By Dr. Mercola
In the first video above, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), summarizes one of the most important scientific reviews on vaccines that was just published in August.
Barbara has been a pioneer for the last 30 years in vaccine safety and informed consent, and this discussion is of grave importance to everyone, including pediatricians and doctors.
What You Must Know About the Latest Vaccine Safety Review by IOM
The report was released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences.
They've been around for over 100 years. The institute analyzes health policies and issues advice to the US government.
They're funded not just by the government but also by pharmaceutical companies and independent philanthropic organizations and individuals.
They are considered a very prestigious scientific body in the world.
In the last three decades, the IOM has reviewed vaccine safety several times.
Their first reports came out in 1991 and 1994.
However, the latest report on this issue, released in August 2011 is very significant, and many still do not understand its true importance.
Over a period of three years, they reviewed over 1,000 studies on vaccines. Interestingly, they excluded studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry, although some of the studies were funded by government agencies independently.
The review focused on eight vaccines:
✓ Hepatitis A-hepatitis B
✓ Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
✓ Meningococcal vaccine
✓ Pneumococcal vaccine
✓ Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis, also known as DTaP or Tdap
✓ Varicella zoster (chickenpox)
✓ HPV vaccine
✓ Influenza vaccine
Perhaps the most important thing IOM did in this review is that they looked at two categories of science:
- Epidemiological research (large studies comparing different groups of people against each other)
- Bench science (research into the biological mechanisms at work within cells and molecules)
"This is very important because a lot of the studies that the CDC relies on as evidence that vaccines don't cause any problems are epidemiological studies. This report is important because they looked at both kinds of science," Barbara explains. "The most shocking conclusion of this report is that for more than a hundred bad health outcomes that have been reported after these eight vaccines have been given to people, they could not come to a conclusion as to whether or not those vaccines did or did not cause those adverse events!"
Some of those serious health problems included:
✓ Multiple sclerosis
✓ Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
✓ Rheumatoid arthritis
✓ Encephalopathy, involving permanent brain damage
Why Couldn't IOM Conclude Whether Vaccines Are Causative Factors?
Why is it that the IOM was unable to determine whether there was a direct causative link between vaccines and the many serious health outcomes indicated in these studies? Barbara suggests four potential explanations:
- The studies were not available in the published literature
- There were too few studies showing the same link
- The available studies were methodologically unsound
- The available studies were conflicting (i.e. there was evidence both for and against)
"What I call this category is the 'We Don't Know' category. When you think about it, these vaccines are mandated for children, and yet in most instances the scientific evidence [of safety] is so poor, they don't know! When the report came out there were a lot of organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics that came forth and said, 'They didn't find causation… So vaccines are safe.' That's NOT what that report said at all. I think people need to understand the significance of it… [T]he category of 'We Don't Know' is a very important category…"
Individual Susceptibility Was Discussed as a Co-Factor
The IOM report also discussed individual susceptibility; the fact that some people are more susceptible for biological reasons, including genetic reasons, to having an adverse event after a vaccination. According to the report, both epidemiologic and mechanistic research suggests that most individuals who experience an adverse reaction to vaccines have a preexisting susceptibility. However, the report also states that in most cases they don't know what those individual susceptibilities are.
"They have taken a look and listed some that they believe are important," Barbara says
Potential predispositions suggested in the report include:
- Genetic variation
- Coinciding illness
- Environmental factors
"Every physician who gives a vaccine should read this 600-page report," Barbara says. "That it is their responsibility because this is the latest report on the science of vaccination; of what's in the published literature.
They really need to take it seriously because if a patient that they vaccinate, whether it's an adult or a child, has a deterioration in health after a vaccination… [the doctor] needs to not blow that off and say that's just a coincidence. They need to take it seriously and make a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), not to the manufacturer (who we know doesn't give the CDC and FDA the proper information for them to follow up). You need to report to the government.
And you need to not give that person another vaccination, unless you know for sure that that health problem was not caused by the vaccine. And guess what? Science says in all these categories they don't know. So the precautionary principle of 'first do no harm,' that has got to be responsibility of every physician giving a vaccine."
Many Parents Now Buck the System
About 13 percent of parents are now using an "alternative" vaccination schedule for their young children, according to a recent survey. And two percent of parents are refusing vaccines altogether for their children.
According to Reuters:1
"The Internet survey included 748 parents of kids between the ages of six months and six years. Of those, 13 percent said they used some type of vaccination schedule that differed from the CDC recommendations. That included refusing some vaccines or delaying vaccines until kids were older -- mostly because parents thought that 'seemed safer.'"
Among the parents who do follow the recommended childhood vaccination schedule, 28 percent still stated they think it would indeed be safer to delay the use of vaccines, and that the current vaccination schedule is far from ideal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vaccination schedule for children aged six and younger2 includes vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, chicken pox, hepatitis, seasonal flu, and others. All in all, U.S. children are expected to get 48 doses of 14 vaccines by the time they're six years old. By age 18, federal public health officials say they should have gotten a total of 69 doses of 16 vaccines.
Is this safe and beneficial in the short- and/or long-term? No one really knows, primarily because large studies comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children have not been a priority for vaccine researchers. Most vaccine studies are about developing more vaccines for children and adults to use.
Some claim studies comparing the health of highly vaccinated and unvaccinated children cannot be done because it would be "unethical" to leave children participating in the study unvaccinated in order to do the comparison.
But since there are numbers of American parents who are already delaying or avoiding vaccinating their children altogether, this hardly seems like a reasonable excuse. It seems more likely that comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children in appropriately designed studies are avoided because the results might upset the proverbial apple cart.
Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated: Survey Reveals Who's Healthier
However, that doesn't mean there is a total absence of evidence about the health of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children to give us an indication of whether or not the use of many more vaccines by children is contributing to their being chronically ill. In December 2010, a survey was initiated by VaccineInjury.info3 to compare the health of vaccinated children with unvaccinated children. To date, over 7,850 surveys have been submitted, and the study is ongoing, so if you have an unvaccinated child (or are unvaccinated yourself) and would like to submit your child's health data, you can do so here.
Though this is obviously not a double-blind controlled study, and depends on the individuals submitting the data to give accurate information, it is still revealing. So far, the results show:
||Prevalence in Vaccinated Children
||Prevalence in Unvaccinated Children
||40% report at least one allergy
||Less than 10%
||10.7% of German children
|Neurodermatitis (an autoimmune disorder)
||13% of German children
||8% of German children, and another nearly 6% with borderline cases
|Middle ear infections
||11% of German children
||Less than 0.5%
||Over 32% of German children
||Less than 1%
||Approximately 1 in 100
||Only 4 cases out of 7,800+ surveys (one child tested very high for metals, and another's mother tested very high for mercury)
Are the Risks All in Your Head?
CNN sounds like an advertisement for Big Pharma in this featured article,4 using a combination of scare-tactics and guilt-tripping trigger points, such as "parents have no knowledge of the diseases their children are being inoculated against," and "not only do unvaccinated children run the risk of becoming ill or worse, but they also endanger others who don't have the option to vaccinate."
Personally, I don't believe either of those statements reflect what's really happening. I believe the parents, who are taking a stand against their children being given too many vaccines, are the ones who have taken the time to become informed and have carefully analyzed and evaluated the risks and benefits for their children.
As just discussed above, the only conclusion the IOM could reach after reviewing the available (independent) research is that we don't know if all of these vaccines, individually or together, are in fact safe.
The media would have you believe that those who refuse vaccines are ignorant but when you examine the facts, mothers with college educations and higher incomes are actually LESS likely to vaccinate their children than those with less education.
Besides, I don't think any parent who is coming up against doctors throwing them out of their offices for refusing to use every recommended vaccine or wanting to use an individualized vaccination schedule, in this age of Big Pharma brainwashing, would even consider bucking the system without having good solid reason for doing so. After all, the price of nonconformity runs the gamut from being vilified by other parents and health professionals to being resolutely kicked out of some pediatricians' offices!
The fact is that delaying and/or opting out of some vaccines can indeed be a safer alternative to maintaining good health. Whether or not it's the most appropriate course of action for a particular child or adult can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Each person is different, and it is these individual biological and environmental exposure differences that make a mass-vaccination policy so hazardous.
For example, the health of a child's gut flora can significantly influence the risk of suffering vaccine complications and chronic health problems. For more information about this, please see my interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
CNN then goes on to discuss measles as if it were the ebola virus, completely ignoring the fact that many middle-aged and elderly parents in America today actually HAD the measles during childhood, and while uncomfortable, it was not considered a particularly dangerous disease for most healthy children. When I was young, having measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox was just a routine part of childhood.
Parents back then hoped that every child in the family and neighborhood would get those common childhood diseases and develop natural community immunity that lasted a lifetime. As a result, in generations past, our population experienced those diseases in childhood and ended up with a qualitatively superior, longer lasting natural immunity and there were far fewer children suffering with chronic disease.
What You Need to Know About 'Herd Immunity'
Typically, vaccine promoters will stress the importance of compliance with the vaccine schedule that requires multiple doses of a vaccine in order to create and maintain vaccine induced "herd immunity," because a vaccine is never 100 percent effective. However, they never quite seem to be able to explain why the majority of outbreaks occur in areas that are thought to HAVE herd immunity status, i.e. where the majority of people are vaccinated and "should" therefore never get the disease.
The problem is that there is in fact such a thing as natural herd immunity. But what's they've done is they've taken this natural phenomenon and assume that vaccines will work the same way. However, they do not, and the science clearly shows that there's a big difference between naturally arising herd immunity and vaccine-induced herd immunity.
To learn more, I urge you to listen to the second video above, in which Barbara discusses the concept of herd immunity.
"The original concept of herd immunity is that when a population experiences the natural disease… natural immunity would be achieved – a robust, qualitatively superior natural herd immunity within the population, which would then protect other people from getting the disease in other age groups. It's the way infectious diseases work…" Barbara explains. "But the vaccinologists have adopted this idea of vaccine induced herd immunity.
The problem with it is that all vaccines only confer temporary protection… Pertussis vaccine is one the best examples… Pertussis vaccines have been used for about 50 to 60 years, and the organism has started to evolve to become vaccine resistant. I think this is not something that's really understood generally by the public: Vaccines do not confer the same type of immunity that natural exposure to the disease does."
Vaccine professionals would like you to believe they are the same, but they're qualitatively two entirely different types of immune responses.
"In most cases natural exposure to disease would give you a longer lasting, more robust, qualitatively superior immunity because it gives you both cell mediated immunity and humoral immunity," Barbara explains. "Humoral is the antibody production. The way you measure vaccine-induced immunity is by how high the antibody titers are. (How many antibodies you have, basically.)
But the problem is, the cell mediated immunity is very important as well. Most vaccines evade cell mediated immunity and go straight for the antibodies, which is only one part of immunity. That's been the big problem with the production of vaccines."
Vaccines May Promote Viral Adaptation, Creating Vaccine-Resistant Diseases
Making matters worse, there's evidence indicating that certain viruses are adapting and becoming vaccine-resistant. For example, one study cited by Barbara in the second video above showed that progressive gene loss occurred in B. pertussis strains. This confirmed that B. pertussis is dynamic and continuously evolving, suggesting the bacteria may use gene loss as one strategy to adapt to highly immunized populations.
Survival is a universal principle, and viruses and bacteria are no exception.
"When you put pressure on a virus or bacteria that is circulating with the use of a vaccine that contains a lab altered form of that virus or bacteria, it doesn't seem illogical that the organism is going to find a way to adapt in order to survive."
There are many examples of such vaccine-resistance cropping up in the real world. Take last year's outbreak of mumps, for example. In the United States, children typically receive their mumps vaccination as part of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises children to receive their first dose between 12 and 18 months, and their second between the ages of 4 and 6.
The MMR vaccine is supposed to make you immune to measles, mumps and rubella … yet 77 percent of the 1,000+ who were sickened with mumps last year were vaccinated. This was NOT reported in the conventional media. They conveniently leave out this important fact.
Similarly, in 2006, when mumps infected more than 6,500 people in the United States, cases occurred primarily among college students who had received the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine. At that time, just about the only people who were truly immune to mumps were older Americans who had recovered from mumps as children, and therefore had received natural, lifelong immunity.
The Problem with Artificial Immunity (Vaccination)
It's important to understand that vaccines are never 100 percent protective because they usually provide only temporary, inferior immunity compared to that your body obtains from naturally experiencing, and recovering from, a disease. Vaccines are designed to trick your body's immune system into producing the antibodies needed to resist any future infection. However, your body is smarter than that. The artificial stimulation of your immune system produced by an attenuated or dead virus simply is not the same as your body engaging with and overcoming the real live virus.
According to Barbara Loe Fisher:
"The fact that manmade vaccines cannot replicate the body's natural experience with the disease is one of the key points of contention between those who insist that mankind cannot live without mass use of multiple vaccines and those who believe that mankind's biological integrity will be severely compromised by their continued use.
... [I]s it better to protect children against infectious disease early in life through temporary immunity from a vaccine, or are they better off contracting certain contagious infections in childhood and attaining permanent immunity?
Do vaccine complications ultimately cause more chronic illness and death than infectious diseases do? These questions essentially pit trust in human intervention against trust in nature and the natural order, which existed long before vaccines were created by man."
To Vaccinate or Not: It's a Serious Decision
There are basic differences between naturally acquired immunity and temporary vaccine-induced antibody production. But few are willing to look at this issue -- least of all conventional medicine, which is so dominated by pharmaceutical companies seeking bigger markets and more profits from the investment they make in developing new vaccines..
Unfortunately, if we continue down the road they're paving for us, and they turn out to be wrong about the effectiveness, safety, and overall long-term side effects of vaccines, then we're on an extremely dangerous slippery slope. This is why I believe we really need an open and fearless conversation about vaccines, one that addresses the glaring questions about vaccine effectiveness (or lack thereof) and vaccine side effects, and leaves room for real, honest answers, and alternatives to our society's use of vaccination as the primary disease prevention tool.
Until that happens, however, it is imperative to continue to educate yourself and your family on the issues surrounding vaccinations of all kinds.
To help you locate all the latest vaccine information on my site, I've created a dedicated Vaccine News page. Bookmark it and return often. I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) web site. As a leader for vaccine safety, the NVIC offers information on everything from vaccine laws to late-breaking vaccine news and how you can get involved to protect vaccine choices in your state.