Co-ordinator, Vaccination Information Service
Turramurra NSW Australia
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You highly deserve credit compared to so many other GPs for your willingness to be openly critical of the stance on vaccines taken by the DH, your honesty to admit that so many vaccinated teenagers are getting mumps unlike their unvaccinated parents and your courage to dare to suggest 'Might it be better to encourage wild mumps in childhood?' with which I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, childhood diseases are beneficial for children (when not incorrectly managed, that is), priming and maturing the immune system. In the case of mumps it was published in the journal Cancer (1966) that it lowers the risk of ovarian cancer.
However I am going to dare to try to take you to an even more radical position.
I note that you recognise the decline in diseases before the introduction of vaccines, but still accept the teaching that vaccination made a considerable contribution "as an added value.. Whooping Cough resurgence, and subsequent suppression is a good case in point."
It is very understandable that you would accept this, because the DH provides plenty of graphs such as are in the Green Book referred to above which portray an actual acceleration in the decline in the number of *reported* cases of a disease after the introduction of the vaccine.
However when you look into the subject a little more deeply there are many facts that all tend to undermine the significance of this apparent “evidence”. These include the following:
1) There was no corresponding acceleration in the decline in death rates,
2) The diagnostic guidelines given to doctors were supplemented with “No history of vaccination” when the vaccines were introduced. Even without these written guidelines, doctors are taught that vaccines are effective. The result is that upon seeing an illness in a child who has been vaccinated “against” it, doctors have been observed to conclude that the disease must be a different disease, so the case of the disease is not reported.
For example whooping cough gets called “croup” when it occurs in vaccinated children, and diphtheria gets called such names as “epiglotitis”, or, as in this case, described in “Raising a Vaccine Free Child”, by Wendy Lydall (2005, pg 68),
‘Her aunt had nursed diphtheria cases in Britain in the 1950s, and she said that her niece had the typical symptoms of diphtheria. The girl was flown by helicopter to a bigger hospital in Auckland, where they took a swab from her throat and confirmed diphtheria. When they learned that the girl was fully immunised, one of the doctors said to the mother, "Then it can’t be diphtheria." They changed the diagnosis to bacterial tracheitis.’
So the teaching of doctors that vaccination will reduce number of cases *reported* of a disease is a self-fulfilling prophecy, regardless of how many cases there are in reality.
3) With some diseases, even the diagnostic criteria were changed (coincidentally?) when the vaccine was introduced (or not long after). Polio is a classic example of this. The vaccine firstly was introduced after a significant decline of polio in the early '50s (UK peaks were in '47 and '50, vaccine introduced in '56; US peaks in '48 and '52, introduced '55; Australia peak in '53, introduced '56). The vaccine was then actually found to cause more paralysis(1,2), so, soon after its introduction, the diagnostic criteria were made much stricter. The criteria now required paralysis to occur, which is rare, and the paralysis to last over 60 days, which is rarer still. They also required the virus to be detectable in the faeces 48 hours apart. (The guidelines also now had added to them: "No history of immunisation".) As the recorded cases of "polio" continued to decline, there was a significant increase in cases of "cerebral palsy" (a broad term which covers it well), "aseptic (viral) meningitis", "Guillain-Barré syndrome"(3,4), "lower motor neuron disease", "infective polyneuritis", "symmetrical paralysis" and other names. Usually no diagnosis is ever given – when paralysis occurs the doctor tells the parent that it will not last, and since there is no longer any interference, such as calipers or iron lungs (which were found to be counterproductive), this prognosis is usually correct.
4) Doctors, who base their diagnosis on symptoms, can be misled by the distortion of the symptoms due to derailment of the immune system by vaccination (due largely to the procedure bypassing the primary defences in the skin and mucous membranes). Results can include, for example, vaccinated children not getting the proper rash when they get measles. Consequently doctors are less likely to correctly identify the virus or bacteria that is present in such individuals.
5) It is well documented that doctors grossly under-report cases. Under-reporting has been found to be up to 24,000 times (5), and applies far more to vaccinated c/f unvaccinated individuals (6). Given this massive under-reporting, figures are very vulnerable to pressure on GPs from health departments to report every case they see during particular periods, which of course are the periods in which vaccination coverage is down (Health Department says something along the lines of: “We need to monitor cases carefully, because we fear that the low vaccination compliance will lead to an outbreak.”), e.g. in the UK after the publicity in the 1970s about the DPT vaccine causing brain damage and recently the MMR causing autism.
6) The apparent impact of vaccines on the number of reported cases varies often quite significantly from one country to another. For example a greater decline in reported number of cases with increased vaccine use has been reported in communist countries such as Hungary, East Germany and Poland than in other countries (Gangarosa et al, The Lancet, Jan 1998). There is no reason that the vaccine would be more effective on children living under a communist regime than a non-communist regime, so clearly government figures of cases are unreliable in reflecting the true trend, because they can be influenced by politics. Indeed Hungary recently admitted (as also reported in the Lancet) that all statistics during the communist era were falsified; including mortality figures. The fact that there are also inconsistencies between “democratic” countries tells us that political influences are affecting the figures in these countries too. Confirming this we have found that WHO figures differ suspiciously from figures published in peer-reviewed medical journals and other sources, e.g. in respect to the infant mortality trend in Japan after the minimum vaccination age was raised and lowered .
7) In outbreaks of diseases, figures often indicate that the percentage of cases vaccinated are as high, sometimes even higher than the vaccine uptake levels in the community, e.g.
• 87% of cases of whooping cough in South Australia from 1990 to 1996 were fully vaccinated (according to questionnaires to parents) (7),
• In an epidemic of whooping cough in Sweden in 1978, the percentage of cases fully vaccinated was found to be least as high as the population compliance rate of 84%, so the government discontinued whooping cough vaccination (8).
In fact epidemics of measles, mumps, whooping cough, etc, “even” occur in populations which are at least 98% (some 100%) vaccinated (9,10), and even where the compliance is less, there have been many outbreaks where only the vaccinated caught the diseases. Examples include Illinois 1984 (100% cases vaccinated) (11), Hobbs, New Mexico 1985 (12), Corpus Christi 1985 (school outbreaks of measles - 100% cases were vaccinated - the 1% who were unvaccinated did not contract it) (13), Cincinatti 1993 (100% cases vaccinated), North Idaho 1997 (100% cases vaccinated). More examples are cited in “Vaccination – A Parent’s Dilemma” by Greg Beattie (1997, available from The Informed Parent). So the so-called “herd immunity” principle (the claim that with 95% coverage, outbreaks will be prevented) clearly does not hold, and is only devised as an excuse when outbreaks still occur in populations where compliance level is less than 95%, and as a method of getting the public to pressure the non-conformers to fall in line.
8) Sometimes the vaccination programs are begun/ended at peak/trough times of the natural 3-4 year disease cycles (possibly deliberately on some occasions), with the inevitable wane/wax phase of the cycle being falsely attributed to vaccination/lack of vaccination, and
9) These disease cycles, caused by the number of susceptibles gradually increasing over time, and decreasing again when outbreaks occur, have not increased in length with the use of vaccines.
It may be interesting to note that until recently when a vaccine was first introduced usually only one dose was expected to be enough to do the job. However because it failed, another dose was added to the schedule. It still failed, so another was added. So we are now in Australia up to the sixth dose of the whooping cough vaccine for current adolescents, and the fully vaccinated still get whooping cough.
In fact one area in Australia in June 2000 (the Hunter Valley) was proudly boasting that it had the highest vaccination coverage in the state, second highest in the country. No sooner had this boast been published than there was a big nationwide news story that there was a big outbreak of whooping cough in the Hunter Valley. A couple of years later there was another story - diabetes epidemic in the Hunter Valley. (Why aren't we surprised? we thought.)
If one studies individual articles in medical journals, there are many different unscientific methods researchers use to conclude effectiveness, other than those already covered above. The medical literature is highly contaminated with such unscientific conclusions. According to the British Medical Journal (“The Poverty of Medical Evidence”, May 10, 1991), “only 1% of articles in medical journals are scientifically sound.” I have a big list of those methods, but I think what I have included above is enough for one Rapid Response.
We are still, after many decades, waiting for a randomised, double- blind placebo-controlled trial establishing that vaccines are effective, but the pharmaceutical industry, the main provider of research funds (in fact it has now more blatantly taken over the research), will not do it, and amazingly justifies this by saying that to do it they would have to deny the vaccine to the control group, which is supposedly unfair to those people. Thus we are just given a circular argument.
I hope this helps to put the subject in a new light.
The reason, by the way, that those adolescents are getting mumps is not that they were protected when younger by vaccination and the vaccine has now worn off. The fact is that they were never protected (except when they were infants, by transplacentally transmitted immunity). On the contrary, the derailing effect of vaccination causes a problem that even after subsequently developing the disease naturally the vaccinated person often *still* is not immune - i.e. rather than immunise, vaccines can prevent immunity from developing. (Vaccine-induced antibodies and immunity are totally different things.) Anyway the explanation and evidence for the fact that vaccines actually increase susceptibility needs too much text for this Rapid Response.
1. Vaccination. The Hidden Facts. Ian Sinclair. Sydney. 1992 pg 23.
2. Nathanson, N., Langmuir, AD, 1963a. The Cutter Incident. Poliomyelitis following formaldehyde-inactivated poliovirus vaccination in the United States in the spring of 1955. I. Background.Am J Hyg:78:16-28
3. Vaccination? A Review of Risks and Alternatives. Isaac Golden. Daylesford Vic. 1994 (5th Edition). pg32
4. Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment 7th Edition 1992. University of Colorado School of Medicine
5. Br J Clin Pharm 1997 Feb;43(2):177-81
6. Pediatrics 1998;102:909-912
7. Greg Beattie Vaccination – A Parent’s Dilemma (1997, The Oracle Press, Qld).
8. JD Cherry et al,1988, Report of the task force on pertussis and pertussis immunisation. Pediatrics (Suppl): 939-984
9. Bull WHO 1993
10. Herceg, Passaris and Mead. An outbreak of measles in a highly immunised population: immunisation status and vaccine efficacy. Australian Journal of Public Health 1994 Vol. 18 no. 3.
11. MMWR: June 1984
12. MMWR: Feb 1 1985
13. NEJM: March 26, 1987 p771
Competing interests: None declared