The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is trying to intimidate vaccine whistleblowers into silence, according to a whistleblower who revealed that she received a death threat on social media.
“The threat I received said, ‘If you leak the truth, we will kill you,'” Sarah Lacey told ABC News, who revealed her experience with the agency on Monday.
Lacey said that she was one of several whistleblowers to receive threats during the 2016-2017 influenza pandemic, and that she had been subjected to “inappropriate and malicious communication” from NIH officials, who demanded that she stop reporting on vaccine safety issues.
“When I finally did speak up about vaccines, they were extremely hostile and intimidating,” Lacey said.
“I was told, ‘This is what you should expect to receive from us if you do this.
There is no vaccine on the market that is 100% safe,” she told ABC. “
Lacey explained that she decided to share her concerns about vaccines with the public after being “dismayed” by the lack of progress being made in protecting children from the disease.”
And we need to do our part.””
The truth is, we know that we don’t have 100% safety, but we know we don.
And we need to do our part.”
Lacey shared a video on Facebook, in which she is seen discussing her experiences with the NIH.
“They told me I would be told I’m a traitor and I should leave,” she said.
Lacey was initially scheduled to deliver a presentation to the CDC in March of this year.
However, the presentation was delayed for the following month because she needed to “refocus” after being diagnosed with a severe respiratory illness, and she was unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for the conference.
Laceros presentation was slated to be delivered to CDC headquarters in Washington, DC, on Monday, but was abruptly rescheduled after it was revealed that Lacey had been threatened with death by NIH officials.
“After being threatened, my flight from the US to DC was cancelled,” Laceros said in a statement.
“This is unacceptable.”
The announcement of Lacey’s death comes less than a month after she and other vaccine whistleblowers who spoke out against the CDC’s vaccine safety policies were arrested in a plot to sabotage vaccine development.
In November, the NIH announced a policy to stop funding for vaccine research if a whistleblower did not submit to medical examination, an action which Lacey was forced to do because she was not required to undergo a medical examination.
The New York Times reported that the “Nancy” whistleblower, who worked as a senior researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was “forced to submit to an annual medical examination” after she was found to have “medical conditions that could be life-threatening,” including a “possible stroke.”
The NIH later apologized for the policy, and stated that it was not aware of any whistleblower who had suffered “serious medical consequences for exposing a vaccine safety problem,” and that it would no longer fund research that did not have “safety assurances.”
“The NIH’s new policy is an example of the agency’s disregard for the safety of its vaccine research,” said NIH spokesperson Michael Osterholm.
“We have been working hard to change our approach to the vaccine safety process, and will continue to do so in order to protect the public’s health.”
The NIAID has denied any wrongdoing, and the agency told ABC that it has “robust safeguards in place to detect and report violations of our policy and that we take allegations of misconduct seriously.”
Lacey, however, told ABC she felt “betrayed” and “embarrassed” by NIH’s response.
“I am very sad that the NIH did not care enough to do something about it,” she explained.
“When I told the agency I was being harassed, they didn’t take it seriously.
It’s one thing to be a whistleblower and then have to deal with the backlash from your peers.
But it’s completely different when your work is not supported by the government and you are not allowed to make that work.”