HISTORY OF SMARTVAX AND MAX-VAX PHILOSOPHIES
All vaccines carry some level of risk, and each vaccine is different. In the early 1900's, scientists coined the terms "allergy" and "anaphylaxis" to describe vaccine-injuries; at present, the mechanism by which vaccines cause injury is still not scientifically understood. Historically, the vaccine-injury risk has caused vaccine manufacturers and public health officials to be conservative when recommending new vaccines or administration of vaccines at earlier ages. However, vaccines proved effective against some deadly diseases and by the 1970's a "maximize vaccination" philosophy arose that viewed vaccines as always having more benefits than risks. This "Max-Vax" approach sought to maximize the number of vaccinations administered at the earliest possible ages, leading to this chain of events:
COMPARISON OF SMARTVAX AND MAX-VAX PHILOSPHIES
SmartVax and Max-Vax are both "pro-vaccine" philosophies, in that both philosophies consider vaccines an important component in an overall children's health program, but SmartVax differs from Max-Vax in important aspects of safety, research, and policy. The SmartVax philosophy is all about being smart with vaccinations: don't over-use them, don't bypass good science, understand the risks, and ensure that the risks are not hidden from the public.
1st Pillar of SmartVax: Evidence-Based Scientific Research (go where the evidence leads)
The first rule of SmartVax is the pursuit of evidence-based scientific research on vaccine-injuries to an unbiased conclusion, without being afraid of what the evidence might show, to develop the knowledge for a safer and more effective vaccine program in the long-term. This is in stark contrast with the Max-Vax tenet that such research should be avoided because the results might undermine public confidence in the current vaccine program. Please take the time to view this CBS video of Bernadine Healy, M.D., former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), because it contrasts her ideas on research to find answers on vaccine-injuries with the opposition of public health officials to needed vaccine-injury research because of fear that it could scare people from vaccinating.
Max-Vax proponents justify their approach because of their belief that vaccines' benefits always outweigh the risks, and so for "the greater good" it is necessary to keep the public vaccinating. SmartVax proponents maintain that this approach discourages research that will ultimately improve vaccines, and that "the greater good" is not necessarily served with the current USA schedule appearing to have a greater risk of vaccine-injury than benefit from disease protection (see Weigh the Risks of Vaccination).
2nd Pillar of SmartVax: Appropriate Checks-and-Balances on Vaccine Policy
SmartVax philosophy arose in the mid-1980's in response to the increase in vaccine-injuries that was likely associated with the Max-Vax push to enforce vaccination at early ages. Instead of strengthening checks-and-balances on vaccine-safety at that time, the USA instead passed laws and regulations to protect vaccine manufacturing by eliminating most of the existing checks-and-balances. With the 1986 law protecting vaccine manufacturers from legal liability and establishing a committee to streamline new vaccine recommendations, Max-Vax proponents moved to dramatically expand the vaccine schedule to be the largest in the world (see Increase in USA vaccination schedule vs other countries). The law assigned liability for vaccine-injury compensation to a special governmental compensation program, where government attorneys argue against vaccine-injury petitioners using government-financed science in cases decided by a government-appointed judge without a jury. Since this law, the vaccine schedule has more than tripled and vaccines are routinely 'fast-tracked' through approval without full safety testing required of over pharmaceutical drugs. The government has quietly compensated approximately 2,500 claims of vaccine injury since the inception of the VICP program. In May 2011, a study published in Pace Environmental Law Review found 83 cases of acknowledged vaccine-induced brain damage that include autism (see Vaccine Injury Compensation Program).
The SmartVax view holds that appropriate checks-and-balances on vaccine policy will produce the most beneficial vaccine program long-term for children's health. Government-owned research data on vaccine-injuries should be made open to the public and easily accessible to all researchers. Long-term double-blind placebo studies tracking both acute and chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, allergies, ADHD, and autism) should be required prior to any vaccine approval. Philosophical exemption, by which a parent can opt to delay or exempt certain vaccines for the child without discrimination such as loss of federal benefits or access to public schools, should be a fundamental right in the USA (as it is in Canada and other countries). Countries that have philosophical exemption typically have vaccination rates comparable to the USA, but Max-Vax advocates in those countries focus on vaccine-safety as a first priority in order to encourage the public to maintain the high vaccination rates. The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act should be reformed such that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is not stacked against vaccine-injury petitioners and the vaccine manufacturers have more incentive to focus on safety.