By Dr. Mercola
A wide range of vaccine stories have been featured in the news over the past few weeks – many, no doubt, published to propagandize the updated 2013 vaccination schedules for children and adults1, 2, 3 and to promote the seasonal flu vaccine.
Ironically, if not tragically, while increasing amounts of research highlight the many dangers of vaccinations and their ineffectiveness, the US government keeps insisting that everything is fine, "just get your shots and don't worry about it. We know what we're doing!"
But do they really? The evidence is overwhelmingly negative in this regard.
And, while suddenly paying lip service to vaccine safety, vaccine policymakers ignore the safest and most effective strategies that can naturally strengthen your immunity to help you stay well or move through illness with fewer complications if you do get sick.
For example, there are many far more effective ways to help prevent the flu and other flu-like diseases, such as dietary interventions, making sure your vitamin D and gut flora are optimized, being more meticulous about washing your hands, getting enough exercise and sleep, cutting back on processed foods and sugars, and ensuring your diet includes plenty of sulfur and zinc.
Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Waned Over 2011-12 Season
Propaganda scare tactics still do work, as demonstrated by the 25 percent uptick in 2012-2013 seasonal flu vaccine sales reported by Novartis.4 This despite the fact that not just one, but three recent studies published in the journal Eurosurveillance5, 6, 7 strongly challenge the claim that the flu vaccine will protect you against the flu.
According to CIDRAP:8
"All three studies suggest that during the 2011-12 flu season, the vaccine provided modest protection at first, but its effectiveness dropped sharply after 3 or 4 months.
A multicenter study by researchers in eight European countries indicated that overall vaccine effectiveness (VE) against influenza A/H3N2 in the first months of the season was 38%, but after mid-February, it dropped to -1%. 'The concept that vaccine protection can be so short-lived provides a challenge for public health policy,' says the British report."
Ludicrous Claim of the Week: Following Vaccine Schedule Required to Ensure Vaccine Safety
But that's not the only challenge facing public health policy. Over the past few years, the science simply hasn't held up when it comes to vaccinations in general.
Multiple scandals involving fraud and conflicts of interest have surfaced, and studies are increasingly showing that vaccines don't work all that well. In response, government health agencies, who are now little more than poorly disguised mouthpieces for the pharmaceutical industry, are beefing up the propaganda.
But despite blanketing the media with carefully chosen sound bites, repeated almost verbatim by multiple media outlet sources, the "evidence" of safety and effectiveness they bring to the table is flimsy at best.
One sound bite you'll keep hearing again and again now is the ludicrous claim that the best way to ensure vaccine safety is to strictly follow the vaccine schedule.
Take Mary Anne Jackson for example. Dr. Jackson is the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy Hospital of Kansas City, MO. Reading her statements to the New York Times, it is crystal clear that she is taking her cue cards directly from the Institute of Medicine's dubious new report.9 As reported by the New York Times:10
"The timing is specific for a reason. 'We want to prevent the vaccines from competing against each other... Sticking to the schedule also ensures that a child's immunity is likely to be maintained. These alternative schedules that are springing up have no data behind them,' Dr. Jackson told me. 'They're not rigorously tested. It's impossible to test all of them.'
...the most obvious problem with the exodus of parents from the recommended vaccination schedule is that it makes vaccine safety more difficult to monitor. 'We want to drill down as far as we can, and make vaccines as safe as we can,' said Dr. Jackson. 'We're not going find the one-in-a-million serious adverse event if you have thousands of different vaccine schedules out there.'"
To me, all of this sounds like both illogical and dangerous reasoning. They're essentially saying everyone needs to participate in the experiment in order to tease out potential harms. This is not safety. This is human experimentation. Safety of a vaccine should be addressed PRIOR to being added to the vaccine schedule. Ditto for the safety of giving multiple vaccines at the same time.
Immunization Schedule Guaranteed 'Safe,' IOM Panel Declares
Speaking with WebMD, Dr. H. Cody Meissner, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee was also undoubtedly reading his cue cards when he said:11
"It's so important to adhere to these immunization schedules. People need to understand: These schedules are put together with great care and discussion and review of scientific data... It's critically important to adhere to the schedule..."
Fortunately, parents are slowly but surely waking up to the tragic fact that vaccine damage is real with a capital "R." If each and every dose of every vaccine on the schedule, alone and/or in combination with others, is indeed safe, then show us the research! I want to see the methodologically sound studies using true placebos as controls and conducted by investigators without conflicts of interest with industry or public health agencies for each and every one of those vaccine combinations.
The fact is, there aren't any studies like that. That kind of credible vaccine safety science doesn't exist. So it's no wonder that as many as 21 percent of American parents are now delaying or refusing some or all of the recommended childhood vaccines12 for their children. More and more parents are seeing the very real effects of vaccine damage to children all around them, and they have good reason to exercise caution.
"In response to those fears – or, rather, the quantifiable impact of reduced vaccination that stems from those fears – the Department of Health and Human Services asked the I.O.M. to review all the current scientific evidence13 on the schedule, and to research ways to address parental concerns.
That friendly face on the recommended schedule is still lacking (that's up to individual pediatricians), but... the panel concluded that the current schedule is not only safe, but 'rather than exposing children to harm, following the complete childhood immunization schedule is strongly associated with reducing vaccine-preventable diseases,'" the New York Times reports:14
And, according to a recent NPR report15 on the IOM panel's findings:
"'...some parents still worry that the schedule of vaccinations – 24 immunizations by the age of 2 – can be dangerous. That worry is likely misplaced, according to a yearlong review of all available scientific data. Researchers from the Institute of Medicine found there is no evidence that the federally recommended timeline for childhood vaccines is unsafe.
According to family physician Alfred Berg of the University of Washington School of Medicine, who was a member of the IOM committee, the research team looked at a large number of medical conditions, including 'things like autoimmune diseases, which even captures diabetes, asthma, hypersensitivity, allergies, seizures, epilepsy, child developmental disorders including autism, and other learning disorders, communications disorders, intellectual disabilities, and even rare things like tics or Tourette's syndrome.'
None could be linked to the vaccination schedule. Parents should be reassured, says Berg.
...Even though this review finds that there's no reason to worry and that the current recommended schedule is completely safe, Berg says it still might be useful to know what happens to children who don't get their vaccinations on time – by comparing them to children who do. Preliminary research does show children who don't get vaccinated on time are hospitalized more often than children who are immunized according to federal guidelines."
It would be laughable if it wasn't so darn serious. As Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has pointed out, the panel relied on fewer than 40 studies, which, she argues, "is not nearly enough science to give parents confidence that the current vaccine schedule is safe."16 Furthermore, to PROMISE that the schedule is "completely safe," as if it comes with an ironclad guarantee, is not only irresponsible, it's completely immoral.
Let me ask you: Who takes the blame and steps in to make things right when your child is harmed by a vaccine? NO ONE. You and you alone are left holding the tattered pieces of your life. As a parent, you are legally and morally responsible to provide for your minor child's health and well being. You are the one left to mourn and cope with what has happened to your child and pay the medical bills, the special tutoring bills and whatever additional expenses you may face after your child is injured by a vaccine or combination of vaccines.
How much is that ironclad guarantee you were promised really worth then?
If all vaccines are "completely safe," when taken alone and together, why did Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court completely shield drug companies selling vaccines in the U.S. from all vaccine injury lawsuits in civil courts when vaccines cause injury and death? Ironically, while the NPR17 reports (above) that children who don't get vaccinated on time are hospitalized more often than those who get their shots according to schedule, the New York Times18 pointed out research demonstrating the complete opposite:
"...But following an alternative vaccination schedule does not appear to present a health risk for an individual child. In fact, a study of under-vaccination published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics19 found that children who were under-vaccinated because of parental choice had lower rates of outpatient and emergency department visits, even among the studied population consisting of children enrolled in and receiving primary care from managed care organizations – in other words, not the children of parents who shunned medical care altogether."
Adult Vaccination Rates 'Too Low' CDC Says
In related news, vaccination coverage for American adults is "too low," the CDC says,20 and in an effort to improve the numbers the agency has created a new webpage21 that will tell you what vaccines you need when and where to get them, because "immunizations are not just for kids!" According to CDC data, a mere 16 percent of adults over the age of 60 are vaccinated against shingles, and only about 20 percent over 65 have received the pneumococcal vaccine.
Similarly, only 13 percent of American adults have been vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough). Meanwhile, last summer Australia stopped providing free pertussis vaccinations for parents to protect their newborns – a practice known as "cocooning" – after it was determined the practice doesn't work. According to news.com.au:22
"...the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) had determined vaccinating parents was not effective in protecting newborns, after two pharmaceutical manufacturers made submissions to the PBAC.
'The PBAC, which is totally independent and very expert, has determined that there is no clinical effectiveness of this strategy,' Professor Brook [Department of Health divisional executive director] said. He said this had made it clear the cocooning strategy should not be continued. So all jurisdictions who have been in this program will be effectively ceasing the cocooning strategy as of the end of June this year ."
In the US however, the discovery that the pertussis vaccine is ineffective has simply led them to add more booster doses to the schedule. The updated 2013 vaccine schedule includes additional doses of pertussis vaccine for both adolescents and pregnant women. Women are now advised to get a pertussis vaccine during each and every pregnancy. The CDC and AAP also now suddenly claim that egg-based seasonal flu vaccine is safe for those with egg allergies. Here again, the irresponsibility is staggering.
You Cannot Vaccinate Your Way Out of Disease and Death...
Why do those promoting the complete safety of vaccines keep trying to deceive the public by reassuring us with absolute statements of vaccine safety and effectiveness when truths like this keep breaking through?
- The widespread use of influenza vaccine is not an effective public health policy because vaccinated persons, especially seniors, are still gettting the flu;
- Whooping cough is spreading through vaccinated populations and "cocooning" pertussis vaccine strategies do not work
Their answer? Just add more! Increase the number of pertussis doses, and quadruple the flu vaccine dose for seniors. This is not good medicine. And it's certainly not safe medicine.
Look... we cannot win the war against disease by trying to eradicate microorganisms in a misguided attempt to make certain viruses and bacteria extinct. It doesn't work that way! When there was an attempt in the past century to kill certain bacteria with widespread use of antibiotics in animals and humans, what happened? The bacteria found a way to mutate and survive and now we have a serious problem with antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
Microorganisms find ways to survive, and we end up with progressively more aggressive and difficult-to-treat diseases. We've taken a wrong turn with over-use of antibiotics and vaccines and it's time to mend our ways before matters get any worse than they already are.
For example, one of the most recent examples of the devastating harm that can occur from widespread use of a single vaccine dose are the side effects of the 2009-2010 flu vaccine, which caused some 800+ cases of narcolepsy in Sweden and other European countries.23 As reported by Reuters on January 31:24
"The findings, which have not yet been published in full, are the first firm evidence in Britain that the flu vaccine, called Pandemrix, is linked to narcolepsy cases in children. Research in Finland, Sweden and Ireland has already found clear associations... In a research summary... seen by Reuters, the British researchers say 'the increased risk of narcolepsy after Pandemrix suggests a causal association consistent with reports from Finland and Sweden.'
The abstract shows that the research team, led by Liz Miller, a consultant epidemiologist at the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA), found an almost 10-fold increased risk in cases of the sleep disorder in children seen in sleep centers who had been immunized with Pandemrix."
Meanwhile, Norwegian researchers25 blame vitamin D deficiency for the latest flu epidemic in the Netherlands. That's right:
"'According to the study, these flu epidemics experience a steep rise in infection and mortality rates as soon as exposure to sunlight (and the corresponding synthesis of vitamin D) drops,' Medical News Today reports.26
'This is not only true of the outbreak of flu epidemics but also of the way in which they unfold. Seasonal differences are particularly apparent in the number of deaths. In winter, when vitamin D deficiency is at its greatest, the number of deaths is 20 to 600 times higher than during a summer epidemic, the Norwegian study reveals.
...Vitamin D acts as an antibiotic and strengthens the immune system. UV radiation exposure stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin. In the winter months, when the sun's zenith is too low in the sky for vitamin D synthesis to take place, the body's vitamin D level drops, as a result of which its protective effect is unable to fully develop', explains Professor Johan Moan."
Why We Must Fight to Protect Philosophical Exemption to Vaccination
Informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right. You have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of pharmaceutical products – like vaccines - and be allowed to make a voluntary choice about whether or to take the risk without being punished for it. More than $2 billion dollars has been awarded to children and adults in America, who have been seriously injured by vaccines. Yet those rights are increasingly being taken away from us.
For example, in Vermont, last year for the first time, the legal right to take a vaccine exemption for philosophical beliefs was threatened. Two Vermont legislators, State Senator Kevin Mullin and State Representative George Till, have joined with the Vermont Health Commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, to lead a crusade to take away philosophical exemption to vaccination with two bills in before the state House and Senate that were defeated last spring because of the grassroots action taken by NVIC and the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice.
In the following video, Barbara Loe Fisher of the NVIC interviews Nicole, a Vermont mother, whose seven year old daughter, Kaylynne, died within 92 hours of a routine flu shot in December 2011. Nicole believes that parents should be fully informed and able to make voluntary decisions about vaccination for their children.
"If I would have known the reactions and symptoms of adverse reactions to vaccination, I would have had her seen immediately. If I would have known about the risks and symptoms, I would have been most likely able to save my daughter," said Nicole. "I feel that Vermonters need to be educated and be able to make their own decisions on whether or not they want to vaccinate their children and pediatricians and physicians, as well, need to be more educated."
While the NVIC led a successful effort with the Vermont parent group to preserve the philosophical exemption to vaccination in Vermont last year, legislators in Vermont are coming around again this session, attacking the philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccination. They now want to pass a law (HB138) that says that if vaccination rates in schools gets below 90 percent then both those exemptions will be suspended. VT legislators also have introduced a bill that would require pertussis vaccinations for childcare workers and teachers (HB 114).
How to Protect Yourself During the Flu Season
Aside from avoiding the flu vaccine, also beware that one of the main staples for treating pain and cold symptoms, acetaminophen, is a leading cause for calls to the Poison Control Center, and accounts for 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and an estimated 458 deaths annually.27
Avoiding a serious case of influenza is not about vaccination but more about maintaining a healthy, well functioning immune system. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.
- Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is to avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replacing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I've previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.
Ideally, you'll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU's a day. Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity. But be sure and get your level tested as that is the only way to know for sure.
Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy then sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
- Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
- Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
- Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak Fitness exercises until you are better.
- Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that you can switch your family to.
- Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
- Use Natural Remedies. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination and fight to protect and expand vaccine exemptions in state public health laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.