Many years ago, the manufacturers of hair care products discovered that they could double their sales by putting a single word on the back of a shampoo bottle: Repeat. And for years, I dutifully followed their directions. I washed my hair, rinsed it, and then washed it again.
Vaccine Safety: Vaccinate Early, and Often!
Until one day, I thought, hey, wait a minute. If the shampoo works, wasn’t my hair clean the first time? Why do I have to use the stuff again?
The answer, of course, is profits. That one word on the shampoo bottle means you use it up twice as fast, and have to buy it twice as often as you would if you shampooed only once. The manufacturer sells more and makes more money.
It seems to me that we can ask the same question about the vaccines we allow to be given to our children. If they work as they’re intended to do, and for this article I’ll use “work” to mean they keep our children from getting a particular illness and don’t actually make them sick, then why do we need to vaccinate them against diseases they’re highly unlikely to get, and why do we need to keep giving them the same vaccines over and over again?
The vaccine manufacturers may as well have put the same one-word instruction on their vials, because not only are children being given more different kinds of vaccinations than ever before, they’re being given many of them repeatedly. In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control recommended 23 doses of 7 vaccines for children up to age six. More recently, the CDC recommended that children take 48 doses of 12 vaccines by age six. With the recent addition of annual flu shots for all infants and children, the CDC now recommends that children get 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18.
Where do these recommendations come from? The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services runs the National Vaccine Program Office (http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo). The purpose of the NVPO is, according to their website, to provide leadership and coordination among federal agencies as they work together to carry out the goals of the National Vaccine Plan. And what is the National Vaccine Plan? It was started in 1994, and its purpose, as you can guess, is to get as many people vaccinated, and as often, as possible.
You might also guess that the officials who advise our government on vaccinations, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, is made up of many fine folks, including “individuals who are engaged in vaccine research or the manufacture of vaccines,” according to their website. They’re pretty open about who they are and what they do, if you’d like to check their site at http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/.
So the vaccine manufacturers advise our government on how many vaccines we should be given, and how often, much like our inviting the energy companies to help set the country’s energy policy (and look how well that worked out!). But rather than tracing the connections between our government agencies and the pharmaceutical companies, which is all too easy to do, I’d rather focus on vaccine safety.
In 1983, one in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism. Today, 1 child in 150 develops autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Is the jump in numbers attributable only to better methods of diagnosis? Certainly, that may be a factor-but the only factor?
According to the Autism Research Institute (www.autism.com), “They (those who deny any connection between autism and vaccines) claim that autism naturally occurs at about 18 months, when the MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] is routinely given, so the association is merely coincidental and not causal. But the onset of autism at 18 months is a recent development. Autism starting at 18 months rose very sharply in the mid-1980s, when the MMR vaccine came into wide use.” It’s worth remembering, when you read about vaccinations and autism, that fifty years ago, when the immunization schedule contained only four vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and smallpox), autism was virtually unknown.
This is from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 9, Number 3, published Fall 2004, on a study from Denmark: “Longitudinal trends in prevalence data suggest a temporal association between the introduction of MMR vaccine in Denmark and the rise in autism.” The study continues by saying “Health authorities should develop safer vaccination strategies and support further investigation of the hypothesized link between the MMR vaccine and autism.”
And it’s not just autism. After decades of reports in the medical literature that the pertussis portion of the DPT vaccine was causing brain damage in some children, the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study was conducted in Britain and published in 1981. It confirmed the association between pertussis vaccine or pertussis-containing vaccines (DPT) and acute brain inflammation leading to permanent brain damage. A reanalysis ten years later re-confirmed those findings.
In 1994, in this country, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences published a report confirming that British study’s validity, saying “The balance of evidence is consistent with a causal relation between DPT and the forms of chronic nervous system dysfunction in the NCES in those children who experience a serious acute neurological illness within 7 days after receiving DPT vaccine.”
In fact, independent researchers, those not paid by the vaccine industry, have shown for years that the DTP vaccine can cause acute brain inflammation and permanent brain damage that ranges from learning disorders to severe and profound mental retardation; that the DT (Diphtheria-Tetanus) vaccine can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, and even death; that the rubella vaccine can cause acute and chronic arthritis; that the live oral polio vaccine can give polio to the person being vaccinated or even to someone who comes into contact with that person’s body fluids; and that the MMR can cause shock and death from measles vaccine strain viral infection.
In fact, the problem of polio being caused by the oral polio vaccine is also well known, and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, confirms it. You can see it at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/292/14/1696.pdf
The bottom line on vaccine safety, at least for me, is this. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (yes, who knew?) set up the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The VICP, which went into effect in 1988, is, according to their website, “a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system designed to provide compensation to care for individuals injured by childhood vaccines, whether administered in the private or public sector. Since its inception, the VICP has been a key component in stabilizing the U.S. vaccine market by providing liability protection to both vaccine manufacturers and providers, by encouraging research and development of new and safer vaccines, and by providing for a more streamlined and less adversarial alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims.”
In other words, keep the parents from suing the pharmaceutical companies when their kids are sickened or killed by vaccines. Shuttle them off into the governmental agency that will compensate them, instead of having the lawsuits make the evening news. The VICP list of possible adverse effects of vaccinations is interesting, to say the least. Here’s their website, if you’d like to take a look: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/
On that site, you can also find statistics on how much money has been paid by our government’s health agencies, the folks who keep us safe, for those injured or killed by vaccines. The most current information is as of July 1, just a few weeks ago, and it’s an eye-opener, for sure. In fiscal year 2008 alone, the amount paid to the petitioners, most often the parents of the dead or injured children, was almost $70 million, and that doesn’t include the amounts paid to their attorneys.
In fact, in the fiscal years from 1990 to 2008, here’s how much our government has paid for those injured or killed by vaccines: over $843 million. And remember, each award represents one unfiled lawsuit against the vaccine industry.
So my question is this: If vaccines are so safe, why do we have a separate government office set up to pay off the distraught parents? We did we create a law meant to shield the vaccine industry from lawsuits when children are sickened or killed by their products?
Here’s the answer: The vaccine industry contributes heavily to both political parties, and their members sit on any number of health agencies in Washington. Also, the connections between our government and the pharmaceutical industry are legion. (See my previous article on aspartame for examples.)
And vaccines are big business. Americans buy and are required to use more vaccines than people in any other nation in the world. The market for pediatric vaccines is predicted to quadruple by 2016 to more than $16 billion.
So we know that vaccines are not as safe as they’re proclaimed to be by studies funded by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. Could it be that routine vaccination and re-vaccination are simply your doctor’s way of getting your (so far) healthy child in for a visit? Consider this: In 2001 (with a revision in 2007), the American Veterinary Medical Association, the pet equivalent of the American Medical Association, released a report called “Vaccination Principles,” which did a bit of backpedaling on the issue of repeated, routine pet vaccinations.
Here’s what it said: “Vaccination is a potent medical procedure with both risks and benefits. While there is evidence that some vaccines provide immunity beyond one year, revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity does not necessarily add to their disease protection and may increase the potential risk of post-vaccination adverse events.” The adverse events include, well, death, as well as seizures and, after the rabies vaccine, paranoia, biting and fear in vaccinated dogs.
As any pet person knows, those routine shots get you into your vet’s office pretty regularly, and they can cost a bundle. But has your vet ever told you that the AVMA has rethought its position on vaccinations? Probably not, because it’s their bread and butter.
Now consider your pediatrician. Has he or she ever discussed the “adverse events” following vaccination of your child? Doubtful. But if we test drugs and medical procedures on animals to make sure they don’t harm us, when the primary veterinary medicine organization in this country is concerned about pet vaccines, shouldn’t we at least reconsider our routine administration of them to our children, and even to ourselves?
In fact, human vaccines contain many of the same ingredients as pet vaccines. Here’s what the AVMA has to say on that: “Adverse events may be associated with the antigen, adjuvant, carrier, preservative, or a combination thereof. Possible adverse events include, but are not necessarily limited to, failure to immunize, anaphylaxis, immuno-suppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections, long-term infected carrier states, and local development of tumors.” Those same adjuvants, carriers, and preservatives are used in the vaccines administered to your child.
By the way, the national vaccine program? It’s targeting teenagers and the elderly next.
Here are some sites to look at if you’d like more information:
And, if you’re not too squeamish, this one: http://www.rense.com/general32/see.htm
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Lynn Stratton worked for the St. Petersburg Times as a news archivist, copy editor and staff writer until recently, when she started her own writing and editing business. Before that, she taught at USF for 15 years. Originally from NYC, she spends her spare time walking her standard poodle, Harry, and working in her butterfly garden, where she's had 6 species of caterpillars so far this year.
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