Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/12/1996 09:04 AM HES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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 SHES - 2/12/96                                                                
                                                                               
        SB 185 IMMUNIZATION RECORD UPON CHILD'S DEATH                        
                                                                               
 Number 003                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social                 
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:04 a.m. and introduced                
 SB 185  as the first order of business before the committee.                  
                                                                               
 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Staff to Senator Kelly, read the following sponsor            
 statement:                                                                    
                                                                               
 SB 185 was introduced in response to a growing concern over the               
 safety of childhood immunizations.  For more than a century,                  
 childhood immunizations have been one of the foremost public health           
 concerns.  Immunization of our children has led to the near                   
 elimination of diseases which were once devastatingly fatal.                  
 However, some vaccines including the whooping cough vaccine and the           
 German measles vaccine typically contain small quantities of                  
 material derived from disease-causing organisms which could                   
 possibly be linked to childhood death or injury.                              
                                                                               
 SB 185 requires the funeral director or the person acting as the              
 funeral director to include a record of the dates of any                      
 immunizations a deceased child under the age of seven has received            
 when filling the death certificate.  Further, the death certificate           
 must include the name and type of each vaccine administered, as               
 well as the name of the vaccine's manufacturer and the lot and                
 batch number.                                                                 
                                                                               
 If the immunization record cannot be obtained within three days of            
 death the funeral director shall file the death certificate in                
 compliance with existing state law and shall continue to make                 
 efforts to obtain the records from the next of kin or other source.           
                                                                               
 If the records are unavailable from these sources, the funeral                
 director is required to request the immunization record from the              
 Immortality Review Committee established by the commissioner of the           
 Department of Health and Social Services.  The committee must                 
 provide this information within 90 days.                                      
                                                                               
 There are approximately 125 deaths every year of children under the           
 age of seven.  SB 185 might help to establish a link between                  
 immunizations and childhood death.                                            
                                                                               
 Mr. Ernouf emphasized that requiring this information to be                   
 included on the death certificate would allow data to be collected            
 in order to determine if there is a link between immunizations and            
 death.  He urged the support of the bill.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 068                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if the statistic, 125 total deaths of children            
 under seven, included causes of death that were know such as                  
 accidents or does the number represent the total for unknown causes           
 of death.  SHERMAN ERNOUF clarified that the statistic referred to            
 the total number of deaths in which the cause is unknown; this is             
 not attributable to accidents.                                                
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Salo, SHERMAN ERNOUF said that this                    
 vaccination record would be required for all deaths of children               
 under the age of seven.                                                       
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perdue in the              
 Department of Health & Social Services, said that the department              
 has concerns with SB 185.  There is not a valid scientific purpose            
 for the collection of this data.  Widespread compliance would be              
 difficult to obtain; Alaska's population is very transient.                   
 Children have 16 to 18 sets of immunizations over seven years which           
 are often administered by various providers in and out of the state           
 and in the case of the military, out of the country.  Mr. Lindstrom           
 emphasized that much of the information requested by this bill is             
 not part of an individual's immunization record, especially the               
 manufacturer's information.  The funeral director would face                  
 difficulties in compiling this information when faced with the                
 various providers that administered the immunizations. Furthermore,           
 this information may not even be available.  In conclusion, Mr.               
 Lindstrom stated that requiring the collection of this data is not            
 feasible.  He noted that when a child does die from an                        
 immunization, that is reported on the certificate.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if other states required that this information             
 be placed on the death certificate or does the National Institute             
 of Health (NIH) have any protocol regarding this issue.  ELMER                
 LINDSTROM did not believe that this approach was being utilized in            
 any other states.  Mr. Lindstrom did not have information regarding           
 the protocol of NIH, but could look into it.  Mr. Lindstrom noted             
 the fiscal note on file.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 156                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked Mr. Lindstrom if the statistic of 125 deaths of           
 children under age seven included accidents.  ELMER LINDSTROM                 
 believed that the statistic represented all deaths from all causes            
 in the state on a yearly basis.  SENATOR LEMAN requested that Mr.             
 Lindstrom review that statistic in order to clarify what it                   
 signifies.  What are the total number of deaths, and of those how             
 many are medically explainable?                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were any records kept on those deaths           
 that have a direct correlation to vaccines.  ELMER LINDSTROM said             
 that he did not have that information.  In a conversation with the            
 division he was informed that when there is a cause and effect                
 established between a vaccine and a death, the death is recorded as           
 such.  CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that she was referring to those               
 children that live.  ELMER LINDSTROM did not know.                            
                                                                               
 Number 200                                                                    
                                                                               
 MEAD TREADWELL, testifying from Anchorage, said that he was                   
 testifying in memory of his son, who died at the age of nine weeks            
 after immunizations and a case of thrush.  He pointed out that at             
 the time of his son's death, in 1993, there was no protocol in                
 place to collect information regarding such deaths.  Mr. Treadwell            
 gave the following reasons for supporting SB 185:                             
  (1) Medicine evolves.  Without the information to do the                     
  study, medicine cannot evolve very well.                                     
  (2) Many cases upon review of the history of deaths has                      
  improved medicine.  He discussed various studies which                       
  illustrate this point.                                                       
  (3) Data is becoming cheaper.                                                
                                                                               
 Mr. Treadwell said that the government is probably best at                    
 collecting information.  He was interested in data being utilized             
 in order to help preserve and better life.  The department may view           
 the collection of this data as without a valid purpose now, but               
 perhaps later it could be utilized to help medicine evolve.  In               
 conclusion, Mr. Treadwell commended SB 185.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 276                                                                    
                                                                               
 SANDY MINTZ, testifying from Anchorage, supported SB 185.  She                
 noted that she had sent the committee considerable evidence of the            
 data illustrating that the use of vaccinations is inadequate.  In             
 the Congressionally mandated review of the safety of childhood                
 vaccinations, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that they              
 had been handicapped by the lack of good data.  SB 185 would show             
 if there is clustering of death at the time of vaccination.  There            
 is reason to believe there would be such clustering because the IOM           
 did find, in spite of spotty data, that there is enough data to               
 make a causal connection between antiphylaxic shock and the                   
 whooping cough, measles, and hepatitis B vaccine.  She stated that            
 children do die from vaccines; the question is how many children              
 die.  The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) found that           
 in one 19 month period, 2,525 serious adverse vaccine associated              
 reactions were reported including 350 deaths.  VAERS is a passive             
 reporting system.  Under an active surveillance system such as a              
 post marketing surveillance system, the VAERS data would then                 
 report over 120,000 serious reactions including 18,000 deaths would           
 have been identified in that 19 month period using a vaccine                  
 manufacturers estimate.  Ms. Mintz emphasized that if only 10                 
 percent of those were later assumed to be caused by vaccinations,             
 that would still equal over 10,000 serious adverse vaccination                
 reactions with almost 2,000 deaths.  She urged helping Alaska's               
 children by supporting SB 185.  She added that anyone interested in           
 a copy of the NBC program which reported that the FDA was not                 
 recalling bad lots of the DPT vaccine, even when as many as 10                
 children had died per lot and over 100 had been seriously damaged             
 per bad vaccine lot, can contact her.  In response to Senator Salo,           
 Sandy Mintz clarified that VAERS is a congressionally mandated                
 passive reporting system.                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO asked if Alaska participates in VAERS.  SANDY MINTZ             
 replied yes and noted that VAERS is voluntary.  Ms. Mintz pointed             
 out that the individual must make the connection between the                  
 vaccination and the reaction and then choose to report it or the              
 doctor can report it.  Ms. Mintz indicated that doctors are often             
 not cooperative when presented with this connection which leads to            
 the notion that the problem is vastly under-reported.                         
                                                                               
 Number 330                                                                    
                                                                               
 HARRY GREGSON, testifying from Anchorage, related his experience              
 with his first daughter.  In the night after her DPT shot at two              
 months old, she went into respiratory distress and after many                 
 efforts she died the next morning in the hospital.  Mr. Gregson               
 informed the emergency room physician, the pediatrician, and the              
 hematologist that the DPT shot had been the only variance in the              
 day.  All those physicians told Mr. Gregson that there was no                 
 connection to her problems and the DPT shot and discouraged the               
 pursuit of this idea.  Two months after her death, 60 Minutes aired           
 a program about this issue which prompted Mr. Gregson to interview            
 all attending physicians of his daughter.  Mr. Gregson was told               
 that the DPT vaccination was not connected to his daughter's death.           
                                                                               
 Mr. Gregson began his own research and found much material                    
 regarding DPT shots and there damage to children.  After much                 
 research and education on the subject, those who had refuted Mr.              
 Gregson's connection between the DPT vaccine and his daughter's               
 death now agreed with his conclusion.  Following that, he and many            
 other families in similar situations received compensation.  Mr.              
 Gregson believed that the monetary compensation illustrated the               
 government's interest in correcting this issue, but it has been               
 quite the contrary.  SB 185 is a small step.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 392                                                                    
                                                                               
 DR. ARCHIE KALOKERINOS, testifying from Australia, informed the               
 committee that he had graduated in Medicine & Surgery from the                
 University of Sydney in 1951.  He discussed his medical practice              
 which began in 1957 in Collarenebri where he faced an extremely               
 high infant mortality rate.  For example, during one 24 hour period           
 three caucasian infants died.                                                 
                                                                               
 Dr. Kalokerinos discussed other children who seemed to be well or             
 experiencing a trivial illness who would then be found dead or                
 suffering unexplained shock from which they could not be                      
 resuscitated.  Others developed extreme irritability sometimes                
 resembling meningitis or encephalitis followed by unconsciousness             
 and death.  All the tests of standard disease administered during             
 autopsies were negative except for the presence of yellow patches             
 in the liver in some cases.  Before death, these infants had                  
 displayed symptoms of liver pain and tenderness to varying degrees.           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Dr. Kalokerinos said that all other doctors in Australia denied               
 that these problems and observations existed.  He was told that               
 this did not occur anywhere else in Australia.  Years later Dr.               
 Kalokerinos learned that the problem was widespread in Australia,             
 particularly in aboriginal communities.  Dr Kalokerinos asserted              
 that he was either deliberately misinformed some while others could           
 not recognize the situation.  Dr. Kalokerinos noted that such an              
 epidemic had also occurred in Naples, Italy in the late 1970s.  One           
 third of those infants and children had recently receive routine              
 childhood vaccines.  Eventually Dr. Kalokerinos discovered that if            
 administered early, intramuscular intravenous injections of vitamin           
 C could reverse the shock and unconscious state.  The infant                  
 mortality rate of infants under Dr. Kalokerinos' care dropped                 
 dramatically.  Other doctors following this method acheived similar           
 results.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Dr. Kalokerinos said that he learned that routine immunization had            
 an awful effect on some infants for weeks after receiving the                 
 immunization.  Some infants appeared to suffer from immune                    
 paralysis and contacted serious bacterial infections.  Others, in             
 the up to two week period following a vaccination, would go into              
 sudden unexplained shock or excessive irritability state followed             
 by unconsciousness.  Those states could be reversed with the                  
 administration of intravenous vitamin C.  Bacterial infections are            
 more difficult to control.  It became more obvious that the                   
 percusses component of the vaccine was the most serious.                      
 Therefore, when a vaccinated child was reached during the period of           
 illness, the percusses component was often exploded and all vitamin           
 supplements were increased in doses.  All the sick infants received           
 vitamin C.  Dr. Kalokerinos informed the committee that in NSW,               
 records are kept of all vaccines administered and a copy is in the            
 possession of the parents.                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN requested that Dr. Kalokerinos fax his written                 
 testimony to the committee.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 460                                                                    
                                                                               
 DR. ARTHUR ZAHARSKY, testifying from Illinois, informed the                   
 committee that he was a Professor of Immunology at Southern                   
 Illinois University.  He posed the following question:  why do some           
 children respond adversely to the precusses component of the                  
 vaccine and others do not?  He pointed out that in the manufacture            
 of the vaccine the whooping cough or precusses component represents           
 an intact bacteria containing biologically active toxin molecules.            
 Those molecules are injected into the bodies of infants.  Dr.                 
 Zaharsky stated that this vaccine is unpredictably unsafe.  The               
 principle toxins are present in unmeasured quantities and available           
 to the biological systems of the infant at the particular state of            
 nutrition, and the particular state of growth and development of              
 the child.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Dr. Zaharsky noted that public health officials in Alaska with whom           
 he visited in 1994 did perform appropriate surveys.  However, the             
 problem with some of the surveys is the inability to distinguish              
 between children receiving one or more injections of the vaccine              
 and who have then been withdrawn from further injections because of           
 an adverse response to a particular injection of the vaccine.                 
 Those children are not entered into the pool of data which reflects           
 what happens to all infants.  Dr. Zaharsky explained that these               
 children are placed on an alternative vaccine which does not                  
 contain the whooping cough component or they are withdrawn from               
 further vaccinations all together.  Therefore, the current data is            
 flawed due to the quality of the data.  SB 185 would reveal for               
 those children who come to autopsy, if there are a syndrome of                
 features that would illustrate the biological action of the toxin             
 molecules within the body.  This could attribute a child's death to           
 the known multiple effects that the toxin molecules have within               
 some children.  He urged the committee to support SB 185 in order             
 to provide evidence for use of a better and safer vaccine known as            
 booster shots.  This acellular vaccine has a significantly reduced            
 component of the biologically active toxin molecules.                         
                                                                               
 Number 516                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN added that she too had a similar experience with her           
 eldest son.  She explained that had she put her son to bed when she           
 went home after the vaccine, he too would have died.  Fortunately,            
 she realized what was happening and rushed her son back and he was            
 resuscitated and lived.  Chairman Green inquired as to the                    
 committee's preference on whether to wait for the additional                  
 information or pass it to the next committee where the information            
 could be presented.                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN did not know how important having the batch number of           
 the vaccine on the death certificate would actually be, but he did            
 realize the batch number's importance in tracing the batches.                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN believed that information was often included.  She             
 indicated that the information is in the records in the doctor's              
 office.  She did not believe this would be much of a problem.                 
 Moreover, the military surely keeps the information in the                    
 individual's record.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if the information the committee wanted was the            
 number of deaths of children under seven.  CHAIRMAN GREEN replied             
 yes.                                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO said that she would like to know that information.               
 She suggested that this information could be required on any death            
 certificate when there is any doubt about the cause of death.                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN held SB 185 until the requested information was                
 obtained.  She announced that there would be a Joint HESS meeting             
 on Wednesday in order to hear an overview of the Alaska Native                
 Health Board.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN requested that Dr. Zaharsky send his testimony in to            
 the committee as well.                                                        
                                                                               
 There being no further business before the committee, the meeting             
 was adjourned at 9:46 a.m.                                                    

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