To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

 
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate their children is for parents one of the most difficult decision they have to take. Unfortunately, the information available on this issue is at best conflicting, at worst confusing. This section tries to shed some light on the issues involved.
The issues involved are, in order of importance:
 
Safety
The safety of vaccinations is obviously of prime concern for any parent. The Government and the medical establishment want us to believe that vaccines are safe and effective. Unfortunately, research into this topic tells us otherwise. For many years now the safety of many of the vaccines has been questioned. The latest in a long line of critics is the London based GP Dr Richard Halvorsen. He is a GP who spent five years researching vaccination and says: ‘Vaccine programmes are not the magic bullet that they are claimed to be, and bombarding children with a cocktail of vaccines could be causing some serious health problems, with hundreds if not thousands of children adversely affected every year.’ He points out that a child is supposed to have received 25 vaccines by the time they are 15 months old. ‘There remains uncertainty whether the growing number of childhood vaccinations is contributing to the rising numbers of children affected by asthma, diabetes and other immune-related disorders.’ If the doubts are such, it is legitimate to question the safety of available vaccination programmes, and whether these contravene the Hippocratic Oath of ‘do no harm’.
We now know that vaccines can cause all kinds of symptoms, many of which were not looked for in the initial trials of the vaccines, simply because they were not expected.
Dr Coulter and Dr Fischer have done painstaking research on the Triple Antigen Vaccine DPT, and list the following short-term side-effects, which can also apply to other vaccines:
  • Skin reactions
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Cough, runny nose, ear infection
  • High pitched screaming, persistent crying
  • Collapse, or shock-like episodes
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Seizure disorders – convulsions, epilepsy
  • Infantile spasms
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Blood disorders – Thrombocytopenia, haemolytic anaemia
  • Diabetes and hypoglycaemia
  • Death and sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS)
In addition to these short-term side effects, Coulter and Fischer list three major areas of possible long term damage, including:
  • Severe neurological damage
  • Brain damage, learning disabilities, and hyperactivity
  • Allergy and hypersensitivity
Please, see below for a detailed discussion of the safety relating to individual vaccinations.
 
 
Effectiveness
This is a notoriously difficult topic. Claims and counter claims are being made on both sides, and the parent in the middle is none the wiser. What we can say is that it is often the phase one trials that publicise the effectiveness of vaccines, but they tend to be test-tube studies, mainly concerning antibodies; these are often quoted as efficacy rates of the vaccine [for more details see Trevor Gunn publications]. But what happens in a lab and what happens in an actual disease situation can be two very different things. The presence of antibodies alone does not tell us whether somebody is immune against the disease or not.
It would be nice to think that vaccinations are 100% effective, but research does not back that up. For example, studies, which measured ‘secondary attack rates’ – the percentage of other family members infected as a result of definite exposure to a family member with whooping cough – showed that the efficacy of the vaccine ranged between 59.6 to 80.5%.
Prof. Stewart of Glasgow University, UK, head of Community Medicine, states that in 1974/5, and 1978/9, outbreaks in the UK, and in 1974 in outbreaks in the USA and Canada, the proportion of children developing whooping cough who had been fully vaccinated was between 30% and 50%. He goes on to conclude that the risks of vaccination to new born babies are as great as those of actually catching the disease itself.
In 1993, Japanese health authorities discontinued the use of the MMR vaccine. One reason was that the vaccine was causing mumps in recipients. Initially, side effects from the vaccine were predicated as 1 in 100,000-200,000, but in practice, reactions were found to be as frequent as 1 in 300.
Roberts and others examined an outbreak of measles and found that the MMR vaccine was not only ineffective, but increased the severity of the disease: ‘Symptoms were equally common among immunised and non-immunised subjects. However, significantly more immunised boys than non-immunised boys reported fever, rash, joint symptoms and headache.’
For a breakdown on the effectiveness of individual vaccines, please consult the appropriate section below.
 
Vaccinations and decline in diseases
Proponents of vaccination programmes claim that vaccines eradicated, reduced the incidence or lessened the severity of infectious diseases. These assertions are usually based on figures released by the Department of Health. The problem with these figures is that often a ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenario is missing, because many of these diseases were not notifiable diseases, and therefore we have no reliable figures before the 1950s. Therefore, a better indication would be to look at the mortality rate by consulting figures from the OPCS (Office of population, censuses and surveys). What we see in diseases like whooping cough, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, measles and tuberculosis is that the mortality rates were already in clear decline at the time when vaccines were introduced. The best one could say is that vaccination continued the downward trend, but it would be difficult to claim that vaccinations were responsible for the decline in mortality rates or severity of these diseases.
It is far more accurate to say that these major declines were improvements in health through better nutrition, improved sanitary conditions, clean water, waste disposal, personal hygiene, nursing care, etc. Reference: Isaac Golden, Trevor Gunn.
For more information look at the following graphs:
 
 
The case of smallpox
Even the Wikipedia claims that smallpox vaccination has been a resounding success, and has eradicated the disease. The reality looks different. Trevor Gunn writes: ‘In England: Free smallpox vaccines were introduced in 1840 and made compulsory in 1853. Between 1857 and 1859 there were 14, 244 deaths from smallpox. After a population rise of 7%, the death rate rose by 40.8% to 20, 059 between 1863 and 1865. In 1867 evaders of vaccination were prosecuted. Those left unvaccinated were very few. After a population rise of 9%, the death rate rose by 123% to 44, 840, between 1870 and 1872.
The much touted anecdote ‘vaccines have eradicated smallpox’ cannot be justified by the actual evidence; in fact all of the evidence shows that smallpox vaccine increased the severity and incidence of smallpox when all other illnesses (that at the time had no vaccines) were on the decline. Where do vaccine promoters get their evidence from, do they in fact have any evidence or is this just a belief?’ (Trevor Gunn: Comparing natural immunity with vaccination, p. 20).
 
 
Medical model behind vaccinations
Immunisation is the process of artificially inducing immunity or protection from disease. This may be done either by stimulating the body’s immune system with a vaccine or toxoid to produce antibodies, or through the use of an externally produced antibody.
A vaccine is a suspension of live or killed organisms (bacterium or virus), or parts of organisms. A toxoid is a modified bacterial toxin that has been rendered non-toxic but is still able to stimulate anti-toxin production. Immunising agents usually also contain a suspending fluid, preservatives, stabilizers and adjuvants. The most commonly used adjuvants are aluminium salts, and are used to enhance the immune response. The aim of an immunisation programme is to reduce the incidence of, or to eliminate a particular disease. Immunisation has both a direct and an indirect effect. The direct effect is the protection induced in the individual receiving the immunising agent. The indirect effect is the reduction of the incidence of the disease in others – so called ‘herd immunity’.
Deciding whether a particular immunisation programme is successful depends upon a comparison of the number of cases of disease prevented with the range, severity, and incidence of adverse effects. That is, a comparison of the risks and the benefits.
Proponents of conventional immunisation programmes base their rationale for vaccination on the germ theory. This is the assumption that it is the germ (or micro-organism), which causes the damage, and therefore it is the germ which has to be fought, killed, or avoided contact with. Vaccination relies on the production of antibodies.
Homeoprophylaxis is informed by a different philosophy, and is not reliant on antibody formation (see section on Homeoprophylaxis).
 
 
Individual vaccinations
You can click on any of the sections below to get more information. For the safety, effectiveness, and some technical aspects of individual vaccinations, please click on the links below.

 

Chickenpox

Relatively new. 2 strains available, both live attenuated strains.

Current recommendations: children up to 14 years receive one dose. Adolescents receive two doses. Also to be given 3-5 days after exposure.

Efficacy: between 44-86% (depending on whether it’s an household outbreak, in day care centres, whether disease is moderate or severe).

Adverse effects: Fever up to 39ºC (15%); injection site reaction (7-30%); rash around injection site or generalised (3-5%); serious adverse events (incl. Encephalitis, seizures and death) were reported in 2.9 per 100,000 distributed doses.

Main concern: Is there a possibility of the vaccine implanting the varicella zoster virus in the cells of the nervous system in the same way that the natural disease sometimes does? This may cause shingles later in life.

Long-term health consequences are not known.

Verdict: Is this questionably effective vaccine worth the risk?

Homeopathic protection can be used.

 

Measles

Currently only delivered as part of MMR. Two vaccines are currently available: M-M-R-H (CSL/MSD) – live attenuated measles virus, mumps virus, and rubella virus strain. Vaccine includes neomycin, porcine gelatine, human albumin, and foetal bovine serum.

Priorix (GSK) – live attenuated measles virus, mumps virus, and rubella virus strain. Vaccine includes neomycin and albumin.

Efficacy: Claims of up to 99%. Figures support the impact vaccine had on the disease. Vaccination does reduce incidence of disease, but has no impact on decline in deaths from it. Still, 60% of all children infected will have been previously vaccinated. Measles outbreaks recently occurred mainly in vaccinated children. Field efficacy between 53.1-100%.

GP Dr Halvorsen points out that despite claims that vaccination of 95% of the population would eradicate the disease, there have been outbreaks in schools where children have been vaccinated. He writes: ‘Measles vaccine can cause permanent brain damage and SSPE (rare but fatal brain disease), though almost certainly less commonly than ‘naturally caught’ measles.’

Adverse effects: Rash and weakness; moderate to high fever; variety of potentially severe reactions, incl. Febrile convulsions, anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, thrombocytopenia (reduction of number of platelets in blood).

Comment: Usually a mild disease, which can be dealt with careful diet and nursing care. Dr Halvorsen’s verdict is that on balance the risks of the disease remain greater than those associated with the vaccine, especially in vulnerable children with chronic illnesses.

One could add that these are of course the children who would be most adversely affected by the vaccination.

Homeopathic protection can be used.

GP Dr Halvorsen (London) on the MMR vaccination: He believes the vaccine serves little purpose and points out that: ‘MMR is the first and only vaccine to contain three live viruses. The studies to look for potential problems that this previously untried combination might cause have never been done.’

And he believes that in the view of the controversy over suggested links to autism, the MMR should be withdrawn until adequate long-term safety studies on sufficient numbers of children can demonstrate its safety.


 

Mumps

Is delivered as part of the MMR vaccine.

Efficacy: between 75 and 95%. Depends on strains used and health of recipients.

Adverse effects: Mumps component maybe the cause of aseptic meningitis. Cases of diabetes have also been reported following mumps vaccination.

Comment: Disease is typically mild, efficacy and safety of the vaccine is uncertain. Therefore, it is certainly an option not to vaccinate, or use homeopathic protection.

GP Dr Halvorsen comment on the disease is that it is a mild disease that rarely kills. Because immunity wears off, giving the vaccine has resulted in raising the age which children catch mumps from early childhood to adolescence, where the symptoms are more likely to be severe and can include permanent hearing loss, a painful swelling of testicles and possible infertility.

His verdict is that the vaccination is unnecessary and the MMR vaccine is making the disease worse.

 

Rubella

Mass vaccination began in 1971. In 1993/94 MMR vaccination replaced the rubella programme.

Efficacy: very doubtful. Trials carried out in 1978 among army recruits showed that 80% of those vaccinated contracted the disease in a known high-exposure environment within four months of receiving the vaccine.

Adverse effects: there is growing evidence that the rubella vaccine may lead to rheumatic and arthritic conditions in later years; there is a probable link between this vaccine and glandular fever; it was scientifically demonstrated that the vaccine was also the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Comment: Rubella is a very mild childhood disease, but the vaccine has definite potentially serious side-effects.

It is desirable for girls to contract the disease naturally before reaching child-bearing age. During pregnancy, a specific homeopathic nosode is available.

Dr Halvorsen points to a Finnish study which showed that after two MMR jabs, a third of girls lost all protection by age 15.

His verdict is that this vaccination is not recommended for children, and it would be more effective to screen teenage girls to check if they’ve acquired immunity and vaccinate only those who don’t have it.

Homeopathic immunisation is available.

 

Tetanus

Protects recipient by stimulating the production of antitoxin. All available vaccine contain aluminium phosphate and thiomersal (the NHS immunisation information service states that thiomersal is not in any of the routine childhood vaccinations – see:www.immunisation.nhs.uk/FAQs)

Efficacy: is not certain. In order to make vaccine safe it has been significantly reduced, thereby making it clinically ineffective. Improved sanitation and personal hygiene is preventing tetanus. However, there are other studies, which show that tetanus nearly always occurs in people who have not been fully vaccinated.

Comment: Immediate and effective wound hygiene is most important. Immunoglobulin is available when vaccination is incomplete. Homeopathic alternatives are available.

See also: www.whale.to/v/tetanus.html

 

Haemophilis influenzae type b (Hib)

The first generation of Hib vaccines (polysaccharides from Hib vaccines) were not effective in children under the age of 18 months. The second generation of ‘conjugated’ (combined) vaccines are said to be 95% effective. This is at odds with other studies, which have shown an efficacy range from 35-95%.

Comment: Hib is a potentially serious disease, and a good case can be made to protect children and the elderly from the disease. There seems to be a clear protective effect from the vaccines, but their effectiveness seems to vary considerably. It is too early to assess the real advantages and risks associated with their use.

 

Meningococcal disease

Type b is the major cause of meningococcal disease in most developed countries. There is no vaccine for type B, only for A and C. In countries where type C vaccine have been introduced, the incidence of this type of meningococcal disease has decreased, while incidence of type B has increased.

Adverse effects: Pain, redness, swelling at injection sites, fever, irritability, anorexia and headaches (10% of cases). Another information source says 30% of vaccinated individuals suffered from local reactions and headaches. There was a public outcry in Britain when it was revealed that four people advising the Government on the vaccine were on the payroll of the manufacturer of the vaccine.

Comment: The use of the homeopathic nosode has been tested on some large groups in epidemic situations. The nosode was shown to be 95% effective in the first outbreak, 95% effective after 6 months and 91% effective after 12 months. Dr Isaac Golden (Australia) offered this information to state and federal government in 2003, in the light that no vaccine was available for type B disease. They were not interested.

 

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Is most dangerous in very young children, but administration of the vaccine is possibly least effective and most dangerous for children in this age group. Adverse reactions to the whooping cough vaccine can be 20 times greater in babies under six months than older ones. 10 acellular pertussis vaccines are available, which contain 3 or more purified components of B.pertussis.

Efficacy: Vaccination is not the major factor in controlling deaths from whooping cough. Vaccination does offer some protection against infection, but the extent of protection is far from certain. Efficacy range from 48.3%-85.2%. The last figure relates to a 5 component acellular vaccine, as reported by Gustafsson (see reference). A long-term randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Italy showed a range of efficacy for DTPa of 76%-86%. In cases of whooping cough epidemics vaccinated children were always among those who contracted the disease (range from 35-46%); in one epidemic on the Shetland islands there was no difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated children.

 

Comment:

  • Vaccination against whooping cough was not responsible for the dramatic fall in deaths from the disease in the UK, USA, and Australia in this century.
  • Vaccination against whooping cough offers some protection against infection, but this cover is by no means certain.
  • The procedure of vaccinating young children against infectious diseases carries a number of risks, possibly including subtle, long term changes to their health through damage of the immature immune system.
  • While fatality from the disease itself is unlikely, whooping cough can be a serious disease in very young children and a distressing one in the case of older children.
  • Use of the homeopathic nosode may provide effective protection against the disease, without the dangers associated with the orthodox vaccine. The efficacy and length of protection offered are not certain, however, extensive practical experience suggests they are no less than that provided by the vaccine. It is a genuine alternative to vaccination.
  • Pneumococcal disease

Efficacy is uncertain. Various studies have shown a wide range of results. It appears it has a low efficacy in the elderly, a low efficacy in preventing ear infections, but is effective in preventing pneumonia and IPD (invasive pneumococcal disease) in children.

 Adverse effects: 5% experience severe pain and swelling. A few will experience fevers.

Comment: There is variable evidence as to the efficacy of the vaccine, although there is undoubtedly a level of effectiveness. Long-term safety has yet to be fully tested. Given that IPD is potentially serious in young children, some prevention is recommended. The homeopathic option is available.

 

Polio

Two vaccines are currently in use: a) Salk (inactivated polio vaccine) derived from killed polio virus grown in a special medium of the kidney tissue of a species of monkey. B) Sabin (oral polio vaccine); the vaccine is live, attenuated and propagated in monkey tissue culture. Polio provides probably the most complex story when it comes to vaccination. A short summary will have to do here:

  • Polio has been present for many years
  • It has affected many individuals without causing obvious symptoms
  • It is treatable
  • The use of vaccines to prevent polio is, at best, only partially effective, and probably causes the disease in highly susceptible individuals – the only ones at real risk of suffering serious complications in the event of infection.

Fully developed paralytic poliomyelitis is a dreadful disease. But the conclusions above argue against the use of a vaccine that is as likely to cause the disease as prevent it in the individuals who most need protection. Homeopathy can provide a safe, relatively effective and economical solution.

See for the ‘story’ of the polio vaccine:  PolioVaccineStory

 

Disclaimer: Any information obtained here is not to be construed as medical OR legal advice. The decision to vaccinate and how you implement that decision is yours and yours alone.