By Keidi Obi Awadu
Frontline News Service, 7/6/96

LOS ANGELES -- Two weeks after it was revealed in the Los Angeles Times that Black and Brown infants in Los Angeles County had been used as human guinea pigs in a research study involving dangerous experimental measles vaccines, and that misleading consent forms had been used to secure permission, a coalition has formed to respond to specifics of the case.

The new organization, the Los Angeles County Coalition Against Racist Child-Experimentation (LACCARCE) has vowed to confront all of the agencies, as well as individuals, which have been identified as participating in the study in which nearly a thousand Black and Latino infants, some as young as 6 months old, were injected with the unlicensed measles vaccines known as Edmonston-Zagreb (E-Z) high and low doses. The vaccine, which has been administered to over 200 million children worldwide, has been linked to an increased death rate among infants in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Haiti, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A growing outrage among community activists in Los Angeles County has followed revelations that many of the statements made by the principles in the case have been misleading and have covered up key factors of the LA study. The vaccine trial occurred at three Kaiser Permanente facilities in East and West Los Angeles as well as Inglewood and involved the LA County Health Department, the CDC and indirectly, the World Health Organization (WHO).

The British medical journal The Lancet has published data on the WHO’s use of the E-Z vaccine in at least one study conducted in Senegal beginning in 1987 which reveals that by 1989, when the LA County trial began, data suggested that the E-Z high titer vaccine was related to an increased mortality rate among babies, male and female. Researchers were alarmed that a significant number of infants who were given the higher dose of E-Z in the Senegalese trials died within 41 months of immune-related complications. Many of the babies in the African and Haitian trials were malnourished, had limited access to health care services and lacked clean drinking water, all key factors contributing to high infant mortality in the developing world.

But it was clear in the Senegalese study published in The Lancet in 1991 that the infants were closely monitored and given extraordinary access to medical care, yet were still dying at the rate of 1 of every 13.3 injected with E-Z high titer, nearly all before their second birthday.

LACCARCE is conducting its own investigation into the LA County trials and has become alarmed at numerous deceptive or inaccurate statements made by principles involved in the research. Questions have been raised as to the level of immuno-suppression which occurred among infants in the LA study. Officials have acknowledged the death of one male infant in the trial but have claimed the death did not fit the profile of deaths outside of the U.S. The child died at 22 months of a bacterial infection, two criteria that match the overseas deaths. Officials say they halted the study in 1991 as soon as they had determined that the vaccines had been linked to the increased death rate in foreign trials, yet data from the Senegalese trial alone, which began in 1987, suggested by 1989, when the LA County study began, that E-Z high titer was producing a significant increase in mortality. Despite press statements which claim that no children were injured in the study, parents who volunteered their babies for the experiment have independently come forward and perhaps as many as 40% of their childr en have shown long-term immune system impairment ranging from seizures to allergies and persistent infections.

Outraged activists have vowed to press the matter with all principles involved in the scandal and force Los County to hold public hearings on the matter. Several of the key participants who conducted the study are still in place or have been promoted to more influential positions. LACCARCE intends to call these individuals before public hearings and grill them as to how killer vaccines made their way into the bodies of Black and Brown babies and force them to reveal not only when they became aware of the destructive nature of the vaccines but also to accurately reveal the depth of long-term side effects from exposure to these unlicensed experimental vaccines.

Parents who suspect their children may have been involved in the research which occurred at three Kaiser Permanente facilities between 1989 and 1991 can contact LACCARCE at (310)403-2921.