WaPo Writer Brazenly Lies About Vaccine Safety, Refuses to Issue Correction

To persuade parents to follow the CDC's routine childhood vaccination schedule, Lena H. Sun in the Washington Post lies that every vaccine is studied for safety when given in combination with every other vaccine on the schedule. Confronted with her lie, she's refused to issue a correction.

In my article “Washington Post Lies about Safety of Giving Multiple Vaccines at Once“, I demonstrate how Lena H. Sun, in an article titled “Why it’s a bad idea to space out your child’s vaccination shots“, outright lies about the safety of the CDC’s routine childhood vaccine schedule.

Her purpose in writing that article is to reassure parents that no harm can come to their children from strictly following the CDC’s schedule. To support that reassurance, Ms. Sun asserts:

The effectiveness of the vaccine schedule is tested extensively to ensure that the vaccines in the combination don’t interfere with one another and can be easily handled by the infant and the child’s immune system. No new immunization is added to the schedule until it has been evaluated both alone and when given with the other current immunizations.  

That is a lie.

I don’t need to prove no such studies have been done. It is up to Ms. Sun to support her claim with supporting evidence. Where are these studies? She cannot present any evidence to support her claim because those studies don’t exist.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Here is the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its 2013 report on “The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety“:

In summary, few studies have comprehensively assessed the association between the entire immunization schedule or variations in the overall schedule and categories of health outcomes, and no study has directly examined health outcomes and stakeholder concerns in precisely the way that the committee was charged to address in its statement of task. No studies have compared the differences in health outcomes that some stakeholders questioned between entirely unimmunized populations of children and fully immunized children. Experts who addressed the committee pointed not to a body of evidence that had been overlooked but rather to the fact that existing research has not been designed to test the entire immunization schedule. The committee believes that although the available evidence is reassuring, studies designed to examine the long-term effects of the cumulative number of vaccines or other aspects of the immunization schedule have not been conducted.

Now, I have emailed Ms. Sun as well as the Washington Post editors to request that they issue a correction to her article. In my email, I cited this IOM report.

I also cited Neil Z. Miller writing in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2016:

Although CDC recommends polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenza type B, and pneumococcal vaccines for two-, four-, and six-month-old infants, this combination of eight vaccines administered during a single physician visit was never tested for safety in clinical trials…. The safety of CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule was never affirmed in clinical studies. Vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, yet health authorities have no scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive.

Just this morning, I managed to get through to Ms. Sun on the phone. She informed me that the Washington Post had received my request for a correction and that this was under review.

She was willing to leave it at that, but I reminded her that she has a personal responsibility as a journalist, apart from the Post’s review process, to correct her false claim. I reminded her of what she wrote and then once again referred her to the 2013 IOM report.

So how did that go?

Well, importantly, Ms. Sun said that she’d looked at that report. Yet she stood by her claim by accusing me of taking the relevant quote from the IOM “out of context”.

Well, you can read what she wrote and compare it to what the IOM acknowledges for yourself. You can decide to yourself who is being dishonest here.

Sun cannot offer any evidence to support her claim. She cannot produce any of the studies she says exist showing the safety of the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule because, as the IOM admits, such studies “have not been conducted.”

If she wishes to stand by her claim, it is not enough for her to accuse me of quoting the IOM report “out of context”. She must produce the studies she says exist.

So will she do the right thing? Will she show journalistic integrity by either producing the supporting evidence or issuing an apology and correction? And will the Washington Post do likewise?

To help put pressure on the Post to do the right thing and acknowledge its error, you can email [email protected]. You can also email Ms. Sun at [email protected]. Additionally, you can write a letter to the editor at [email protected].

I will continue to update you about this matter. Stay tuned.

Also be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I’m continuing to keep up the pressure on Sun and her editors to do the right thing. Please retweet and help me make some noise to hold the mainstream media accountable for their lies about vaccine safety!

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