Most Americans are oblivious to the huge annual burden of chronic illness, injuries and deaths linked to vaccines. Some of the blame for the public’s ignorance belongs to a complicit media that “pretends that vaccine-related injuries do not occur.” However, the lion’s share of culpability for the buried story likely rests with the two federal agencies charged with vaccine oversight—the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—both of which regularly engage in various forms of deception to uphold their bland narrative that vaccines are unambiguously safe. One of the most significant criticisms has to do with the FDA’s and CDC’s business-as-usual reliance on external experts with financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies and/or products that they are evaluating. Little has changed since a congressional Committee on Government Reform outlined this problem nearly two decades ago. The Reform Committee examined the doings of the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which determines whether new vaccines should be licensed, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which recommends vaccines for inclusion in the childhood vaccine schedule. The congressional committee noted that FDA and CDC advisory committee members and chairpersons own stock in the vaccine companies under consideration, as well as own vaccine patents. The CDC “grants conflict of interest waivers to every member of their advisory committee a year at a time and allows full participation in the discussions leading up to a vote by every member,” even if a member has a financial stake in the decision.

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