Viennese journalist Jane Burgermeister filed documents with the Vienna prosecutor’s office on April 8th, 2009 accusing vaccine producer Baxter AG, its US parent, Baxter International, and Avir Green Hills Biotechnology of intentionally contaminating a 72-kilogram shipment of conventional flu vaccine with live H5N1 (bird flu) virus.
The shipment was made in February, 2009 from Baxter’s Vienna facility to 16 laboratories in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria, and the contamination was discovered by Czech sub-contractors when ferrets died under routine testing with the vaccine. Burgermeister argues that Baxter’s high level biosafety protocols makes accidental contamination of the entire shipment impossible, and accuses Baxter of bioterrorism, stating that the company intended to spark a bird flu pandemic for which its bird flu vaccine would be needed. Burgermeister’s blog, which documents her filing is located here, and a radio interview can be found here.
Burgermeister takes her accusations further, however. She accuses the Austrian Government, in particular Health Minister Alois Stoger, of colluding with the WHO and the EU by giving power, under Austria’s Influenza Pandemic Plan of 2005, to force vaccinations on Austrian citizens in the event of a bird flu pandemic. She has produced an English-language version of her documents here , with specific reference to US law. This version of the documents alleges that US state governments, through the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, (available here), enacted in 38 states, and the US Federal Government, through the National Security Presidential Directive 51 and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 together ( referenced here) have likewise taken on themselves the power to force vaccinations in the event of a national pandemic, among other powers.
Burgermeister raises an interesting point in her argument against this appropriation of the power to force vaccinations. She brings up the Nuremberg Trials , and in particular, the “Doctor’s Trials” (US v. Karl Brandt, et al.)(see here ), in which Nazi doctors were convicted of war crimes, including forced administration of experimental vaccines. Burgermeister argues that forced vaccinations using vaccines of unproven safety violate the principles of the Nuremberg Code and Declaration of Helsinki, which resulted from the Nuremberg Trials. The principles set forward in the Nuremberg Code formed the basis for US Federal regulation (45 CFR §46 ) governing government and federally-funded research.
Burgermeister alleges that bird and swine flu vaccines are untested and unproven. If this is the case and these vaccines are therefore experimental, mandatory vaccination would violate the principles of the Nuremberg Code. Given this experimental nature, administration of the vaccines could be characterized as research, and if conducted using Federal employees or funding, would also be subject to informed consent requirements under 45 CFR §46.116 .