By Emal Capani, CNN • Updated 9th January 2018
He has spent his eight years in office insisting a system would always get it right.
So President Barack Obama was angry when a Republican-controlled Senate justice department decided the government has no legal authority to protect customers from the flu vaccine linked to autism, despite evidence to the contrary.
Now Obama’s trusted deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to force the federal government to use reasonable medical judgement and roll back rules on vaccinations that she argues amount to a blatant attempt to win political favor with allergy-choked parents.
Health regulators are refusing to allow manufacturers to override the manufacturer’s refusal to make vaccines for two critical children’s vaccines for a link to autism, the same link some autism researchers claim never exists.
The FDA says forcing vaccine makers to make the changes would violate safety standards and that they would have to be approved by Congress.
Some estimates are that up to 40,000 children will be forced to go without shots this year because the flu vaccine was not available to cover the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine.
President Donald Trump has said he favors vaccination, but has not indicated which way he would vote on the issue. It is also being decided in Congress, where a number of anti-vaccine members are working with anti-diarrhea drug-makers to carry the cause.
As the anti-vaccine effort spreads in Congress, the government seems less and less willing to stand in the way.
Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell parents who have questions about their children’s vaccination or medical care to call their doctors.
Under the rules adopted last year, this directive is also of limited efficacy. The guidelines mean something, but isn’t binding.
The official science behind the government’s refusal to allow manufacturers to roll back the restrictions has been clear for years.
CDC officials say that past studies and hospital surveys show adults who received booster shots for influenza and tetanus all had cases of infantile tetanus with higher rates of convulsions and convulsions occurring compared to the majority of those who hadn’t been vaccinated.
But the vaccine gives no protection, and the government has sought to protect businesses from lawsuits from those with autism, even though no evidence of a link exists.
Last year, the administration granted immunity to vaccine makers for lawsuits filed against them in vaccine injury lawsuits, something the medical community has condemned as dangerous and unconstitutional.
So now doctors say it’s up to the courts to decide whether allowing what some call an “unjust” vaccine rule will irreparably harm their professional reputations and livelihoods.