A Jan. 6, 2019 news report produced by investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson for Sinclair Broadcast Group revealed that retired congressmen Dan Burton (R-IN) and Dr. Dave Weldon (R-FL) and current Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) were pressured by colleagues or threatened by PhRMA lobbyists to back away from examining vaccine safety issues, including the reported link between vaccines and autism.1 The report also revealed that, in 2007, federal government officials suppressed and then misrepresented the expert opinion of pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman that vaccines can cause autism during U.S. Federal Court of Claims hearings evaluating vaccine-related autism claims filed in the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP).2
“You really need to… back off on this”
The “Vaccination Debate” report was featured on “Full Measure,” Sinclair’s investigative news show anchored by Attkisson, who said, “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.” Physician and former Rep. Dave Weldon commented, “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.”
Attkisson also interviewed Rolf Hazelhurst, whose now 18-year old son, Yates, suffered severe vaccine reactions as a child and regressed into chronic poor health that was eventually diagnosed as autism. Hazelhurst, a criminal prosecuting attorney, said, “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.”
US Government Suppresses Pediatric Neurologist’s Expert Opinion on Autism-Vaccine Link
After Rolf Hazelhurst learned that Dr. Zimmerman’s expert opinion was discounted and misrepresented by federal government officials for the purpose of denying federal vaccine injury compensation to his son3 and thousands of other children with vaccine related autism,4 Hazelhurst told congressional staffers at a 2013 briefing, “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.” He and environmental activist attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have filed a fraud complaint with the Justice Department Inspector General about the withholding of Zimmerman’s expert opinion on vaccine-induced autism in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims proceedings.