Written by: April Weedman, Medical Editor
Next to politics and religion, few subjects are as controversial and polarizing as vaccinations. Let’s take a closer look at some reasons why they’re such a hot topic.
When someone develops infection naturally, the innate cell-mediated immune system works in numerous ways to resolve the disease, often before any symptoms appear, resulting in immunity that is most often permanent. Vaccinations bypass the cell-mediated system activating only the humoral immune system which can produce antibodies that may or may not protect against disease and is most often temporary. Recent research in the journal Immunity shows the cell-mediated immune system can effectively fight diseases without antibodies. Animal studies have shown even with high antibody levels many still succumb to infectious agents when exposed. This may explain why there have been numerous outbreaks in communities where there is up to a 98% vaccination rate and why some academic papers discuss the “paradox” in which vaccinated populations contract diseases that unvaccinated populations don’t.
One side argues diseases like polio and small pox have mostly been vaccinated away. The other side argues data shows many diseases had already dramatically declined before vaccines were introduced due to improvements in areas like sanitation, sewage containment, clean water and better nutrition access and diseases like bubonic plague, typhoid, scarlet fever, etc. disappeared without widespread vaccinations.
Many experts say it’s better to let children acquire and resolve diseases naturally because most infections are far less severe in children than in adults and then children will likely have lifetime immunity and build stronger immune systems. Parents and grandparents may remember when they were children they might have been purposely exposed to many of the diseases vaccinated against today, in an effort to get them out of the way because they were known to be more complicated if contracted as adults. Some debate vaccinations may be pushing normal childhood diseases into adult populations where consequences are more serious, since any possible protection provided by vaccinations typically have waned.
One of the most fiercely debated topics is the safety of what vaccines contain. Vaccine package inserts list ingredients such as human fetal cells, human blood albumin, monkey cells, bovine serum, chicken cells, mercury (still in flu vaccine), aluminum, monosodium glutamate (MSG), neomycin, etc. Dr. Paul Offit, an outspoken vaccine advocate who also has a conflict of interest as a vaccine patent holder, says people come into contact with more toxins than what is in a vaccine every day. While other doctors say that may be true, but no toxins we come into contact with are injected straight into our system like vaccines. Our bodies have several detoxification systems to keep toxins out of the blood but vaccinations bypass those systems so toxins can get into the brain and cause inflammation, various neurological and autoimmune issues.
Many unintended things have been found in vaccines, such as other viruses and various DNA particles too small to filter out. John Martin, former FDA Virologist, said SV-40 (a monkey virus found in numerous types of cancer tumors) was one of several dozen viruses that contaminated vaccines so SV-40 infection is now widespread within the human population as a result of the polio vaccine. Dr. Maurice Hillerman, former scientist for Merck who created some vaccines, admitted there were numerous wild viruses in vaccines such as leukemia virus. “In an effort to avoid these wild viruses I brought in the African Greens [monkeys] but I didn’t know we were importing the AIDS [HIV] virus at the time”, said Hillerman. The FDA expresses concern that it’s possible for things known and unknown too small to filter out to contaminate vaccines such as prions like BSE, known as Mad Cow disease. Another contamination concern is China now being the leading producer of vaccines. Rather than FDA inspection every 2 years, like in the USA, the FDA is only allowed to go to China every 13 years and is not allowed to enter the facilities, just stand outside and ask questions about manufacturing practices.
So, are vaccines “safe and effective”? Do the “benefits outweigh the risks”? Don’t vaccines go through rigorous clinical trials like other pharmaceutical drugs? Having spent a decade employed in the pharmaceutical industry, I was surprised to see vaccines have a very different trial and approval process than pharmaceutical drugs with no randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials. Rather than being tested against inert substances like typical placebos, vaccines are tested against other vaccines or aluminum injections that they call placebos. This is actually an active control, not a placebo. So, there are no clinical trials of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated and side effect profiles are listed as “similar to placebo” which is very misleading.
Recently, many scientist whistleblowers have confessed several studies for safety and efficacy of vaccines have been falsified, triggering investigations by Congress into conflicts of interest and corruption within pharma and the authorities who regulate and approve vaccinations like the FDA and CDC. For example, Dr. William Thompson, CDC scientist, claimed he and other scientists were forced by their CDC superiors to “make data disappear” that showed links between neurological issues like autism and vaccines and he gave 100,000 incriminating documents to Congress. One of Thompson’s superiors, Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC, resigned and was hired as president of Merck’s vaccine division. This is very common and referred to as the “revolving door” between government agencies and pharma. Dr. Marcia Angell, 20 year editor of the prestigious New England Medical Journal, said ”We can no longer trust medical literature because of the industry money involved in getting studies published.”
In 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which created tax-payer funded court to compensate for children that experienced vaccine related injury or death. This act prevents lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines because they claimed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”. When this act passed, Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed some vaccines, said this was a mistake because the vaccine manufacturers will have no incentive to make vaccines safer. As of now, even while denying 4 out of every 5 claims, this court has paid out $3.5 Billion in tax-payer funds for thousands of children killed or injured by vaccines. Even though it’s referred to as a court, there are no judges, no juries or medical experts that hear cases. They are heard and decided by a “special master” who is a government attorney, which is a conflict of interest since there are no impartial parties involved in the decision and the government is paying the claims.
The global vaccine market is projected to be $41 Billion this year, with vaccines providing one of the largest profit margins in the pharmaceutical industry. In the 1970’s and early 80’s there were 23 doses of 7 vaccinations given. Today, 69 doses of 16 vaccines are given starting at birth and over 300 new vaccines are in the pipeline. Yet, the USA has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world, also one of the highest rates of chronically ill children.
Experts agree that one of the best ways to protect infants from illness is for mothers to pass their immunity through breast feeding 1 to 2 years while the immune system develops.