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Nearly half of those surveyed doubt vaccine safety

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

doubts about vaccine safety

Story at-a-glance -

  • In an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, 45% said they had doubts about vaccine safety
  • Online articles, past secrets and wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry and information from medical experts were noted as top reasons for doubting vaccine safety
  • Six percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “I think the risks of vaccine side effects outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination”
  • The CDC states, “Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages,” but children and adults do not all respond the same way to vaccination
  • The ability to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices for yourself and your children must be protected, because vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all-solution, nor is the U.S. public as a whole a one-size-fits-all population

Every vaccine comes with a risk of adverse reactions, including death, and those risks can be greater for some people. It's up to each person to decide if the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits of the vaccination.

In the U.S., the CDC now recommends that children receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines by the time they're 18 years old, with 50 doses of 14 vaccines given before the age of 6.1 Adults are also being pressured by public health officials and doctors to get an annual flu shot and other vaccinations.2

It's safe to say that most parents want what's best for their children, including protecting them from harm, and a sizable number are now wondering whether following the current childhood vaccine schedule is what's best for children and whether all the vaccines being recommended by doctors for adults are also safe and effective. In an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, 45% said they had doubts about vaccine safety.3

Why Americans are doubting vaccine safety

As for why 2 in 5 U.S. adults said they had doubts about vaccine safety, online articles, past secrets and wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry and information from medical experts were noted as top reasons. Past secrets/wrongdoing by government was also cited as casting doubt on vaccine safety for 11% of respondents.

When asked about views on vaccine safety and efficacy, 17% of respondents again expressed some doubts, with 2% selecting, "I think vaccines are unsafe and ineffective," 6% agreeing with, "I think the risks of vaccine side effects outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination," and 9% selecting, "I am unsure of whether vaccines are safe and effective."

Perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Shmuts, told the American Osteopathic Association, "From an evolutionary perspective, humans are primed to pay attention to threats or negative information. So it makes sense that people hold onto fears that vaccines are harmful, especially when they believe their children are in danger."4

How safe are vaccines?

The CDC states, "Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages,"5 but this isn't the whole truth. Studies comparing vaccinated populations with unvaccinated populations are rare, but one conducted in 2017 was eye-opening.

It examined the introduction of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and oral polio vaccine (OPV) in an urban African community in the early 1980s, offering a rare opportunity to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children due to the way the vaccines were rolled out.

Surprisingly, DTP was associated with increased mortality among 3- to 5-month-old children, and differences in background factors did not explain the effect.6 According to the study, "The negative effect was particularly strong for children who had received DTP-only and no OPV … All-cause infant mortality after 3 months of age increased after the introduction of these vaccines."7

It's suggested that while DTP may be protective against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, it may increase children's susceptibility to unrelated infections, making mortality rates five times higher for DTP-vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated children. The researchers explained:8

"It should be of concern that the effect of routine vaccinations on all-cause mortality was not tested in randomized trials. All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections."

Other clinical trials in West Africa revealed that a high titer measles vaccine interacted with the DTP vaccine, resulting in a 33 percent increase in infant mortality.9 In this case, the finding led to the withdrawal of that experimental measles vaccine targeting very young infants, but what would have happened had those studies never been done? Clearly, we need many more like them.

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Vaccine injuries do occur

People are right to question use of pharmaceutical products and medical procedures before agreeing to them, including finding out the likelihood that adverse reactions will occur. This is certainly the case with vaccination, but people are often belittled or ridiculed if they question the status quo.

Some doctors will even refuse to provide medical treatment to adults or to children of parents who question vaccine safety and effectiveness or simply want to follow a vaccine schedule that is different from the one the CDC recommends10 It's a theme that permeates conventional medicine.

In an interview with CBS News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), flat-out denied that vaccines can and do cause injuries and death. The news outlet had featured parents who are concerned about vaccination risks, including one woman whose middle child suffered from severe reactions to vaccinations.

Understandably, she then refused to vaccinate her youngest son and stated, "If I could go back, I wouldn't have vaccinated any of my kids."11

When asked what to say to such parents, who have experienced adverse vaccine reactions among their own children and are hesitant to have the same procedure performed on another child, Fauci graciously said they shouldn't be denigrated but that they must be told vaccines are "very safe."

Yet, serious adverse events occur far more often than publicly admitted, with 1 in 168 children requiring emergency room admittance following their 1-year wellness check when vaccines are given, according to Canadian research.12

One in 730 children ends up in the emergency room after their 18-month vaccination appointment, as well, and researchers noted an additional 20 febrile seizures occurred for every 100,000 vaccinated at 12 months.

"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 researchers concluded.13

$4.1 billion paid out in vaccine injuries

In the U.S., there is a federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) that Congress created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. handles contested vaccine injury and death cases in what has become known as "vaccine court."

In their latest release of data and statistics, the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) revealed that, since 1988, approximately $4.1 billion has been paid out in compensation to victims of vaccine injury.14

During that time, 20,808 petitions have been filed with the VICP, but only 17,989 have been adjudicated. Of those, the majority — 11,350 — were dismissed while only 6,639 were determined to be compensable. How much more might have been paid out if so many cases weren't dismissed perhaps fraudulently?15

Are certain populations more at risk of adverse reactions?

In a 2012 report Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that there is individual susceptibility to vaccine reactions for genetic, biological and environmental reasons and that doctors often cannot predict who will be harmed before vaccination:16

"Both epidemiologic and mechanistic research suggests that most individuals who experience an adverse reaction to vaccines have a pre-existing susceptibility. These predispositions can exist for a number of reasons — genetic variants (in human or microbiome DNA), environmental exposures, behaviors, intervening illness or developmental stage, to name just a few, all of which can interact.

Some of these adverse reactions are specific to the particular vaccine, while others may not be. Some of these predispositions may be detectable prior to the administration of vaccine; others, at least with current technology and practice, are not."

Questions about vaccines that need to be answered include whether certain populations are more susceptible to vaccine adverse events.

The late Dr. Bernadine Healy, who was the first female director of the National Institutes of Health, serving from 1991 until 1993, was among those who expressed concern that no government attempts have been made to determine if a population of susceptible people exists for whom vaccines are risky.

She said she did not believe "the public would lose faith in vaccines" if such a population were found, a fear she said was expressed at the Institute of Medicine. She also lamented how animal studies, which provide evidence that there is a link between vaccination and neurological damage, have been ignored.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries, author of "Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History," is a nephrologist who has raised similar concerns, suggesting that vaccines may not be safe for people with chronic conditions like kidney failure, or for babies, who have reduced kidney function compared to adults.

As Dr. Humphries said in a video, "We're very careful as nephrologists when treating babies because the kidney function of babies isn't the same as adults — it's vastly reduced. But when it comes to vaccines, this reduced kidney function in infants is always left out of the discussion."

Fraud, conflict of interest are common

Wrongdoing by pharmaceutical companies and government was a top reason cited for vaccine safety doubts in the featured survey, and for good reason.

Take, for instance, William Thompson, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIR), who confessed that he conspired with colleagues to cover up links found between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

Children's Health Defense and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have also requested an investigation into fraud and obstruction of justice by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials during the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services omnibus autism proceedings in 2007.

"DOJ attorneys and HHS officials purposefully and maliciously deceived the NVICP, also known as 'vaccine court,' in order to deny relief to 5,400 children whose injury claims threatened to bankrupt the vaccine program," the request reads.17

Dr. K. Paul Stoller, fellow, American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, has also questioned whether vaccine policy is really about safeguarding the public, and his stance deserves consideration. As he wrote in Acta Scientific Paediatrics:18

"In the U.S., the Pharmaceutical industry is the largest campaign donor to politicians and the largest advertiser in all forms of media, but even that level on influence should still yield to safeguards on human rights and bioethics.

For when a medical intervention becomes shielded from liability and is then mandated by governments who are often in an unholy partnership with the corporations responsible for that intervention then we are all in peril.

When coercion becomes part of the equation, a crime against humanity is being perpetrated. The intellectual and social suppression of views, research and information inconvenient to vaccine stakeholders and proponents is no different today than it was for those who opposed the practice of bloodletting and dosing patients with mercury.

The difference today are the economic factors, for it is projected that by 2020, global vaccine revenues exceed $60 billion dollars, so with that amount of money in play vaccine and public health policies have been made to support the desires of a criminal cabal where informed consent is perhaps the only remaining firewall."

The ability to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices for yourself and your children must be protected, because vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all-solution, nor is the U.S. public as a whole a one-size-fits-all population. Americans are right to not only question vaccine safety, but also to demand more research into their potential to cause harm.