The Beginning, Pertussis, and Autism

Medicine is a risk benefit analysis. Virtually all interventions carry an element of risk and we must utilize the available information to determine if the benefits outweigh those risks. The science itself is complicated and most times outdated, making it difficult for the average parent to sort through all of the misdirection and misinformation. Standing against this is simple respect for scientific integrity and the commitment to follow the evidence wherever it leads. With that, I have a few points to make:

 

1. Long before Jenny McCarthy was involved, vaccine controversies began in the late 18th century.  In fact, in 1722, a Reverend by the name of Edward Jenner gave a sermon entitled “The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation”.  In that sermon, he argued that “Diseases are sent by God to punish. Any attempt to prevent small pox via inoculation is a diabolical operation”. Vaccines have been a subject of controversy for decades.

 

Please see Microbiology PDF for Rev. Edward Jenner information: http://mmbr.asm.org/content/47/4/455.full.pdf

 

 

2. Many pro-vaccine debaters will say that Pertussis vaccines are not INEFFECTIVE because research does not support it.  I assure you research has produced evidence of the lack of effectiveness. However, it is up to each parent to decide weather or not to forego the vaccine altogether or to still trust that the vaccine their child receives is the effective shot after all.  I have just read a New York Times article, in which the journalist interviewed, Dr. Baxter, the Co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, where he clearly stated “whooping cough vaccine COULD BE BETTER”, and that “ I hope that manufacturers begin to work on a vaccine that has a BETTER EFFECTIVENESS.” Also he said, “Effectiveness in that age group (11 years old) was only about 53 to 64%”.

 

Furthermore, much like the flu vaccine, there are strains, (more like thousands), the vaccines doesn’t protect against. Does that not mean the vaccines are INEFFECTIVE? If the Webster definition of effective is “successful in producing a desired or intended result”, yet people are still contracting and suffering from vaccinate-related illness, does that not make them INEFFECTIVE?  As I am always a concerned parent, it seems like a tough call. I do not know how any parent could make the decision without a second thought.

 

Please reference the article I mentioned above: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/whooping-cough-vaccine-lags-in-efficacy/?_r=0

 

 

3. In conclusion, I would like to invite “posters” to please click on this link: http://youtu.be/3wwDPcNdxJQ and watch the Congressional Panel For AutismONE and Generation Rescue. The lead researcher for the CDC, on 21 of 24 studies on Autism and Vaccines, Dr. Poul Thorsen, who was indicted, but later fled, was charged with 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering. A federal grand jury alleges that Thorsen stole over $1 million from autism research funding between February 2004 and June 2008. One might ask: how does this have anything to do with autism and vaccination research? Aside from the research integrity aspect, and the financially-guided intention, he was also discovered to have been falsifying and destroying documents. The CDC and many other organizations have been dealing with money laundering issues and the like.  All impacts research, integrity, and subsequently, peoples’ livelihoods.

 

Side note:  The vaccine court exists for a reason.  By 2008 the fund had paid out 2,114 awards totaling $1.7 billion. Thousands of cases of Autism-related claims are still pending before court today.  If that kind of money is budgeted to award to the victims of these ailments resulting from vaccination, could it be used for preventative measures?  Why not proactively place those funds into reducing the margin of error, closing the gaps that have made this a topic of contention…..just saying.

The Dynamics of The Choice

From what I have gathered, the community of people behind vaccine safety have the same goal: protecting the health and safety of their children.  There are many different ways that people have chosen to take action against what feels unsafe. Some are completely against the vaccine industry as a whole. The anti-vaccine community generally has a strong disdain for misinformation and the side effects the vaccines have had on people, they are not vaccinating their children nor themselves, and they have a supportive backing by peers who are doing the same and believing in the same.

 

Another group of people are adjusting the vaccine schedules their children are receiving. With children scheduled to receive so many shots in such a small window of time, often without question, or even a brief education on the necessity of the vaccine, many believe spacing out the shots is safer and gives children an easier chance at recovering without severe reactions.

 

Next, is a group who are selective about which shots they will allow their children to receive. Under the belief that not all vaccines are entirely necessary and are excessive, some people are opting out of some, but not all.

 

Another group is pushing for “greener” vaccines, and, in the interim, opting out of all of them, studying literature and medical journals, under the advisement and watchful eye of homeopathic doctors. These individuals are often focused on raising awareness, under the belief that thorough testing of vaccines prior to hitting the market is not the norm, but that it SHOULD be.  Aluminum has long been an ingredient and is one of the substances said to be causing some adverse effects after injections.  This is just one example of an ingredient that many anti-vaccine individuals are demanding that further, more in-depth testing needs to be done before they will ever consider vaccinating again.

 

There are those who are advised by medical doctors that they cannot receive some or all vaccinations due to weakened immune systems or other health issues.

 

Finally, in front of the line, are people who believe in the necessity to receive all vaccines as long as the CDC and their doctors say they are safe and offer them.

 

Some people are doing a combination of the things mentioned above, and are doing so for reasons I also have not yet mentioned. However, I feel it is important to know the different perspectives and choices people are making. The media and critics of anything not going with the status quo on this topic have a tendency to lump everyone together in one anti-vaccination “cult” and that is not what is happening.

 

 

I believe myth busting should be addressed in my next post.  It is very interesting how many people I have come across, while researching, who are under so many misguided misconceptions and prone to stereotype parents who are pushing for vaccine safety and education.

photo courtesy of google images

photo courtesy of google images

Vaccine Safety: Truth or Myth?

Photo courtesy of google images, parents that don't vaccinate

Photo courtesy of google images, parents that don’t vaccinate

During my research I came across some great myth busting articles, these are the highlights that I found to be the most interesting.

1) Parents listen to the media/Dr. Wakefield study/Jenny McCarthy when choosing not to vax.

While this may be the first place parents heard about the issue, it’s definitely not the final word.  Parents who choose not to vaccinate do not make this decision lightly.  They spend hours upon hours researching every aspect and angle they can find.  Even parents who initially make the decision often feel very uncertain about it, and end up seeking out even more research to verify their decisions.  For many, the media and “celebrities” play little to no role in their ultimate decision.

2) Parents are selfish, relying on those who DO vax for protection while skipping the risks for themselves.

It is important to understand that most of the parents who choose not to vaccinate do not believe in herd immunity.  They also see some benefit to actually catching some of the childhood diseases.  Some actively seek out chicken pox and even mumps or measles!  They do not believe that their children need protection from vaccines, either directly or indirectly.  You will never hear a parent say, “It does not matter if I vaccinate my kid since everyone else does it!”  No. Parents have reasons that reach far, far beyond this; and, again, do not believe in herd immunity anyway.

3) Parents believe vaccines cause autism and that is their primary reason for not vaxxing.

There are some parents who did stop vaccinating for that reason, 11 years ago, when the study initially came out.  But these days, families on both sides are well aware of the controversy.  It may be what initially sparks a parent’s interest in the topic, but it is, again, not the last word.  Most of the families who have chosen not to vaccinate (at least the ones I have talked to) rate the autism reason at the very bottom of their “reasons not to vaccinate” list, if it makes the list at all.  There are many, many other concerns.

4) Parents do not understand what these diseases are really like, or they would start vaxxing.

On the contrary, most parents have carefully researched what might happen should their child catch any of these diseases.  They know what the usual course of the disease are, what complications are likely, symptoms to watch for, and so on.  They know what the true likelihood of complications is, and what causes them (for example, reading the WHO’s disease papers provides this information…and nutritional deficiencies are one of the primary causes of complications).  Parents then set out to boost their children’s immune systems naturally so should they catch a disease, they will be highly unlikely to have any serious complications.  Though they are aware it could happen and they do accept that risk.  The thing is, parents do not rely on the scare tactics and horror stories. They know what real statistics really say.

5) Parents’ reasons keep changing because they do not really have any argument

In reality, parents’ reasons do not change when they have done full research.  They have many reasons, but those reasons are always the same.  This is an argument primarily used in the vaccine-autism debate.  ”First it was the MMR…then thimerosal…then the schedule as a whole…they do not have an argument!”  Actually, all of these things play a role!  Parents are not shifting the blame so much as trying to investigate all possible causes.  If one particular element in and of itself does not explain it, they move on to another to see if that may also play a role (something that the scientists should be doing, too).

6) Parents do not vaccinate because they are uneducated or hippie/earth-loving mothers

This is demonstrably untrue, and rather rude.  Every study of non-vaccinating parents shows that they are likely to be college-educated with “above average” salaries and steady jobs.  This, of course, mystifies authorities.  It does not mystify me!  Parents in this category are most likely to do their research and make thoughtful parenting decisions, rather than relying on what someone else (friend, parent, doctor) tells them to do.  Many of these parents are not at all what you would consider a “hippie.”  And they have not made these decisions because they believe in “hippie ideals”. They have made these decisions because they have done careful research.  Parents who choose not to vaccinate may be very, very different in other ways (how they birth, how they eat, how they feed their babies, whether or not the mom works, etc.).  There is no “stereotypical” non-vaccinating parent.

7) Parents are “abusing” or “neglecting” their children by not vaccinating, or they don’t love them

This one really makes me angry.  Please, before you even say such a thing, remember that all parents truly love and want what is best for their children!  No matter how much you vehemently disagree with a parent’s decision, you should never say something like this (and yes…I have had this said to me before).  Parents are very careful to research and think and pray hard before making any major decision.  Not vaccinating does not mean, under any circumstances, that a parent is abusing, neglecting, or failing to love their child.  Period.  To say so is inflammatory and sickening.

8) Parents do not understand that vaccines save lives. They are too worried about rare side effects.

Parents, again, have done careful research.  Part of that research is how effective vaccines are, when they were introduced, how disease rates fell before/after introduction, how disease rates fell in other countries that did not use those vaccines, reading the VAERS database, and so on.  They are well aware of how vaccines work and how they have been used, as well as what side effects are likely and what serious ones may occur.  Some parents unfortunately choose not to vaccinate after they, or their children, are seriously injured by a vaccine.  For them, the “rare” side effects are only too real.  These parents have carefully weighed the risks of the diseases and vaccines vs. the benefit of each, and have found that the risks of the vaccines outweigh the benefit.

What myths have you heard about non-vaccinating parents?

This article can be found at: http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2011/3/14/myths-about-non-vaccinating-parents.html

Shedding and Herd Immunity

For some time now, the Pertussis vaccine has been a common threat of all children and parents. Lately there has been an increase in people contracting the virus. The pro-vaccine activists claim that the anti-vaccine parents are to blame. Weakened immune systems, the spreading of the virus, and the super strands are all due to the anti-vaccine community. However, the anti-vaccine community takes a strong stance on the topic, as well. They believe that “shedding” is one of the most dangerous vaccine-related absurdities. To summarize:

 

Shedding is when the live virus that is injected via vaccine moves through the human body and comes back out in the feces, droplets from the nose, or saliva from the mouth. Anyone who takes care of the child could potentially contract the disease for some time after that child has received certain live vaccines. This was a huge problem with the oral polio vaccine, and was one of the reasons why it was taken off the market in the US.

A question often asked by the anti-community is, if vaccine believers are protected by the vaccine why are the unvaccinated an issue? The pro-vaccine say that is where “herd Immunity” comes into play. To summarize:

 

 Herd immunity from the pro vaccine side: Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. This has been a common complaint from the pro side because they claim the Anti’s are threatening this concept with their choice not to vaccine. http://www.vaccinestoday.eu/glossary/herd-immunity/

 

The anti community rebuttals this claim by explaining that Pro’s have been misusing this term “herd immunity”. The original idea that vaccination could strengthen the herd’s immunity, assumed that there was only one clinical event, and that one natural exposure equated life -long immunity. But this was not the case back when the diseases circulated freely. The body defends most efficiently as a result of ongoing re-exposure. They try to mimic this with boosters. But the vaccination plan leaves the elderly (due to vaccine-induced immunity being short-lived and antigens taken out of circulation) and the very young (due to lack of transferrable maternal immunity) more vulnerable to several diseases that were not a threat to them before vaccination. – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/07/05/herd-immunity-the-flawed-science-and-failures-of-mass-vaccination-suzanne-humphries-md-3/#sthash.GA1CiSFM.dpuf

 

There are points to consider on either side of this argument, but to circle back to pertussis; I think these two debates are currently the most heated of them all. I have included some segments from pieces I’ve found documented on both sides of the controversy. There is plenty of research to conduct after reading each side, but one thing is for certain, it does not make choosing any easier when science is involved, because at the end of the day, a parent holds the responsibility; not the doctors or manufacturers or the CDC. So, choose wisely; but, if you are reading this, I urge you to take as much time as you need to make a firm and confident decision.

The Blame Game: Pro Vs. Anti vaccine. Both sides of the argument.

These two articles will showcase the difference of opinion on the whooping cough epidemic and who is really to blame. After reading them, what would you like to add or research further?

 

 

The Whooping cough Epidemic: Blame the Anti Vaccination Community

By Steven Salzberg

California is suffering the worst epidemic of pertussis, or whooping cough, in 60 years, with over 5,200 cases already, the most since 1950. Nine babies have died, all of them too young to receive the vaccine. Michigan is also reporting a serious outbreak, with over 600 cases so far this year. The deaths of the infants in California are tragic, and what’s more tragic is that some of them almost certainly could have been prevented if more people had been vaccinated.

The pertussis vaccine, called DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) has been responsible for a dramatic drop in whooping cough in recent decades. It isn’t 100% effective, but its effectiveness relies in part on “herd immunity”: if enough people are immune to the bacteria, then even if someone gets sick, the disease cannot easily spread through the community. This is especially true for very young infants, who are too young to be vaccinated and whose immune systems are not yet strong enough to defeat the bacteria on their own.

It’s not a coincidence that California is the center of the new pertussis epidemic. Vaccination rates among adults in California have been dropping in recent years, large due to the influence of anti-vaccination zealots such as Jenny McCarthy and groups such as Age of Autism. Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to strike a chord with relatively well-educated segments of the population – the same people who favor organic food and want to use “natural” products as much as possible. Anti-vaxers appeal to this group by arguing that vaccines are unnatural, and that the body’s own immune system can be “boosted” by various natural treatments. Appealing though this may sound, it has no basis in science. California makes it easy for parents to claim exemptions from the required vaccinations for their children, and exemptions have more than doubled since 1997, according to the L.A. Times.

Among the Anti’s not helping the current pertussis outbreak is “Dr. Bob” Sears, a kindler, gentler Anti who claims (like many of them) to be in favor of vaccines, but only under his own, unscientific terms. He stated flatly in the Huffington Post (a hotbed of medical misinformation) recently that pregnant women should not get the DTaP vaccine. But as Dr. Paul Offit tells us in a tragic story, refusing the vaccine can lead directly to the death of an infant. Dr. Bob’s advice is seriously flawed. (While there is a lack of data, the CDC states explicitly that pregnancy is not a contraindication.) I should add that Sears has written two books on vaccines and autism, promoting his misguided “alternative” vaccine schedule (see this article in Pediatrics about that) and his rather naive theories about the rise in autism diagnoses.

Everyone should have his or her children vaccinated. On top of that, in order to maintain herd immunity, most of us should get the pertussis booster shot if we haven’t had one in the last ten years. That’s what vaccine expert Paul Offit recommends, and I’m planning to follow his advice myself. It won’t take long, and it might save a life.

 

To view this article please visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sciencebiz/2010/10/11/whooping-cough-epidemic-blame-the-anti-vaccination-movement/?&_suid=139388283952007309782570227981

 

 

Vaccine Refusing Parents falsely blamed for Whooping cough epidemic

Written By Heather Callaghan

Reporters are having a field day with headlines, outright blaming parents who sign vaccine exemptions for the spread of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. It’s not even posed as a question anymore:

However, there is much much more they are not telling you…

They can’t explain why whooping cough is back with a vengeance despite the most vaccinated populace ever known, why the DTaP-vaccinated are getting sick with it, or why “herd immunity” is falling apart. Forget it, let’s place all the blame on the few people who refuse vaccines – and call them baby killers.

 

The study in the journal Pediatriacs is quoted as having “confirmed” that it is parents who take vaccine exemptions as the Typhoid Marys of California. It actually concluded:

Our data suggest clustering of NMEs [non-medical exemptions] may have been 1 of several factors in the 2010 California pertussis resurgence.

The researchers are taking data from geographical clusters of outbreaks in California neighborhoods where more people filed personal belief exemptions. Basically, people in those areas with more exemptions were 2.5 times more likely to live in areas with whooping cough outbreaks. They did not follow up on those exemptions to see if the parents later had themselves or their children vaccinated, and they did not see if the people who contracted it were actually vaccinated individuals. They simply used geographic clusters and drew a conclusion based on 39 clusters of high vaccine exemptions and 2 clusters of pertussis in 2010. The media took it further and wider in scope saying the unvaccinated are definitely a major factor – which differs significantly from a headline of outright blame. What a stretch!

The other factors in the study, briefly mentioned towards the end of some of the articles, were; “the cyclical nature of pertussis, improved diagnosis, and waning immunity.” The major factor, brushed under the rug involves vaccination itself and newer vaccines, as you will see. Some of the reports even claimed that it was so crucial to get vaccinated because little babies can’t get the vaccines and are especially vulnerable. Actually, they do get the DTaP – it is recommended they get 5 doses by the age of six starting at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months….

 

California saw a spike in 2010 with 9 deaths and over 9,000 sickened – one of the worst in 60 years. What no one wants to emphasize is that whooping cough was on a steady decline in multiple countries, continuing to drop almost out of existence until the vaccine was in heavy use. Pertussis was almost wiped completely off the U.S. map in the ’70s. Vaccines did not save us from disease.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of CDC.gov

Photo Courtesy of CDC.gov

 

 

Then, the ’90s brought new acellular vaccines, because the older more toxic whole cell ones left people brain damaged and got vaccine makers sued before they scurried out of the market. Those faulty vaccines are creating great debate as cases of whooping cough are going up. So it’s readily admitted by scientists that the new vaccines are creating rebound pertussis.

 

This study really tried to project blame on people who don’t vaccinate by magically making it appear that way with unfounded comparisons. Yet, more often than not, pertussis happens to those who are fully vaccinated. This graph is just one example of pertussis rates climbing with vaccination rates:

 

 

Photo courtesy of newswithviews.com

Photo courtesy of newswithviews.com

 

 

If statistics are what people want, then here are some alarming ones about the DTaP vaccine from Dr. James Howenstine (2003):

In 1975 Germany stopped requiring pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination. Today less than 10 % of German children are vaccinated against pertussis. The number of cases of pertussis has steadily decreased[3] even though far fewer children are receiving pertussis vaccine.

In 1986 there were 1300 cases of pertussis in Kansas and 90 % of these cases occurred in children who had been adequately vaccinated. Similar vaccine failures have been reported from Nova Scotia where pertussis continues to be occurring despite universal vaccination. Pertussis remains endemic[4] in the Netherlands where for more than 20 years 96 % of children have received 3 pertussis shots by age 12 months. (source)

 

While pertussis is certainly a concern and on the rise, each year, the push for vaccination is bigger using low-blow emotional tactics. Yet, the number of deaths from last year (18) is less than half of those reported in 2005 (39). So how can it be that the 2% of the California population who were only recorded as filing exemptions in 2010 be responsible for an epidemic that has been on the rise for the last 10-15 years after a new vaccine was introduced?

 

To view the entire article please visit: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/10/vaccine-refusing-parents-falsely-blamed.html

 

Vaccine Ingredients & Are They Safe?

There are many concerns regarding the ingredients in vaccines and many concerns about the effect those ingredients have on the children who receive them. One vaccine of great concern to the Anti-Vaccine community is the flu shot, take a more in depth view about the major concerns surrounding the flu vaccine and the alleged harmful effects it has had on individuals.

 

http://blogs.naturalnews.com/20-reasons-why-the-flu-shot-is-more-dangerous-than-the-flu/

 

The CDC on Possible Vaccine Side effects:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

 

Now take a look at what the CDC says the main vaccine ingredients are:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/vaccine-decision/ingredients.html

 

Please also see, CDC information on Mercury and Thimerosal:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/thimerosal_faqs_mercury.html

 

What are your thoughts after reading these articles?