Girls Given Vitamin A at Birth May be 41% More Likely to Die

Vaccine StudiesThe Centers for Disease Control and scientists connected with the World Health Organization have announced that they're beginning several studies on the safety of new and existing vaccines.

The CDC's study will look at the entire vaccine safety program in the U.S. The other study, which 36 scientists around the world will work on together, will examine the "nonspecific effects" of vaccines on children in low-income countries, with a "high priority" on looking at possible changes to the DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine schedule.

Both the CDC's and the other scientists' research will go on for at least the next five years. But the BBC recently reported, twice, that both the World Health Organization and the CDC are ignoring life-and-death studies that already exist on these very topics.

The existing studies, kept on thousands of children for more than 30 years in the tiny West African country of Guinea-Bissau, include over 1 million documents on unexpected vaccine adverse events. Some of the most disturbing records refer to deaths in conjunction with the DTP and MMR vaccines. Health officials claim they need more research to confirm this.

But people close to the situation say that calling for more research is just a stall tactic, because validating the Guinea-Bissau records could be devastating to the vaccine industry.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Dr. Peter Aaby has spent more than 30 years studying the causes of excessively high child mortality in Guinea-Bissau, and has published his research in dozens of professional journals. He was awarded the Novo Nordisk Prize for distinguished research on measles and measles vaccination in 2000.

He also has vaccinated thousands of children during his career, and it's this part of his research that is causing a global controversy. With archives of more than 1 million research files to back him up, Dr. Aaby has published several papers questioning the safety of the DTP vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis). His first article appeared 10 years ago. Since then he has published 34 other papers, all questioning the safety of the DTP.

Offering unequivocal scientific evidence going far and beyond what any other vaccine researcher has done, Aaby and his team give compelling reasons for changing the schedules for DTP vaccination, and for possibly modifying other vaccination protocols.

Information that Could Change Public Healthcare Forever

Clearly, Dr. Aaby has science-based information that could change public healthcare forever – and perhaps even change the vaccine schedule for infants in the U.S. But before you read any further, I urge you to click on the links above and listen to both segments of the BBC's broadcast, The Vaccine Detectives.

Here, you'll learn about some of Dr. Aaby's studies, which showed that:

  • A single dose of DTP vaccine not only doubled the mortality rate in infants, but more than quadruped the rate after the second and third DTP doses.
  • Vaccines and vitamin supplements have unexpected, long-term effects – good and bad – on the immune systems of children.
  • There is a definite increased mortality risk to girls of combining DTP and measles vaccines.
  • Girls were 41 percent more likely to die if they were given vitamin A at birth, while boys seemed to slightly benefit from the supplement.

Once you hear these startling broadcasts, I think you'll understand why I think it's criminal that the CDC and the WHO are possibly risking thousands of children's lives by embarking on new studies that duplicate the decades of research that Dr. Aaby has already done, while they do nothing to address the issues his studies raise.

What's outrageous is that they are ignoring DOZENS of studies, not just one or two. For example, in a study published in 2007, Aaby reported that fatality was increased for children ages 6 months to 17 months old, if they received the DTP with or after measles vaccination. The increase was significant enough for Aaby to suggest that the DTP reduces the benefits of the measles vaccine.

Dr. Aaby also found that a girl's vaccination status is critical in determining her chances of surviving pneumonia: if she's had the measles vaccine as the last vaccination before she comes down with pneumonia, she's more likely to survive than if her last vaccination was DTP.  And the studies go on, 34 of them, all questioning the safety and/or timing of the DTP.

The evidence from Dr. Aaby's research is so compelling that the WHO actually sent an investigator, Dr. Kim Mulholland, to Guinea-Bissau to scrutinize Dr. Aaby's records. But when Mulholland reported that he couldn't find a single thing wrong with the records, WHO officials seemed disappointed, Mulholland said.

Ten years later, the WHO still has neither confirmed nor refuted Dr. Aaby's studies, leading Mulholland to question, "Why is it that the international community is sitting back on their hands and ignoring this?"

According to Peter Smith, chair of the WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS), it's because the evidence isn't "sufficiently strong enough" to accept the "hypothesis" that the DTP has a negative effect on children.

I suppose that's why the WHO and CDC are stalling making any changes to the DTP schedule while they do their own studies. But the new studies will take years to complete – if ever. Why would they do this? Why would they ignore data that obviously show that children are dying from possible problems with the DTP, the vaccine schedule, and vitamins given to newborns?

Dr. Aaby has the answer:

"If the DTP was to be found to have a negative effect, it would be devastating to the vaccination program," he said. "You can understand why they don't like it. But I don't think that's a good reason for not examining the logic."

Explosive Data on Other Vaccine Safety Issues also Ignored

It's puzzling why world health officials are so hesitant to trust Aaby's logic, when his tenacious record-keeping already saved lives in 1990, when a new vaccine for measles was withdrawn by the WHO after Aaby alerted investigators that it was possibly harming girls.

Later, Aaby and the investigators learned that it wasn't the new measles vaccine causing the problems – it was the way it interacted with the DTP vaccine. The implications of these findings are huge and go far beyond the borders of Guinea-Bissau:

"If I'm right about DTP, you're probably increasing the mortality rate at least 50 percent in this age group," Aaby told the BBC.

Aaby's records, published over a 10-year period in those 34 studies I mentioned earlier, indicated that it was possible that the DTP vaccine was making the immune system of girls more susceptible to other infections. It also showed that vitamin A may amplify the negative effects of the DTP vaccine on girls!

Again, why are they risking children's lives – particularly girls' – while they wait on more studies? As the BBC pointed out, the vitamin A connection is terribly important because there is a strong push by the WHO to give it to all newborns in low-income countries. Hoping to reduce infant mortality in Guinea-Bissau by as much as 30 percent, Dr. Aaby and his wife and research partner, Christine Benn, gave this supplement to thousands of Guinea-Bissau newborns.

They found that boys had a slight benefit by getting the vitamin. But girls who received the supplement had a 41 percent higher chance of dying – indicating that there may be a non-specific, gender-based effect of the vaccine and vitamin A on girls that health officials need to address.

On this issue, Benn is so sure that the risks to girls so clearly outweigh the benefits to boys that she doesn't believe any other further studies need to be done on giving vitamin A at birth.

The gender issue is a new concept in vaccine safety because, previously, vaccine trials have only been carried out on men, so as to avoid ill effects on women were they to become pregnant, said Dr. Katie Flanagan, an immunologist who works for the British Medical Research Council. And now that Dr. Aaby's research shows that girls appear to have different responses to both vaccines and vitamins than boys, Flanagan thinks it's a safety aspect that should be studied:

"It makes perfect sense," Flanagan said. "Now that Peter (Aaby) has brought this issue up … I think it's time to get on and investigate it and understand it."

Similar trials in Zimbabwe, where 14,000 children received  vitamin A, came up with similar results. But, still, the WHO is ignoring this life-and-death information, and forging ahead with three new major studies in India, all giving vitamin A to newborns. This worries Benn, who believes that at least 30 girls died in her own trial, before she and Aaby determined that the vitamin was triggering their deaths.

"This must be explained before we give vitamin A to all girls in Southeast Asia," Benn said." I would personally not ever again conduct another vitamin A trial in an area with high mortality."

The Politics Behind 'Vaccine Safety'

Dr. Aaby is not against vaccines. His life's work involves giving children vaccines, so he's not being "anti-vaccine" by questioning vaccine safety paradigms. He is merely suggesting that from his observations, some vaccines have certain serious adverse events – life and death safety issues – connected to them that warrant slight changes to global health policy and vaccination protocols.

It seems simple. But in reality, it appears that vaccines are too tied to industry politics to allow for things like paying attention to data that show increased infant mortality for girls.

So what excuses did health officials give the BBC for ignoring Dr. Aaby's work? Here's a sampling of what they said:

  • Immunization in general is a field plagued by "woolly thinking" with rational argument suppressed by the need to counter "anti-vaccine" propaganda. (Mulholland).
  • Working out all the possible adverse effects of vaccines poses a dilemma for pharmaceutical companies that have invested billions in vaccines, and for funders like Bill Gates, who have put their faith in vaccines, vitamin supplements and other interventions (Paul Fine, professor, London School of Medicine).
  • Denying vaccines to children while officials test for possible long-term adverse effects from the vaccines – even deaths – may not be "ethical," (Smith)

Woolly thinking?

A dilemma for Bill Gates? "Ethical" questions about waiting to make sure vaccines are safe? If that's not all politics, I don't know what is. Personally, I think the non-politically-correct reason that Benn gave for the WHO's and CDC's stalling tactics hits the nail on the head:

"It goes for vaccines and vitamin A, that there is such a fear that the public will get any kind of feeling that there could be anything problematic about the public health interventions."

Sadly, the history of vaccines is riddled with stories like Dr. Aaby's, of adverse events that are largely dismissed by world health officials who fear that acknowledging problems might make the public aware of the truth about vaccine safety.

Where the Money is – and How Vaccine 'Safety' Figures in

Rotavirus vaccine inventor Dr. Paul Offit is often quoted by mainstream media as their "go-to authority" on vaccine issues. He sits on the board of the medical website, as well as on vaccine maker Merck's scientific advisory board. He presently holds the $1.5 million Merck-downed chair in vaccinology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). 

As a spokesperson for the vaccine industry, Offit has talked about vaccine profits and safety for a number of years. Regarding the profits – or supposedly lack thereof –he wrote in Health Affairs in 2005 that drug companies were abandoning vaccines because they cost too much to make. "Pharmaceutical companies are businesses, not public health agencies," Offit lectured the reading public. "They are not obligated to make vaccines." 

Admitting that "vaccine shortages are not coincidental," Offit threatened more shortages if Congress didn't give cough up more incentives for vaccine companies to stay in business. Those incentives, he said, needed to go beyond what they were already getting through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). He also said Congress needed to increase funding for the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), plus give drug companies even greater tax breaks to invest in vaccines.

Complaining that vaccines are held to higher safety standards than other drugs, Offit said drug companies would be more encouraged to make vaccines if unborn children were included in the NVICP so they wouldn't have to worry so much about losing money through litigation involving unborn children.

And Congress listened. By 2007, Offit happily told the New York Times that vaccines were now "roaring back" as money-makers. Those money-makers included the federal government paying drug companies for simply making "milestones" in vaccine development, as opposed to having to wait until a vaccine was actually ready for market, and a commitment by world leaders to fund and purchase vaccines in advance of their being introduced to the market.

And what role did vaccine safety play in this new boom market? All you have to do is read this transcript advising health professionals on "countering vaccine misinformation" to know that health officials' concerns are more about convincing the public that vaccines are safe than admitting that some vaccines can, and do, cause harm.

'There are No Risk-Free Choices'

We know that vaccines are not completely safe. The reason we know this is not because of Dr. Aaby's story, but because experts like Paul Offit and even the industry itself tell us they're not completely safe, or without risk. For example, the Merck Manual Online says, "No vaccine is 100 percent effective and 100 percent safe."

Researchers studying the limit of risk parents would be willing to accept with a rotavirus vaccine said it this way: "Despite the obvious benefits of vaccination, no vaccine is completely safe."

And, speaking as an authority on vaccine "safety" in 2006, none other than Dr. Paul Offit himself told Medical Progress Today "there are no risk–free choices with vaccines." So there you have it: three authoritative healthcare sources saying flat-out that vaccines come with risks, and that they are NOT completely safe.

We also know that other scientists besides Dr. Aaby have published concerns about the safety of the DTP, for example, this one suggesting that the DTP could cause asthma in some children, or this one suggesting that it also could cause allergy-related symptoms in children later in life. In fact, there are so many scientific studies questioning the DTP's safety that the National Vaccine Information Center has devoted a whole section of links to these life-and-death studies  on its website.

So if Dr. Aaby isn't the only one worried about the DTP, why is it that some people are telling the BBC that he could be a danger to the global health system? Or, more bluntly, why are health officials seemingly ignoring Dr. Aaby's DTP studies that, in particular, show a higher mortality rate for girls?

Is what Peter Smith said on behalf of the WHO really true – that world health leaders don't believe Dr. Aaby has enough evidence to warrant an alarm call on the DTP? Or would it be closer to the truth that what health officials are really afraid of is that Dr. Aaby's right, and that people will hear about it and refuse vaccines for their children in record numbers in both developed and Third World countries, and thus "endanger" world health officials' global plan for vaccines?

The good news is that a growing number of  scientists around the world are concerned enough about this issue that they're demanding that world health officials pay attention.

In the meantime, I urge you to stand up for healthcare freedom, for the right to choose what is best for you and your children when it comes to vaccines. You can do this by joining with a very good friend of mine, Barbara Loe Fisher, who in 1985 co-authored the seminal book, DPT: A Shot in the Dark outlining DPT vaccine risks, and co-founded the National Vaccine Information Center.

By making a generous donation to this non-profit charitable organization, you will be fighting for your right to know the truth about vaccines and studies like of Dr. Aaby's that I've shared with you here. If you sign up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at you will get plugged into your state and learn how to stand up for your freedom to legally make voluntary choices about vaccination for your children and yourself.