The Secret Meeting That Set the Tone for Vaccine Safety Lies

By Paul Louis

Imagine you’re a fly on the wall at a secret meeting in July of 2000 where representatives from vaccine producing companies, including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Wyeth, and Aventis Pasteur, along with officials from the CDC, FDA, and the WHO (World Health Organization) are discussing how they can hide evidence of vaccine-induced autism uncovered by one of the CDC’s very own scientists!

Ironically, this clandestine meeting took place less than an hour’s drive from the CDC’s national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia at a secluded forest location called Simpsonwood Retreat and Conference Center.

All 52 participants were discreetly invited to avoid public awareness. They were instructed that no copies of transcripts would be permitted and recordings were not allowed.

Epidemiological data from the CDC’s own data bank showed a strong correlation with vaccines containing thimerosal and high rates of autism spectrum disorders among children.

The two-day Simpsonwood meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement that the Verstraeten report was damaging to the vaccine industry and needed to be massaged into a more industry favorable outcome, in other words, covered up.

Vaccines with Thimerosal Had Become Controversial During the Late 1990s

The thimerosal controversy was initially sparked by officials of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Surprisingly, this was not initiated from a grassroots movement or by parents of vaccine-injured children but by the September 1999 journal Pediatrics had published a white paper titled:


Yes, it was all in caps.

This paper boldly suggested that thimerosal should be eliminated from vaccine production as a preservative “as soon as possible” because infants were receiving ethyl mercury in thimerosal beyond the officially declared toxicity limits set for adults. You can access the full text of the AAP-USPH paper here.

The Hepatitis B vaccine, which contained thimerosal at the time, was of particular concern because it was administered within the first few days of a newborns’ birth.

The joint AAP and USPHS white paper’s formal request to manufacturers for a clear commitment and a “plan to eliminate or reduce as expeditiously as possible the mercury content of their vaccines” was resisted by everyone involved with the vaccine industry, including the CDC.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote an article about the CDC’s lack of enforcement regarding the vaccine industry’s reluctance to comply with the AAP-USPHS thimerosal recommendations. Originally, his article was published in the Huffington Post. It has since been scrubbed from their online archives.

In his article, RFKJr pointedly asserted that safety concerns had been pushed aside to falsely preserve the public perception of the CDC as a protector of public health.  Our government was compelled to maintain the authority of the vaccine schedule to protect the economic interests of its vaccine industry friends instead of protecting the health of our children.  A copy of RFK’s important article is available here.

Setting the Stage for the Secret Simpsonwood Meeting

The CDC strategy to eliminate thimerosal and the vaccine-autism concerns was assigned to CDC epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Verstraeten and his team. He had the CDC’s massive  Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database at his fingertips. The VSD contains medical records of every child vaccinated.  That effort to use the VSD to eliminate concerns backfired.

Using the VSD, Verstraeten discovered statistically significant relationships between exposure to mercury from vaccines and autism. The statistical evidence showed thimerosal exposure at ages one, three, and six months caused neurodevelopment delays congruent with the entire autism spectrum.

The thimerosal-vaccine connections were so significant and obvious that Dr. Verstraeten and his CDC colleagues were shocked.  His superiors encouraged him to “cook the books” and bend his findings to reflect inconclusive connections with thimerosal and autism.

A 1999 email from Dr. Verstraeten to top CDC directors Dr. Robert Davis and Dr. Frank Destefano, stated,

“It just won’t go away. All the harm is in the first month.”

It was panic time.

After six months of failed attempts to cover up the statistical links between thimerosal to autism, the emergency, off-the-record, private, and invitation-only meeting was held at the July 2000 Simpsonwood location.

That’s when the 52 representatives from the vaccine industry and governmental health agencies assembled to discuss neutralizing Verstraeten’s report. The Age of Autism website reported:

“Dr. Verstraeten’s analysis revealed a clear correlation, the CDC commissioned a private meeting at the Simpsonwood Conference Center … to share some startling news: despite six full months of trying to dumb down the data, CDC’s analysis was still showing a statistically significant relationship between neurodevelopmental disorders, especially autism, and the Thimerosal children received through their vaccines.”…” (Source)

Simpsonwood and Its Aftermath

The transcript from the meeting was stamped with the words “Do Not Copy or Release” and “Confidential.”  It was only through the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) that parents of vaccine-injured children managed to get a copy of the Simpsonwood meeting transcripts.  You can access the meeting’s transcript copy here. A summary and important excerpts from the meeting can be found here.

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon and author who expressed concerns on vaccine dangers, managed to get a copy of the Simpsonwood meeting transcripts.  In 2004, Dr. Blaylock commented: (the full article can be found here)

“This conference is concerned with the effects of mercury in the form of Thimerosal on infant brain development, yet throughout this conference, our experts, especially the “vaccinologists”,  seem to know little about mercury except for limited literature that shows no toxic effects except at very high levels.”

“None of the well known [real] experts were invited, (…) who [have] done extensive work on the toxic effects of low concentrations of mercury on the CNS (Central Nervous System). They were not invited because they would be harmful to the true objective of this meeting, and that was to exonerate mercury in vaccines.” 

After the secret meeting, Vaccine Safety Datalink’s ownership was assumed by a private agency to eliminate all public access.

According to researcher and author of the book, Vaccine Voodoo, Catherine Frompovich wrote:

At the Simpsonwood gathering, …. the CDC relinquished control of its vast database on childhood vaccines—the very same database Tom Verstraeten used to confirm a link between thimerosal-laced vaccines and autism.  Although the VSD database was public property—developed at taxpayer expense—it was turned over to a private health insurance agency, ensuring that it could not be accessed by non-collaborators for additional research.

In addition, when there was a push to gain access in the context of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. The CDC issued a report to Congress making the case that the VSD was not a suitable database for an epidemiological investigation to determine whether vaccines can cause autism or other conditions.”

It was also proposed in the Simpsonwood meeting that new studies should be done with the specific intention of maintaining the false perception of vaccine safety.

Three years later, Verstraeten had reworked the data and published a new version of his original study in the November 2003 issue of Pediatrics. However, this time he concluded, “no consistent significant associations were found between  thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes.”  [Emphasis added] (Source)

Soon after his 2003 journal report, Dr. Verstraeten was rewarded for his efforts with a lucrative position at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a major vaccine manufacturer in Belgium. Once again real science takes a back seat to profits over vaccine safety.


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