Home > Science & Research > Improving Measles Vaccine Efficacy with the Help of a Rat

Improving Measles Vaccine Efficacy with the Help of a Rat

March 15, 2011

The cotton rat helps researchers at Ohio State University with vaccine efficacy

Have you ever wondered how the immunization schedule is created and what determines the ideal age for children to receive immunizations from certain diseases? 

When exploring this question you can refer to the videos on the Vaccinate Your Baby website.   Here experts explain that the schedule is influenced by evaluating the risks.  In other words, children should be immunized against disease prior to the time when they are most susceptible. 

However, in the case of measles, the recommended schedule for administering the vaccine has a lot to do with efficacy.  Children don’t receive a measles vaccination until they are 12-15 months old, mainly because the maternal antibodies that nursing mothers transfer to their babies through their breast milk keeps the vaccination from working effectively.  Unfortunately, while breast milk has numerous health advantages to children, in the case of measles the maternal antibodies aren’t necessarily strong enough to protect a child from infection.   Therefore, a child is vulnerable to contracting this highly contagious disease before the vaccine is able to be effectively administered. 

Fortunately, just this past weekend, The Columbus Dispatch detailed current research being conducted at Ohio State University.  With the help of a common cotton rat, the study (as detailed here) was able to determine how the maternal antibodies interfere with the efficacy of the vaccine and then test a protein that can be added to the vaccine to make it more effective at a younger age.     

Since measles is a highly contagious disease, that often causes severe brain damage in those that contract it, these advancements are very promising.  Additionally, since we have seen several documented measles outbreaks in the US in just the past few weeks, these advancements couldn’t happen soon enough.  Hopefully, in the future, we can provide more children with the protection they need, when they need it.

  1. ma
    March 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    MEASLES IS NOT DEADLY.

  2. ma
    March 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    “Since measles is a highly contagious disease, that often causes severe brain damage in those that contract it, these advancements are very promising.”

    ARE YOU KIDDING??? THE VACCINE ITSELF PROBABLY CAUSES MORE BRAIN DAMAGE THAN THE ACTUAL DISEASE ITSELF. RIDICULOUS.

  3. Janine
    March 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    What statistics are you basing the comment “often causes severe brain damage in those that contract it” on? Can we compare the chances of getting brain damage from measles with the chances of getting brain damage from the vaccine, so that we parents can make a fully informed decision based on research statistics from a source not funded by the vaccine maker? Thanks.

  4. Christine
    March 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve referenced information located on the CDC website regarding the transmission of, complications from, and incidence of measles to help educate our readers regarding this vaccine preventable disease. (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/overview.html)

    “Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.”

    “In developing countries, where malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency are common, measles has been known to kill as many as one out of four people. It is the leading cause of blindness among African children. Measles kills almost 1 million children in the world each year.”

    “Measles is very rare in countries and regions of the world that are able to keep vaccination coverage high. In North and South America, Finland, and some other areas, endemic measles transmission is considered to have been interrupted through vaccination. There are still sporadic cases of measles in the United States because visitors from other countries or US citizens traveling abroad can become infected before or during travel and spread the infection to unvaccinated or unprotected persons.”

    “Measles is highly contagious and can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus.”

    Considering that in the past month there have been several measles cases being tracked in the US (one from a French consulate worker in Boston, and one from an unvaccinated US resident who had returned via airplane from travels in Europe), I believe it is important that young children be protected from this disease. Not only are they susceptible to complications if they contract measles, but they could also be responsible for unknowingly passing it on to other non-vaccinated infants, pregnant women and adults.

  5. Christine
    March 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Contrary to what many people are led to believe, there are plenty of vaccine safety studies that have not been funded by vaccine makers. I would like to offer parents several resources that include links to numerous studies on vaccine safety and side effects, most (but not all) specific to the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine (MMR).

    CDC Website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/MMR/MMR.html
    Vaccinate Your Baby Website: http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org/safe/research.cfm
    National Network for Immunization Information: http://www.immunizationinfo.org/vaccines/measles#known-side-effects
    Every Child By Two: http://vaccinesafety.ecbt.org/ecbt/studies.htm

    Hopefully these sites will help inform parents and allow them to compare the serious risk of complications from vaccine preventable diseases vs. the small risk of side effects from the vaccines themselves.

  6. kan
    March 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Anti Breast feeding much???? This article is so wrong in so many ways. you keep your chemicals, ill keep my kid.

  7. March 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    just bad science….

  8. March 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    just bad science…

  9. Christine
    March 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Kan, I’m not sure how you feel that this article is in any way anti-breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is probably one of the most important things a mother can do to help ensure good health for her child. The maternal antibodies are very powerful. So much, in fact, that they interfere with the measles vaccine. However, if you actually read the article that I have linked to, you will discover (in greater detail) the amazing way in which the maternal antibodies work in the body, as well as how they prevent full protection from measles. What fascinates me is that the current scientific research will help to find a way to make the vaccine more effective at a younger age. This in no way suggests that a mother should not breast feed. Personally, all five of my children were breastfed for over a year and I strongly believe that breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for both mothers and their children whenever possible.

  10. Christine
    March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I’m not sure I understand Casea. What about this makes it bad science? These are new discoveries that can help with vaccine efficacy. I would say that this is very encouraging.

  11. Chris
    March 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Perhaps you should support your opinion with some actual documentation. Please share with us the evidence that the vaccine is worse than the disease. It needs to be a publication that I can find in my local medical school library. Thank you.

  12. Chris
    March 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Oh, really? You might want to tell that to the Parkers:

    http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_17547430

  13. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Wow! You really ARE drinking from the kool-aid, aren’t you? As good as you are at spouting the accepted rhetoric, have you spent ANY time looking into all the children that have been maimed and killed from vaccines? Think much for yourself?

  14. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Wow! You really ARE drinking from the kool-aid, aren’t you? As good as you are at spouting the accepted rhetoric, have you spent ANY time looking into all the children that have been maimed and killed from vaccines? Think much for yourself?

  15. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Here’s ONE book …of many…that includes thousands of studies and medical journal articles which may open your eyes a bit….if you’re willing to actually be open minded.

    Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, 2nd Edition: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection [Paperback]
    Neil Z. Miller (Author)

  16. Chris
    March 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    No, just show us the studies. I know about that book, it does not qualify.

    Thank you.

  17. Steve Michaels
    March 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Here you go Chris. I wasn’t going to really bother commenting on this propaganda piece since the tide certainly seems to be turning against you. It’s all part of the ‘global awakening’ that is occurring. People are starting to act more human and less like sheep and not blindly accept what they are told by people who have (or have been led by) vested interests in people acting like sheep.

    http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/

    FACT: Measles was already WELL on the way out BEFORE vaccines and vaccines had virtually ZERO effect on the established rate of decline.

    Here’s a quote form Christine:

    “Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.”

    From the CDC as well:

    “During January 1–April 25, 2008, a total of 64 preliminary confirmed measles cases were reported from the following areas: New York City (22 cases), Arizona (15), California (12), Michigan and Wisconsin (four each), Hawaii (three), and Illinois, New York state, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (one each) (Figure). Patients ranged in age from 5 months to 71 years; 14 patients were aged 50 years, including one U.S. resident born before 1957″

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5718a5.htm

    Further down in the report, total number requiring hospital treatment: 14 (22%)
    Total deaths: 0
    Total report permanent damage: 0

    I smell a bit of fear mongering (again) going on!

    By the way, from Merck’s own website about MMRii:

    Some side effects are rare but may be serious. You should call your health care provider if you notice any
    of the following problems:
    • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, or a skin rash may be signs of an allergic reaction.
    • Bleeding or bruising under the skin.
    • Seizures, a severe headache, or a change in behavior or consciousness.

    Please note two things, firstly the Seizures, etc. warning is a warning about encephalitis and ultra high fever, secondly in vaccine talk, ‘rare’ events mean 1 in 1,000, the same rate you claim the disease causes complications. When spouting propaganda, remember that some people DO search for the truth!

  18. Steve Michaels
    March 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    OMG!! I couldn’t believe what I read when I clicked the link! THIS CHILD DIED OF ENCEPHALITIS AND ENCEPHALOMYELITIS AFTER VACCINATION!! Talk about twisting an anecdotal case to fit the propaganda!! I am truly shocked at the blatant attempt to use a child’s vaccine related death as a call to vaccinate both by Chris and the article’s author!! The article clearly states that she probably was exposed to measles BEFORE the age of vaccination, was subsequently vaccinated and the measles were ‘immune-resistant’ which is exactly what many anti-vaccine medical professionals say can happen with vaccines. By wrongly introducing vaccines by bypassing the mucosal immune response (80% of the immune system) viruses can fester unabated. Man! Talk about using evidence against vaccines to promote them!! This is Orwellian ‘double-speak’ to the max!

  19. Janet
    March 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    You are incorrect on every source you give. Research a little further and you will find that all of these studies were and are funded by vaccine makers and or those who stand to benefit financially from vaccines. Not quite the unbiased studies. On the other hand studies that have been done independent of vaccine makers and financers has shown the opposite and actually show that children are at a higher risk of severe side affects from vaccines then they are from the illness the vaccines supposedly prevent.
    I say supposedly, because in every outbreak of measles in this country the majority of those who get the measles are people who were in fact vaccinated against the measles.
    As for me and my house, we prefer to trust what God has given us over what vaccine makers think they can improve on.

  20. Gayl Hamilton
    March 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Seriously?????? Don’t breastfeed because it will interfere with a vaccine? Sorry…
    the only reason that breastmilk doesn’t protect efficaciously against measles is because the mothers have all received MMRs up the wazoo, which is NOT effective protection for either mother or baby.
    And if you will do your research (please do your research!) the negative effects of the actual disease are exactly the same of the vaccine…except instead of getting measles at age 4 or 5, when it is relatively benign, we are giving all of our children this immunologic insult at the age of 12 to 15 months when they are much more likely to suffer the ill effects…
    I guess that “evidence based medicine” is only used when it is financially beneficial…quite a sad state of affairs…

    Gayl Hamilton, MD

  21. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Compare that to the amount of deaths that have been caused from vaccines…oh yeah, the medical community doesn’t track those…hmmmm…

  22. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Right on Sister!:0)

  23. ma
    March 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    in 1984, 58% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1985, there was a measles outbreak in corpus christi, tx. the population was FULLY VACCINATED. in 1986, there was a measles outbreak in dane county, wi. 96% of the cases were in VACCINATED people. in 1988, 69% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1989, 89% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1995, 56% of all measles cases in the us occurred in people who were previously VACCINATED. (source: nejm 1987;316:771-74. jama 1990; 263:2467-71. several cdc mmwrs.)

    http://www.vaccineriskawareness.com/Diseases-In-The-Vaccinated

  24. ma
    March 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    and here is some info that will back up what janet is saying about the vaccinated getting measles during “outbreaks.”

    in 1984, 58% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1985, there was a measles outbreak in corpus christi, tx. the population was FULLY VACCINATED. in 1986, there was a measles outbreak in dane county, wi. 96% of the cases were in VACCINATED people. in 1988, 69% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1989, 89% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1995, 56% of all measles cases in the us occurred in people who were previously VACCINATED. (source: nejm 1987;316:771-74. jama 1990; 263:2467-71. several cdc mmwrs.)

    http://www.vaccineriskawareness.com/Diseases-In-The-Vaccinated

  25. ma
    March 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    gayl, may i just say that it is so refreshing to see a medical doctor speak the truth? thank you.

  26. Allie
    March 15, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Chris :No, just show us the studies. I know about that book, it does not qualify.
    Thank you.</blocks

    You know about it? Did you ACTUALLY read it? There's studies AND actual cases in there ALL DAY LONG…you want us to do the research for you…why don't you spend some time looking things up yourself? If all your looking for is pro vaccine propaganda that's all your going to find. If you actually start looking for the truth, you just might find it:0) Look into: The amish communities…they have had no problems with autism until some of them were pressured into beginning to vaccinate. The rate of autism now (about 1 in 100) compared to 30 yrs ago (about 300 times that)…compare that to the rise in vaccines given in the last 30 yrs.

  27. Ryan
    March 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    From the link Steve posted above…
    “Sixty-three of the 64 patients were unvaccinated or had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one patient had documentation of receiving 2 doses of MMR vaccine. None of the five patients who were visitors to the United States had been vaccinated. Among the 59 patients who were U.S. residents, 13 were aged 20 years, 14 had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, two had claimed exemptions and acquired measles in Europe, one had evidence of immunity because of birth before 1957, and one had documentation of receiving 2 doses of MMR vaccine.”

    It seems to me that the unvaccinated do have a higher incidence of measles than the vaccinated.

  28. Ryan
    March 16, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Actually, the incidence of seizures after vaccination with MMR is 1 in 3000, not 1 in 1000. I found this here: http://cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

    BTW, nice cherry picking of info from the CDC MMWR. Did you actually read the whole report?

  29. Amy
    March 16, 2011 at 12:31 am

    MA said: “in 1984, 58% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1985, there was a measles outbreak in corpus christi, tx. the population was FULLY VACCINATED. in 1986, there was a measles outbreak in dane county, wi. 96% of the cases were in VACCINATED people. in 1988, 69% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1989, 89% of all school-aged children in the us who contracted measles were ADEQUATELY VACCINATED. in 1995, 56% of all measles cases in the us occurred in people who were previously VACCINATED. (source: nejm 1987;316:771-74. jama 1990; 263:2467-71. several cdc mmwrs.)

    Well, considering a second MMR shot was introduced into the schedule in 1989, this is outdated information at best.

    The rest is just math. Of course in North America, in any outbreak, there is an excellent chance that the majority of people effected will be fully immunized. That’s just math. For example:

    Pardon me while I cut and paste- as with most issues around immunology and infectious disease… the CDC says it better than I can…

    “MISCONCEPTION #2. The majority of people who get disease have been vaccinated.

    This is another argument frequently found in anti-vaccine literature – the implication being that this proves vaccines are not effective. In fact it is true that in an outbreak those who have been vaccinated often outnumber those who have not – even with vaccines such as measles, which we know to be about 98% effective when used as recommended.

    This is explained by two factors. No vaccine is 100% effective. Most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85% to 95% of recipients. For reasons related to the individual, some will not develop immunity. The second fact is that in a country such as the United States the people who have been vaccinated vastly outnumber those who have not. Here’s a hypothetical example of how these two factors work together.

    In a high school of 1,000 students, none has ever had measles. All but 5 of the students have had two doses of measles vaccine, and so are fully immunized. The entire student body is exposed to measles, and every susceptible student becomes infected. The 5 unvaccinated students will be infected, of course. But of the 995 who have been vaccinated, we would expect several not to respond to the vaccine. The efficacy rate for two doses of measles vaccine can be higher than 99%. In this class, 7 students do not respond, and they, too, become infected. Therefore 7 of 12, or about 58%, of the cases occur in students who have been fully vaccinated.

    As you can see, this doesn’t prove the vaccine didn’t work – only that most of the children in the class had been vaccinated, so those who were vaccinated and did not respond outnumbered those who had not been vaccinated. Looking at it another way, 100% of the children who had not been vaccinated got measles, compared with less than 1% of those who had been vaccinated. Measles vaccine protected most of the class; if nobody in the class had been vaccinated, there would probably have been 1,000 cases of measles.

    From http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm

  30. Nathan
    March 16, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Allie, if the book has references that are actual evidence, then it should be no problem to simply link to them instead of saying “read the book.” But it does not. I’ve read Miller’s book. It’s nowhere close to making a true argument against vaccines, if you’ve actually familiar with all the research. Like most antivaccine literature, loves to cherry pick things that support the author’s position, but leave out the overwhelming volume of studies that do not.

    The Amish thing is nonsense invented by Olmsted and AoA. There is no evidence that the Amish developed Autism after being “pressured into beginning to vaccinate.”

    If you want to spend some time “looking things up yourself,” look up how the diagnosis of autism has changed over these thirty years. The rate of autism and the rate of diagnosis of autism are two entirely different things.

  31. Gayl Hamilton
    March 16, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Umm, if I read Steve’s piece correctly he said that “rare” event is about equivalent to 1 in 1,000 and did not specify anything pertaining to the incidence of seizures.
    Secondly, if you are getting your figures from the CDC rather than an actual research paper you are feeding off one of the biggest bowls of cherries on the face of the earth.
    Need I bring up the “36,000 deaths from influenza yearly” issue – computer generated and totally unfounded if you look at the actual numbers on same said CDC site?
    Need I bring up the Hepatitis B statistics noted on the VIS statements handed out to parents that utilize 3rd world numbers and have absolutely no pertinence to the US???
    Need I bring up the fact that MAYBE 10% of vaccine reactions are actually reported to VAERS which is the basis for most/all of the CDCs published safety information?
    I’ve read the whole report, and then I have read the articles cited in the references for said report, and have even gone so far as reading some of the references for the references – just because I was so incredulous about how the information the CDC presents to the public and professionals is distorted – I’ve read enough now to no longer be incredulous, just rather disgusted.

  32. Nathan
    March 16, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Gayl,
    You should do more than bring them up, you should justify your assertions with evidence.

    Influenza deaths vary from year to year. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples, though, and many deaths from secondary complications of influenza like pneumonia in particular.

    Here is the VIS for Hep B, so you can point out the third world data, with some evidence that it is the case.

    VAERS is not the basis for much of the CDCs data, information is used from studies and sources such as the vaccine safety datalink. Need I bring up that VAERS is NOT a record of adverse reactions from vaccines?

  33. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Allie, which version of the DSM for autism are you using for a benchmark? The one before or after 1994? Please do not compare apples to oranges.

    Miller is a journalist, not a researcher. Plus, I checked with the medical school library and it does not even have this book. Therefore it did not qualify by not being available in the local medical school library.

    I find it interesting that Allie could not just go to the bibliography of her copy of Miller’s book and find the appropriate cite. You know, something like:

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.
    Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kieltyka A, Majewska R.

    or

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

    or

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

    (I do not have your patience, Nathan. Sorry. While I ignore him, I see all there are several comments from Steve Michaels, does anyone still take that guy seriously? Especially after the his last Godwin? Really?)

  34. Allie
    March 16, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Chris :Allie, which version of the DSM for autism are you using for a benchmark? The one before or after 1994? Please do not compare apples to oranges.
    Miller is a journalist, not a researcher. Plus, I checked with the medical school library and it does not even have this book. Therefore it did not qualify by not being available in the local medical school library.
    I find it interesting that Allie could not just go to the bibliography of her copy of Miller’s book and find the appropriate cite. You know, something like:
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kieltyka A, Majewska R.
    or
    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.Hornig M et al.PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    or
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    (I do not have your patience, Nathan. Sorry. While I ignore him, I see all there are several comments from Steve Michaels, does anyone still take that guy seriously? Especially after the his last Godwin? Really?)

    You know Chris..unlike you, obviously, I have a busy life and don’t have time to spoon feed information to ppl who wouldn’t believe the truth even if it bit them in the butt. We can sit here and quote statistics all day long, but any opinion can be backed up by some stats. But unfortunately, just like Gayle said you are taking your information from a source that definitely picks and chooses the information that they spit out to the masses. As far as my reference to the Amish, ” is nonsense” wow! This all boils down to the fact that everyone on here that is trying to convince us that vaccines are so great are all spouting a bunch of the CDC’s propaganda. I’m a mom and I DO NOT VACCINATE…I will not put something in my child’s body that, all of the time, the side effects are worse or equal to the disease we are vaccinating against. Until you are willing to look beyond the information they are spoon feeding you and realize that just because it’s in print doesn’t mean it’s true, there’s no point. I could spend the next week looking up my references, but I really don’t think you would look at any of it with an open mind soo I’m done.-

  35. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    So you lost your copy of the book and can’t look up the studies. Okay. Thanks for trying. Or not.

    Really, when you put forth statements like “the side effects are worse or equal to the disease we are vaccinating against”, you really should be able to defend them. Otherwise we just think you are making them up.

    Especially with a new study coming out of Germany that found unvaccinated children are not any healthier than vaccinated children, and actually get more measles, pertussis and mumps. You can read about here:

    http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=211

  36. Suzanne
    March 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I am relatively new to this debate. I was vaccinated as a child. I never heard anything contrary to vaccinations so when I had my first baby in 2001, we of course “did the right thing” and vaccinated at the doctors schedule. We really liked our PMD. She is a great person that I feel truly had our well being in mind. It wasn’t until child number 4 that I noticed some real issues with vaccines. Our 4th child received 5 vaccines at her 18 month well child visit. Things just weren’t the same. She had diarrhea for the next six months. I was beginning to have some unexplained health issues at the time and began seeing a Naturopathic Physician. So I decided to take my 4th child to see him. He suggested it may have been the vaccines and proscribed probiotics. I had never even thought that vaccines could cause these sorts of health issues. And I had never used probiotics. I’d never had problems like that.
    I had heard some of the debate going on about autism and vaccines, but I simply felt those were unusual cases. I felt sympathy for their situation. I could understand how those parents felt. They were angry and they wanted someone to blame, someone to hear them and fix their problem. But I did not take their claims seriously until I started seeing some adverse reactions in my own child.
    Now, I really don’t know for sure that my 4th child’s digestive issues stemmed from those vaccinations, but at the suggestion of the ND that I began seeing, I chose to start studying for myself about vaccines. He wasn’t pushy in any way, but merely suggested some literature that I could explore. So, I did. As a result of my studies, I decided to have baby #5 at home with no vaccinations. The birth went well. And I am still hoping that this non-vaccination is the right move. I still have questions. I realize that I am not a doctor, but the reading I have done suggests that this is a good move. I did study both sides and weighed carefully the pros and cons.
    I have not seen any permanent health/mental issues as a direct result of the vaccines I myself received and those that were given to my children. However I must conclude that the health risks seem far greater for people living in the US who receive the vaccines than those that do not.
    If we want to be truly scientific about this let’s talk about the law of natural selection. No one wants to see their child taken as a result of that child being “the weak one.” We could say that those that have invented vaccines probably had good in their heart. They wanted to DO something! I think there are people on both sides of this issue that love children and want to minimize pain and suffering. I do believe as well that there are those individuals that choose to extort humankind’s basic desire to minimize suffering and stay alive. They make lots and lots of money off of hype and fear, the fear of disease. Natural selection is a scientific principle. Suffering is a reality. The real problem is that people want to be right. They want to play God and remove all suffering and take all the glory (and the profit) at the expense of our vulnerability, our desire to live.
    I happen to be a deeply religious person. I believe that God is the Father of us all. It makes no sense to me to accuse each other and blame ordinary people for not seeing “the truth”. There are so many questions that science can’t answer and even when they can, they certainly can’t explain at least to my satisfaction, WHY.
    I made the decision I did not to vaccinate my 5th child as a result of the reading that I did and the inspiration I felt that I received from God. I am not going to be arrogant enough to say that this is the truth for everyone. It is up to each person to decide and choose for themselves and then brave the consequences. I am grateful for a doctor that gave me the idea and the courage to study things out for myself.
    It troubles me when I see/read accusations and petty arguing over things that are so personal as to what one should do with something so precious as their very own child. Which really is a child on loan from God anyway. We are all accountable to Him in the end and it is my belief that those that believe in God “might with surety hope for a better world.”
    Death isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person. I have known of people that are extremely careful with their diet and health habits and then die of cancer anyway. I believe that it was simply their time to go. The Good Lord giveth and He taketh away. If the purpose to our living here on earth is to avoid suffering and death then you might as well get off this planet right now! This isn’t the place for that. I believe the purpose to our existence on earth is to prove to God how much we love Him, by choosing to do those things that will allow us to return to Him. By listening to His voice and giving up our ego. He will greatly reward those that do.
    If you think you are in control of things, ask those people in Japan how in control they feel.
    Although I cherish the right to debate and believe what I want to believe. I will not abuse someone else for their right to differ with me. Chris you can believe whatever you want on this vaccine issue. It sounds like you have seriously considered this issue and have every reason to “do the right thing” by those in your care.
    As free as we are to choose in this wonderful country, we are not free to “cherry pick” the consequences for our actions. They come as a package deal. This in the end is what caused me to lean to the choice not to vaccinate. I figured that other people had every reason to profit from my decision to vaccinate in the way of money. I have every reason to benefit from not giving my child vaccines. I would much rather let nature take its course and trust God than the science of albeit well meaning puny man. I am not saying I don’t believe in science, I just don’t agree with bad science using my vulnerability as a human to get gain.

  37. Ryan
    March 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Orac wrote about that study as well, read about it here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/03/for_the_anti-vaccinationists_out_there_t.php

    Or read the actual study here:

    http://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/article.asp?id=80869

  38. Steve Michaels
    March 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Firstly, my point was that the fear mongering of this blog is unfounded. I was not talking about vaccinated versus unvaccinated. I was talking about adverse reactions to vaccines versus severe permanent damage or death from the “prevented” disease. The rates are, at best similar, and most likely that adverse reaction to vaccines far out pace the dangers of the disease, thus rendering the ‘beloved’ risk/benefit equation pro-vaccinators love to espouse an empty propaganda argument without basis. Secondly, as previously cited and listed on other blog comments, doctors tend to class measles cases after vaccination as ‘side-effects’ thus completely skewing the official record of incidence. Read the overall side effects from the measles vaccine package insert from Merck:

    Body as a Whole
    Panniculitis; atypical measles; fever; syncope; headache; dizziness; malaise; irritability.
    Cardiovascular System
    Vasculitis.
    Digestive System
    Pancreatitis; diarrhea; vomiting; parotitis; nausea.

    These symptoms are the SAME as measles, so… if you get vaccinated and you get measles its a side-effect and NOT an infection according to the ‘official’ reporting. By the way, here’s a little tidbit that pro-vaccinators hope you don’t read:

    Cases of aseptic meningitis have been reported to VAERS following measles, mumps, and rubella
    vaccination. Although a causal relationship between the Urabe strain of mumps vaccine and aseptic
    meningitis has been shown, there is no evidence to link Jeryl Lynn™ mumps vaccine to aseptic
    meningitis.

    Read that again! Merck admits that a causal relationship has been found between aseptic meningitis and the mumps vaccine. They changed the strain and so far it hasn’t turned up but the causality has already been established.

  39. Steve Michaels
    March 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Chris :

    Miller is a journalist, not a researcher. Plus, I checked with the medical school library and it does not even have this book. Therefore it did not qualify by not being available in the local medical school library.

    Whoa, whoa there Chris!! Let me bring up Andrew Wakefield then. ALL of the derogatory information that has been published about him, and the ONLY person to file a complaint about ‘ethics’ violations was one Brian Deer who is held in the highest esteem in the pro-vaccine village. Who is Brian Deer? A JOURNALIST WITH NO MEDICAL TRAINING AT ALL!!! No only is he a journalist, he is a fraud. He claims that he has not worked for the pharmaceutical industry. He has. He claimed to be a staff writer for the New York Times. He is not and never has been. He has been a free-lance journalist who has made his name by making allegations of a medical nature with confidential medical files be passed to him from unknown sources about patients and making false claims about diagnoses without foundation. The fact that the GMC chose to accept his reporting as evidence says more about the corruption of the GMC than the finding of Dr Wakefield. If your criticism of Neil Z. Miller is that he is a journalist, then you must completely dismiss Brian Deer’s ‘reports’ and apologize for slandering Dr Wakefield as well. Otherwise your other comments must be taken in light of your penchant for double-standards.

  40. seasiren
    March 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Chris :
    So you lost your copy of the book and can’t look up the studies. Okay. Thanks for trying. Or not.
    Really, when you put forth statements like “the side effects are worse or equal to the disease we are vaccinating against”, you really should be able to defend them. Otherwise we just think you are making them up.
    Especially with a new study coming out of Germany that found unvaccinated children are not any healthier than vaccinated children, and actually get more measles, pertussis and mumps. You can read about here:
    http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=211

    I have no doubt that this German study is true. The point of many parents who are cautious about vaccinating their children aka “non-vaxers” is not to avoid disease. The point is to build true immunity. If kids get these illnesses at a young age they usually do just fine and then have lifelong immunity to it. The point to me is that there is a shadow of doubt about our vaccine schedule here in the US, and many parents are saying, “hey lets look at this.” It’s possible we are poisoning ourselves, and you can test all the rats you want to prove your point, but when you actually talk to families and their experiences you will see that people are being effected by vaccinations.
    I see it as a gamble either way, but I don’t see any point in turning it into a witch hunt because some parents are choosing to back out of vaccinating their children. If you are vaccinated why worry so much about the few that aren’t?

  41. Tam
    March 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Vaccination should be left to parents’ discretion, because ultimately the parents will be the ones who have to deal with the consequences of the vaccine or disease. Many of the illnesses we vaccinate for can be treated with antibiotics, good nutrition, quality vitamins, and probiotics. My husband had measles as a child and other than not feeling well and being sensitive to sunlight for a little while he was perfectly fine. Children who have an adequate supply of Vitamin A in their bodies have far fewer complications from measles, than ones who are lacking the vitamin.

    Here are some questions to answer for yourself in deciding about vaccinations.

    1. Name of the disease
    2. Description of the disease
    3. Length of time from initial infection to end of all symptoms
    4. Infectious period
    5. Normal symptoms of the disease
    6. Known serious consequences of the disease
    7. Proportion of persons infected developing serious consequences
    8. Transmission route of the disease
    9. Prevalence of the disease
    10. Treatments of the disease and efficacy of those treatments
    11. Relevant research about the disease
    12. Name of the vaccine
    13. Company that makes the vaccine
    14. Contents of the vaccine
    14A. The significance of whether or not the vaccine is live
    15. History of development of the vaccine
    16. Known side-effects of the vaccine and rate of incidence of those side-effects
    17. Possible side-effects not yet acknowledged by the vaccine maker
    18. Relevant research into the vaccine
    19. How effective is the vaccine at preventing the disease?
    20. What is the vaccine meant to do? (Many vaccines are not meant to prevent infection or transmission).
    21. Number of cases reported each year.
    22. Number of deaths reported each year from the vaccine and natural disease.

    Here are some sources to help you out:

    Vaccines: The Risks, The Benefits, The Choices 1/18 DVD, By Sherri J. Tenpenny

    Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child, By Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk.html (download the current issue)

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/pink-chapters.htm

    http://vaers.hhs.gov/pdf/PackageInserts.pdf

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf

  42. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t access Scienceblogs at the moment, at least not until they do something about the DDoS issue.

  43. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    seasiren: “The point is to build true immunity. If kids get these illnesses at a young age they usually do just fine and then have lifelong immunity to it.”

    Except getting chicken pox does not give you lifelong immunity (shingles is the virus acting up again). Plus measles has a one in a thousand chance of permanent disability, or encephalitis and possible death. Oh, and that chance of being hospitalized. How is that better than getting the MMR? Really?

    See:

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S210-5.
    Measles hospitalizations, United States, 1985-2002.
    Lee B, Ying M, Papania MJ, Stevenson J, Seward JF, Hutchins SS.
    Epidemiology Program Office, and National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
    Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.
    Gindler J, Tinker S, Markowitz L, Atkinson W, Dales L, Papania MJ.
    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

  44. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Allie:

    Compare that to the amount of deaths that have been caused from vaccines…oh yeah, the medical community doesn’t track those…hmmmm…

    You really do need to learn how to back up your opinions with real data, not conspiracy theories. Until then, you need to be ignored, like others who spout nonsense (and seem to have severe reading comprehension issues).

    My kids all loved Roald Dahl stories. You should read this story by him to your kids.

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
    Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.
    Gindler J, Tinker S, Markowitz L, Atkinson W, Dales L, Papania MJ.
    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

    J Infect Dis. 2005 Nov 15;192(10):1686-93. Epub 2005 Oct 12.
    Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis: more cases of this fatal disease are prevented by measles immunization than was previously recognized.
    Bellini WJ, Rota JS, Lowe LE, Katz RS, Dyken PR, Zaki SR, Shieh WJ, Rota PA.
    Respiratory and Enteric Viruses Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.

  45. Chris
    March 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Actually, the article does not say that. It says they are trying to develop a vaccine that will work earlier. That is what is meant when it said “then test a protein that can be added to the vaccine to make it more effective at a younger age.”

  46. seasiren
    March 17, 2011 at 12:15 am

    maybe I am just daft, but I am not sure what your point is. That over 13,000 people were hospitalized with measles during the 5 year period and about 200 died from it? ok.
    Autism is a public health concern. Lets make vaccines safe!

    Int J Epidemiol. 2004 Apr;33(2):374-80.

    The introduction of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and child mortality in rural Guinea-Bissau: an observational study.

    Aaby P, Jensen H, Gomes J, Fernandes M, Lisse IM.

    and

    http://sanevax.org/blog/?p=2053

    this one is new last month..

  47. Steve Michaels
    March 17, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in the German study:

    “The study was carried out in Germany (some of you might have already guessed that) and looked at 13,359 children who had received at least one vaccination and 94 children who had received not a single vaccination.”

    A proper control and subject study should equalize the effects of other issues and the subject and control groups should be of relatively equal proportions. Comparing 13,000 to 94 does not in any scientific way provide any result, pro or con the hypothosis, of statistical significance. But then again, I fully expect that Chris knows this but chooses to ignore it.

  48. Kelly
    March 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I read the posts here and debated whether I should respond or not. Then I saw the appeal on the VYB facebook page and decided I should, for the parents that might be reading this blog and influenced by the comments made here.

    I have yet to come across an anti-vaccine argument that isn’t based on misinformation, misconception or logical fallacy and the arguments presented here are no exception. I have tried to counter these arguments with the correct information in the past, but I quickly learned that anti-vaxers aren’t really interested in correct information, especially correct information that counters their beliefs. Usually when confronted with such information one of three things happened: the anti-vaxer resorts to name-calling, the anti-vaxer moves the goal posts or the anti-vaxer enters a state of denial. I’m sure you can see this in action by reading the responses of the anti-vaxers posting on here.

    The typical approach of an anti-vaxer is to make some extraordinary claim and then ask the pro-vax camp to “prove them wrong”. First, the traditional standard in scientific discourse is that the person making the claim, must provide evidence to convince us that they are right, not that the audience must show that the claim is false. A parent will save a lot of precious time by just outright rejecting any claim that isn’t accompanied by evidence to support it. Second, it is difficult to sum up decades of scientific knowledge on immunology, infectious disease, and pharmocology is a brief blog post or comment. There isn’t one source that “proves them wrong”. There are thousands of pieces of the puzzle that when all taken together, proves them wrong. How do we present that in a 30 second sound bite without leaving out information or oversimplifying for a general audience? Finally, IIRC, Paul Offit said that once a bell is rung, you cannot unring it. I have studied infectious disease for almost 25 years. I know the anti-vax claims are bogus, and even then, I half expected by kid’s head to explode when she got the MMR vaccine because I had been reading the bogus claims on the internet. Beware of the power of suggestion to influence you to make an illogical decision.

    So for parents, I offer this:

    1. “A postmodern Pandora’s box: Anti-vaccination misinformation on the Internet” by Anna Kata. This article was published in Vaccine in 2010 (28:1709-1716) and Kata is an anthropologist. The paper addresses many of the common anti-vaccination misinformation that parents may encounter on the internet. The paper is available as a PDF here: http://resources.cpha.ca/CCIAP/data/1700e.pdf

    2. Gather information from only reputable sites and learn wht counts as a legitimate source. WHO maintains a list of reputable sites for vaccine information here: http://www.who.int/immunization_safety/safety_quality/approved_vaccine_safety_websites/en/ Notice that this is a global list, so if you think the CDC is part of some conspiracy theory, try another country. Surely they can’t all be corrupt? NIH has a launch site for many resources on how to evaluate information on the internet here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/evaluatinghealthinformation.html

    3. When you gather information, do not only visit websites. Visit a post-secondary institution and read introductory textbooks on: microbiology, immunology, and pharmacology for the sciences. Also study logic and critical thinking and the scientific method so that you can evaluate the strength of arguments both for and against vaccination.

    4.If you desire to read the primary articles yourself I recommend a couple of sources. First PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) and Google Scholar. Second, a book – “Vaccines: Expert Consult, 5th Edition” by Plotkin, Oreinstein and Offit. It is expensive (over $300) which is why I think most people haven’t read it. I was able to borrow a copy from the library, but would love my own copy to refer to easily when countering anti-vax misinformation. The 5th Edition was published in 2008 and I suspect a new edition will be out soon, so I’m holding out for an updated edition. The chapter from this book on the immunology of vaccines is hosted by WHO, in PDF, here: http://www.who.int/immunization/documents/Elsevier_Vaccine_immunology.pdf so you can see what the book is like. The WHO also hosts a webpage on the immunological basis of vaccines here: http://www.who.int/immunization/documents/immunological_basis_series/en/. Some modules of the series are horribly out of date, but others have been recently updated.

    Finally, I would like to emphasis that there really isn’t a vaccine controversy or debate. It is rare for scientists and doctors in all affected disciplines to be so uniformly in support of something. The evidence for the safety and efficiency of vaccination is so overwhelming in favor of vaccination, there really is little to debate in the minds of scientists. There are a few cases where vaccination may not be the best choice for an individual, and I think this is where a parent should concentrate their efforts and bring their concerns to their child’s doctor. The doctor has the training to address these concerns and help the parent decide if these concerns are valid or not.

  49. Gary
    March 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    No, It doesn’t, ma. IT just doesn’t. But if you know better, please provide proof. You know reliable scientific evidence.

  50. Steve Michaels
    March 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    If you are right Chris, then why is there now a separate vaccine for shingles aside from the chicken pox vaccine??? IT’S THE SAME VIRUS, yet none of you question why there are 2 completely different vaccines…

  51. Nathan
    March 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    A genuinely good question. Old people do not mount as robust of an immune response as children, and require a stronger vaccine. The zoster vaccine has over ten times as much antigen in it. This is the major difference between the two vaccines.

    There is now a stronger influenza vaccine for the elderly as well, BTW.

  52. Steve Michaels
    March 28, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Nathan :
    A genuinely good question. Old people do not mount as robust of an immune response as children, and require a stronger vaccine. The zoster vaccine has over ten times as much antigen in it. This is the major difference between the two vaccines.
    There is now a stronger influenza vaccine for the elderly as well, BTW.

    And if shingles is triggered by an exposure to varicella later in life after contracting chicken pox, how does ensuring that exposure prevent shingles? It seems to defy logic. Oddly in the UK it was reported (yes, I know that you won’t count it as evidence, so I am only reporting what was reported) that a shingles outbreak was actually caused by children shedding varicella after vaccination. It is well known that live vaccines can be shed by recipients for up to two weeks after injection.

  53. Chris
    March 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Something, Mr. Michaels, you would understand more if you had a better understanding of biology and immunology.

    As I understand it, the varicella virus waits out in the nerves, and it is held at bay by the immune system. But after a while that fades, and often during times of stress it reactivates and causes a great deal of pain. The vaccine is intended to “wake up” and further educate the immune system.

    It will take a while, but the generation of kids who have not had chicken pox will be free from shingles as they get older. Alas! It will not include mine, as they all got the disease a year before the vaccine came out (including the fully six-month old breastfed baby!).

    To help you understand many of these very difficult concepts please consider enrolling in your local community college. Taking some basic science and statistics classes should help you in the future to understand the issues that have been discussed.

    Because of your lack of knowledge is hindering you, not helping.

  54. Nathan
    March 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Shingles is not triggered by exposure to varicella later in life. This is a good example of what we have been talking to you about – trying to make an assertion without understanding the basics.

    When most people recover from chickenpox, they do not completely get rid of the virus. It lives dormantly in their nerve roots and their body is continually trying to keep it there. However, when you get older and your immunity wanes, the virus has a chance to re-emerge. It erupts along a distribution of the nerve it has been living in, and causes painful shingles.

    Re-exposure to wild type or vaccine-type virus “reminds” the body how to keep the live virus in check and reduces the chance of shingles.

    Oddly in the UK it was reported (yes, I know that you won’t count it as evidence, so I am only reporting what was reported) that a shingles outbreak was actually caused by children shedding varicella after vaccination.

    Instead of reporting on the report, you should find and link to the report. I expect that you are not remembering it correctly. Exposure to vaccine shedding, which is rare for chickenpox (it only occurs briefly if you develop an outcropping of lesions after vaccination) would reduce the chance of shingles.

    What the report might have been discussing is the fact that since wild-type varicella is now rare, people who had chickenpox as a child are not being re-exposed and “reminded,” causing an increase in shingles among the elderly. Fortunatley, the vaccine strain does not live in the nerve roots, so this will not be a problem for nearly all people vaccinated against chickenpox, and there is now a vaccine to help “remind” the immune systems of those who had wild chickenpox.

  55. Steve Michaels
    March 29, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I stand corrected and must also correct you. The research by Britain’s Public Health Laboratory Service found that if children are all vaccinated against chicken pox, natural exposures to adults would be reduced, thus increasing the risk of shingles because of the immune system not being exposed to the virus on a somewhat regular basis. Now I will opine on this research. If vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of wild virus borne diseases and failure to be exposed to the viruses causes a reduced immune response to said diseased, then what we are doing is loading the gun for HUGE outbreaks in the future. It doesn’t take all that much for a live vaccine to mutate into a virulent strain. If that happens, or if, more nefariously, a virulent strain is purposely or accidentally released by a lab, the results would be catastrophic. An awful lot of this has to do with the desire of some to play God with life and death consequence that are both intended and unintended.

  56. Steve Michaels
    March 29, 2011 at 7:07 am

    By the way, initial source: http://drtenpenny.com/chickenpox_elderly.aspx. Associated research footnoted in article.

  57. Nathan
    March 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Steve, in what way did you correct me? That is exactly what I said in the previous post, where I said “since wild-type varicella is now rare, people who had chickenpox as a child are not being re-exposed and “reminded,” causing an increase in shingles among the elderly.” This is well recognized in the medical literature. But this situation is rather unique to varicella, as most viruses do not live in your body indefinitely. Further, your doomsday scenario is mitigated by the zoster vaccine, and ultimately, will be virtually eliminated when the vaccinated children come of age.

  58. Steve Michaels
    March 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    And as the report clearly states, we have now come to the stage that we are in need of vaccines because of the unintended consequences of what vaccines do to us. Our bodies have been tuned by nature over time to act and react to various exposures for known and unknown benefits. This is a classic example of how messing about causes unintended consequences that, surprise, require additional interventions. There has not been a reported wild case of polio since 1996, but there have been cases where the vaccine strain has mutated into renewed virulence. To assume that this could not happen with other pathogens is naive at best. Side note, on the other post where I fully document the ‘follow the money’ train with complete citations you have failed to reply… hmmm

  59. Nathan
    March 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    This response was faster and simpler, Steve. I do not live to answer your every piece of misinformation. But don’t worry, friend, you will get a plenty detailed response to both this post and that when time allows.

  60. Nathan
    March 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Steve,

    we have now come to the stage that we are in need of vaccines because of the unintended consequences of what vaccines do to us.

    The potential for an increase in shingles, however, has been recognized since the development of the vaccine, and has been monitored accordingly. You are right that another vaccine is needed to reduce this, but keep in mind the endpoint, which is saving thousands of lives. 5000 lives in the next 50 years, per your link.

    Our bodies have been tuned by nature over time to act and react to various exposures for known and unknown benefits.

    Likewise, nature has been tuned over time to find better ways of killing us. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to prevent that, especially in children.

    There has not been a reported wild case of polio since 1996, but there have been cases where the vaccine strain has mutated into renewed virulence.

    I assume you don’t mean worldwide, as wild polio is still endemic in many areas. But yes, the one-in-750,000 chance of the oral (not injected, which is not live) vaccine, which is no longer used in the US, reverting back to wild-type poliovirus exists. But again, this was well known and understood early on. It is a risk-benefit ratio to consider since the live vaccine is more effective than the killed. But as I said to you once before, if your crown could chill for a bit, we could eradicate polio once and for all, so no one has to take live OR killed polio vaccine. Or do you think that polio has “known and unknown benefits” as well?

    To assume that this could not happen with other pathogens is naive at best.

    It is more naive to assume that, because you can imagine it could happen, that it is scientifically sound.

  61. Steve Michaels
    March 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

    To say this:

    “You are right that another vaccine is needed to reduce this, but keep in mind the endpoint, which is saving thousands of lives. 5000 lives in the next 50 years, per your link.”

    Followed by this:

    “Likewise, nature has been tuned over time to find better ways of killing us. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to prevent that, especially in children.”

    In the context of varicella really highlights your inconsistent fear-mongering. Which is it? Nature is out to kill us with pathogens that we must fight by vaccination or we can save “5000 lives in the next 50 years”? The inconsistency is blinding. Not to mention that what your are basically proposing is to vaccinate in excess of 600,000,000 people for full coverage to prevent 100 deaths per year. I have argued previously that we could prevent all deaths from road accidents by banning driving, but that would not be considered ‘reasonable’ yet to spend hundreds of millions, if not billions to prevent 100 deaths a year seems reasonable to you. And what a bonus for the corporate interests if another unintended consequence is that ANOTHER vaccine will be needed down the line.

    It is not naive to assume that pathogens (indeed ALL life forms) mutate and change over time. That is considered ‘scientifically sound’. It’s called evolution. And it has already happened with much more than viruses. Look at all of the antibiotic resistant bacteria, i.e. superbugs. They are ALL the result of overuse of antibiotics and the bacteria mutating and evolving to be resistant.

  62. Nathan
    March 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Which is it? Nature is out to kill us with pathogens that we must fight by vaccination or we can save “5000 lives in the next 50 years”? The inconsistency is blinding.

    I truly do not understand what you mean. You argued that humans “Our bodies have been tuned by nature over time to act and react to various exposures for known and unknown benefits,” and that is true, but I countered that simultaneously, nature is trying to adapt and react to our bodies, and these benefits, to try to kill us. One way that nature tries to kill us is by varicella virus. It does not kill us as often as other natural things, but it does kill, on the order of 100 per year in an unvaccinated first-world population. If we prevent varicella from killing us with a vaccine, it will save 5000 lives over 50 years, per your link. Please point out where I am being inconsistent.

    I have argued previously that we could prevent all deaths from road accidents by banning driving, but that would not be considered ‘reasonable’…

    If we banned driving, we would indeed be able to eliminate road deaths, but those lives saved would be dwarfed by the deaths due to the fact that we would no longer be able to rush people to the hospital, transport medical supplies, construct facilities that distribute clean water to large amounts of people, and, well, do everything that give us the low mortality rates of the first world. This would indeed be unreasonable.

    Similarly, if we stopped vaccinating, the small number of lives saved from rare vaccine injuries would be dwarfed by the number of dead from vaccine preventable diseases.

    …yet to spend hundreds of millions, if not billions to prevent 100 deaths a year seems reasonable to you.

    I’m no medical economist, so you will have to discuss what a reasonable cost-per-life-saved ratio is with someone who is. But I would agree, if the only thing that the varicella vaccine did was to prevent 100 deaths per year, it would seem pretty expensive. But that is not the case. Vaccination prevents hospitalization, physicians visits, long-term and permanent disability, and loss of work/school, and many other indirect benefits. Here is a study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that looks at the cost/benefit ratio of vaccines including varicella:

    http://www.317coalition.org/documents/moreresources16.pdf

    Results: Routine childhood immunization with the 7 vaccines
    was cost saving from the direct cost and societal
    perspectives, with net savings of $9.9 billion and $43.3
    billion, respectively. Without routine vaccination, direct
    and societal costs of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis,
    H influenzae type b, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella,
    congenital rubella syndrome, hepatitis B, and varicella
    would be $12.3 billion and $46.6 billion, respectively.
    Direct and societal costs for the vaccination program
    were an estimated $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.
    Direct and societal benefit-cost ratios for routine
    childhood vaccination were 5.3 and 16.5, respectively.

    Conclusion: Regardless of the perspective, the current
    routine childhood immunization schedule results in substantial
    cost savings.

    It is not naive to assume that pathogens (indeed ALL life forms) mutate and change over time. That is considered ‘scientifically sound’. It’s called evolution.

    I agree. But that is not the argument you were making above. You said:

    There has not been a reported wild case of polio since 1996, but there have been cases where the vaccine strain has mutated into renewed virulence. To assume that this could not happen with other pathogens is naive at best.

    I took that to mean that you believed that our other live viruses could suddenly mutate into strains with “renewed virulence.” This is not scientifically supported, as the reason that OPV did this is unique to the properties of that virus and the way that vaccine is made. There is no evidence that I am aware of to support the idea of this happening to any other vaccine.

    And it has already happened with much more than viruses. Look at all of the antibiotic resistant bacteria, i.e. superbugs. They are ALL the result of overuse of antibiotics and the bacteria mutating and evolving to be resistant.

    Again, I absolutely agree. Over- and misuse of antibiotics is a serious problem. Fortunately, vaccines reduce our dependence on antibiotics, which you can read more about here: http://www.immunizationinfo.org/issues/general/vaccines-and-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria. Vaccines do not induce the same problems with resistance, because they use the body’s natural defenses to stop diseases, instead of other means. Think about it – if varicella was going to mutate because of the selective pressure of a vaccine, it would already be doing so prior to invention of the vaccine because of the selective pressure from everyone immune to the disease from having caught it naturally.

  63. Nathan
    March 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Allow me to correct myself. Varicella vaccine may stay dormant in the body like the wild virus, but has the potential to cause shingles at a much reduced rate. My apologies.

  64. Steve Michaels
    March 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

    “nature is trying to adapt and react to our bodies, and these benefits, to try to kill us. One way that nature tries to kill us is by varicella virus.”

    I must admit that you seem to subscribe to two very odd philosophies. Firstly that nature is a personification that has intended desires which is absolutely ludicrous. Secondly, and concurrently, that nature is ‘out to kill us’. In the British vernacular, WHAT POPPYCOCK!! There are many and sundry viruses and bacteria that we RELY on to survive. By and by, nature is a series of symbiotic relationships. Very complex and completely unpredictable when substantial changes to the balances are artificially introduced. This is not war, this is the nature of life itself, yet you seem to be trying to deny that.

    I won’t expand upon the fact that you have chosen varicella as a ‘killer’ virus since it really isn’t. You have more chance of being hit my lightning several times over than dying from chicken pox. By the way, the history of both measles and chicken pox parties is readily available from a simple Google search. I only point this out because before the whole vaccine thing, these parties were used to control the age at which children were exposed. Vaccines can, when they are ineffective or do not confer life-long immunity, cause people to contract the diseases at later stages of life where the disease, as a childhood illness, is relatively benign, can be very serious for adults. Again an unintended consequence of vaccination. And while your 1 in 750,000 ratio of mutation sounds like a small chance, in a vaccine pool of 600,000,000 that would afford 800 mutations that could cause an outbreak that would most likely be vaccine resistant.

    “Fortunately, vaccines reduce our dependence on antibiotics”

    Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but there are absolutely NO vaccines for bacterial infection. And if you research a little bit about antibiotic abuse, it’s in the water, it’s in the food (particularly non-organic beef) and is vastly over-prescribed as well. In addition, one of those benefits of surviving a real disease as opposed to being vaccinated is that the immune system gets a proper ‘work-out’ helping it to be prepared for other future invaders.

  65. Nathan
    March 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Steve,

    Firstly that nature is a personification that has intended desires which is absolutely ludicrous.

    Don’t take my quote so literally. I do not think that nature is an entity that is out to kill us, nor do I think that viruses and bacteria are intentionally trying to kill us. However, elements of nature, in this case viruses and bacteria, are trying to infect us, and sometimes, one of the side effects of infection is death.

    There are many and sundry viruses and bacteria that we RELY on to survive. By and by, nature is a series of symbiotic relationships. Very complex and completely unpredictable when substantial changes to the balances are artificially introduced. This is not war, this is the nature of life itself, yet you seem to be trying to deny that.

    There is both – war and symbiosis. There are indeed many bacteria that are essential to survival, though off the top of my head, I cannot think of any viruses that are. But there are also many pathogens that want to infect us and have no benefit to us. Or, as is the case with almost anything, the dangers are worse than the benefits. Our bodies are constantly trying to fight these enemies off.

    I won’t expand upon the fact that you have chosen varicella as a ‘killer’ virus since it really isn’t.

    I didn’t choose varicella. It was the topic of conversation since post #45. And I was quite clear that it does not kill very many people, though it was still a big deal to the hundred or so people that used to die from it every year. But as I showed above, the benefits of varicella vaccination extend well beyond saving 100 lives annually.

    Vaccines can, when they are ineffective or do not confer life-long immunity, cause people to contract the diseases at later stages of life where the disease, as a childhood illness, is relatively benign, can be very serious for adults. Again an unintended consequence of vaccination.

    Except that even so, total deaths from chickenpox have been reduced from 100 annually to ONE annually. Regardless of whether those singular annual deaths are predominantly adults, it’s still 99 lives saved.

    And while your 1 in 750,000 ratio of mutation sounds like a small chance, in a vaccine pool of 600,000,000 that would afford 800 mutations that could cause an outbreak that would most likely be vaccine resistant.

    Oral poliovirus reverts back to regular old polio in 1 per 750k doses, it does not mutate into some crazy monster. It is not vaccine resistant.

    Where are you getting this 600,000,000 number? The U.S. is 300,000,000 people. The world is 6,000,000,000. But you are generally right that OPV does cause outbreaks of vaccine-associated-paralytic-polio (VAPP) in countries where it is used (though they are not vaccine resistant). It is a risk/benefit tradeoff. OPV is superior to killed injected polio vaccine (IPV) in reducing the transmission of polio. In areas where polio is widespread, this added efficacy outweighs the risk of VAPP. In areas where it is not widespread, this risk is not worthwhile, so the IPV is used, which cannot cause VAPP.

    In addition, one of those benefits of surviving a real disease as opposed to being vaccinated is that the immune system gets a proper ‘work-out’ helping it to be prepared for other future invaders.

    Except in rare circumstances, the “real disease” only gives you a “work-out” for the disease itself, not for any others. Of course, the downside is that you have to survive the disease in the first place, and not everyone does.

    Vaccines give your immune system a “work-out” for that disease as well, though not as strenuous of a workout as the real disease, but your chance of dying from it is miniscule compared to the disease. Statistically speaking, it is the far safer choice.

    Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but there are absolutely NO vaccines for bacterial infection.

    Steve, the above quote is perhaps the most embarrassing thing I have seen you write on this blog.

    The routine schedule includes vaccinations for the following bacterial diseases: pertussis, diptheria, haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus, and meningococcus. In addition, tetanus is a disease from the spores of bacteria. There are also other vaccines against bacteria that are not part of the routine schedule.

    “Which diseases we vaccinate for” is one of the simplest, most basic set of facts about the topic at hand. In addition, you have been utterly incorrect about the definition of efficacy, how the flu vaccine works, the way that shingles develops, and many other basic, fundamental facts. Everyone can make mistakes, when you continually demonstrate such a serious lack of knowledge on the topic, you must ask yourself if you are really a good candidate to try to spread the “truth” about vaccines, especially with such misplaced certainty.

  66. Steve Michaels
    April 1, 2011 at 4:00 am

    “Don’t take my quote so literally. I do not think that nature is an entity that is out to kill us, nor do I think that viruses and bacteria are intentionally trying to kill us.”

    ” nature is trying to adapt and react to our bodies, and these benefits, to try to kill us”

    “I didn’t choose varicella. It was the topic of conversation since post #45. And I was quite clear that it does not kill very many people”

    “One way that nature tries to kill us is by varicella virus.”

    By the way the number I came up with was based on the US population x 2 for initial and boosters. I am not sure that I understand your assertion that VAPP can be caused by a vaccine, but is not vaccine resistant? Are you saying that the vaccine makes people ill and then cures them? Also, as I have previously argued, based on US DoH statistics previously cited from the 1950’s and 60’s, one of the main reasons for a ‘decline’ in polio was because of a redefining of the disease from polio to other names such as aseptic meningitis. You seem to be supporting that claim because VAPP is polio, but not called polio for statistics because it was vaccine induced. Disingenuous at best.

    As far as the bacterial comment, I stand corrected as I got carried away. When I mis-speak or my facts are demonstratively inaccurate I ALWAYS admit it, assimilate it, and move on. Do you?

  67. Nathan
    April 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Steve, I see you are skilled in the traditional antivaccine art of cherry picking quotes. You quoted them out of order, but still, the first and third quote do an adequate job of explaining the second and fourth, even when taken out of context.

    I am not sure that I understand your assertion that VAPP can be caused by a vaccine, but is not vaccine resistant?

    Yes.

    Are you saying that the vaccine makes people ill and then cures them?

    No.

    A vaccine does not make you instantly immune, and often takes several doses to achieve immunity. If a person in another country gets a dose of OPV, and enough virus in it reverts back to wild polio, there is a 1 in 750,000 chance that it can cause VAPP before the person is immune to polio. It is not a vaccine-resistant strain, and will not infect other vaccinated individuals any more than regular polio would. Because it has become regular polio.

    Also, as I have previously argued, based on US DoH statistics previously cited from the 1950′s and 60′s, one of the main reasons for a ‘decline’ in polio was because of a redefining of the disease from polio to other names such as aseptic meningitis.

    This is yet another antivaccine fantasy that you have bought into which I have read about in depth. It is, as you might say, “poppycock.”

    You seem to be supporting that claim because VAPP is polio, but not called polio for statistics because it was vaccine induced. Disingenuous at best.

    When did I support this? I believe that VAPP is and was included with polio in statistics, as it is clinically indistiguishable from regular polio. In fact, for all practical purposes, it is regular polio.

    As far as the bacterial comment, I stand corrected as I got carried away. When I mis-speak or my facts are demonstratively inaccurate I ALWAYS admit it, assimilate it, and move on. Do you?

    Absolutely. Accurate medical information is very important to me, especially when childrens’ lives are concerned. And I am glad that you admit your mistakes, but that is not my point.

    My point is that the fact that you did not understand these basic thingsin the first place is a testament to your poor research ethic in this matter, and you should probably not be vigorously pretending to to be knowledgable about the risks and benefits of vaccines. As I’ve said, this is a life-and-death matter, to people on both sides of the argument.

  68. April 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Breast feeding inteferes with the measles vaccine! So now we twist it around to say the measles vaccine is needed even more thanks to the evils of breast milk! The logic is asinine. Listen to yourselves!

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