Brian Hooker, PhD, became a household name in 2014 when it came to light that his 12 years of efforts to obtain vaccine safety data from the CDC had resulted in the phone call that changed history. [See Vaxxed trailer below] when CDC Epidemiologist Dr. William Thompson, also known as the CDC Whistleblower, called him and offered to guide him to the very shattering evidence he had been searching for. Hooker understood, as few do, that there are actually ways to obtain data sets from the CDC, (so-called “public data sets,”) if you have the patience of Sisyphus and know not only what you are looking for but how to navigate the red tape.
Hooker is a bio-engineer, researcher, Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University, and father of a vaccine injured son, whose suffering set him on the quest for the truth.
He works closely with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on issues of vaccine safety and so Truth Barrier reached out to him following the media bombshell that President Elect Trump had chosen R.F.K. Jr. to head a commission on vaccine safety.
This interview took place on Jan 14th and 15th, 2017.
CF: yesterday when we signed off you were about to speak with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Did you speak with him?
BH: Yeah, it was a very quick conversation. He is debating a very pro-pharma scientist by the name of Peter Hotez, who is the head of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at Baylor University, and also receives large amounts of money from large pharmaceutical companies. Peter Hotez is like Offit Jr. and he holds about six patents around the hookworm vaccine that’s being tested in Brazil primarily. Bobby really is going on the offense now and showing our science. But our science is so voluminous. He’s quoted in his book at least 500 papers on thimerosal alone. So that was the primary reason for the phone call. It’s still up in the air whether the commission for vaccine safety will go forward. I think it’s very tentative right now considering how President Elect Trump’s team has walked things back, primarily through the statement that Hope Hicks made after the meeting between Bobby and President Trump, so that’s all very tentative. But Bobby is so good. He is looking for opportunities anywhere to be able to gain traction with the press, or, like with Peter Hotez, engaging the other side. And still with the President Elect, I don’t think he’s abandoned that by any stretch of the imagination, especially with the appointment of the CDC director which has not been made yet.
CF: But will be made soon?
BH: It’s going to have to be made soon because Frieden is basically leaving the CDC at the end of the month.
CF: When you say the future of the commission is tentative, are you basing that on your interpretation of the quotes that came from the Trump spokesperson, or do you know something about the status of it from the inside..that it actually might not happen at all?
BH: Yeah, based on that Bobby is saying, that’s where I’m a little more cautious. I don’t want to quote him directly. I just think that based on that and…I mean Bobby’s been through a lot. I’ve tried to stay off his back for the last week or so, just because of this whole set of events.
CF: You’re saying the Kennedy clan is not all in support of a vaccine safety investigation?
BH: I don’t think they’re all in support of that, I think.. that would be true. And they’re all high profile. So there’s a lot of pressure on them…and when they see their brother or their cousin being eviscerated in the media, it just…it doesn’t bode well for.. you know, they’re going to have a response to that.
CF: Can you tell me anything about how you think Bobby Kennedy as a human being has felt about these eviscerations in the press? How has that affected him?
BH: He’s a trooper. And when I’ve been around him personally, he just shakes it off. ..
CF: But we all know it hurts.
BH: Yeah, it really really hurts. I’ve spoken to his wife and she is just so so supportive. Cheryl Hines. She is so supportive of what he’s doing, so supportive of our community, that’s concerned about vaccine safety, so my hat goes off to them. And he works tirelessly. You get really really tired being around him because he’s such a bundle of energy. (laughs) I’m like, I don’t move that fast Bobby, stop. I just have nothing but admiration for him. Loss of reputation, so much thankless work, and then occasionally he gets attacked from within our community because he says he’s pro-vaccine. And that’s really fine. I mean it’s fine that he says he is pro- vaccine. He’s still fighting for safe vaccines. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-vaccine, you know any level of protection or cover that I can give him as a scientist by giving him good science, I’m always going to put my best foot forward.
CF: When you two put your heads together and compare your best present notions about the causation of autism, do you and see more or less eye to eye?
BH: I think that he and I see eye to eye, that it’s a multiplicity of factors, that it’s difficult to nail it down to one factor, regardless of whether he is advocating mostly on thimerosal, that’s where he..he’s been advocating about mercury toxicity for over thirty years. But that doesn’t mean that he thinks the only problem regarding vaccines is thimerisol. It doesn’t necessarily mean that. He sees issues with the vaccination schedule. He sees issues with fraud and corruption at the CDC, which basically throws everything up in the air, if you can’t trust an agency to monitor vaccine safety then how can you say anything is safe regarding vaccines? I think he has come to that conclusion as well. Getting thimerosal out of the flu shot would be a huge victory. But he doesn’t retire at that particular point in time. And so, in terms of causation, to get back to your initial question, I think that we’re both on the same page.
CF: What did he think of Vaxxed?
BH: He liked Vaxxed. He felt it was well done. I don’t know if he agreed 100% with everything that was in Vaxxed, I don’t know if I do. I can say definitively that there are things that I would have done differently than Andy, Del, and Polly in making the movie. But he liked Vaxxed. He appreciated the effort that they went to to expose the whistleblower story. He speaks on a regular basis to Del and Polly. And even did a Periscope interview with Polly Tommey, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me that’s huge. Because you know we have these different factions and groups that are coming together, you would consider Bobby the Trace Amounts camp, then Andy, Del, and Polly, the Vaxxed camp, but we can’t have camps, we have to have some kind of unity. I really appreciate that he’s done that and I appreciate that the Vaxxed team has reached out to him. There was a scuttle that happened over emails..
CF: I remember.
BH: That’s right, we commiserated.
BH: Well I’m really glad that that’s come full circle. We have to be circumspect about what we do.
CF: This is very rough terrain. Very rough.What has been the most difficult, for you, doing this work, and being up against such a powerful and mendacious apparatus?
BH: When my family is featured in the pro-pharma media, that’s really hard. My son’s vaccine injury case was just thrown out of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and there were several bloggers that blogged about it, and went through the court document and tried to discern the medical history of my son, which is really none of their business. And they were trying to say I was making fraudulent statements about my son’s vaccine injury in the movie Vaxxed. It was really frustrating. My son didn’t ask for that. My wife didn’t ask for that. I’m really really glad that the vaccine injury case is over with because then the level of exposure is done. In terms of documents floating around. It’s really horrible. If he would have been awarded damages then it would have been sealed, nobody could see it, but since he wasn’t awarded damages, the decision was made public.
[Note: The case was thrown out due to an issue revolving around the time of the vaccine injury and the statute of limitations. The court never ruled about whether Hooker’s son had been vaccine injured.]
CF: Have you ever been afraid?
BH: I have employment issues. I’ve been attacked at the workplace by coworkers who didn’t appreciate my viewpoint. Although my University right now is extremely supportive at the highest levels. I’ve had meetings with the President of the University about this and they’ve been so supportive and wonderful. But there were lower levels of management that were vicious, to the point of, you know, trying to get me fired.
CF: Did they write things, did they tell you to your face…?
BH: It was actually both. I had a supervisor who was writing memos to the administration in terms of my lack of fitness, and that I was besmirching the reputation of the university. I approached them because they were my supervisors and I needed to let them know that I was working on Vaxxed. That I was working on Trace Amounts. The response that I got was really, really chilling. I wasn’t even allowed to take notes during the meeting. I just wanted to write down notes, because I take notes during every meeting that I have ever attended, that’s what I do. My supervisor at that particular point in time told me to put away my notepad. It was very disheartening.
CF: You can’t tell me what they said to you at that meeting where you weren’t allowed to take notes…
CF: OK. We will infer.
BH: It was basically that I was bringing down the careers of my colleagues.
BH: That I was responsible for the demise of enrollment at the University. It gave me a lot of power. They ascribed a lot of power to me that I didn’t know I ever really had. (laughs.)
CF: Can you go on the record about how you felt about RFK Jr revealing that he had been chosen by Trump to head the vaccine safety commission?
BH: I was excited and disappointed both. I was excited to hear the news. But I was disappointed because I knew that mainstream media’s response would be vicious and callous and.. I want to bring it around to the desensitization of these people who are basically attacking the families of disabled children. So that’s exactly what happened. It was a very predictable thing. I wouldn’t have handled it the way Trump’s team handled it. I don’t think I would necessarily have handled it the way Bobby handled it. I can’t really address that because I wasn’t there and I don’t know all the details. But the level of backlash is always so horrifying. When you’re a parent in the trenches, it’s very very unsettling to see that it would rise to that level of hatred.
CF: But that’s where the whole thing is trapped—these pogroms and these waves of hate and abuse. How do we ever get past that? It’s just pure abuse.
BH: I think that pushback has to happen. I look at the whole pushback regarding the AIDS epidemic and the response of groups like Act Up and Queer Nation…you know, I think it’s time to take to the streets, and respond to these evil people, these Mengeles of our society in very blatant ways. It’s one of the things I grapple with every day, because I’m pretty mild mannered. But I’d like to have a die in in front of Senator Pan’s office. So we can disrupt his business for multiple months, I would love to do that. And it was effective. When you look at the amount of money that is given to AIDS research right now. So I grapple with that. Is that the next step? We have a society that is asleep, and they need to be shaken awake.
CF: And you are a Christian.
CF: I’ve noticed that there is a higher representation of Christian faith among vaccine fighters than the average.
BH: It comes through desperation. You have no other place to turn, so that’s where you go. You cry out to God. Which is the best place to turn anyway, so…
CF: I agree.