'Leaky Vaccines' Could Spur More Dangerous Disease

Leaky Vaccine

Story at-a-glance -

  • “Leaky” vaccines that may prevent death but still allow infection and disease transmission could allow more virulent strains of disease to circulate in a population.
  • In unvaccinated chickens, the most virulent virus strains of Marek’s disease burn out on their own because they are killed quickly and have little time to spread the disease
  • When virulent strains were tested in vaccinated birds, the birds shed the virus for much longer and therefore passed it on to far more birds
  • Long-term use and overuse of “leaky” vaccines could present real problems for public health by ultimately allowing highly virulent strains of diseases to be continually transmitted and cause serious illness in the community among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated

By Dr. Mercola

In 2001, Andrew Read, evolutionary biologist at Penn State University, and colleagues published a paper stating that imperfect vaccines, which protect the host from death but allow infection and disease transmission to other hosts, may actually trigger the evolution of more virulent forms of the disease.1

"Vaccines rarely provide full protection from disease," the study's abstract begins… and those that are imperfect or "leaky" may protect the host from succumbing to the disease while still allowing them to shed the virus into the community.

Ordinarily, a particularly lethal or "hot" virus is self-limiting because it will kill those it infects relatively quickly, before they have a chance to spread the virus to those around them. With leaky vaccines, this is no longer the case, as infected hosts may spread the lethal virus for weeks or more. In 2001, they wrote:2

"The subsequent evolution leads to higher levels of intrinsic virulence and hence to more severe disease in unvaccinated individuals. This evolution can erode any population-wide benefits such that overall mortality rates are unaffected, or even increase, with the level of vaccination coverage."

The 2001 study was based on a mathematical model, and it was met with criticism and controversy, as are most studies that point out the imperfect nature of vaccinations or call for more research.

Now, however, Dr. Read and his colleagues have further proof of their leaky vaccine theory, this time based on the spread of Marek’s disease in chickens.

'Leaky' Vaccines Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Virus Strains

The researchers speculated that vaccines that keep hosts alive but still allow infection and transmission could allow very virulent strains of viruses to circulate in a population. This, they found, is precisely the case when chickens are immunized against Marek’s disease caused by a herpes virus that is often lethal to chickens.3

In unvaccinated chickens, the most virulent strains of Marek’s disease burn out on their own because the hosts are killed quickly and have little time to spread the disease.

However, when the researchers tested the virulent virus strains in vaccinated birds, they found they were infected and survived but shed the virus for much longer and therefore passed it on to far more birds. They wrote:

"Immunity elicited by direct vaccination or by maternal vaccination prolongs host survival but does not prevent infection, viral replication, or transmission, thus extending the infectious periods of strains otherwise too lethal to persist.

Our data show that anti-disease vaccines that do not prevent transmission can create conditions that promote the emergence of pathogen strains that cause more severe disease in unvaccinated hosts."

This is added proof that long-term use and overuse of vaccines could present real problems for individual and public health by ultimately allowing highly virulent diseases to spread and persist in the community.

Is Whooping Cough Vaccine Also 'Leaky?'

Your health care provider probably won’t tell you that certain vaccines may be imperfect and that if you or your child get vaccinated, you can still potentially become infected and transmit infection to other vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Some of the experimental viral vaccines in development, such as those against malaria, Ebola and HIV/AIDS, as well as those used for animal diseases like avian flu, may be leaky. However, some of the older “standbys” including bacterial vaccines like pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine may also be “leaky.” Dr. Read told Forbes:4

"The whooping cough vaccine appears to leak… That's an evolutionary experiment in the making."

The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is included as a component in "combination" shots that include tetanus and diphtheria (DPT, DTaP, and Tdap) and pertussis vaccine is also in combination shots that contain inactivated polio, hepatitis B, and/or Haemophilus Influenza B (Hib) vaccines.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that 84 percent of children under the age of three have received at least FOUR DTaP shots — which is the acellular pertussis vaccine that was approved in the US in 1996.

Nationally, about 95 percent or more of children entering kindergarten have received four or five DTaP shots and yet, despite this very high vaccination rate, B. pertussis whooping cough still keeps circulating among both vaccinated and unvaccinated children and adults.

A PNAS study published earlier this year argued that if vaccines are leaky, which in this case referred to vaccines not entirely protecting an individual from infection and ability to transmit infection to others, even current booster schedules will be ineffective.5 They wrote:

"Especially notable is the inability of booster schedules to alleviate resurgence when vaccines are leaky. Critically, our findings argue that the ultimate effectiveness of vaccine booster schedules will likely depend on correctly pinpointing the causes of resurgence, with misdiagnosis of the problem epidemiologically ineffective and economically costly."

In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that while the whooping cough vaccine may reduce symptoms in those who are vaccinated, the pertussis vaccine does not prevent infection and transmission of the disease.

In fact, you can get five or six pertussis-containing shots and still become an asymptomatic carrier who is contagious and can spread the disease to others without even knowing it. That FDA study published two years ago effectively shattered the long-held illusion of vaccine-induced herd immunity.

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Mumps Vaccine Isn't Working Well Either

For more evidence that mass, mandatory vaccination does not always work the way the public has been told it does by public health officials and vaccine manufacturers, consider that in December 2014, more than a dozen NHL hockey players contracted mumps, despite having received their childhood MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccinations.

Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group told Forbes there are three likely factors at play:6

  1. Waning immunity
  2. The vaccine's initial effectiveness (or lack thereof)
  3. The quality of the individual vaccine given

According to the CDC,7 one dose of the MMR vaccine has a disease prevention rate of 78 percent, so right off the bat you know it's not going to prevent disease in everyone. A second dose is claimed to increase protection to 88 percent. But outbreak rates suggest the vaccine's effectiveness wears off, and might be lower than expected to begin with.

In 2010, two Merck virologists filed a federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act against their former employer, alleging the vaccine maker has been lying about the effectiveness of their mumps vaccine (which is part of the trivalent MMR vaccine). The whistleblowers claimed they witnessed "first hand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine's efficacy findings."

Merck allegedly falsified the data to hide the fact that the mumps vaccine in the MMR shot has in fact significantly declined in effectiveness over the years. Still, a lowered disease complication and mortality risk might still sound like a good thing, even if total protection can’t be guaranteed.

But if bacteria and viruses are evolving to not only become vaccine resistant, mirroring what we're seeing with growing microbe resistance to antibiotics, but microbes are also becoming more virulent as the vaccinated survive and are able to transmit infection for longer periods of time to both the unvaccinated and vaccinated, then the entire mandatory vaccination program would need a serious review.

What if we're misusing vaccines like we've misused antibiotics and compromising human immune function while creating far more serious diseases in the process? This is a question that deserves much more attention by public health officials and needs to be answered quickly.

Vaccines Increase Narcolepsy Risk, Media Blames 'Anti-Vaxxers' for Their Lack of Fair Reporting

Vaccines can and do cause serious side effects, including permanent brain and immune system injury and death, but rather than acknowledge that fact and move forward to figure out why it happens and who is most at risk, many studies that investigate and report on vaccine risks are often swept under the rug.

The swine flu (H1N1) vaccine (Pandemrix), for instance was causally linked to an increased risk of narcolepsy among children and adolescents.8 About 1,000 people who received the swine flu shot developed the neurological disorder, and will live with it the rest of their lives.

If this is news to you, it's probably because few media outlets picked up on this story at the time, and a recent article in Vox readily admits that many reporters "shy away" from writing about uncertainty in vaccine science.9

Rather than report fairly on a pressing issue that the public deserves to be informed of, the Vox author admits she “ignored the Pandermix study, too,” even though she knew the author of the study is “an extremely credible scientist” and that “her results didn’t come in isolation.”

To justify her bias that resulted in unfair and inaccurate reporting, this journalist blamed “anti-vaxxers” for “scaring the media away from covering vaccine side effects.10 And it gets even more outrageous, because she then goes on to describe a sort of bizarre formula for how reporters are supposed to report on studies showing vaccines might cause side effects or lack effectiveness.

The “rules” include that it’s ok to be skeptical of newer vaccines but not of older established ones. She also frowns on giving equal weight to both sides of an issue that aren’t actually equal, such as daring to suggest there might be controversy among scientists regarding a vaccine’s safety. But then, at the same time, you should “avoid cheerleading for vaccines,” lest you appear too one-sided.

Whatever happened to simply reporting the facts, asking the questions that need to be asked and letting the reader decide what to think?

CDC Scientists Claims CDC Covered Up MMR-Autism Connection

Public health agencies and, certainly, pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe the book is closed regarding vaccine safety – but really it is only starting to be opened. Methodologically sound studies have not been done to determine whether children vaccinated according to the CDC’s vaccine schedule are healthier or sicker than those who are not vaccinated. Further, there is almost no basic science research into the genetic, biological, and environmental high risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to vaccine harm.

Even hotly debated topics, like the potential vaccine-autism connection, have not been thoroughly explored. Perhaps this is because when a study provides evidence that vaccines can cause harm, the researchers are often ostracized or journals refuse to publish the data.

Hanna Nohynek, a vaccine researcher with the Finnish government, for instance, conducted some of the early research regarding the connection between swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy. The New England Journal of Medicine, BMJ, and The Lancet all refused to publish her work.11

Dr. William Thompson, a research scientist at the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIR) has claimed that the CDC covered up a vaccine-autism connection in relation to the MMR vaccine. The study reportedly discovered that African-American boys who received the MMR vaccine before the age of 36 months had an increased risk for autism.

Dr. Thompson states the study co-authors then ““scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can."12

Dr. Thompson has stated that he retained the hard copies in the event a “neutral investigative or scientific body” would like to see it. However, as Sharyl Attkisson reported:13

"Despite this whistleblower testimony, which Dr. Thompson provided to Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, there is little chance of a meaningful hearing or investigation. In an untainted news environment, the allegations would make headlines in most legitimate publications and would trigger federal inquiries. However, the interests of the powerful pharmaceutical industry reach deeply into Congress and the news media through lobbyists, propaganda and advertising dollars."

Vaccine Side Effects Must Not Be Swept Under the Rug

A different take on the issue was published in the Philly Voice, in which the reporter noted a need for mainstream media to make space for the very real cases of vaccine-induced illness, injury and death. The reporter writes:14

"… [A] new medical textbook, entitled Vaccines and Autoimmunity was published.15 Featuring the work of dozens of scientists and physicians, the text was edited by Yehuda Shoenfeld, founder of Israel's Center for Autoimmune Diseases; Nancy Agmon-Levine [sic], President of the Israel Association for Allergy and Clinical Immunology; and Lucija Tomljenovic, a senior post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.

In their introduction to Vaccines and Autoimmunity, the editors acknowledge that vaccines can trigger 'severe and even fatal' reactions in certain individuals and that this is of particular concern as vaccines are 'administered to healthy individuals.'

The editors raise questions about the trace amounts of 'residuals' – such as monkey kidney tissue, detergents, and preservatives – whose safety 'has not been thoroughly investigated' and decry the naïve assumption that 'all humans are alike' in their immunological reactions to vaccinations. They continue: "… the fact that vaccines are delivered to billions of people without preliminary screening for underlying susceptibilities is thus of concern."

The article points out that the stories of vaccine-injured children matter, but often the parents of vaccine-injured children feel bullied for speaking out. Many Americans are not even aware that there is a Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), which is to be notified of vaccine reactions, or that there is a federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) that handles contested vaccine injury and death cases. As reported in the Philly Voice:16

"It behooves every American parent to be informed about the existence of VAERS and available government compensation should one's child suffer due to a vaccine. The majority of us who walk away from a routine pediatric visit unscathed would be wise to stay abreast of vaccine injury rates, support adverse reaction prevention efforts, and most importantly, remain open to the suffering of those who experience vaccine injuries or death.