatitis B vaccine debate in New Hampshire "How do
we determine whether something is scientifically valid or not? ... 1) Is
the theory biologically plausible? 2) Has it been tested by appropriate
methods? 3) Is the study well concluded? 4) Are the results statistically
sound?" But at the February ACIP meeting, when it came time for the ACIP
to rubber-stamp approval of Rotavirus vaccine for premature infants, here
are Modlin's quotes from the official transcript: "... available data are
insufficient to fully establish the safety and efficacy of rotavirus
vaccine in premature infants ... there is a section under Adverse Events
that details what little information there actually are with respect to
premature infants ... To my knowledge we don't have data from a clinical
trial specifically ... Some bit of information from Seattle, as I recall,
that had suggested there was a slight increase in relative risk for
hospitalization for premature infants ... Obviously a situation
where we have to make a judgment in the absence of data, and with a
vaccine that has not yet been tested in the group ..." (ACIP
transcript, pages 102-112) Modlin then held a vote and the recommendation
for premature infants passed nine to one -- Modlin voted yes, Dr. Glode
against. This is a clear example of how the medical bureaucracy (led by
the CDC and ACIP), is recommending vaccines without scientific evidence
that those vaccines are safe in a broad sample of racially and genetically
What Should Be Done? This Committee should investigate the 1991
ACIP recommendation establishing universal hepatitis B vaccination of
newborn babies in the hospital -- and if (as with the Rotavirus vaccine
example above) no studies were done to prove this was safe in a broad
sample of racially and genetically diverse babies less than 48 hours old
before they established that recommendation, then the CDC has been
experimenting on babies like guinea pigs and this Committee should suspend
that universal immunization policy.
VAERS ANALYSIS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System)
I studied statistics at the University Of California at Berkeley and
went on to develop sophisticated proprietary risk/reward statistical
models at Salomon Brothers from 1986-91 -- and in my subsequent, ongoing
business provide statistical economic and financial forecasts to mutual
funds, investment banks, pension funds and hedge funds.
I studied VAERS Hepatitis B vaccine data obtained by the National
Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) under the Freedom of Information Act.
The data has some flaws (incomplete fields, some multiple reports) but
any qualified, impartial quantitative analyst or statistician not
affiliated with Merck, Smithkline, the CDC, the FDA or the AAP who
examines these reports will find a clear and undeniable pattern of central
nervous system (CNS) and liver disease striking thousands of people within
0-4 days after vaccination with Hepatitis B vaccine. These reports
have been ignored, explained away, or considered "acceptable" by the FDA,
CDC and drug companies. This Committee should launch an investigation of
the VAERS Hepatitis B data by a team of independent scientists not
beholden to vaccine manufacturers or the FDA/CDC bureaucracy. The
following is intended to be a starting point for such an investigation.
This does not profess to be a complete, exhaustive analysis -- simply an
overview, highlighting aspects of the data that may not previously have
been brought to your attention.
The total 24,775 VAERS Hepatitis B reports from July 1990 to October
31, 1998 show 439 deaths and 9673 serious reactions involving emergency
room visits, hospitalization, disablement or death. Therefore, more than
one third of total reports were serious events. 17,497 of those total
reports were for Hepatitis B vaccine only, the remainder were vaccine
cocktails where hepatitis B was administered along with DPT, HIB, IPV, OPV,
The Hepatitis-B-vaccine-only reports show a shocking cluster of
reactions in females starting in their teenage years (the male/female
reporting ratio is balanced before age 16). For ages 16-55, 77% of
VAERS reports are women -- more than three times as many women as men are
reporting adverse reactions to Hepatitis B vaccine. The median
onset of adverse event after vaccination is one day, 70% of reactions
happen within four days of vaccination. Independent scientists should
investigate why females are more disposed to have adverse reactions to
Hepatitis B vaccine and/or report them to VAERS. One possible explanation
is that nurses have to take this vaccine for their jobs and are thus more
exposed than most adults to Hepatitis B vaccine adverse reactions. Rather
than dismiss that factor as an "over-reporting bias" as Dr. Chen of the
CDC did at the February ACIP meeting, perhaps investigators might consider
that nurses are alert health care workers and ought to be listened to with
regard to the dangers of adverse events with any vaccine (rather than
ignored). Personal case studies reported to the author have showed many
teenage girls getting severe, debilitating adverse reactions to Hepatitis
B vaccine, having nothing to do with nursing. Do women have a greater
vulnerability to auto-immune reactions to Hepatitis B vaccine? Is
the government discriminating against women by administering this vaccine
without regard for genetic risk of CNS and liver disease? Those
are questions that independent scientists should investigate.
A second area of concern is the VAERS reports involving Hepatitis B
vaccine administered with other vaccines (vaccine cocktails). Health
officials are fond of dismissing those reports as being attributable to
Hepatitis B vaccine, because of the multiple other antigens present
(almost as if they wanted to cloak Hepatitis B vaccine reactions from
scrutiny). Let's avoid that controversy and focus on the extremely
disturbing VAERS data of Hepatitis B vaccine with other vaccines. These
reports amount to only one third of total reports (7,275), but account for
two thirds of total deaths (291). The median onset of those deaths was 2
days after vaccination -- displaying a clear temporal association. The
median age of death was 0.5 years in this group. 50% of all
Hepatitis-B-vaccine-cocktail reports were serious (died, emergency room,
hospitalized, disabled). I grouped convulsive reactions
together from the Hep-B-vaccine-cocktail data and found a deeply
disturbing pattern. These were anything labeled convulsions, seizures or
tremors in the VAERS Hep-B-cocktail data. Of the 1189 such reports, fully
80% (950) were serious (died, ER, hospitalized, disabled) median age 0.5
years, median onset after vaccination 0 days (less than one day). Someone
should do follow-up and find out what happened to those poor infants who
suffered severe convulsions after a Hepatitis B-multi-vaccine cocktail. In
the personal reports I've taken of similar adverse reactions, the children
were left brain-damaged and developmentally disabled. Looking beyond the
debate over whether VAERS reports of vaccine cocktails can be attributed
to Hepatitis B, the data strongly suggests combining multiple
vaccines may be convenient and profitable for pediatricians -- but fatal
or debilitating for infants. Where are the scientific studies
showing Hepatitis B vaccine is safe to administer with DPT, HIB, IPV, OPV,
etc.? Did anyone doing cost/benefit analysis for those studies include
data showing the higher mortality and serious reactions present in the
VAERS data? Why not? Is there an identifiable genetic marker in those who
suffered convulsive reactions to screen out those vulnerable in the
future? These are all matters for independent scientists to audit.
Another area that leaps out of the VAERS database is something I dubbed
arthritic reactions. These are joint pains, tingling,
numbness, aching, fatigue, etc. I found 2,400 of those reports in just a
quick survey of the first reporting column of VAERS (Hepatitis B vaccine
only). Almost one half of those are serious, involving an ER visit,
hospitalization, death or disablement. These are the type of adverse
reactions reported by many adults who are forced to take the Hepatitis B
vaccine for their jobs. In the reports of such adverse reactions I've
taken, the symptoms do not go away, most patients complain it gets worse
over time. Scientists not corrupted by drug company or CDC/FDA
institutional bias should examine the thousands of VAERS Hepatitis B
arthritic reaction reports and develop a diagnosis of their Hepatitis B
Anyone who doubts if Hepatitis B vaccine adverse reactions exist should
sit down and read the symptoms and text comments of a random selection of
VAERS reports. When one does so, they will find a similar but wide-ranging
list of CNS and liver reactions that occur within days of vaccination. The
Merck package insert claims "Injection site reactions and systemic
complaints were reported following 17% and 15% on the injections,
respectively." The standard rule of thumb is only about 10% of
reactions are reported to VAERS. So the actual number and full horror of
the Hepatitis B vaccine reaction story is potentially much larger than
even VAERS suggests.