A 3-part series, reprinted with permissionby Gary Null, PhD and Martin
Part I – October 2007
A major controversy is brewing in the United States as people question
whether the vaccines we give to children are safe and effective. In this
three-part series, we explore the vaccine controversy to help separate
the myths from the facts. We have conducted an extensive review of the
scientific literature to examine the safety and efficacy of vaccines and
the health effects of these often-mandated medical procedures.
Does the process of vaccination represent good science? What is the proof
that the numerous
vaccines given to infants are safe? Do the manufacturers and physicians
who provide them support conjecture or sound scientific practice? Our
society rarely looks at the safety and efficacy of the products of medical
manufacturers that have enormous power to influence the decisions of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID).[1-8] Although the public rarely hears of the tragedies
and side effects associated with vaccines, we do hear that vaccines promise
to prevent a new condition (such as cervical cancer and genital warts[9).
The reality is that we are inundating the developing baby’s body
with a growing list of vaccines, often overwhelming the immune system
with resultant negative effects. A full picture of the effects of immunization
has not emerged due to a deep-seated under-reporting of the adverse events
associated with vaccinations.[11-13]
Our Acceptance of Vaccines
Public health officials have long put forth the basic assumptions that
vaccinations are safe and effective.[14-16] The public and our legislators
have, by and large, accepted these assumptions as true. We think of vaccinations
as panaceas and look to science to develop new ones for many illnesses.
Vaccines are now in the Research and Development (R&D) pipeline for
diseases such as chlamydia, herpes simplex type 2, hepatitis C, West Nile
virus, Epstein-Barr virus, and others. The World Health Organization
(WHO) notes that intensive efforts also are underway to develop effective
vaccines for malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, and other diseases.
Jamie Murphy, author of What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization,
attributes society’s acceptance of vaccinations largely to state
laws that dictate children must receive vaccines to attend school.
Each state determines which vaccines it will mandate for daycare and school
entry, and state officials often rely on the recommendations of the CDC’s
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other advisers
in the process of mandating specific vaccines.
The Growing Roster of Childhood Vaccines
The CDC’s 2007 recommended immunization schedule includes more than
two dozen doses of vaccines, targeting 14 diseases for children under
the age of two. These diseases are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus
influenzae type b, pneumococcal, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella,
varicella, influenza, hepatitis A, and rotavirus. The CDC recommended
the latter two – hepatitis A and rotavirus – for routine vaccination
of children in 2005 and 2006, again expanding the vaccination protocol
for young children.
By contrast, vaccines for seven diseases were included in the CDC’s
first childhood immunization schedule in 1983. The vaccines (for diphtheria,
tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella) were recommended
for children up to 18 months of age.
In addition to the vaccines received in the first two years of life, children
aged four to six receive vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis,
polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This second
dose of chickenpox vaccine is new, recommended by the ACIP for all children in 2006.
Recently Approved Vaccines
As noted, a new rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq) was recommended by the ACIP
for all infants in 2006. In addition, the government has recommended several
vaccines for adolescents in the past few years: a diphtheria, tetanus,
and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine; a meningococcal conjugate vaccine
(MCV4); and the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil), which
is approved for females nine to 26 years of age. Gardasil is designed
to protect against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause approximately 70%
of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which cause about 90% of genital
warts. For adults, the FDA approved in 2006 the first vaccine to prevent
herpes zoster, also called shingles. This vaccine (Zostavax) is approved
for people 60 years of age and older.
Types of Vaccines
Four main types of vaccines are used in the US, each with its own strengths
and weaknesses. As described by Kurt Link, MD, in his book The Vaccine
Controversy, these types are as follows:
Live Virus Vaccines
These vaccines contain an attenuated strain of the wild virus that causes
a disease. Live viruses can trigger a strong and long-lasting immunity,
but they may cause serious infections and even death in people who are
immune-compromised and sometimes may cause serious infections in people
who are apparently healthy. Live virus vaccines include measles, mumps,
rubella, chickenpox, and oral polio (the live polio vaccine is no longer
used in the US).
Killed Whole Vaccines
This type of vaccine cannot cause an infection, because the infectious
organism has been killed with heat or substances such as thimerosal or
phenol. Multiple initial doses and booster doses are needed to stimulate
and maintain immunity. This category includes vaccines for pertussis,
polio (the inactivated version), and anthrax.
These vaccines contain relatively pure chemical components of an infectious
microbe and cannot cause an infection. The hepatitis B vaccine, in particular,
is manufactured with a recombinant technology in which the hepatitis surface
antigens are produced in yeast cells. Like killed whole vaccines, purified
vaccines may require multiple doses and boosters to sustain immunity.
In addition to hepatitis B, purified vaccines include pneumococcal pneumonia
and haemophilus influenza.
In this case, a toxoid causes the body to produce antibodies against toxins
secreted by a type of bacteria, not against the organism itself. Diphtheria
and tetanus are examples of toxoid vaccines. As noted by Dr. Link,
today’s vaccines not only contain material from animals, such as
monkeys, chicks, horses, and cattle, but also toxins and chemicals such
as formaldehyde, aluminum salts, and antibiotics. In the future, we hope
to have DNA vaccines that are free of impurities. With these purified
vaccines, genetic material from a microbe will be inserted directly into
a person’s cells, prompting them to produce the vaccine and mobilizing
a long-lasting immune response. (Theoretically, there is a downside: if
vaccine DNA is integrated into a person’s genetic makeup, the adverse
effects could include cancer and autoimmune diseases.)
Challenging Our Assumptions
As the list of vaccines used in the US grows, we must take a close look
at our assumptions and ask: are we seeing the full picture? The reasons
we should challenge our beliefs about vaccination include the following:
Vaccine Safety Issues
Significant adverse effects have been reported with every type of vaccine.[29,30]
These reactions may occur soon after vaccination or several months to
years later. Delayed reactions are more insidious and less obviously
linked to vaccination and thus necessitate large-scale epidemiological
studies to be proven.
The recent history of immunization demonstrates the perils associated with
vaccines. In 1999, a vaccine for infants was removed from the market due
to its serious adverse effects. RotaShield was approved by the FDA in
1998 for the prevention of rotavirus in infants but was withdrawn after
reports to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and a subsequent
review showed the vaccine was associated with intussusception, a bowel
disorder. In 1991, an experiment with a high-titer measles vaccine
in infants was halted when studies found an increased mortality rate among
female recipients compared with those receiving the standard measles vaccine.
And in the past few decades, some studies have found that an increased
risk of certain cancers is associated with polio vaccines given to children
from 1955 to 1963 that were contaminated with a monkey virus.
The CDC recently studied the safety of immunization by analyzing reports
made to VAERS during the first 11 years of the system’s operation,
from 1991 to 2001. There were 128,717 reports made, 14.2% of which described
serious adverse events that “by regulatory definition include death,
life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization,
or permanent disability.” The CDC concluded that reviews of VAERS
reports and studies based on those reports during the 11-year period “have
demonstrated that vaccines are usually safe and that serious adverse reactions
do occur but are rare.”
It should be noted that VAERS is a passive surveillance system and that
only an estimated one-tenth of reactions are reported (by some estimates,
this figure is even greater).[36,37] The result is that reported data
greatly underestimate the real incidence of vaccine-associated complications.
Furthermore, associations are not made when adverse events occur long
after the time of vaccination. Indeed, a 1998 study in the Lancet
and a recent review claim that no link exists between the MMR vaccine
and subsequent long-term health events such as autism or bowel obstruction.[39,40]
One would think that before injecting children worldwide with hundreds
of millions of doses of vaccines, enough clinical trials would be performed
to determine exactly what the effects of this large-scale human experiment
would be. Lack of funding is not the problem. Each year, Congress appropriates
more than $1 billion[41,42] to federal health agencies to develop, purchase,
and promote the mass use of vaccines in the US, but not to fund independent
researchers to investigate vaccine-related health problems.
Dr. Link points out that different people will react to the same vaccine
in different ways. Each person’s reaction depends on a variety of
factors, including his or her genes, history of infections and vaccinations,
and general health. “The same vaccine will be totally ignored immunologically
by one individual, but create immunologic chaos in another,” he
writes. Reactions also differ for the very young and very old.
The people who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines often are infants and
children; 45% of reports to VAERS concern children age six and under.
The problems incurred as a result of vaccination go far beyond sore arms
and transitory fever. Adverse events such as anaphylaxis, Guillain-Barre
syndrome, brachial neuritis, thrombocytopenia, poliomyelitis (caused by
the oral polio vaccine, no longer used in the US), acute encephalopathy,
and hypotonic/hyporesponsive episodes have been linked to vaccines.[45-48]
Some research also has suggested that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
is associated with vaccinations.[49-51] A study by FDA researchers of
reports to VAERS from 1991 to 1994 found that most of the reported deaths
were attributed to SIDS. The researchers concluded, however, that “the
peak age of deaths at ages one to three months could be expected on the
basis of prior studies showing that sudden infant death syndrome deaths
peak at that age. Similarly, the CDC’s study of VAERS data from
1991 to 2001 found that the majority of deaths reported were ultimately
designated as SIDS. This report also concluded that the age distribution
and seasonality of the infant deaths reported to VAERS matched those of
SIDS. The CDC cites other research discounting an association between
vaccinations and untimely deaths of infants.[53,54] Critics have noted,
however, that a comparison with the background rate of SIDS among vaccinated
populations, rather than comparable unvaccinated groups, is not meaningful.
Unsound Principles of Vaccination
When children contract a disease such as measles or mumps, they generally
develop a permanent protection against that disease. Such is not the case
with vaccines. As Jamie Murphy observes, “The medical profession
does not know how long vaccine immunity lasts because it is artificial
immunity. If you get measles naturally, in 99% of the cases you have lifelong
immunity. If you have German measles, you will have lifelong immunity
[with rare second infections]…. However, if you get a measles vaccine
or a DPT vaccine, [it does not give you 100% assurance that] the vaccine
will prevent you from getting the disease.”
The Vaccine Controversy notes that by vaccinating infants and children,
we shift upward the age at which people may become ill from an infectious
disease. “Mild illnesses of children can be devastating in the adult,”
the author states. “This is an issue far from resolved.”
Widespread outbreaks of pertussis and mumps in the past few years bear
out the notion that waning immunity from childhood vaccines can leave
adolescent and adults vulnerable to infection.[58,59]
Walene James, author of
Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, believes the full inflammatory response is necessary to create real
immunity. James summarizes the work of Dr. Richard Moskowitz, past
president of the National Institute of Homeopathy, as stating: “Vaccines
trick the body so that it will no longer initiate a generalized inflammatory
response. They thereby accomplish what the entire immune system seems
to have evolved to prevent. They place the virus directly into the blood
and give it access to the major immune organs and tissues without any
obvious way of getting rid of it. These attenuated viruses and virus elements
persist in the blood for a long time, perhaps permanently. This, in turn,
implies a systematic weakening of the ability to mount an effective response,
not only to childhood diseases but to other acute infections as well.”
Studies of vaccines show that they prompt the body to produce antibodies
to a particular antigen, called seroconversion. However, as Alan Phillips,
co-founder of Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, writes in “Vaccination:
Dispelling the Myths,” it is not clear whether the production of
antibodies constitutes immunity. “For example, a-gamma globulinemic
children are incapable of producing antibodies, yet they recover from
infectious diseases almost as quickly as other children….Natural
immunization is a complex phenomenon involving many organs and systems;
it cannot be fully replicated by the artificial stimulation of antibody
production….[Our] immunological reserves may thus actually be reduced,
causing a generally lowered resistance.”[62,63]
Phillips also questions so-called “herd immunity,” in which
the immunization of enough people in a community confers protection to
all. “There are many documented instances showing just the opposite
– fully vaccinated populations do contract diseases. With measles,
this actually seems to be the direct result of high vaccination rates…,”
The Natural Evolution of Disease
A CDC fact sheet states that vaccination programs in the US have significantly
reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases. However, this communication
does not discuss factors besides vaccination that coalesced to improve
public health in the twentieth century.
A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) makes
the following points about the rates of mortality in the twentieth century:
Mortality rates declined steadily and rapidly throughout the century. As
stated by David Francis in a summary of the research, “Except for
a ten-year period between 1955 and 1965 when the mortality rate was essentially
flat, mortality rates have declined at the relatively constant rate of
approximately one to two percent per year since 1900.” If vaccines
are responsible for the decline of disease, then shouldn’t mortality
rates have fallen more rapidly in the latter half of the century when
more and more vaccines were required?
In the mid-twentieth century, the continuing decline in death from infectious
diseases was due more to medical measures such as penicillin, sulfa drugs,
and antibiotics. As Francis states, “These help the elderly as well
as the young, thereby reducing mortality across the age spectrum. By 1960,
70% of infants could be expected to survive to age 65.” Vaccinations
were not mentioned in this paragraph.
In one analysis of health trends among Americans in the twentieth century,
the authors state that nearly 85% of the “spectacular” reduction
in child mortality occurred before World War II, and nearly 90% of the
decline in child mortality from infectious diseases occurred before 1940.
Few antibiotics or vaccines were available during that time. The major
declines in child mortality in the first third of the century, they say,
have been credited to public health measures involving water treatment,
food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and education regarding hygienic
practices. Housing improvements and less crowding in cities also played
Given the factors involved in declining death rates, are vaccinations the
magic bullets we believe them to be? Dr. Harris Coulter, an expert on
the pertussis vaccine and co-author of A Shot in the Dark, concludes
otherwise. Regarding infectious diseases of the past, he states, “The
incidence of all of these infectious diseases was dropping very rapidly,
starting in the 1930s. After World War II, the incidence continued to
drop as living conditions improved. Clean water, central heating…these
are the factors that really affected people’s tendencies to come
down with infectious diseases much more than vaccines. The vaccines might
have added a little bit to that downward curve, but the curve was going
down all the time anyway.”
Toxic Vaccine Ingredients and Processes
Walene James cautions parents to consider the content of vaccines that
enter a child’s body without benefit of the digestive or liver functions.
She says there are three main types of vaccine ingredients:
Cultured bacteria and viruses
The medium of cultivation may include “dog kidney tissue, monkey
kidney tissue, chicken or duck egg protein, chick embryo, calf serum,
pig or horse blood, and cowpox pus.” James notes that these foreign
proteins, which are injected directly into the body, contain the genetic
material of animal cells. Live viruses in a vaccine may pick up the genes
of these cells and implant alien genetic material into the human system.
Stabilizers, neutralizers, carrying agents, and preservatives
These include toxins such as formaldehyde (a carcinogenic material used
to embalm corpses) and aluminum phosphate.
This last category also includes some thimerosal, the mercury preservative
that has been removed from vaccines commonly given to young children (with
the exception of the influenza vaccine, which may still contain mercury).
Thimerosal also may be found in some vaccines used in children above age
six and in adults, such as DT, Td, TT, and influenza vaccines. According
to the FDA, all new vaccines licensed since 1999 do not contain thimerosal
as a preservative.
What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, Jamie Murphy seconds the views of James: “What could formaldehyde,
aluminum, phenol…or any number of other deadly chemical substances
used in vaccines possibly have to do with preventing disease in children?
The fact that they are needed at all in the vaccine formula argues that
the product is toxic, unstable, and unreliable with or without their presence.”
The Use of Thimerosal in Vaccines
One aspect of vaccination that has fueled considerable controversy is
the use of thimerosal (which is approximately 50% ethylmercury by weight)
as a preservative. This substance was contained in vaccines for many decades
before the US Public Health Service (PHS) and the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement in 1999 urging its removal. Although
the PHS agencies and AAP said this step was being taken as a precautionary
measure – not because the mercury in vaccines had caused harm –
the fact remains that as more vaccines were being mandated for children,
the cumulative level of mercury to which some infants were exposed through
vaccination exceeded that deemed safe by a federal guideline.[77,78]
Thimerosal has since been eliminated from or reduced to trace amounts in
all the vaccines routinely given to children age six and younger, reports
the FDA. The only exception for this age group is the influenza vaccine,
for which a limited supply of a preservative-free version was available
in 2006. (Trace amounts of thimerosal may remain in some vaccines
given to children, because it is used in the manufacturing process, not
from its use as a preservative). With the new vaccines (excluding influenza),
the maximum cumulative amount of ethylmercury an infant would be exposed
to in the first six months of life through routine vaccinations is now
< 3 mcg. This exposure is down from a maximum of 187.5 mcg previously.
While this change is certainly welcomed, we should ask why a neurotoxin
such as mercury was allowed to be used in vaccines in the first place.
Mercury exposure has been associated with nerve cell degeneration,
adverse behavioral effects, and impaired brain development. It
also has been linked to degenerative chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s
disease. The developing fetal nervous system is the most sensitive to
its toxic effects, and prenatal exposure to high doses of mercury has
been shown to cause mental retardation and cerebral palsy.
At the center of the debate over the use of mercury in vaccines is whether
this substance has contributed to an increased incidence of autism in
the US. An analysis of VAERS and the Vaccine Safety Datalink found that
mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) was a significant
risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). Other research,
as discussed by David Kirby in Evidence of Harm, has suggested an association
between mercury in the body and autism.[86-89] However, a number of population
studies have found that there is no association between TCVs and the incidence
of autism spectrum disorders.[90-92] The Institute of Medicine determined
in a 2004 report that “the body of epidemiological evidence favors
rejection of a causal relationship” between TCVs and autism and
between the MMR vaccine, in particular, and autism.
Concerns about the safety of mercury in vaccines continue. In 2006, Washington
State passed a law banning the use of thimerosal in vaccines given to
young children and pregnant women. This law made Washington the seventh
state – after Iowa, California, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, and
New York – to limit the use of mercury in vaccines. More than a
dozen other states have introduced similar legislation.
A study published in 2006 provides the first epidemiological evidence that
the number of neurodevelopment disorders has decreased in the US as thimerosal
was removed from vaccines. This study analyzed certain NDs – including
autism, mental retardation, and speech disorders – reported to VAERS
from 1991 to 2004. It found “significant reductions in the proportion
of NDs reported to VAERS as thimerosal was [beginning] to be removed from
childhood vaccines in the US from mid-1999 onwards.”
A continuing concern is the use of thimerosal in vaccines that may be given
to children age seven and older (such as some flu and tetanus-diphtheria
vaccines) and to adults who are elderly or immune-compromised. The CDC
recommended in 2004 that children six to 23 months of age receive the
flu vaccine each year, and in 2003, it approved the “first live
attenuated influenza vaccine licensed for five- to 49-year-old persons.”
As late as the 2004-2005 flu season, however, two types of influenza vaccines
were still on the market: some contained thimerosal as a preservative,
and some were preservative-free. The CDC said then that the amount of
preservative-free flu vaccine would continue to increase as the capabilities
of manufacturers grew. However, one wonders how many children are
still suffering the effects of mercury-toxic injections from past flu seasons.
The FDA, for its part, says that with the maximum cumulative exposure to
mercury for children under six months reduced to less than 3 mcg, “an
infant could receive a thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine at six
and seven months of age.” The FDA reasons that the maximum exposure
from routine vaccinations would be 28 mcg, which is “well below
the EPA calculated exposure guideline for methylmercury of 65 micrograms
for a child in the 5th percentile body weight during the first six months
Vaccine Failure and Waning Immunity
The medical literature documents many cases in which vaccines have failed
to protect recipients from the targeted disease, either due to primary
failure (a lack of seroconversion) or secondary failure (the waning of
protection over time). In recent years, for example, large outbreaks of
pertussis and mumps among both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people
have brought these two “vintage bugs,” as
Newsweek referred to them in 2006, back into the news.[99-103]
Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is increasing in
the US. It is re-emerging even though estimated rates of childhood
vaccination coverage with three or more doses have exceeded 90% since
1994. Reported cases of pertussis reached 25,827 in 2004, compared
with a low of 1,010 in 1976 – two years before the DTP vaccine
was mandated for school admission. This represented the largest pertussis
outbreak in more than 40 years, and the actual incidence is likely higher
due to underreporting. The majority of reported cases are now occurring
in adolescents, who the CDC says become susceptible to pertussis some
six to ten years after receiving their childhood vaccines, and in
adults. But younger children who have been vaccinated against pertussis
may be affected as well.
The re-emergence of pertussis is not limited to the United States. Canada,
Australia, and some European countries also have experienced a resurgence
of this disease. A 2005 report concludes that “pertussis is far
from being controlled in Europe.” Another analysis from the
same year states that “an increased incidence of infant, adolescent,
and adult pertussis has been observed worldwide since the introduction
of widespread vaccination.”
Like pertussis, mumps also has had a resurgence in the US. The largest
outbreak of mumps since the late 1980s occurred in 2006, when 5,783 cases
were reported to the CDC between January 1 and October 7. Although the
CDC does not have complete data on vaccination status in this nationwide
outbreak, vaccination coverage for 1,798 patients in Iowa, where the outbreak
started, was 49% for two doses of the MMR vaccine and 14% for one dose.
The vaccination status of 30% of these patients was not known. Other
outbreaks of mumps have occurred in vaccinated populations.[112,113]
Another vaccine that may fail to protect recipients during an outbreak
is the varicella (chicken-pox) vaccination. Numerous studies have found
that vaccinated schoolchildren are still at risk of contracting this disease.[114,115]
In an outbreak of 25 cases of chickenpox at a daycare center, the authors
concluded that “vaccination provided poor protection” (44%
against varicella of any severity) and that “breakthrough infections
in vaccinated, healthy persons can be as infectious as varicella in unvaccinated
persons.” In other studies of chickenpox outbreaks, the numbers
of vaccinated people among infected individuals were: 29 of 54 cases,
26 of 83 cases, 43 of 49 cases, 18 of 21 cases, and 14
of 41 cases. Vaccine effectiveness against varicella of any severity
in these studies ranged from 59% to 87%.
The Use of Unproven Vaccines
A contentious area of vaccination is the use of experimental vaccines
in the US military, particularly with personnel of the Gulf War of 1990-91,
without their informed consent. Approximately 150,000 service members
deployed to the Gulf received the anthrax vaccine. Some Gulf troops
also received the botulinum vaccine. In addition, the anthrax vaccine
has been given to hundreds of thousands of military personnel since 1998,
when the Department of Defense (DOD) began a mandatory mass vaccination
program to inoculate all 2.5 million members of the military against a
potential attack with anthrax.
Although the FDA licensed the anthrax vaccine in 1970, it was not approved
for inhalation exposure. The DOD’s mandatory anthrax vaccine program
was ruled illegal in 2004 when a federal judge said the FDA had not followed
its licensing regulations for the vaccine. The DOD was directed to “stop
giving the experimental vaccine to military personnel without their voluntary,
informed consent,” according to the National Vaccine Information
Center (NVIC), which recently launched the Military and Biodefense Vaccine
Project to provide information on related vaccines. However, the FDA issued
a Final Order in December 2005 stating the anthrax vaccine was safe and
effective, and the DOD’s anthrax vaccination program was again made
mandatory in October 2006.
The NVIC reports that when the FDA issued its Final Order in 2005, it “failed
to provide evidence the vaccine was effective against inhalation (weaponized)
anthrax and failed to address published research studies and 5,000 adverse
event reports received by FDA demonstrating that anthrax vaccine is causing
serous health problems.”
The anthrax vaccine is one possible cause of what is commonly referred
to as Gulf War syndrome, the collection of chronic symptoms (such as fatigue,
joint pain, headaches, skin rashes, and cognitive problems) that have
been reported by veterans of this war. According to the Institute for
Molecular Medicine, which studies chronic diseases, it is likely that
a variety of exposures are responsible for the illnesses experienced by
veterans with Gulf War Illness. These exposures include chemical mixtures,
such as organophosphates, antinerve agents, and possibly nerve agents;
radiological sources, including depleted uranium ammunition and possibly
fallout from destroyed nuclear reactors; and biological sources, such
as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. (It should be noted that the Institute
of Medicine stated in September 2006 that there is no unique cluster of
symptoms that comprise a Gulf War syndrome.)
Regarding vaccines, a study of Kansas Gulf War veterans found that veterans
who were vaccinated during the war but were not deployed to the region
“may experience some of the same health problems” as veterans
who served in the war. Among nondeployed veterans, 12% of those who received
the vaccines had Gulf War illness, compared with four percent who did
not receive the vaccines. This researcher cites other studies that
have found that vaccines against biologic warfare agents (such as anthrax
and plague) and multiple routine vaccines in Gulf War veterans were associated
with multisymptom illness as classified by the CDC.[130,131]
Part II – November 2007
DIPHTHERIA, TETANUS AND PERTUSSIS VACCINE
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
incidence of diphtheria was reduced to zero by 2004, from an estimated
average of 21,053 cases per year in the 20th century. But as with other
infectious diseases, much of the decline in mortality from diphtheria
had occurred before the vaccine was used. This mortality rate fell from
40 deaths per 100,000 in 1900 to approximately 16 per 100,000 in 1920,
when the diphtheria vaccine was introduced in the US.
Despite high levels of childhood vaccination coverage for pertussis (whooping
cough), the largest outbreak of this disease in four decades has occurred
in recent years. There were 25,827 reported cases of pertussis in 2004
(the actual incidence could be higher due to underreporting), compared
with a low of 1,010 in 1976.
According to the CDC, the reported rate of pertussis per 100,000 population
increased from 1.8 in 1994 to 8.9 in 2004. The 2004 rate was the third
consecutive annual increase in the incidence of pertussis. The CDC notes
that two-thirds of reported cases of pertussis now occur among adolescents
and adults due to the waning of vaccine-induced immunity. This waning
occurs five to ten years after receipt of the vaccine. 
Similar trends in pertussis were noted nearly 20 years ago in a 1988 report.
After the US mandated whooping cough vaccination in 1978, the incidence
of the disease in the next eight years trebled. The highest incidence
was in infants less than one year old. However, the highest relative increase
was in adolescents and adults.
In 2006, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
addressed the rise of whooping cough among adolescents by recommending
that they receive another dose of pertussis vaccine. The Tdap vaccine
(which also contains tetanus and diphtheria toxoids) is now recommended
for all children age 11 to 18 and replaces the tetanus-diphtheria booster
previously given to adolescents. The Tdap booster adds to the five doses
of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus that children already receive before
their seventh birthday.
Several research papers suggest that immunization programs have not yet
brought pertussis under control. A 2006 article reports that pertussis
“has reemerged worldwide as a cause of substantial morbidity and
mortality in infants, children, and adolescents, despite high vaccination
rates.” Another report, published in 2005, states that an increased
incidence of pertussis “has been observed worldwide since the introduction
of widespread vaccination.” These researchers say that there has
been “a general shift in the age distribution of pertussis toward
older groups” and that “despite high coverage rates for primary
immunization in infants and children, pertussis continues to be a global
concern, with increased incidence widely noted.”
On the other hand, the merit of the pertussis vaccine is indicated by a
2006 paper. This research evaluated state-level rates of nonmedical exemptions
(those based on religious or personal beliefs) to mandatory vaccination
from 1991 to 2004 and the incidence of pertussis among people 18 and younger
from 1986 to 2004. The study found that an increased incidence of pertussis
was associated with state policies granting personal-belief exemptions
and the easier granting of exemptions.
Replacement of the whole cell pertussis vaccine. The US made a major vaccine
substitution in the 1990s when it replaced the diphtheria, tetanus, and
whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP) with a diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular
pertussis vaccine (DTaP). The whole cell vaccine has been associated
with serious adverse reactions (such as seizures and encephalopathy).
Studies have since found a decline in the number of adverse reactions to
pertussis-containing vaccines. An analysis of reports made to the Vaccine
Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from 1991 to 2001 found that the
overall reporting rate decreased substantially after use of the acellular
petussis vaccine compared with the whole cell version (12.5 vs. 26.2 reports
per 100,000 net doses distributed).
An analysis of VAERS data from 1995 (when the whole cell vaccine was in
use) to 1998 (when the acellular vaccine was predominant) found that the
number of reports concerning pertussis fell from 2071 in 1995 to 491 in
the first half of 1998. Events categorized as “nonfatal serious”
fell from 334 in 1995 to 93 (first-half ’98). However, the decrease
in reports involving deaths was modest, from 85 deaths in 1995 to 77 in
1997 and 41 in the first half of 1998.
Recent comparisons of the whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines confirm
that the older version caused more adverse reactions. One study of VAERS
evaluated the number of emergency room visits, life-threatening reactions,
hospitalizations, disabilities, deaths, seizures, infantile spasms, encephalitis/encephalopathy,
autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and speech disorders that
began within three days of receipt of pertussis-containing vaccines. The
study found statistical increases for all of these events, except cerebellar
ataxia, following whole cell vaccination compared with acellular vaccination.
In Japan, an analysis of two decades of use of the acellular vaccine showed
that while neurological illnesses were rare with both types of pertussis
vaccine, the incidences of encephalopathy/encephalitis and status epileptics/frequent
convulsions, febrile seizures/provocation of convulsions, and sudden deaths
were significantly lower with the acellular than the whole cell vaccine.
A study in Canada reported a 79% decrease in febrile seizures and a 60%
to 67% decrease in hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes following the introduction
of the acellular vaccine there.
Other research has associated the whole cell vaccine with neurological
complications, including convulsions, hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes,
paralysis, and encephalopathy.[17,18,19,20,21,22] Sadly, the DTP vaccine
also has been associated with SIDS, the unexpected death of an infant
for which autopsy cannot reveal a determining cause. In 1982 William Torch
reported that his investigation of 70 SIDS cases (which was triggered
by a report of 12 such deaths occurring within three-and-one-half hours
to 19 hours of DPT vaccination) found that two-thirds of the victims had
been vaccinated from a half-day to three weeks prior to death.
Torch reaffirmed a link between DTP and SIDS in 1986, when he presented
11 new cases of SIDS and one of near-miss syndrome occurring within 24
hours of DTP injection Analysis of these and more than 150 cases of
DTP post-vaccinal deaths reported in the literature – about half
of which were sudden or anaphylactic – led Torch to conclude: “Although
many feel that the DPT-SIDS relationship is temporal, this author and
others maintain a casual relationship exists in a yet-to-be-determined
Other researchers also have uncovered a relationship between DTP and SIDS.[26,27]
However, the CDC reported in 1996 that several studies conducted in
the 1980s did not find an association between DTP vaccination and SIDS.[29,30]
Pertussis vaccination and asthma. A 1994 study found that children immunized
against whooping cough were five times more likely to suffer from asthma
than those who did not receive the vaccine. Another study of almost
2,000 children born between 1974 and 1984 showed that vaccination against
whooping cough was associated with a 76% increased risk of developing
asthma and other allergic diseases later in life. On the other hand,
a study published by the CDC of more than 160,000 children did not find
an association between the DTP vaccine and the risk of asthma. A 2006
report from the Netherlands also found that receipt of the DTP/polio vaccine
in infancy was not related to reported atopic disorders at primary school age.
The literature includes articles on neurological reactions to the tetanus
vaccination[35-40] and other adverse reactions.[41-43]
Three types of polio vaccines have been used throughout the world: 1) the
OPV, or oral polio vaccine (Sabin vaccine), consisting of live attenuated
poliovirus; 2) the IPV, or inactivated polio vaccine (Salk vaccine), consisting
of killed poliovirus and given by injection; and 3) the eIPV, an enhanced
potency inactivated polio vaccine, consisting of killed poliovirus with
high viral antigen content.
In the United States, the IPV (enhanced potency version) has been recommended
for routine childhood vaccination against polio since 2000. Before that,
the live attenuated OPV was the polio vaccine of choice for more than
three decades. This vaccine, however, actually caused polio – vaccine-associated
paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) – in a small percentage of recipients.
The risk of VAPP “became more difficult to justify” as polio
was controlled worldwide and importations of wild poliovirus to the US
became less likely, according to an article in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.
As a result, in 1996 the government recommended a sequential schedule using
both IPV and OPV for the childhood polio vaccination series. The ACIP
then recommended the all-IPV schedule in 2000.
According to the CDC, the overall risk for VAPP is approximately one case
in 2.4 million OPV doses distributed, while the first-dose risk is one
case in 750,000 doses distributed. The OPV has caused the only indigenous
cases of polio reported in the US since 1979. Between 1980 and 1998, 144
cases of VAPP were reported. Another VAPP case occurred in 1999, and
in 2005, a case of imported VAPP was reported in the US after an unvaccinated
American woman traveled to Central America and was exposed to an infant
vaccinated with OPV. In late 2005, four cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus
(VDPV) involving a poliovirus strain used in the OPV were identified in
unvaccinated children in an Amish community in Minnesota. The source of
these infections is not known, since the OPV has not been used in the
US since 2000.
During the time that the trivalent OPV was used in the US (from 1963 to
1999), an inactivated polio vaccine was available. The original IPV, developed
by Jonas Salk, was used to immunize American children from 1955 to 1962.
According to theJAMA article, the OPV became preferred to the IPV because it provided better
intestinal immunity, was able to indirectly vaccinate susceptible contacts
through transmission of vaccine polioviruses, was easier to administer,
and cost less.
Although IPV does not cause VAPP, the severity profiles of reports to VAERS
on IPV and OPV in infants up to six months of age were “remarkably
similar.” Among the most frequent symptoms reported for IPV were
fever, SIDS, convulsions, agitation, apnea, and stupor. Reports of fatalities
in 1998 per 100,000 doses distributed were somewhat higher for IPV than
for OPV. Of 142 fatalities reported for both IPV and OPV in 1997-1998,
89 indicated SIDS.
Polio vaccine and Guillain-Barre syndrome. GBS is a disease that involves
the nervous system and is characterized by muscle weakness, numbness,
loss of reflexes, and paralysis.
In Finland, in 1985, there was an increase in the incidence of GBS a few
weeks after the implementation of a nationwide campaign using OPV.[51,52]
And in Brazil, an analysis of 38 cases of paralysis diagnosed as GBS led
in all cases to the isolation of the vaccine strains of the poliovirus.
All patients had been vaccinated with the OPV months or years before the
onset of symptoms. In contrast, two other studies failed to find a
correlation between GBS and the OPV.[54,55]
Vaccine viruses also have been isolated from patients with paralysis diagnosed
as transverse myelitis (TM), and in patients with facial paralysis (FP).
Most individuals with TM and FP had received the OPV months or years prior
to the onset of disease, indicating that the virus may remain latent and
revert to virulence later in time.
Polio vaccine and SV40-related cancers. Research conducted in the past
few decades has revealed that several types of cancer may be associated
with the receipt of polio vaccines more than 40 years ago that were contaminated
with a monkey virus.
In 1960, it was discovered that the Salk IPV was contaminated with SV40
(simian virus 40), which was derived from the monkey cells used to grow
the vaccine viruses. The SV40 survived inactivation with formaldehyde,
the method used to kill the poliovirus for use in the vaccine. More than
98 million Americans were vaccinated during the time period (from 1955
to 1963) that injectable and oral doses of the polio vaccine were
contaminated with SV40. These people today have SV40 sequences integrated
into their genetic code.
Animal studies have demonstrated the ability of SV40 to integrate its DNA
into that of the host cell and induce malignancy. Unfortunately, studies
show that the virus retains these same properties in humans and is associated
with increased rates of certain cancers. Integration and replication
of SV40 has been documented in 13% to 43% of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas,[59,60]
47% to 83% of mesotheliomas (malignant tumors of the lining of the lungs),[61,62]
11% to 90% of different types of brain tumors,[63-66] 50% of osteosarcomas,
more than 33% of other types of bone tumors,[68,69] and 28% of bronchopulmonary
A continuing concern is that SV40 may be transmitted from person to person.
The virus has been detected in people born in the 1980s and 1990s, decades
after the tainted polio vaccine was no longer in use. SV40 is now
present in children, as noted by Kurt Link, MD, in his 2005 book The Vaccine
Controversy, and the CDC takes this as evidence that SV40 is a naturally
acquired infection unrelated to exposure to the contaminated polio vaccine.
But as Dr. Link states, it is more likely that people infected by the
vaccine have transmitted SV40 to others or to their offspring (such as
through semen). The implication, he says, is that “any SV40 problems
may not, as had been hoped, fade away with time. There is even now, ironically,
work being done to provide a vaccine against SV40.”
It should be noted that other research indicates there is no association
between SV40 and an increased risk of rare cancers such as ependymomas,
osteosarcomas, and mesotheliomas. One study compared rates of cancer after
30 years in birth cohorts who were likely to have received SV40-contaminated
vaccine as infants and children with rates in people who not unexposed.
Age-specific cancer rates were not significantly elevated for those exposed
to the tainted vaccine. Another study found no increased number of
cancer deaths among 1,073 people who received SV40-contaminated vaccine,
and a 35-year follow-up found no deaths from the types of tumors that
have been linked to SV40.
Another example of changes to the US vaccination protocol was the addition
in 2006 of a second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to the childhood
immunization schedule. This dose is recommended for universal vaccination
of all children at ages four to six and for any child, adolescent or adult
who previously has received only one dose. The first dose of the varicella
vaccine was recommended for children in 1995.
The ACIP recommended the second dose at four to six years of age “to
further improve protection against the disease.” The fact is,
outbreaks of varicella have occurred despite increasing coverage with
the first dose of the vaccine. In a survey of 59 jurisdictions (states,
large cities, and US territories) by the CDC, 45 jurisdictions were notified
of at least once varicella outbreak in 2004, and 13 were notified of six
or more. Data obtained on 190 outbreaks in 2004 showed that two-thirds
occurred in elementary schools.
Varicella outbreaks may occur even in highly vaccinated communities, and
vaccinated children are still at risk of contracting the disease.[79-81]
According to the CDC, 11% to 17% of vaccinated children have developed
chickenpox – so-called “breakthrough varicella” –
in recent outbreaks of the disease among vaccinated schoolchildren.
In three studies, rates of infection in vaccinated individuals ranged
from 18% to 34% anywhere from five to ten years following immunization.[83-85]
In other recent studies of chickenpox outbreaks, vaccine effectiveness
against varicella of any severity ranged from 44% to 87%. Effectiveness
was as high as 97% for moderate or severe illness.[86-91] Research also
shows that people with breakthrough varicella tend to have milder illness
than do unvaccinated people who contract the disease, although the
vaccinated individuals can be just as infectious.
VAERS received 6,574 reports of adverse events for the varicalla vaccine
from March 17, 1995 to July 25, 1998. Approximately four percent of reports
concerned serious events (such as anaphylaxis, thrombocytopenia, pneumonia,
and convulsions) and deaths. The dangers of adult chickenpox. In most
cases chickenpox is a benign, self-limiting disease in children, and the
natural immunity derived from contracting the disease is permanent. Vaccine-induced
immunity, on the other hand, lasts only an estimated six to ten years.
The temporary nature of vaccine-induced immunity can create a more dangerous
situation by postponing the child’s vulnerability until adulthood,
when death from the disease is 30 times more likely.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Vienna, Va., advises parents
to seriously consider not using the chickenpox vaccine in healthy children.
According to Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president, “The case/fatality
ratio in healthy children is one death per 100,000 children. In adults,
it rises to 31 deaths per 100,000. So it basically is an experiment. That
is really what happens with most of these vaccines that they bring out.
They really don’t know what the long-term effect is going to be.”
Dr. Link, however, cautions that if most children are immunized according
to the current US policy of universal vaccination, “it may be unwise
to try to avoid vaccination because of the hazard of later acquiring varicella
as an adult.”
The temporary immunity provided by the vaccine is a particular concern
for pregnant women. Normally, 90% of adult women are immune to varicella
and transfer this immunity to their babies during pregnancy. But the immunity
induced by vaccination, which lasts only five to ten years, may be gone
by the time a woman enters her reproductive stage, leaving pregnant women
at risk of contracting the infection and transmitting it to the fetus.
Fetal varicella syndrome is characterized by multiple congenital malformations
and is often fatal for the fetus. In addition, children born to women
whose vaccine-induced immunity has faded are unprotected during the first
year of life, when their immune system is still developing, and may suffer
fatal complications if exposed to the infection.
Another potential problem in the coming years is an increase in the rate
of shingles due to widespread use of the varicella vaccine. As Dr. Link
explains, the varicella zoster virus causes both chickenpox and herpes
zoster (shingles). The virus could lie dormant for many years and later
become active and cause shingles due to a reduction in immunity. One report
states that mass vaccination with varicella “is expected to cause
a major epidemic of herpes zoster.”7 And while some research
has not found in increase in the rate of shingles, reports Dr. Link, it
will be years before we know whether the vaccine virus is too weak to
be activated or the immunity produced by the vaccine is too weak to control
It is of interest that the FDA approved the first vaccine for herpes zoster
in 2006. Zostavax is a live vaccine licensed for use in people age 60
and older. In a study of approximately 38,000 people, the vaccine reduced
the incidence of herpes zoster by about 50% overall. Effectiveness ranged
from 64% for people age 60-69 to 18% for those 80 and older.
HEPATITIS B VACCINE
The hepatitis B vaccine became commercially available in the US in 1982
and was recommended for certain high-risk groups of people. However, when
vaccination programs aimed at these groups did not stem an increase in
hepatitis B infections, the ACIP recommended universal immunization of
infants against this disease in 1991.
An analysis of reports made to VAERS over 11 years – from 1991 to
2001 – found that hepatitis B was the most frequently mentioned
vaccine in 1991-1995 reports and the second-most commonly mentioned (after
varicella) in 1996-2001 reports.
An earlier study found that 12,520 adverse reactions to hepatitis B were
reported to VAERS from 1991 to 1994, with 14% of these reactions involving
newborns and infants. Approximately one-third of reactions involved
an emergency room visit or hospitalization, according to the Association
of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). There were 440 deaths, about
180 of which were attributed to SIDS.
Dr. Jane M. Orient, executive director of AAPS, has stated that according
to a federal government study, “Children younger than 14 are three
times more likely to die or suffer adverse reactions after receiving hepatitis
B vaccines than to catch the disease.”
In adults, hepatitis B vaccination was associated with serious autoimmune
disorders in one analysis of VAERS data and a review of the literature,
published in 2004. These disorders included arthritis, pancytopenia/ thrombocytopenia,
multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome,
and optic neuritis. In adult use of the hepatitis B vaccine, there were
465 positive re-challenge adverse events.
Other articles associate the hepatitis B vaccine with complications of
the nervous system[106-110] and joints[111-116] and other adverse effects.
The Institute of Medicine stated in 2002 that “the epidemiological
evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the hepatitis
B vaccine in adults and multiple sclerosis.” (The evidence was inadequate
to accept or reject a causal association with other demyelinating conditions.)
A case-control study published by the CDC in 2003 also found that the
hepatitis B vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of multiple
sclerosis or optic neuritis. However, a case-control study published
in 2004 concluded that its findings “are consistent with the hypothesis
that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated
with an increased risk of MS, and challenge the idea that the relation
between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood.”
The purpose of vaccinations is to reduce the risks of complications associated
with the diseases they are designed to prevent. Complications from a vaccine
should not outweigh those derived from the disease. And yet, according
to Dr. Philip Incao, who has studied vaccinations and the immune system
for three decades, in the case of hepatitis B, “…the conclusion
is obvious that the risks of hepatitis B vaccination far outweigh its
Are vaccine-induced antibodies only temporary? Vaccine supporters claim
that the development of an antibody response to a vaccine virus equals
protection against the disease. So we now vaccinate children against hepatitis
B to prevent them from contracting the disease later in life. But for
this to occur, the level of antibodies that are supposed to be protective
must remain high for very long periods of time.
A study published in 2004 reports that antibodies to hepatitis B surface
antigen (anti-HBs) had disappeared by five years of age in most of the
low-risk children studied who were vaccinated from birth against hepatitis
B. A study in the Gambia found that fewer than half of vaccinees
had detectable anti-HBs 15 years after vaccination and that vaccine efficacy
against infection among 20- to 24-year-olds was 70.9%. A positive finding
was that hepatitis B vaccination in early life can provide long-lasting
protection against carriage of the hepatitis B virus – a major risk
factor for liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma – despite
decreasing levels of anti-HBs.
One study of adult hepatitis B vaccination evaluated the persistence of
anti-hepatitis-B antibodies in 635 homosexual men immunized against the
virus. After five years, antibodies no longer existed in 15% and had declined
sharply – below levels deemed to be protective – in another
27%. Hepatitis B developed in 55 men, and two became carriers of the virus.
Another study found that after three years, 36% of individuals who initially
responded to the hepatitis B immunization lost anti-hepatitis-B antibodies.
Why then are we needlessly vaccinating millions of children if by the time
they’ll be adults and might be exposed to the virus, they won’t
have the antibodies that are supposed to protect them? And, in any case,
are these antibodies offering protection against the disease?
MEASLES, MUMPS, AND RUBELLA (MMR) VACCINE
In recent years, two of three diseases targeted by the MMR vaccine –
measles and rubella – have been virtually eliminated in the United
States. The last major resurgence of measles occurred in 1989-1991, when
more than 55,000 cases and approximately 120 deaths were reported. The
ACIP recommended in 1989 that a second dose of measles-containing vaccine
be added to the childhood vaccination schedule, and the incidence of measles
began to fall in 1992. A record low of 37 cases were reported in 2004.[126,127]
In 2000, a panel of experts convened by the CDC determined that measles
was no longer endemic in the US. Similarly, the incidence of rubella
fell to nine cases in 2004, and it was determined that rubella is no longer
endemic in the US.
Despite this success, concerns remain about adverse effects of MMR vaccination.
The Institute of Medicine has found evidence that this vaccine can cause
anaphylaxis, thrombocytopenia, and acute arthritis.[130,131] Other research
has associated the vaccine with adverse effects on the nervous system[132-137]
gastrointestinal tract,138 and joints.[139-141]
Meryl Dorey, editor of the Australian publication
Vaccination? The Choice is Yours and president of the Australian Vaccination Network, points out that the
MMR vaccine is associated with Guillain-Barre paralysis, multiple sclerosis,
and aseptic meningitis, a swelling of the lining of the brain that can
be fatal. The CDC has noted that while cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome
following MMR vaccination have been reported, the IOM has found the evidence
“insufficient to accept or reject a causal relationship.”
Vaccine failures. A study published in 1994 evaluated all US and Canadian
articles reporting measles outbreaks in schools and found that, on average,
77 % of these infections occurred in vaccinated people. The authors concluded,
“The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise
to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized
The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that 60% of all measles cases among American schoolchildren
between 1985 and 1986 occurred in those who were vaccinated. Other
studies confirm a high percentage of measles among vaccinated subjects.[145,146]
Vulnerabilities related to the measles vaccine. Natural immunity to measles
– derived from contracting the disease – is permanent and
is transferred from mothers to babies in utero through the placenta. Babies
born to mothers who have had the disease are protected from the infection
during their first year of life by the presence of a high concentration
of natural antibodies circulating in their blood. Measles vaccination,
on the other hand, induces lower antibody titers than does natural infection.
Neutralizing measles antibodies passed by vaccinated women to their newborns
disappear rapidly, leaving the babies susceptible to the infection in
their first year of life, when they are more at risk of complications.
This difference in infants’ immunity levels is reflected in a 1995
study. Researchers found that 71% of nine-month-olds and 95% of 12-month-olds
had no detectable neutralizing measles antibodies in their blood. All
infants with detectable measles antibodies at nine or 12 months had mothers
born before 1963, before the vaccine era.
Research confirms that antibody response to the vaccine virus is only temporary.
One study shows that four years after MMR vaccination, measles antibodies
fell below the putative protective levels in 28% of children and were
no longer present in another three percent of vaccinees. Experimenting
with high-potency vaccines produced even poorer results.
Jamie Murphy, author of
What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, argues that rather than preventing measles, the vaccine may simply suppress
it, only to have it manifest as other forms of disease with age.
He asserts that quite a few diseases are associated with the measles vaccine,
including “encephalopathies (brain damage), aseptic meningitis,
cranial nerve palsy, learning disabilities, hyperkinesis, and severe mental
retardation….” Several studies have documented that
measles vaccination produces immune suppression that contributes to an
increased susceptibility to other infections.[152,153] One study links
measles vaccination to Crohn’s disease.
Problems with vaccine testing. In a response to information provided by
the World Health Organization, author and lecturer Trevor Gunn has identified
shortcomings in the testing of vaccines and the rationale for mass immunization,
particularly with regards to measles. One problem is that vaccine
studies use seroconversion, or antibody presence in the bloodstream, to
indicate effectiveness. When UK health authorities say that the measles
vaccine is 90% effective, they do not mean that it reduces the incidence,
severity, or death rate of the disease by 90%, but rather that 90% of
recipients produce a certain level of antibodies to the viral agents.
However, the level of serum antibodies does not correlate with the body’s
ability to fight illness. People with low antibody levels may demonstrate
immunity, while people with higher antibody levels may have no immunity.
Given this disconnect, says Gunn, we must “place a greater reliance
on obtaining efficacy results of immunisation from population studies.”
These studies measure the level of disease protection in populations after
they’ve been inoculated, using cohort groups matched for age, population,
and disease exposure similarities, and so forth. Although WHO quoted references
to a number of population studies in its communication with Gunn, the
author says that all of the studies were conducted in developing countries.
Thus, the results cannot be “directly extrapolate to developed countries,”
where people may fear that the risks of vaccination outweigh the risk
of contracting a disease such as measles.
In addition, notes Gunn, population studies referenced by WHO show the
difficulties of vaccine testing. One study, for example, suggests that
measles vaccination reduces childhood mortality by 30%. However, the control
group was not non-vaccinated, but rather included children who did not
seroconvert and thus were assumed to have no immune response to the vaccine.
In this case, we would not know whether deaths in the control group were
due directly to the vaccine, to its lack of effectiveness, or to lack
of natural immunity provided by the measles itself. In another group in
this study, 15 of 123 did not have antibody conversion after vaccination,
so their results were excluded as well. Three of this group actually died.
We do not know the cause of these deaths, or whether the remaining 12
in the group were prevented from getting the disease. In another
study, the cohort group was cherry-picked for people who did not have
a history of measles. This group may have been less likely to die from
measles in general or may be heartier in general than the people who were
selected against in the study.
Although mumps infection is a largely benign disease when contracted during
childhood, it becomes more dangerous in older children and adults, who
are more susceptible to severe neurological, testicular, and ovarian complications
from the infection. It is alarming to see that vaccination is clearly
shifting the occurrence of this disease from young children toward those
who are older.
A large outbreak of mumps occurred in the United States in 2006, with 5,783
cases being reported to the CDC in less than ten months (from January
1 to October 7). The median age for the mumps patients was 22 years, and
the highest age-specific rate was among people 18 to 24 years of age,
many of them college students.
Questions about efficacy. The resurgence of mumps raises concerns about
vaccine failure. Although the CDC does not know the vaccination history
of all the 2006 cases, it has reported that 63% of 1,798 patients in Iowa
(which had the highest number of cases) had received one or two doses
of the MMR vaccine.
Other mumps outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated populations in
the US and Europe.[161-163] The populations in several of these studies
had virtually complete vaccination coverage. In a high school population
with more than 95% coverage, 53 of 54 students who got the disease were
vaccinated. In a Tennessee school with 98% coverage, 67 of 68 students
who got mumps were vaccinated. Thus, mumps cases in this instance were
attributed mostly to vaccine failure.
Perhaps the boldest statement on the efficacy of the mumps vaccine comes
from the authors of an epidemiological study conducted in Switzerland.
They found a fivefold increase in the number of mumps cases from 1990
to 1993, especially in vaccinated children. Among the authors’ conclusions
was: “The Rubini [mumps] strain vaccines, which are the most commonly
used in Switzerland, seem to have played an important role in the clear
increase in mumps cases since 1990.”
Urabe strain and meningitis. Another strain of mumps virus used in vaccines
has been associated with the development of aseptic meningitis. The
Urabe strain is not used in vaccines in the US, but it has been used in
Canada and the United Kingdom in the past. This strain of mumps virus
was identified as the cause of aseptic meningitis in 1989 in patients
who developed meningitis 21 days after injection. The virus isolated from
these patients was identical to that used in the vaccine.
The Urabe strain of the mumps virus was removed from Canadian vaccines
in 1989 because of a meningitis outbreak. The strain was removed
in the UK in 1992. According to Trevor Gunn, when laboratory and hospital
reports were cross-linked to vaccination records there, “the [perceived
low risk of meningitis from this particular vaccine] rose to between one
in 4,000 and one in 21,000.” Despite these vaccine withdrawals,
a mass immunization campaign targeting children one to 11 years old was
carried out in 1997 in Salvador, Brazil, with a Urabe-containing MMR vaccine.
An outbreak of aseptic meningitis followed, with 58 cases diagnosed.
A study published in 1981 found that 15 years after receiving rubella vaccination,
one in 11 children lost protection and became susceptible to re-infection.
This is worrisome because rubella infection is especially dangerous when
contracted during pregnancy, since the fetus may develop malformations
if exposed to the virus. Again, the lack of permanent immunity offered
by vaccinations is creating serious problems down the line.
Viera Scheibner, a retired research scientist, notes that in a 1991 report
on the adverse effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines from the Institute
of Medicine, “the evidence indicated a causal relationship between
RA 27/3 rubella vaccine and acute arthritis in 13% to 15% of adult women.
Also some individuals were shown to go on to develop chronic arthritis.”
Part III – December 2007
In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended
vaccination of all infants at two, four, and six months of age with a
new vaccine designed to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis. RotaTeq (Merck
& Co.) is a live, oral vaccine that contains five reassortant rotaviruses
developed from human and bovine strains. The American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) also recommended routine use of this vaccine in infants in 2006.
The RotaTeq vaccine will almost certainly draw comparisons with a previous
oral rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield, which was released by Wyeth Laboratories
in 1998. The ACIP and AAP recommended universal use of RotaShield for
healthy infants. A year later, however, RotaShield was removed from the
market after the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received
reports of bowel intussusception – an obstruction in which one segment
of the intestine telescopes inwardly into another – in babies who
had received RRV-TV, as RotaShield was called. By the end of 1999, 121
reports of intussusception in infants administered RRV-TV had been received
by VAERS. (Of the first 15 reported infants who developed intussusception,
eight required a surgical reduction.)
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) points out that RotaShield was rhesus-based.
By contrast, the parent rotavirus strains of the newly released RotaTeq
are human and bovine. RotaTeq was not associated with an increased
risk of intussusception compared with placebo in a trial involving more
than 70,000 children. The CDC does note, however, that children who
have already had this bowel obstruction should not get the rotavirus vaccine,
because anyone who has had intussusception is at an increased risk of
getting it again.
An estimated one million US infants were vaccinated with RotaShield following
its approval. This vaccine’s history is made worse by the fact that
prelicensure trials demonstrated that RotaShield caused bowel intussusception
at rates 30 times higher than those expected. This is what emerged from
an analysis of prelicensure trial data by the Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons.
If it was already known that the vaccine could cause a potentially lethal
condition, why did the FDA approve it? Why had nobody warned doctors to
watch for this complication? These and other questions prompted the AAPS
to request a Congressional investigation of the vaccine approval process.
As Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the AAPS, wrote in a letter
to Representative Dan Burton, “The situation with the rotavirus
vaccine may be a clue to a far more serious problem with the vaccine approval
process.” Dr. Orient makes the important point that “Decisions
about vaccines given to children should be made by parents in consultation
with the child’s attending physician, not mandated by a small group
of ‘experts’ with minimal accountability.”
In its first year on the market, the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine
(MCV4) was potentially associated with an increased risk of Guillain-Barre
syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological disorder that causes increasing weakness
in the limbs. The meningococcal vaccine (Menactra) was recommended by
the ACIP in May 2005 for routine vaccination of adolescents, college freshmen
who live in dormitories, and other high-risk individuals.
By September 2006, 17 confirmed cases of GBS in recipients of MCV4 had
been reported to VAERS (all affected individuals had recovered or were
recovering). Although this association does not necessarily mean the
vaccine caused the illness, the CDC has reported that the timing of the
onset of GBS symptoms – within one to five weeks of vaccination
– is of concern. As of October 2006, the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and CDC were monitoring the situation, and the CDC continued to
recommend the vaccine for adolescents and others.
ne was given to infants in the US until 1972. At that time, the global
incidence of this disease was well under control, and routine vaccination
against smallpox ended. According to the National Network for Immunization
Information, it was believed then that the risk of serious adverse events
from the smallpox vaccine, including death, outweighed the risk of contracting
the disease itself in the US. The World Health Organization (WHO)
certified that smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1980.
After the terrorist threats of 2001, the US developed a plan to reintroduce
the smallpox vaccine, if necessary, to counter a potential attack
using the virus as a biological weapon. In State of Immunity, author James
Colgrove reports that the Bush Administration announced an ambitious plan
in 2002 to vaccinate emergency personnel, health care workers, and adults
in the general public on a voluntary basis. The administration failed
to win the support of the program from health care providers, however,
and less than a year later, the smallpox vaccination plan was ceased.
Approximately 39,000 civilian health care and public health workers received
the smallpox vaccine in 2003.
Although this vaccination program failed, the proposal to immunize Americans
against a biological attack with smallpox should cause us to take a closer
look at this vaccine. (The old smallpox vaccine is stockpiled in the US,
and new smallpox vaccines are in development.)
An Unknown Virus
The modern smallpox vaccine does not contain the smallpox virus itself,
but rather a virus called “vaccinia” whose origins are unknown.
The CDC states, “The vaccinia virus is the ‘live virus’
used in the smallpox vaccine. It is a ‘pox’-type virus related
to smallpox. When given to humans as a vaccine, it helps the body to develop
immunity to smallpox. The smallpox vaccine does not contain the smallpox
virus, and it cannot cause smallpox.” The University of Florida
College of medicine information page adds this: “Vaccinia is the
virus that was used for vaccination against smallpox. Its exact origin
is unknown, however, as it does not appear to be related to any other
known pox virus. Some people think that it is a recombinant of smallpox
and cowpox, while others think that it may be a derivative of horsepox,
a virus that no longer exists (if it ever did).”
Adverse Effects of the Vaccine
The CDC reports that while the smallpox vaccine is safe for most people,
serious and life-threatening reactions do occur in rare cases. Serious
reactions include a rash or outbreak of sores in one area of the body
(the virus may be spread from the vaccination site to other parts of the
body or to other people); a widespread vaccinia rash that occurs when
the virus spreads from the vaccination site through the bloodstream; and
a toxic or allergic reaction to the vaccine. Life-threatening reactions
to the smallpox vaccine include eczema vaccinatum (a serious rash involving
widespread infection of the skin in people with conditions such as eczema
or atopic dermatitis), progressive vaccinia (an infection of the skin
with tissue destruction that often leads to death), and postvaccinal encephalitis
(inflammation of the brain).
Another potential complication of the smallpox vaccine is myopericarditis,
or inflammation of the heart. The CDC says that while the link between
the smallpox vaccine and this condition is not proven, data from recent
smallpox vaccinations are “consistent with a causal association”
between the two. In 2005 the FDA added a new black-box warning to
Dryvax (the smallpox vaccine produced by Wyeth) regarding the increased
risk of cardiac problems experienced by some recipients of the smallpox
What might the consequences of mass smallpox vaccination be? That was the
question addressed in a 2002 article. Using historical data on adverse
reactions to the vaccine, the authors estimated that, after excluding
high-risk people and their close contacts, a vaccination strategy targeting
people one to 29 years old would result in approximately 1,600 serious
adverse events and 190 deaths. Vaccination of people from one to 65 years
old would result in approximately 4,600 adverse events and 285 deaths.
The researchers note that the smallpox vaccine “has a higher complication
rate than any other vaccine currently being used.” They conclude
that a mass vaccination campaign would have to be careful to exclude high-risk
people and their contacts to minimize the complications, but that this
approach would leave some people susceptible to the disease.
In a 2006 paper, researchers estimated the expected frequencies of post-vaccinal
encephalitis and death from smallpox vaccines containing two different
strains of vaccinia virus: the New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) strain
and the Lister strain. They note that other studies of the consequences
of smallpox vaccination commonly have used an incidence of approximately
one death per million vaccinations. However, these analyses “may
give serious underestimates of the number of deaths resulting from vaccination.”
This study estimates that vaccination with the NYCBH strain (stockpiled
in countries such as the US) would lead to an average of 1.4 deaths per
million vaccinations. Vaccination with the Lister strain (stockpiled in
countries such as Germany) would lead to an average of 8.4 deaths per
Activists Speak Out on Vaccine Dangers
Those who take issue with universal immunization point out that the programs
do not distinguish between children who may benefit from a certain vaccine
and those who may be hurt by it. Infants are given blanket immunization
regardless of their previous or current state of health and their varying
susceptibilities to side effects. Ideally, the vaccination system should
be much more selective, with parents being given complete information,
so they can decide whether the risks associated with a particular procedure
outweigh its potential benefits. Just as different races may suffer disproportionately
from allergies and food sensitivities, studies indicate that they may
experience different reactions to vaccines.
People engaged in the fight against government-mandated vaccines share
their concerns here about several vaccination issues.
One of the most hazardous and insidious effects of vaccination lies in
its potential to induce other forms of disease, a phenomenon known as
provocation disease.[23-27] The mechanisms that cause this to happen are
unclear, although many scientists believe that latent viruses –
those already existing in a person – may be stimulated by vaccinations
and that this process may be enough to activate a particular illness.
Vaccination, therefore, may not be the sole cause but rather the final
trigger of an illness.
In his book
Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions and Alternatives, Leon Chaitow states that there is no way of knowing when such latent
or incubating situations may be operating, and therefore no way of knowing
when a vaccine may produce this sort of provocation. He warns that
provocation of a latent virus is a potentially dangerous possibility with
every vaccination procedure. Many diseases thought to be caused at least
partially by vaccinations do not surface until years later, by which time
it is difficult to prove a connection. Two examples of conditions that
may be provoked by vaccines are as follows:
Allergies According to Dr. Harris Coulter, co-author of
A Shot in the Dark, and other experts, vaccines and allergies are clearly connected.
“What does allergy mean? It means that your body is ready to react
very, very quickly when exposed a second time to a substance to which
it is allergic. If you are allergic to ragweed, [a small amount] of ragweed
will start you sneezing. Now, if you vaccinate a person against pertussis
or some other bacillus, you are making that person ‘allergic’
to that bacillus. That’s what being vaccinated actually means. It
means you are ‘allergic’ to that bacillus, in the sense that
your body will react very, very rapidly if exposed to that bacillus a
Immunosuppression and Autoimmune Disease The body needs to experience a
full inflammatory response to create immunity, and vaccines do not allow
this to happen. Instead, a chronic condition is created that can set the
stage for autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre
syndrome and thrombocytopenia have been associated with vaccinations.In
Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, author Walene James suggests that vaccinations may induce autoimmune
disorders because “live viruses, the primary antigenic material
of [some] vaccines, are capable of surviving or remaining latent in the
host cell for years, without provoking acute disease.” Live
virus vaccines include those for chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella,
and oral polio.Cynthia Cournoyer, author of
What About Immunizations?, believes a key principle involved in the many negative effects of vaccines
is that the immune system can tolerate only so many challenges, especially
before it is given a chance to develop to maturity. “Every child,”
she writes, “is born with a finite ability to combat disease. This
is his total immune capacity. Once a child experiences a particular disease,
permanent immunity is extremely efficient, using probably three percent
to seven percent of the total immune capacity of an individual. In the
case of routine childhood vaccination, it is likely that as much as 30%
to 70% of total immune capacity becomes committed.”Cournoyer
proposes that this effect on immunity may substantially reduce a child’s
immunological reserves. “Far from producing a genuine immunity,
a vaccine may actually interfere with or suppress the immune response
as a whole, in much the same way that radiation, chemotherapy, and corticosteroids
and other anti-inflammatory drugs do.”[36-38] Cournoyer continues,
“Although the body will not make antibodies against its own tissues,
viruses becoming part of the genetic make-up may cause cells to appear
foreign to the immune system, making them a fair target for antibody production….
Under proper conditions, these latent pro viruses could become activated
and cause a variety of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple
sclerosis, lupus erythematosus…and cancer.”
- Temporary Immunity of Vaccines Vaccines provide only temporary immunity,
whereas the contraction of an actual disease confers permanent immunity
most of the time. Viera Scheibner, a retired research scientist, writes
that “generations of children with this inadequate immunity would
grow into adults with no placental immunity to pass on to their children,
who would then contract measles at an age when babies are normally protected
by maternal antibody….”Perhaps the most unfortunate thing
about the idea of eliminating infectious diseases by vaccination is that
indeed there is no need to do so. As pointed out by the group of Swiss
doctors opposing the US-inspired policy of mass vaccination against measles,
mumps, and rubella in Switzerland, ‘We have lost the common sense
and the wisdom that used to prevail in the approach to childhood diseases.
Too often, instead of reinforcing the organism’s defenses, fever
and symptoms are relentlessly suppressed. This is not always without consequences…'”[40-42]Lastly,
Scheibner states, “There is no need to artificially immunize our
children and ourselves. The body has proper, natural mechanisms to create
immunity to diseases. The diseases themselves are the priming and challenging
mechanisms of the maturation process leading to the competence of the
Economic and Legal Issues
Cynthia Cournoyer has noted that vaccines are the only products in the
US that are legally mandated to be used by every person born. Barbara
Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information
Center (NVIC), Vienna, Va., has advocated the right of individuals to
make informed, independent vaccination decisions for themselves and their
children for two decades. She paints an ominous picture of things to come:
“As consumers, we can bring very little economic pressure on the
system to have that product improved or removed, because all of us are
required by law to use it. It’s a dream for the pharmaceutical industry
involved in making vaccines, because there’s no way anybody can
say no. It’s a stable, ready-made market, and the enactment of the
compensation law in 1986 has removed almost all liability for drug companies….”
Fisher cautions that state health departments may develop electronic systems
to monitor the vaccination status of each child. “…If we
don’t act now, the public health infrastructure is going to get
more power to intrude in our lives, intrude in our health care choices.
It all comes down to whether or not we, as individuals, are going to fight
for the right to make informed health care choices, including vaccination
choices, for ourselves and our children, and whether we are going to hold
the drug companies and government health officials accountable for the
injuries, deaths, and chronic illnesses caused by the vaccines they produce,
sell, and promote for mass use.”
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 created a no-fault compensation
program through which plaintiffs can seek compensation for injuries from
vaccines recommended for routine administration. The law also provided,
however, that evidence of gross negligence would be needed to seek punitive
damages against vaccine manufacturers. The NVIC said in 2003 that
it and other parent groups “have been critical of how adversarial
the system is and how difficult it is to get an award.” Through
fiscal year 2001, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had
paid $1.3 billion in total awards (petitioner’s awards and attorney’s
fees) for approximately 1,660 compensable petitions.
The compensation program is funded through an excise tax on vaccines. As
a result, consumers foot the bill for any injuries or deaths that may
result from medical procedures they are required by law to undergo.[49-51]
Alan Phillips, co-founder of Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, notes: “[Pharmaceutical
companies] have been allowed to use gag orders as a leverage tool in vaccine
damage legal settlements to prevent disclosure of information to the public
about vaccination dangers. Such arrangements are clearly unethical; they
force a non-consenting American public to pay for vaccine manufacturers’
liabilities, while attempting to ensure that this same public will remain
ignorant of the dangers of their products.”[52,53]
Vaccine critic Randall Neustaedter adds: “When lawsuits leveled at
drug companies began wiping out profits gleaned from the pertussis vaccine,
the manufacturers simply stopped production of the vaccine. The United
States government stepped in to pay these vaccine-damage claims. Only
then did the drug companies agree to resume vaccine production….”
Right to Refuse Vaccination
All states have laws mandating the vaccination of children before they
enter school, but these laws also allow for various types of exemptions
to compulsory vaccination. Parents may seek exemptions on behalf of their
children. According to the NVIC, all 50 states allow exemptions based
on medical reasons, 48 states allow exemptions for people who have a sincere
religious belief opposing vaccination, and 18 states allow exemptions
based on philosophical, personal, or conscientiously held beliefs.
The ease of obtaining a vaccination exemption may depend on the type sought
and the requirements of the individual’s state. In the journal Pediatrics,
researchers say that “in many states, it is easier to claim a religious
or philosophical exemption than to adhere to mandated immunization requirements.”
On the other hand, Kurt Link, MD, states in
The Vaccine Controversy that exemptions are often very difficult to obtain and that less than
two percent of people who apply for a vaccination exemption obtain one.
Link says that parents who are denied an exemption and try to defy the
vaccination mandate may have their children excluded from school, may
be charged with criminal child abuse or neglect, and may have their children
taken into state custody.
Potential Downside to Exemptions
Parents who refuse vaccinations for their children should be aware of
other potential consequences as well. The literature shows that unvaccinated
children may be at greater risk of contracting diseases covered by routine
vaccines. In thePediatrics article, the authors cite research showing that “exemptors”
were 22 times more likely to contract measles than were vaccinated people
and six times more likely to contract pertussis. In addition, unvaccinated
people account for the majority of recent cases of tetanus. A study
published in 2006 also found that states allowing personal-belief exemptions
and states with easier exemption processes were associated with a higher
incidence of pertussis.
Another consideration is that pediatricians may dismiss patients who refuse
to be vaccinated. In a survey of 1004 members of the American Academy
of Pediatrics published in 2005, 39% said they would dismiss a family
for refusing all vaccinations, and 28% would dismiss a family for refusing
Varying State Laws
According to the NVIC, parents who want to exempt a child from mandated
vaccination must know what types of exemptions the law in their state
allows and the type of proof that may be required. In many states offering
philosophical or personal-belief exemptions, for example, a parent must
object to all vaccines, not particular ones. With medical exemptions,
some states will accept without question a letter from a physician saying
that one or more vaccines would be detrimental to the health of the patient,
while the health departments in other states review such exemptions and
may decide one is not justified. With religious exemptions, says the NVIC,
state laws differ regarding the definition of the exemption and the proof
needed of one’s religious beliefs opposing vaccination. In fact,
the NVIC does not provide or recommend a prewritten waiver for religious
exemptions. If a prewritten waiver does not meet your state’s requirements,
you may draw attention to your child and, if challenged on the exemption,
end up in litigation with your state or county health department in which
you must prove your religious beliefs.
Another website, Vaccination Liberation, provides links to exemption forms
,and information by state and to sample exemption letters (http://vaclib.org). Joseph Mercola, DO, provides an article on how to legally avoid vaccinations
on his website (www.mercola.com/article/vaccines/legally_avoid_shots.htm). Dr. Mercola’s newsletter has covered other vaccination topics as well.
Fisher of the NVIC offers advice for two particular vaccination situations
in her book
The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines:
Hospitals generally require parents who are delivering a baby to sign
a form agreeing to have the newborn treated by medical personnel. Fisher
warns that by signing this document, you may also give consent to have
your baby vaccinated with hepatitis B. Fisher states, “Read any
consent form you sign carefully. If you do not want your newborn vaccinated
shortly after birth, you have the right to sign it after writing in an
exception, such as, ‘I do not consent to have my child given any
vaccinations prior to discharge from the hospital.’ Bring this to
the attention of the person admitting you and the nursery supervisor and
ask to have it printed on the outside of your chart. Some parents take
the extra precaution of not leaving the newborn alone with hospital personnel
without being able to observe the baby.”
Staff in hospitals, clinics or emergency rooms often ask about the vaccination
status of children. Fisher states, “You don’t have to provide
them with written proof. A verbal answer is satisfactory. However, if
you are being questioned closely and feel that you are being pressured
into vaccinating your sick child without your consent, you should understand
that you have the right to refuse to give permission to have your sick
child vaccinated if you believe vaccination at the time will endanger
your child’s health or life. You may choose to reassure medical
personnel that you will consult a private pediatrician for further guidance
The point is that individuals need the freedom to choose. They should not
be forced in one direction or another. Fisher stresses this: “Our
organization does not tell a parent what to do. I want to make that
clear. We are an information clearinghouse, and we believe in education.
We believe that parents should take the responsibility for making their
own decision. In this society, we ought to have the right to make the
right decisions without being bullied and harassed and threatened into
vaccinating if we do not believe that it is in the best interest of our
Alan Phillips adds, “I don’t advocate that people do or do
not vaccinate. I say that there’s a lot of information that people
should investigate before they make a decision one way or the other. We’re
so steeped in what I would now call the myth of vaccination that it seems
nonsensical and counterintuitive to even raise the question. In fact,
the first time that I raised the question with a pediatrician I got yelled
at. While I think that was unprofessional of the pediatrician, it does
demonstrate the degree to which assumptions about vaccinations are held.”
Dr. Dean Black, author of
Immunizations: Compulsion or Choice, states, “As a parent, there might be times I choose to immunize
my child. Maybe I would find scientific evidence to back its validity
in a case where a disease is so fraught with risk that I dare not expose
my child. Maybe then I would choose [to vaccinate]. But I would do so
having thoroughly thought about it….What I believe we cannot tolerate
as a free nation is to have government bureaucrats come in and say –
based upon false statistics – if you don’t immunize your child,
you will suffer penalty of law. That, to me, is a gross injustice that
simply has to be changed.”
Fisher believes that if we are concerned about our health and our freedoms,
we should be worrying about the future. “I truly believe that unless
the public wakes up to what is happening, and starts standing up for their
right to be fully informed about vaccines and their right to make informed
independent vaccine decisions, the day will come when we won’t have
that right. We will be forcibly vaccinated by law without exception.”
Fisher urges everyone to stop being complacent, to start becoming informed
about vaccines and diseases, and to act. Specifically, she states, “You
are going to have to work to amend your state’s laws. If you would
like to be better informed and to help get the truth out, please join
our grassroots vaccine safety movement.”
Fisher believes that alternative healthcare modalities in the US will play
an important role in the vaccine safety movement. “Those who
are looking into…osteopathic medicine, naturopathic, homeopathic,
vitamin therapy, etc., are looking for ways to boost the immune system
through more natural means in order to be able to naturally deal with
viruses and bacteria that they come in contact with. This is a very important
Dr. Black agrees. He sees vaccinations as a shortcut for people in our
society who have not taken full responsibility for their health. “It’s
a way of saying, don’t look at the more natural holistic way of
helping the body. Medicine believes disease is the enemy… Medicine
fights disease. Natural health care works with it… Medicine believes
symptoms are evil. Natural health care believes symptoms are the body’s
efforts to rid itself of disease.”
Curtis Cost, author of Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Black Community, adds, “…parents do not need to be terrified into believing
that the only way to protect themselves and their children from disease
is through vaccines. We know that if parents breast-feed their babies,
the risk of death and disease is dramatically reduced because the breast
milk contains all the natural nutrients that the mother will naturally
give to her child as she breast-feeds. We know that diet has a tremendous
effect on disease. If you are not eating a proper diet, your risk of getting
various diseases is much greater. So we need to focus on taking control
of our health…to focus on eating more organically grown fresh fruits
and vegetables, on drinking pure water, and on exercising. These actions
build up the immune system.”
It stands to reason that our approach might be better directed at bolstering
natural immunity, by strengthening the body’s own disease-fighting
capability, than trying to manipulate a carefully balanced system which
may or may not tip to the detriment of the future individual. The old
adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” describes
the credo of the vaccine industry. The problem is that we do not yet know
a single silver-bullet remedy for all childhood illnesses that are known
to cause no harm to the future adult.
Organizations and Websites
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd., Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Opposes vaccine mandates that violate the medical ethic of informed consent.
Gary Null’s Website
Provides information on optimizing health through nutrition, lifestyle
factors and alternative medicine.
Immunization Action Coalition
1573 Selby Avenue, Suite 234
St. Paul, MN 55104
Provides educational materials on vaccination for health professionals
and the public to help increase immunization rates and prevent disease.
The Institute for Vaccine Safety
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
Provides independent assessment of vaccines and vaccine safety; works
to prevent disease using the safest possible vaccines.
National Immunization Program
(Including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices)
NIP Public Inquiries
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
(Dec. 2007: Page redirects to
A website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with information
on vaccines, vaccine safety, diseases, other immunization topics, and
National Network for Immunization Information
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-0351
Provides up-to-date, scientifically valid information about immunization
to help the public, health professionals, and policymakers make informed
National Vaccine Information Center
204 Mill Street, Suite B1
Vienna, VA 22180
Oldest and largest parent-led organization advocating reformation of the
mass vaccination system. MedAlert, a service of the NVIC, has organized
information from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for online
searching (go towww.medalerts.org).
Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute
P.O. Box 9638
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Provides information on childhood vaccines and others to facilitate informed
decisions; supports the right to accept or reject vaccines.
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869-0457
Opposes compulsory vaccination laws; provides information on vaccinations
not often made available to the public.
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
P.O. Box 1100
Rockville, MD 20849-1100
Cooperative program of the FDA and CDC that collects reports on adverse
events occurring after vaccinations.
Vaccine Information and Awareness Website
Works to ensure freedom of choice for parents regarding vaccination.
For information on exemptions, go to
P.O. Box 111818
Anchorage, AK 99511-1818
Provides a wide range of news and views on vaccinations and vaccination policy.
Provides information on vaccines, adverse events, vaccine critics, diseases
targeted by vaccines, medical politics, and more.
Vaccination Exemption Information
Vaccine Information and Awareness website:
National Vaccine Information Center:
Joseph Mercola, D.O.:
Books, Videos, and DVDs
The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines
by Barbara Loe Fisher
National Vaccine Information Center, 1997
Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic
by David Kirby
New York: St. Martin’s Press; 2005
Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth
by Walene James
Boston: Bergin & Garvey; 1995
Reverse the Aging Process Naturally
by Gary Null and Martin Feldman, M.D.
New York: Villard Books: 1993
A Shot in the Dark
by Harris L. Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher
New York: Avery Publishing Group; 1991
State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America
by James Colgrove
University of California Press: 2006
Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions & Alternatives
by Leon Chaitow
Wappingers Falls, New York: Beekman Books; 1994
The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use, and Safety of Vaccinations
by Kurt Link, M.D.
New York: Praeger Publishers; 2005
The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults
by Randall Neustaedter
Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books; 1996, 2002
The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect
by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher
New York: St Martin’s Press; 2004
What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization
by Jamie Murphy
Earth Healing Products;1993
“Vaccines: The Risks, the Benefits, the Choices” (DVD)
by Sherri J.Tenpenny, DO
“Vaccines: What the CDC Documents and Science Reveal” (DVD)
by Sherri J.Tenpenny, DO
“Building the Immune System Naturally” (VHS)
by Gary Null
“Supercharge Your Immune System” (VHS)
by Gary Null
“Total Health” series, Steps 1 – 7 (DVD or VHS) by Gary Null
About the Authors
Gary Null, PhD
New York, New York 10024 USA
646-505-4660/ Fax 212-472-5139
Gary Null, PhD has authored more than 50 books on health and nutrition
and numerous articles published in research journals. He holds a PhD in
human nutrition and public health science from the Union Graduate School.
Null maintains a website at
www.garynull.com that presents information on how to optimize health through nutrition,
lifestyle factors, and alternative medicine.
Martin Feldman, MD practices complementary medicine. He is an Assistant
Clinical Professor of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine
in New York City.
Notes – Part One
1. Glezen WP. A response to strategy #2: streamlining the regulatory process.
Clin Infect Dis. 2006;42 Suppl 3:S141-144.2. Jacobson SH, Sewell EC. Designing
pediatric vaccine formularies and pricing pediatric combination vaccines
using operations research models and algorithms. Expert Rev Vaccines.
2003 Feb;2(1):15-19.3. Brennan MJ. Moving new vaccines for tuberculosis
through the regulatory process. Clin Infect Dis. 2000;30 Suppl 3:S247-249.4.
Jacobson SH, Sewell EC. Stockpile levels for pediatric vaccines: how much
is enough? Vaccine. 2006;24(17):3530-3537. Epub 2006 Feb 20.
5. Coleman MS, Sangrujee N. Factors affecting U.S. manufacturers’
decisions to produce vaccines. Health Aff (Millwood). 2005;24(3):635-642.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza vaccine prebooking
and distribution strategies for the 2005-06 influenza season. MMWR. 2005;54(12):307-308.
7. Djomand G, Katzman J. Enrollment of racial/ethnic minorities in NIAID-funded
networks of HIV vaccine trials in the United States, 1988 to 2002. Public
Health Rep. 2005;120(5):543-548.
8. Bisno AL, Rubin FA. Prospects for a group A streptococcal vaccine: rationale,
feasibility, and obstacles – report of a National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases workshop. Clin Infect Dis. 2005;41(8):1150-1156.
Epub 2005 Sep 2.
9. Mayeaux EJ, Jr. Harnessing the power of prevention: human papillomavirus
vaccines. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2006;18 Suppl 1:s15-21.
10. Vaccines schedule for children. MayoClinic.com. Available at:
www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaccines/HQ01629. Accessed July 26, 2007.
11. Evans B. An incomplete picture. DailyPress.com. December 4, 2005. Available at:
www.dailypress.com/news/dp-anth-day1dec02,0,7450119.story?coll=dp-widget-news. Accessed July 27, 2007.
12. Froeschle J. (Connaught Laboratories, Swiftwater, Pa.) Testimony to
the Institute of Medicine, 1992. Available at:www.vaccinationnews.com/Adverse_Reactions/VAERS/credible_estimates.htm. Accessed July 27, 2007.
13. Kretzschmar M, Wallinga J. Frequency of adverse events after vaccination
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