Texas Legislator Calls Out Dr. Hotez for Attacking Parental Rights

Texas Legislator Calls Out Dr. Hotez for Attacking Parental Rights

On May 7, 2019, there was a short exchange of tweets on Twitter between pediatrician Peter Hotez, MD, PhD and Rep. Jonathan Strickland of the Texas House of Representatives. Dr. Hotez wrote:

New exemption numbers tell much of the story. I’ll tell the rest: Children of have been placed in harm’s way for the financial gain of special & outside interest groups. Calling on our TX elected leaders to say “NO MAS” and stand up for our children!1

Rep. Strickland responded:

You are bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics. Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching “science.”1

Dr. Hotez snapped back:

Wow that’s impressive, from a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Sir, as you know, I don’t take a dime from the vaccine industry. I develop neglected disease vaccines for the world’s poorest people. And as a Texas pediatrician-scientist it is most certainly my business.1

But Rep. Strickland’s stood his ground:

You are bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics. Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching “science.”1

He added:

Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime. Like every other business. Quit using the heavy hand of government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity. It’s disgusting.1

The focus of the exchange was about the influence of special interest groups on decisions legislators make about including or eliminating exemptions in vaccine laws. Dr. Hotez has a long history of attacking parents of vaccine injured children and aggressively lobbying for the elimination of non-medical vaccine exemptions in Texas. In both national and international forums, he has advocated for forced vaccination laws that deny parents the legal right to obtain vaccine exemptions for their children for reasons of conscience, as well as for religious beliefs.2

Texas Rep. Strickland strongly disagrees with Dr. Hotez, making it clear that he believes that the decision to vaccinate children should be left up to their parents, not government employees. He was also pointing out that Dr. Hotez should not be lobbying the Texas Legislature to eliminate personal belief vaccine exemptions because he has an inherent conflict of interest, given that he develops vaccines for a living.

In addition to serving as dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Hotez is co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development (Texas Children’s CVD), which receives money from government, industry and private foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and produce vaccines.3 4 5 6 7 8

In 2017, vaccine manufacturer Merck & Co. formed a strategic alliance with Baylor College of Medicine and its vaccine product development partnership (PDP), Texas Children’s CVD, to “advance vaccine research and development for neglected and emerging infections.”9

It is these kind of financial associations that Rep. Strickland correctly points out represent a conflict of interest for Dr. Hotez, who cannot help but benefit professionally from the relationships and the industry, government and foundation funding given to the university and hospital where he works as a vaccine developer.

Dr. Hotez has been described as an “advocate” and “spokesperson” for the vaccine industry.8

Rep. Strickland clearly does not like the idea of a defacto representative of the vaccine industry using his prestige and medical authority to lobby Texas state legislators to take away parental rights regarding something so fundamental as their children’s health care decisions. You can sense that in Rep. Strickland’s comment:

Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching “science.”1

It is the issue of “parental rights” and the injustice of an influential medical doctor developing vaccines for the pharmaceutical industry trying to get government to usurp the basic human right of informed consent that was at the core of Rep. Strickland’s tweets.

But that’s not what the media reported. The headline in CNN read, “Texas lawmaker calls vaccine research ‘sorcery’.1 Another one in The Washington Post read, “GOP state legislator attacks vaccine scientist on Twitter, accusing him of self-enrichment, ‘sorcery’.10 Patheos published an even more blatantly biased and prejudiced headline—”Anti-Vax For Jesus: Conservative Christian Lawmaker Calls Vaccines ‘Sorcery’”11

Many other newspapers, magazines and websites took their cue from these news sources and ran with similar headlines likely meant to convey the message that anyone who does not follow the government and medical community’s party line (to the letter) on vaccines does so because they do not believe in science or, at least, view science as something akin to sorcery and witchcraft.

The media got it wrong here. It’s not entirely clear from Rep. Strickland’s tweets what he thinks of vaccines. However, it is obvious that he highly values parental rights and is repulsed by a doctor with conflicts of interest urging government to whittle away at them.

It is also evident that Rep. Strickland doesn’t particularly care for Dr. Hotez. Remember, this is the same Peter Hotez who said that the so-called “anti-vax movement” should be “snuffed out.” The same Peter Hotez who referred to organizations criticizing vaccine safety and advocating for informed consent rights like the National Vaccine Information Center as a “hate group” that “hate their family and hate their children.”4 12

This is the same Peter Hotez who referred to terms such as “medical freedom” and “vaccine choice” as “phony nonsense.”13

Seen in this context, it is understandable why Rep. Strickland reprimanded Dr. Hotez for pressuring Texas legislators to legally prevent parents from exercising voluntary, informed consent to vaccination for their children. Dr. Hotez’s anger and threats should be of concern to everyone. It is the manner of conducting in which Dr. Hotez conducts himself that Strickland seems to find “disgusting.”1


This article or commentary provides referenced information and perspective on a topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics being discussed in public forums and by U.S. lawmakers. The websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provide information and perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking.

References:

1 Bonnifield J.  Texas lawmaker calls vaccine research ‘sorcery’. CNN May 9, 2019.
2 National Vaccine Information Center. Texas State Vaccine Requirements. NVIC.org May 6, 2019.
3 Peter Jay Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine.
4 Cáceres M. Dr. Peter Hotez: “Snuff Out” Anti-Vaccine Movement. The Vaccine Reaction Mar. 19, 2017.
5 Pathak D. Grant to develop chikungunya virus vaccine awarded. Baylor College of Medicine Aug. 30, 2016.
6 Deam J. New grant will help develop vaccine to treat deadly Chagas diseaseHouston Chronicle July 29, 2015.
7 Texas Children’s Hospital. Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development awarded grant to develop therapeutic vaccine for Chagas disease. PRNewswire-USNewswire July 18, 2015.
8 Gharib M. #NPRWormWeek: The Scientist Who’s Waging A War On Worms. NPR Aug. 8, 2016.
9 Merck. Merck and Baylor College of Medicine Advance Vaccine Development and Manufacturing for Neglected Diseases. PR Newswire Aug. 8, 2017.
10 Paul D. GOP state legislator attacks vaccine scientist on Twitter, accusing him of self-enrichment, ‘sorcery’. The Washington Post May 8, 2019.
11 Stone M. Anti-Vax For Jesus: Conservative Christian Lawmaker Calls Vaccines ‘Sorcery’. Patheos May 9, 2019.
12 Cáceres M. Baylor’s Doc Hotez Bullies Parents of Vaccine Injured Children. The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 24, 2018.
13 Cáceres M. Medical Freedom & Vaccine Choice Just “Phony Nonsense”? The Vaccine Reaction Nov. 28, 2018.

10 Responses to "Texas Legislator Calls Out Dr. Hotez for Attacking Parental Rights"

  1. Rachael Johnson   June 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Bravo for Rep. Strickland. The “doctor” that hides behind the skirts of government mandates and immunity from lawsuits to foist his medical fraud on children for money is below disgusting. The failure of vaccine proponents to acknowledge any evidence of harm in spite of thousands of cases has the stink of a cult. If they were so confident in the “science” of vaccines, they would not be so terrified of an open comparison of the general health of vaccinated versus unvaccinated people. Instead they rant about the “science” of vaccines as being settled by the consensus individuals who financially benefit from their sale to a captured market . The history of science has shown one thing if nothing else: science is never settled; there is always room for challenges to any scientific claim. This “doctor” fails to understand the basic argument of Rep. Strickland because to do so would endanger the cash flow that comes from the forced sale of a product to a population that can’t refuse, like a protection racket. Rep. Strickland is only stating that parents have the absolute legal power to refuse any medial treatment for whatever reason, as stated in the Nuremberg Code. A world war was fought at the cost of millions of lives to establish the principles encoded in this document. It is crystal clear to anyone who reads the Nuremberg Code that its primary claim is the absolute sovereignty of every human being to refuse any medical procedure at any time.

    Reply
  2. Sally Ladd   June 14, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    FINALLY! A politician who is brave enough to speak out against this corrupt “doctor.” Hotez should be thrown in the slammer — but only after being forcibly injected with 10,000 vaccines.

    Reply
  3. INGRID C DURDEN   June 14, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    A doctor like this should loose his licence to practice. He is promoting his business, thereby disregarding people who do not agree with him. A dictator. Unfortunately, most media only read half of what has been said.

    Reply
  4. Jennifer   June 14, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    The scariest thing about vaccine-pushers is that they can profess to be interested in humanity when in fact they are making bank at the expense of our children’s health. They try and often succeed in convincing people of power that they only have our best interest at heart. Someone once said “the trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” We need to stay vigilant and not continue to be the ignorant innocents.

    Reply
  5. Alice   June 14, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    It takes courage to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves due to vaccine injuries!
    We will be called names and worse but if we no longer protect the defenseless what kind of Socialist Utopia is this?

    Reply
  6. ellie   June 14, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Go Rep Stickland!!! Texas parents and children are blessed to have you fighting for their sovereign freedoms!

    Reply
  7. Myra Melamed   June 14, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you Rachael for your excellent observations about the Nuremberg Code and its relevance to this issue. As the child of survivors of the European Holocaust, current events concerning this issue are very personal and troubling for me. The recent coup which represents an unprecedented mockery of this law in my state of New York is especially disturbing. The fact that this coup was perpetrated by “Democratic” party public officials is especially disgusting. Corporate Republicans and Corporate Democrats seem to have more in common these days than they ever have. People of conscience from diverse political points of view and who care about the basic human rights and freedoms that this country is supposed to stand for, need to work together. Rep. Strickland sets a good example in calling out representatives of corporate interests for what they really are, which is corporate lobbyists. Of course Corporate Media would attempt the destruction of this effort. If these lobbyists were truly honest and sincere, they would always recuse themselves in situations of obvious conflict of interest. Laws need to be put in place to guarantee that conflict of interest does not infect decisions impacting life and death because counting on the decency of these folks has certainly proven to be ineffective and dangerously inadequate.

    Reply
  8. Smuthe   June 14, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    And Bravo to you, Rachael, for your succinct, well-stated comment. Thank you.

    Reply
  9. 3VaccineInjuredBoys   June 15, 2019 at 2:19 am

    The law governing and regulating the vaccines is blatantly one-sided, unjust and unfair to parents. This exposes the ugly face of corruption in congress and the stranglehold big pharma lobbyists hold over our lawmakers.
    The law protects everyone pushing any product labelled as a “vaccine” by granting full immunity.
    The ACIP committee governing the vaccine schedule is a revolving door between industry and regulators and legally exempt from financial conflicts of interest. What it means is someone like Julie Gerberding or Paul Offit can get on the committee and add their own vaccines to the children and pregnant mothers with no safety studies and go back to industry. The law further creates a vaccine injury fund that is funded by a 75 cent excise tax per antigen. Few billions have been paid out of this fund that is paid for by victims for vaccine injury claims. All settlements come with a 3 year statutory limit and are bound by gag orders. The worst part, the settlement takes on the average 8 years and the fee for the Big Pharma Lawyers is also paid out of the victim fund. While the profits are being protected by the people pushing the vaccines, the liabilities are being pushed to parents who are forced to raise adult children in diapers. The 1986 law also stipulates that HHS submit a biennial report to both house and senate the safety and efficacy reports for all vaccines being sold in USA. Do you know how many reports were filed since 1986…. take a wild guess. If you guessed ZERO you hit the jackpot. Today 25% of kids enrolling in elementary school have at least one learning disability in addition to chronic illnesses like allergies, asthma, IBS, diabetes and countless other debilitating illnesses that need lifelong medications. Japan banned MMR cocktail decades ago twice because of injury to children. Yet we continue to sell them here. Our regulating agencies are compromised and are unable function. Just the latest incidence of Boeing 747 max. After the entire world grounded the planes it took a presidential intervention to ground them in the USA. While parents struggle financially trying to recover their children from vaccine injuries, the doctors, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists label it as Autism, ADHD etc etc and divert the attention of parents from the real causes. They will send you on a wild goose chase called “genetics” trying to prove you made a defective baby. All vaccine injuries are being misdiagnosed as something else and attributed to idiopathic causes. In this long tiresome journey, mothers withdraw from work and become full time caregivers, teachers and therapists for their children. While big pharma profits from blood money the burden is unfairly pushed to parents, teachers, educators and schools. If we made a defective baby and vaccines didnt cause injury and brain damage, how come Duke university is having a 70% success rate in reversing many conditions like Autism, seizures, ADHD just by infusing the kids with their own cord blood from ground zero before the child is violated on day 1 with a Hep B vaccine ?

    Reply
  10. AccuracyIsImportant   June 16, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    How does one “develop neglected disease vaccines” without taking a dime from the vaccine industry? Doesn’t that officially make Peter Hotez PART of the vaccine industry?

    Google “Peter Hotez neglected tropical disease” and it becomes obvious that Dr. Hotez has put enormous effort into creating the market for the vaccines he has been developing. He has written articles, published “studies,” and even written books, all essentially urging that vaccines be used to control these “neglected tropical diseases.”

    Looks like he followed the same playbook as the opioid industry.

    Reply

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