By Barbara Loe Fisher
On Sept. 12, 2013, public health officials at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) called a press conference to announce that vaccination rates among pre-school children are "high and stable" and "less than one percent are unvaccinated."1
More than 90 percent of American toddlers have gotten a measles-containing MMR shot by age three, along with many doses of 10 other government recommended vaccines.
159 Measles Cases Reported This Year in US
But health officials warned there have been 159 cases of measles reported so far this year, the second highest number of measles cases reported in one year since 2000.
They put the blame on 92 unvaccinated Americans diagnosed with measles who had "philosophical objections" to vaccination, such as orthodox Jews in New York City and Christians attending a church in Texas, which they described as "clusters of people with like-minded beliefs leading them to forego vaccines." 2, 3, 4
There have been no measles-related deaths in the US this year; however one government official said that 160,000 people around the world die from measles every year and the infection is "literally a plane ride away."
She warned that "the measles virus can hang out in the air and if you are in the same waiting room as someone with measles, you will get measles if you never had it."5
Americans Born Before 1957 Have Natural Immunity
In the interest of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that when I was a child I did get measles and so did my sister and brother and all my friends. It started off with a fever, runny nose, sore throat and white spots inside our mouths and then an itchy red rash on our faces that spread all over and I remember wearing sunglasses in the house because the light hurt my eyes.
My parents and grandparents and their sisters and brothers also had measles when they were children. When I was growing up in the 1950s, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox were infections we all experienced but our parents didn't worry about those childhood diseases like they worried about polio.
Americans born before 1957 have naturally acquired immunity to measles and we passed antibodies on to our babies when they were born to protect them from measles during the first year of life. Things have definitely changed in the past 60 years.
Because vaccine antibodies are different from naturally-acquired measles antibodies, young vaccinated moms today cannot give longer lasting naturally acquired measles antibodies to their newborns.6
American Children Are Highly Vaccinated
In August and September, the CDC published annual reports that once again confirmed American children are among the most highly vaccinated in the world.7, 8, 9 In 2012, 95 percent of children entering kindergarten had gotten two MMR shots and so had more than 90 percent of high school students. About 1.8 percent of kindergarten children had a medical or personal belief exemption to vaccination on file with schools.
Bottom line: 95 percent of the approximately 75 million children under age 1810 have gotten two doses of MMR vaccine and there is also a high measles vaccination rate among young adults in their 20s and mid-30s because, since 1981, 95 percent of all children entering kindergarten have received at least one dose of MMR vaccine and three or more doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio containing vaccines.11
Now, let's take a look at what measles incidence and death rates looked like before and after the first measles vaccine was licensed in 1963.
Infections and Vaccine Reactions: Misdiagnosis and Underreporting
It is important to remember that, like B. pertussis whooping cough and other infectious diseases, measles has natural cyclical increases and decreases every few years in populations.12, 13 Plus, not all pertussis14, 15 or measles infections16, 17 are diagnosed correctly by doctors and reported to government health officials, and the same is true for diagnosis and reporting of vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths.18, 19, 20
Before Vaccine: Millions of Measles Cases Not Reported
Before measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, the CDC admits there was massive underreporting of measles cases and that "because virtually all children acquired measles, the number of [measles] cases probably approached 3.5 million per year (.i.e., an entire birth cohort)."21 Other doctors say it was more like 5 million cases of measles occurring every year.22
In 1960, three years before the first measles vaccine was put on the market in the US, there were about 442,000 reported measles cases and 380 related deaths 23, 24 among 3.5 to 5 million Americans.
After Vaccine: Decreases and Increases in Measles Case Reports
After 17 years of giving children measles vaccine, in 1980 there were only 13,500 reported measles cases and 11 related deaths.25 But in 1990, about 28,000 measles cases and 64 deaths were reported in a population in which 95 percent of children entering kindergarten had gotten one MMR shot that public health officials had promised parents would give their children life long immunity to measles.26
So the CDC added a second MMR shot to the child vaccine schedule and, by 2005, there were only 66 cases of measles reported.27 However, in 2008 and 2011, there were a total of 362 reported measles cases, even as there were no deaths.28 This brings us to the question of why there is so much publicity today about 159 measles cases identified in the US this year in a population of 316 million.
Global Measles Eradication Endgame: 2015 - 2020
Well, what a lot of Americans do not know but need to know is that the World Health Organization (WHO) is partnering with government health officials, multi-national pharmaceutical corporations and medical trade groups in a global measles eradication campaign patterned after the smallpox and polio eradication campaigns of the 20th century. The goal is to eradicate measles (and rubella) from the earth by 2015 or at the latest by 2020.29, 30
Two Doses of MMR for Two Billion Children
In order to accomplish that goal in the next two to seven years, the plan is to make sure that at least 95 percent or more of the world's two billion children31 get two doses of MMR vaccine. With a dose of MMR vaccine costing the CDC $20 to purchase from Merck while private pediatricians pay $56 a dose,32 the cost of waging a global measles eradication campaign is astronomical.33
Europe: Few Countries Mandate MMR
In Europe, where many countries mandate polio vaccine and not MMR or other vaccines,34 there have been tens of thousands of measles cases reported over the past decade.35, 36 European health officials say that individuals with religious beliefs, as well as many "middle class people" using holistic health care alternatives for staying well, are resisting MMR vaccine promotion campaigns.37 Public health doctors see the trend by educated consumers in many developed countries to move away from using lots of prescription drugs and vaccines38, 39, 40 as a threat to infectious disease eradication programs.
The question is: How far will public health doctors go to reach their goal of eradicating measles, rubella and many other infections with the mandated use of vaccines?41, 42, 43, 44
We have seen a militarization of the public health system in the past century45 to justify global vaccination campaigns to eradicate smallpox and polio.46, 47, 48, 49After Sept. 11, 2001, Congress and state legislatures granted greatly expanded police powers to government health officials to detain, quarantine and force vaccine use without the voluntary, informed consent of citizens whenever government officials declare a "public health emergency."50, 51, 52
A War on Values and Beliefs
The public conversation about vaccination, health and autonomy has become ugly and divisive in the 21st century because the War on Disease has been turned into a War on Values and Beliefs.53, 54 55, 56, 57, 58 And it is making many people afraid and distrustful of doctors and government health officials using threats and sanctions to enforce one-size-fits-all vaccine policies and laws that force them to get not just two doses of MMR vaccine but also dozens of doses of other vaccines. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64
Will the Oppression Escalate?
Is the current government-endorsed criticism of the values and spiritual beliefs of unvaccinated Americans, who have been diagnosed with measles, just the first step toward even more oppression? Will it escalate into what we witnessed in 2007, when parents failing to show proof their children had gotten a chickenpox shot or hepatitis B shot, were threatened with stiff fines and jail time before being summoned by government officials to a Maryland courthouse patrolled by armed police with dogs to make sure their children got vaccinated? 65
I don't think any of us know how far doctors working for government or drug companies and medical trade groups will go to pit citizens against each other in an effort to shun and punish anyone defending the human right to exercise freedom of thought, belief, conscience and informed consent to medical-risk taking,66 which includes taking risks with liability free pharmaceutical products like vaccines.67
Philosopher and human rights advocate Elie Wiesel has said: "When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions. When human beings become abstractions, what is left?"68
Biological, Genetic and Environmental Differences Among Us
When public health officials embrace the concept of eradicating an infection from the world and achieving that goal means making sure that a certain number of children have gotten a certain number of vaccinations, it is very easy to turn children into abstractions and forget that human beings are not all the same and do not all react the same way to vaccines or infections.69, 70, 71, 72
There are biological, genetic and environmental differences among us, and that is why some of us get an MMR shot or experience measles and do not suffer complications while others of us do suffer complications and are brain injured or die.73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79
When doctors cannot predict ahead of time who will be harmed by a vaccine80, 81 or an infectious disease and they cannot guarantee that those who have been vaccinated are incapable of being infected or transmitting infection, 82, 83, 84, 85 the precautionary and informed consent principles should not be eradicated from vaccine policies and laws just because public health officials have decided to embark on yet another infection eradication campaign.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) supports your civil and human right to exercise freedom of thought, conscience and informed consent to vaccination and make independent health care choices without being tracked down, bullied and punished by anyone. Become informed about measles and MMR vaccine and talk with one or more trusted health care professionals before making an educated health care decision.
Go to NVIC.org to learn more and sign up for the online NVIC Advocacy Portal to defend vaccine choices and exemptions in your state. It's your health. Your family. Your choice.
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend 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.