By Dr. Mercola
Last year, a measles outbreak at Disneyland brought the vaccine safety and choice debate front and center in the media.
What should have been an intelligent discussion that weighed the potential risks versus the potential benefits of vaccination — and highlighted the very real need for more research into their safety — turned into an over-heated, often irrational argument.
Parents who dared to speak out in favor of vaccine choice were oftentimes attacked for their position, with some mandatory vaccination supporters going so far as to call for parents of unvaccinated children to be fined and imprisoned.
What we're seeing is the result of heightened emotions based on fear. Fear of children getting sick and dying from either the complications of infectious disease or the complications of vaccination.
None of these fears are unfounded; each deserves due attention, including the attention of public health officials, who should be conducting the kind of scientific research that will yield answers to questions about vaccination that most doctors giving federally recommended vaccines to children and adults cannot answer.
In the vaccination debate, what happens all too often is not an open, rational discussion but rather a free-for-all marked by inappropriate name-calling and threats. It has been suggested that experienced physicians who criticize vaccine safety or support vaccine choice be stripped of their medical licenses.
Promoters of vaccination laws that do not allow any non-medical exemptions have gone so far as to call for imprisonment of parents who refuse to give their children every federally recommended vaccine, and they even have called for censorship of online public discussions about vaccine risks and failures.
In a statement in the video above, Barbara Loe Fisher, president and co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) explains why forced adherence to vaccine orthodoxy is a danger to freedom of speech, press and exercise of conscience in America:1
"Those embracing vaccine orthodoxy have a right to their beliefs, but they should not be given the legal right to persecute and punish fellow citizens refusing to convert. Tyranny by any other name is still tyranny."
Two Centuries of 'Vaccine Orthodoxy'
Vaccine orthodoxy dictates that everyone must believe vaccination is safe and effective, and that government-recommended vaccines should be mandated for use by everyone — no exceptions.
In the beginning, it was just one vaccination for smallpox, but now the federally recommended childhood vaccine schedule calls for 69 doses of 16 vaccines for every child starting on the day of birth through age 18.
But the fact is, vaccine risks are increased for some people because of biological and environmental differences.
As Fisher states, for some people the risks of vaccination are 100 percent, and when a vaccine reaction happens to you or someone you love, the logical response is to seek out why it happened so that it doesn't happen again.
There needs to be an open, rational discussion about vaccination, infectious diseases and health. After all, don't all of us want our children to be healthy and safe from harm?
If we want to protect the health of ALL children, we cannot continue to ignore the signs that we've gone too far with public health policies making mandatory use of multiple vaccines in early childhood as our nation's No. 1 disease prevention strategy.
We may well be sacrificing too many children's lives in the name of "the greater good."
'One-Size-Fits-All' Vaccine Policies Deserve to Be Challenged
No matter where you stand in the vaccination debate, most would agree that in the case of medical care, one size does not fit all. What works for your child (or yourself) may not work for your neighbor's but, when it comes to vaccines, they're prescribed exactly the same for every child.
Today we know, however, that some children, like those with mitochondrial disorders, are at increased risk from vaccinations. Why, then, aren't efforts being made to identify these children to prevent any unnecessary harm? An individual's response to a vaccine is actually influenced by many factors.
For instance, an individual's gut microbes may help determine their immune response to vaccines.
Infants that responded to the rotavirus vaccine had a higher diversity of microbes in their gut, as well as more microbes from the Proteobacteria group, than infants who did not mount the expected immune response.2
Epigenetic science, which now tells us that our genes are NOT our destiny, is another variable in vaccine safety, because no one knows how vaccines affect your genes (and it's likely different in every person).
Part of the problem is that once you start to epigenetically tinker with the infant immune system, you are basically depositing what Dr. Suzanne Humphries, author of "Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History," refers to as "little cluster bombs" that will eventually "explode into a big problem."
As an example, she cites a study by Nikolaj Ørntoft, in which African girls were injected with a tetanus vaccine to see which genes might be upregulated or downregulated (basically "turned on" or "turned off"). What they found is that there's really no way to predict which genes will be affected.
So not only will each individual have a unique response to any given vaccine based on their age, current health status, and microbial makeup, but we're also epigenetically predisposed to respond differently in terms of the side effects we might develop.
You can see, then, how vaccine mandates that do not respect biodiversity may turn out to be health disasters for some people.
Educated Parents Are Increasingly Rejecting Vaccine Orthodoxy
Trying to get unbiased, truthful information about vaccines is not easy, and the cards are very much stacked against you receiving the truth. As noted by Humphries:
"We have a highly profitable, lucrative religion that involves the government, industry, and academia. That religion is vaccination. People believe in vaccines. They'll tell you, they believe in vaccines. But you ask them what they know about vaccines and it will be almost nothing.
In fact the people who argue the loudest usually know the least when it comes to trying to convince you to take the vaccine. That's been my experience.
In the U.S., there is a growing number of people who are rejecting vaccine orthodoxy, especially college-educated, financially stable, middle-class parents who have become knowledgeable about vaccine risks and failures and want the right to make informed, voluntary choices about which vaccines they and their children get.
This is called informed consent to medical risk-taking, and this basic human right is increasingly being threatened by public health officials and medical trade groups working with pharmaceutical company lobbyists who want to eliminate vaccine exemptions and force vaccine use.
Fisher explains how mandatory vaccination proponents are using threats and intimidation to achieve their goals, including even employing racial profiling and shaming in an effort to demonize those criticizing vaccine safety and advocating for vaccine choice. As Fisher explained:3
" … [T]oday in America, when we take the initiative to become educated about vaccination and infectious diseases, we are publicly labeled as 'ignorant' and 'selfish' if our newfound knowledge leads us to disagree with vaccine orthodoxy.
… This year, public humiliation of anyone who rejects vaccine orthodoxy has already begun.
A New Year's Eve editorial in a Colorado newspaper branded parents, who will not "listen and comply" with government 'vaccination rules,' as 'odd,' 'foolish,' 'irresponsible' and 'reckless,' and said a law should be passed to force them to comply.
… Another disturbing type of propaganda to re-emerge as we head into 2016 is what I described in 2012 as 'turning vaccine exemptions into class warfare.' This involves highly educated, well-paid physician politicians and professors in academia, who are engaging in racial profiling and the shaming of educated, middle class Caucasian parents challenging vaccine orthodoxy."
Knowledge Is the 'Antidote' to Vaccine Orthodoxy
Fisher maintains that, as more Americans graduate from college in increasing numbers, those seeking knowledge about vaccination will only grow. "It is one reason why we are witnessing an accelerated push by government and industry to eliminate the legal right to informed consent to vaccine risk taking in America," she said.4
Indeed, the 2015 Disneyland measles "outbreak" drummed up enough public hysteria that it was used to justify elimination of personal belief vaccine exemptions from California daycare and school attendance and child care employment laws.5
Increased public knowledge about the risks and failures of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may have led to a different outcome. For instance, did you know it's possible to have vaccine-strain measles infection after receiving the live attenuated MMR vaccine? It happened in 2013, when a 2-year-old fell ill with vaccine-related measles 37 days after receiving the MMR vaccine.
This was well beyond the typical incubation period for measles transmission, and it occurred in the context of an outbreak investigation of measles cluster. So at first it was assumed to be a wild-type measles infection, when in fact it was vaccine-strain measles infection. We have no statistics about how often this assumption is made when it may actually be inaccurate.
Also, were you aware the MMR vaccine provides no assurance of long-lasting immunity and even two doses of MMR vaccine may fail to provide long-term protection? Like B. pertussis whooping cough and other infectious diseases, measles has natural cyclical increases and decreases every few years in populations. These may occur even in highly vaccinated populations.
Vaccines Don't Provide the Same Life-Long Immunity as Naturally Acquired Infection
Many people believe that once you receive a vaccine, you're protected from that disease for life. This is a misconception. Vaccines do not confer the same kind of long-lasting immunity that is obtained from experiencing and recovering from the natural disease.
This is why booster shots are necessary, and why some are recommending that a third MMR vaccine be added to the U.S. vaccine schedule. The vaccine simply cannot provide life-long immunity the way getting a naturally acquired infection can.
Many people don't realize there is such a thing as natural herd immunity. However, vaccines cannot provide this. From my point of view, there can be little doubt that we need to review the safety and effectiveness of the current vaccination program in the U.S. This review needs to include methodologically sound investigative studies that are not compromised by conflicts of interest within industry and government. Fisher stated:6
"Vaccine injury and death does not discriminate between races or social classes, except when people are kept ignorant, economically dependent and unable to make informed choices.
… While we still have freedom of speech, press, thought, conscience and religion in America, please exercise and defend those civil and human rights at every opportunity. If we all stand up for the freedom we have left today, we will not lose more of it tomorrow. Knowledge is the antidote to vaccine orthodoxy because knowledge is power."
Your Right to Informed Consent Is Being Threatened
Multiple bills were introduced in 2015, many backed by pharmaceutical and medical trade industries, that threatened informed consent rights. More are expected in 2016. This included bills that:7
Eliminated and restricted vaccine exemptions Expanded vaccine mandates for both adults in the workplace and children Expanded police and emergency powers during declared public health emergencies Expanded intrusive vaccine tracking and data sharing to enforce compliance Mandated the public publishing of detailed vaccine exemption and vaccination rates in much smaller geographical boundaries like individual schools Expanded laws to allow pharmacists to administer more vaccines
At least 18 states already have vaccine bills filed for 2016 legislative sessions. Many state bills propose to add new vaccine mandates and restrict or eliminate the religious and personal belief exemption to vaccination so only a restrictive medical exemption remains. A bill in Virginia was introduced that would remove a doctor's ability to grant a medical vaccine exemption if it does not conform to narrow federal contraindication guidelines.
A bill in Hawaii proposes to mandate that every time the CDC recommends a new vaccine for children AND adults, it is automatically added to the state required list of vaccines for all residents of the state.
If you'd like to stay informed about vaccine bills moving in your state, as well as vaccine bills being proposed at the federal level, and take action to protect your informed consent rights when it comes to vaccination, the NVIC Advocacy Portal is a free online communications network that connects registered users with their legislators through their smart phones, tablets and computers.
Through the Portal, NVIC's advocacy program staff will keep you up to date with the status of vaccine bills impacting your freedom to make vaccine choices and give you guidance about how you can educate your legislators about why vaccine policies and laws must include flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions.8