Portions of Measles Outbreaks Are Due to Vaccine Reactions and Not Wild Measles Virus

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

measles vaccine reactions

Story at-a-glance

  • A recent paper describes new technology developed to “rapidly distinguish between measles cases and vaccine reactions to avoid unnecessary outbreak response measures”
  • During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, 38 percent of the measles virus sequences obtained from patients were identified as vaccine sequences, meaning they were suffering a vaccine reaction; their illness was not caused by transmission of wild-type measles
  • New York, Washington and Texas have reported measles outbreaks in January and February of this year (a total of 127 confirmed cases), and mandatory vaccination proponents are calling on states to eliminate personal belief vaccine exemptions
  • California Sen. Dr. Richard Pan is urging the U.S. Surgeon General to push mandatory vaccinations to the top of the public health agenda, and a Congressional hearing was held in the House Feb. 27, with another hearing scheduled for March 5 in the Senate to discuss the measles “outbreak,” vaccine hesitancy and state vaccine laws
  • House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff has accused Google and Facebook of enabling distribution of misinformation about vaccines, and others are openly calling for censorship of vaccine conversations about vaccination on social media; Pinterest has already blocked all vaccine-related posts


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

When you hear about reported cases of measles, did you know that a portion of those affected may be experiencing a reaction to the live virus measles vaccine?

In a Journal of Clinical Microbiology paper,1 researchers describe new technology developed to "rapidly distinguish between measles cases and vaccine reactions to avoid unnecessary outbreak response measures such as case isolation and contact investigations." According to this paper:

"During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccines. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences."

In other words, about 38 percent of suspected measles cases in the 2015 Disneyland measles scare in California were actually vaccine-related and not caused by transmission of wild-type measles.

New York, Washington2 and Texas have reported measles outbreaks in January and February of this year (a total of 127 confirmed measles cases by Feb. 14, 2019),3 and now there are renewed calls for state legislatures to eliminate personal belief vaccine exemptions and restrict medical exemptions. Do health officials know for certain that none of those cases were, in fact, a vaccine reaction and not actual wild measles?

The irony of this should be clear to everyone. Each time a measles outbreak occurs, it's always blamed on the unvaccinated. Yet a portion of those who become sick actually could be sickened by the vaccine-strain measles virus.

California Senator Calls for Extreme Measures

Despite evidence showing there are gaps in vaccine science and that the safety of the early childhood vaccine schedule has not been clearly established,4,5,6,7 and despite evidence showing measles disease outbreaks also may involve vaccine reactions, there's an ongoing effort to simply shut down all public discussion about vaccines and their side effects.

For example, California state Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, is now urging U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to push mandatory vaccinations to the top of the public health agenda. In a letter to Adams, Pan wrote:8,9

"Our nation requires your leadership to stop this attack on our nation's health by addressing the spread of vaccine misinformation causing unwarranted vaccine hesitancy and recommending policies that restore community immunity which protects our children and the most vulnerable among us …

As we just celebrated Presidents' Day, I would recall George Washington mandated smallpox inoculation of his army during the Revolutionary War to ensure our country's freedom. I call on you to protect our right as Americans to be free of preventable diseases in our own community."

Lawmakers Demand CDC Get Involved to Stop Vaccine Misinformation From Spreading

In a similar vein, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., have penned a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Health overseeing the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO).

Alexander and Murray are demanding the federal agencies step up to fight the spread of vaccine misinformation, which they claim is hurting states' ability to properly address outbreaks.10

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has also sent letters to Google and Facebook, in which he accuses the companies of enabling distribution of misinformation about vaccines that "discourages parents from vaccinating their children." According to Schiff's website:11

"Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), sent a letter to Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officers of Google and Facebook, respectively, to express concern that the company's platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, are surfacing and recommending information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children, contributing to declining vaccination rates which could reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.

'As a Member of Congress who is deeply concerned about declining vaccination rates, I am requesting additional information on the steps that you currently take to provide medically accurate information on vaccinations to your users, and to encourage you to consider additional steps you can take to address this growing problem,' Schiff wrote in the letter.

'I was pleased to see YouTube's recent announcement that it will no longer recommend videos that violate its community guidelines, such as conspiracy theories or medically inaccurate videos, and encourage further action to be taken related to vaccine misinformation.'

The scientific and medical communities are in overwhelming consensus that vaccines are both effective and safe. There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases, and the dissemination of unfounded and debunked theories about the dangers of vaccinations pose a great risk to public health."

Massive Push to Demonize Vaccine Safety Discussions and Dehumanize the Vaccine-Injured

As I recently reported in "The Hill Says Vaccine Injuries are Exaggerated Personal Anecdotes," Rachel Alter, a graduate research assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, president emeritus and co-founder of the Children's Health Fund, have also called for vaccine censorship on social media, and Pinterest has already started blocking vaccine searches.12

Meanwhile, the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, whose agency is legally responsible for regulating vaccine products produced by pharmaceutical companies for safety and effectiveness, is calling for federal intervention "if states don't require more schoolchildren to get vaccinated."13

He told CNN, "Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they're creating the opportunity for (infectious disease) outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications."

Who's Behind the Push to End All Vaccine Discussion?

In addition to all that, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports that as of February 18, 2019, more than 100 bills have been filed in 30 states that either expand, restrict or eliminate informed consent rights for vaccines altogether.14

Bills have been proposed that mandate the use of new vaccines; restrict the list of providers authorized to approve vaccine exemptions; allow HPV and hepatitis B vaccines to be given to minors without parental consent; allow forced vaccination under certain circumstances; mandate doctors track and report vaccine status of both children and adults in electronic medical records; require schools to publicly post vaccination rates; and much, much more.15

The NVIC monitors, tracks and reports on all vaccine-related bills that impact vaccine informed consent rights at the state and federal level. Targeted action alerts are sent to registered users of the NVIC Advocacy Portal, who are also electronically connected with their own legislators. To stay on top of what is happening with bills that can affect your right to make vaccine choices, be sure to register (for free) so you can take action to protect your rights.

"Out of 114 vaccine-related bills which have been filed in the states, NVIC is supporting 50 good bills this legislative session that protect or expand vaccine informed consent rights," said NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher. "That is because after California lost the personal belief vaccine exemption in 2015, families started to educate legislators in other states about the need to protect exemptions.

It is definitely a fight now between people attacking the legal and human right to make voluntary vaccine choices and those defending that right."

In support of the families across the U.S. who are defending vaccine exemptions, NVIC has posted a "No Forced Vaccination" and "Vaccinations: Know the Risks and Failures" message on a giant 56-feet by 29-feet electronic screen in the heart of New York City's Times Square. The digital ad celebrating freedom of thought and conscience in America will run through April 2019 and can be viewed here. What's driving this modern-age witch hunt?

The short answer is drug company money. As just one example of many, before California voted to eliminate the personal belief and religious vaccine exemption for schoolchildren in 2015,16 vaccine makers donated millions of dollars to state lawmakers,17 and Pan, a pediatrician who has a long history of working with drug companies, was a primary sponsor of the bill (SB 277).

Currently valued at more than $34 billion a year, the vaccine industry is projected to exceed $49 billion by 2022.18 It's an enormously lucrative field, and one of the absolute safest in terms of liability, as drug companies cannot be held liable for injury or death occurring from the use of FDA licensed and government mandated vaccines. Governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are also engaged in the marketing of vaccines, which eliminates their ability to be impartial.

Vaccine Injuries Are Very Real

In a recent interview with CBS News,19 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), went so far as to flat-out deny that vaccines can cause injury or death.

But to say that all vaccines are safe, that there are no risks and that vaccine damage does not occur — that is not only misinformation, it's an outright lie. And the effort to silence those speaking out about vaccine damage and the need for better quality vaccine science, that is the real danger to public health.

Since 1988, the federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 has paid out about $4 billion in awards to vaccine injured victims, and that's just 31 percent of filed petitions for compensation.20 One of these cases is discussed in the 2008 CNN video above. In it, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Jon Poling, a neurologist and father of Hannah Poling, who received VICP compensation for her vaccine injury.

Canadian research also suggests that vaccine reactions are far more common than publicly stated. The CDC claims serious reactions occur "at a rate of approximately 1 per million doses for many vaccines." Yet this study21 found 1 in 168 children require emergency room (ER) admittance following their 1-year wellness check, during which vaccines are given, and 1 in 730 children end up in the ER after their 18-month vaccination appointment.22

The researchers also point out that an additional 20 febrile seizures occurred for every 100,000 vaccinated at 12 months. According to the authors of this study:

"There are significantly elevated risks of primarily emergency room visits approximately one to two weeks following 12- and 18-month vaccination. Future studies should examine whether these events could be predicted or prevented."

The situation could potentially be even worse than that. In the following video, Del Bigtree,23 an Emmy Award-winning producer of "The Doctors" talk show for six years, and one of the producers of the 2016 documentary "Vaxxed," reveals preliminary data compiled by a company contracted by the CDC to automate the federal vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) suggests vaccine reactions may affect as many as 1 in 10.

The automation was designed in such a way that any potential vaccine reactions reported to doctors participating in the Harvard Pilgrim HMO would automatically be uploaded into the VAERS database. Out of 376,452 individuals given 45 different vaccines, 35,570 possible vaccine reactions were identified.

The CDC dropped the program, and to this day, vaccine reactions are estimated to be underreported by as much as 99 percent,24 which of course is a very handy way of hiding risks and grossly overstating vaccine safety.

Fact: Vaccines are 'Unavoidably Unsafe'

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that government licensed and recommended childhood vaccines mandated by states are "unavoidably unsafe,"25 and vaccine manufacturer product inserts list a wide array of possible side effects, including:

Autoimmune diseases

Food allergies



Juvenile diabetes

Rheumatoid arthritis


Tourette syndrome



Speech delay

Neurodevelopment disorders

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Seizure disorder


Vaccines also have the highest number of recalls of any drug, which speaks to their "unavoidably unsafe" nature. In a recent Full Measure report,26 award-winning investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson further highlights the need for open and balanced discussion about vaccine risks.

Government Witness Admits Vaccines Can Trigger Autism in Certain Children

In her report, Attkisson reveals how the opinion of the government's own top vaccine expert, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, was silenced in order to turn down autism claims in vaccine court. She writes:

"Zimmerman … claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government's own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate …

[H]e has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and [the] United States government, the Department of Justice [DOJ], suppressed his true opinions."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of the World Mercury Project and the Children's Health Defense, was the one who convinced Zimmerman to speak out about the cover-up. In a sworn affidavit dated September 7, 2018, Zimmerman states that in 2007, he told DOJ lawyers that he had "discovered exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism."

"I explained that in a subset of children … vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation … did cause regressive [brain disease] with features of autism spectrum disorder," Zimmerman writes.

A week after this 2007 meeting, the DOJ fired him, saying his services were no longer required. According to Zimmerman, the DOJ then went on to misrepresent his opinion in future cases, making no mention of the exceptions he'd informed them of. Kennedy has now filed a fraud complaint with the DOJ Inspector General.

Senior CDC Scientist Has Confessed to Covering Up Links Between Vaccines and Autism

William Thompson, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, has also confessed to covering up links found between vaccines and autism, in this case the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

According to Thompson, this scientific fraud was committed for the express purpose of covering up potential safety problems so the agency would be able to maintain that the MMR vaccine had been proven safe to give to all children. By eliminating the incriminating data, the link vanished, and this research has been cited as proof that vaccines don't cause autism ever since.

Attkisson's report also reveals how congressmen who wanted to investigate the autism-vaccine link were bullied, harassed and threatened. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Dr. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., and Bill Posey, R-Fla., are among 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who told Attkisson they were warned by PhRMA lobbyists to drop the vaccine safety issue.


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