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Argentina Investigates Deaths of Vaccinated Children

September 06, 2008 | 35,776 views
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vaccine, vaccinationArgentine authorities are investigating a possible link between the deaths of 14 children and an experimental vaccine they were taking as part of a clinical trial run by GlaxoSmithKline.

The deaths may be tied to the Synflorix vaccine, which is designed to fight pneumonia, ear infections and several other pneumococcal diseases.

A U.S. spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline said that the company is not attributing the deaths to the experimental vaccine, which is being tested in three Latin American countries and elsewhere around the world.

Argentine officials report that their national food and drug administration received complaints and witnessed “poor ethical management” regarding the recruitment of babies for the study.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

GlaxoSmithKline is hoping that it’s experimental vaccine Synflorix, which is intended to fight pneumonia, ear infections and several other pneumococcal diseases, will be the next big blockbuster vaccine. Specifically, they are pitting it against Wyeth's already successful pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, which brought in $634 million in the third quarter of 2007 alone.

What Glaxo wants you to know is only a carefully orchestrated marketing spin. As one of their spokeswomen says, "Safety is our primary concern, always, with the development of any new treatment."

Why, then, are they using unethical practices to recruit babies for their study?

Ana Maria Marchesse, a pediatrician who heads the Health Professionals' Labor Association in the northern Argentine province of Santiago del Estero, pointed out to Argentina’s food and drug administration that parents didn’t know the vaccine was experimental, and many of those who signed the consent forms were illiterate.

“In some cases, they [Glaxo] first gave them the vaccine and then gave them a 13-page consent form to sign that I had to read three times to understand," she told the Associated Press.

Already, 14 children given the experimental vaccine have died. But that didn’t stop Glaxo. They have continued to inject 24,000 infants with the shots, and the trial is still ongoing, despite a temporary suspension that ended in late June.

Do Pneumonia Vaccines Increase Your Risk of Infection?

Synflorix boasts that it targets 10 types of bacteria that can lead to pneumonia, ear infections and other pneumococcal diseases. Prevnar, meanwhile, protects against seven, although they are planning to come out with a new version of Prevnar that’s active against 13 strains by the beginning of 2009.

No doubt these new releases will only revamp the major push that’s already begun in the United States to get your kids vaccinated against pneumonia.

But has anyone stopped to ask whether this is appropriate … or if it even works?

An estimated 2 million children die from pneumonia each year, accounting for almost 1 in 5 deaths of children under the age of 5, worldwide, with South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa bearing the burden of more than half of the total number of pneumonia cases.

So clearly pneumonia is a serious illness.

However, if Synflorix is anything like Prevnar -- and according to Wyeth’s U.S. head of vaccine research and development, Emilio Emini, it is. “Essentially, it is a direct equivalent of the original Prevnar,” he said -- this is a disaster in the making.

Studies have found that Prevnar, though effective against certain strains of pneumococci, increases the number of other infections babies get.

According to researchers, Prevnar replaces infections from the seven strains of pneumococci against which the vaccine is effective with infections from the other 83 strains of pneumococci. Kids and adults routinely carry all 90 strains in their noses and throats, even when they are not sick.

The vaccination also causes a slight increase in middle ear infections due to two unrelated bacteria. The infections can spread easily because the vaccine has wiped out the seven former competitors.

When the Prevnar vaccine eliminates the seven selected strains, all the others proliferate inside babies' noses and throats, waiting for an opportunity to start an infection or to spread to someone else, researchers noted.

And in Britain, a life-threatening form of pneumonia called serotype 1 has increased tenfold in the last 10 years, and experts think Prevnar may be to blame. This issue has gotten so severe that researchers in the United States reported an emergence of "sero-replacement" disease -- types of pneumonia not covered by the vaccine.

Is the Vaccine Really Worth It?

No vaccine is 100 percent safe or effective. If vaccines worked as intended, getting one would mean you're trading your risk of getting the disease for your risk of vaccine side effects. But vaccines only offer temporary inferior immunity and sometimes they fail to work at all, meaning you're taking a risk of vaccine side effects for temporary or no disease protection in return -- making vaccination a questionable proposition.

Studies of parental attitudes toward vaccination have repeatedly demonstrated that, in the worst-case scenario, parents prefer their child dying from an actual disease than dying from side effects associated with vaccination.

But in the case of pneumonia, and most other diseases, you can drastically lower your risk through natural methods, and without a vaccine.

Preventing Pneumonia Naturally

Excellent natural techniques for preventing pneumonia, which even UNICEF recommends, include:


This is a great reminder of the therapeutic value of zinc. The lozenges are excellent for colds and upper respiratory infections, but you should also consider zinc for more severe problems like diarrhea or pneumonia.

Bear in mind, however, that it is very easy to overdose on zinc, particularly for children. If you get nauseous shortly after taking zinc, it is highly likely that you already have enough zinc and should hold off on taking any more.

Another little-known pneumonia-buster is good old fashioned essential oils.

Researchers have found that some essential oils -- oregano, thyme and rosewood oils in particular -- create an autolytic reaction in organisms, including Streptococcus pneumonia. Spraying these essential oils in the laboratory simply made the pneumonia cells fall apart!

The best results occurred with oregano, thyme and rosewood, and intermediate results were achieved with cinnamon oil and clove oil. You can pick up pure essential oils at most health food stores, and experiment with using them as room and fabric fresheners and even as tinctures, with professional guidance.

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