By Dr. Mercola
A story that should serve as a wakeup call to all American parents is currently making headline news: A Staten Island kindergartner has been barred from attending school because she hasn't been vaccinated against chickenpox—even though her pediatrician refuses to vaccinate her on grounds that it may endanger the health of her baby sister.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is a member of the herpes virus family and is associated with herpes zoster (shingles).
While highly contagious, it typically produces a mild disease characterized by small round lesions on your skin that cause intense itching that lasts for two to three weeks. Recovery leaves a child with long-lasting immunity.
The case of Frankie Wagner is a disturbing reminder of how far the US government is going in its illogical pursuit of maximizing vaccine adherence.
US public health officials say your child should receive 69 doses of 16 different vaccines before age 18. And, believe it or not, Big Pharma has 145 more vaccines in the pipeline.1
Many homeowners pay property taxes that are directly allocated for the public schools, but it is clear our government is willing to take this money even though your children may not utilize the educational services if they don't keep up with the medical procedures dictated - 69 doses of vaccines before they graduate!
Pediatrician's Advice Ignored by Department of Education
According to Frankie's mother, Elizabeth, the girl's pediatrician does not administer live virus vaccines, like varicella zoster vaccine, to children in families with infants as they could contract vaccine strain infections. The Wagner's other daughter is only 14-weeks old and her mother has good reason to suspect her baby daughter could have inherited an immunodeficiency disease. Elizabeth told NBC News:2
"I don't care if it's a one in 3 million chance. I am not willing to take the chance with my baby."
The family requested a medical exemption from the Department of Education (DOE), which was denied even though Elizabeth herself has an immunodeficiency disease that her baby girl may have inherited. The disease would increase the baby's vulnerability to contracting vaccine strain chickenpox from the live virus vaccine, but tests to determine if she's inherited immunodeficiency cannot be performed until she's one year old.
According to the DOE, the exemption was denied "after a thorough review with the parent and the student's doctor."
Wisely, the Wagner's are arranging for Frankie to be homeschooled, but this case should really serve as a wakeup call to parents everywhere. Is forcing a child to get a vaccine to try to prevent a typically benign childhood disease really worth the risk to other vulnerable family members, and/or the child herself—especially when a child's doctor has concluded that the vaccine's risks are likely to be greater than the benefits?
This new form of discrimination and segregation is well underway.
Denying Education to Force a Non-Essential Vaccine
Merck's chickenpox vaccine was approved for licensure in the US in 1995. At that time, what had always been regarded as a relatively benign childhood illness was suddenly reinvented as a life-threatening disease for which children must get vaccinated or face dire health consequences.
Before the live virus chickenpox vaccine was recommended for all children by the CDC and states started passing laws mandating that children get it to attend school, most children acquired a natural, longer-lasting immunity to chickenpox by age six. Before 1995, it was estimated that only 10 percent of Americans over the age of 15 had not had chickenpox.
For 99.9 percent of healthy children, chickenpox is a mild disease without complications. However, up to 20 percent of adults who get chickenpox develop severe complications such as pneumonia, secondary bacterial infections, and brain inflammation (which is reported in less than one percent of children who get chickenpox). Most children and adults who develop these serious complications have compromised immune systems or other health problems.
Still, it is because chickenpox can be serious in adults that it is often regarded as preferable to get it as a child, as opposed to later in adulthood. It is estimated there were about 3.7 million cases of chickenpox annually in the US before 1995,3 resulting in an average of 100 deaths (50 children and 50 adults). This hardly represents a dire, life-threatening childhood disease that requires mandatory vaccination of all children...
Why Mandate a Risky Yet Ineffective Vaccine?
The chickenpox vaccine is made from live, attenuated (weakened) varicella virus. Unlike the type of immunity acquired from experiencing the disease, the vaccine provides only TEMPORARY immunity, and that immunity is not the same kind of superior, longer lasting immunity you get when you recover naturally from chickenpox.
It's important to realize that naturally recovering from chickenpox is the ONLY way you can establish longer lasting immunity that will protect you until you come in contact with younger children with chickenpox and are asymptomatically boosted, which will not only reinforce your chickenpox immunity but will also help protect you against getting a painful case of shingles later in life. Merck has developed and is marketing a shingles vaccine but that is an inferior solution.
Recent research has also cast major doubts on the effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine, which is now also associated with a rise in the numbers of cases of shingles in older children and adults. As chickenpox vaccination coverage has increased in the U.S., so has the incidence of shingles increased—giving evidence for the risks associated with relying on vaccine-acquired immunity. A review4 of the American varicella (chickenpox) vaccination program, published just last year, concluded that the vaccine has:
- Not proven to be cost-effective
- Increased the incidence of shingles
- Failed to provide long-term protection from the disease it targets―chicken pox―as vaccine efficacy was found to have declined well below 80 percent by 2002
- Is less effective than the natural immunity that existed in the general population before the vaccine was used on a widespread basis in the U.S.
Yet despite such damning evidence, and the health risks for the Wagner's youngest daughter, the DOE still believes vaccination is in the best interest of everyone involved... In the Wagner case, the infant may have inherited an immunodeficiency disease that would increase her susceptibility to the virus in the vaccine. And the chickenpox vaccine is already associated with adverse effects in one in 1,481 vaccinations.5
Between March 1995 and July 1998, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) received 6,574 reports of health problems after chickenpox vaccination. Four percent of reported adverse events (about 1 in 33,000 doses) involved serious health problems such as shock, encephalitis (brain inflammation), and thrombocytopenia (a blood disorder), and 14 of the 6,574 chickenpox vaccine adverse event reports ended in death.
These are far higher odds of something going wrong than the one in three million chance Mrs. Wagner said she wasn't willing to take... Furthermore, there are documented cases of accidental transmission of varicella vaccine strain virus from a vaccinated child to other household contacts, including transmission to a pregnant woman, so the concern the Wagner's and their pediatrician have is a real one.
Sun Exposure May Help Stop the Spread of Chickenpox
Interestingly enough, according to research published in 2011,6 data from 25 studies on the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox, shows a clear link between UV levels and the prevalence of chickenpox. Chickenpox rates are much lower in the tropics where exposure to sunlight is common year-round. In temperate regions, chickenpox also tends to flare up more often in the darker, cold-weather months. The authors speculate that UV radiation can inactivate the virus, either within the lesions, or perhaps after the lesions rupture.
The effect is likely two-fold. Not only is sunlight able to destroy many viruses directly, it also enables your body to produce vitamin D, which gives you anti-viral and immune-boosting benefits. If your child has been exposed to chickenpox, a healthy dose of natural sunlight may be just what the doctor ordered. However, sunlight exposure to active lesions may result in permanent scarring, so it would be best to avoid sunshine during this phase.
Many are not aware that prior to the advent of antibiotics about 70 years ago one of the only effective treatments for tuberculosis was sunlight. In fact, many solariums were created specifically to treat TB with UV radiation. Today, researchers are looking into the possibility of replacing antibiotics with blue light therapy—especially for antibiotic-resistant infections.
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 not you decide to take the risk, without being punished for it. More than $2.5 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, last year in Vermont, the legal right to take a vaccine exemption for philosophical beliefs was threated with bills promoted by two Vermont legislators, State Senator Kevin Mullin and State Representative George Till. They joined with the Vermont Health Commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, to lead a crusade to take away philosophical exemption to vaccination but the bills went down in defeat after supporters of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice educated legislators and the public about the need to keep the philosophical exemption from being stripped from Vermont public health laws.
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).
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions
Needless to say, do your own research before making your decisions. Interestingly, a recent article in Time Magazine7 reports that at least 95 percent of parents consult their "people networks" for advice on vaccines. This is a trend that the vaccine industry takes quite seriously, and according to one researcher, "changing parents' attitudes about vaccines may be a matter of influencing the people who are influencing parents in the first place." But it shouldn't be about who can appeal to your senses or emotions most effectively. It should be about getting to the truth, and understanding the risks and benefits involved. According to the article:
"Parents who didn't follow vaccination advice were also more likely to have extensive 'source networks' — troves of books, websites and magazine articles they turned to for vaccine-related information."
While Time makes it sound as though parents who read extensively are somehow reading the wrong material, I cannot think of a better way to get informed about the multiple viewpoints. Also, 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.