I am writing because of my concern over the Church’s policy of mandatory vaccinations for missionaries. I respectfully, but sincerely disagree with making vaccinations mandatory for all who wish to serve missions. I understand that the vaccination policy set up by the Missionary Medical Board has been instituted with missionaries’ health and well-being in mind, however I believe it is based on incomplete information received by doctors, nurses, and other health professionals over the course of their education.
The vaccine industry has a unique product; a product which every one of the world’s six billion people are said to need multiple times over. In fact, research predicts that by 2016, the vaccine market will be worth $52 billion. (For comparison, consider that Apple Computers posted a revenue of $65.2 billion in 2010.) You can imagine the amount of money that is at stake here for the pharmaceutical companies. We have all been told by the media, doctors, and drug companies that vaccines are very safe and effective and that anyone who says otherwise is ignorant, superstitious, or a “quack”. This amounts to name calling and has no basis in fact or research. For the health and safety of our members, I (and many other Latter Day Saints) believe that vaccinations for missionaries should be a matter of personal choice, to be decided upon by the individual, taking into account his/her own health and personal beliefs. Please consider the following:
- Ingredients and Contaminants
Lists of vaccine ingredients are readily available online. You can download pdf files of vaccine additives from the CDC’s website (2). A look at these lists shows that vaccines contain a number of harmful ingredients, including formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury in the form of thimerosal, benzethonium chloride, 2-phenoxyethanol, polydimethylsiloxane, and potassium chloride.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for formaldehyde states that it is a known carcinogen with mutagenic properties in mammalian somatic cells and that repeated or prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause organ damage. New York University’s Langone Medical Center’s website states that exposure to vaccines containing aluminum can contribute to aluminum toxicity (3). Symptoms of aluminum toxicity include premature osteoporosis, altered mental state, muscle weakness, anemia, and dementia. Prolonged exposure to mercury can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, blood system, and reproductive system. The MSDS for benzethonium chloride says that it has both mutagenic and carcinogenic effects and can cause organ damage with prolonged exposure. According to its MSDS, 2-phenoxyethanol is toxic to the kidneys, nervous system and liver. The MSDS for polydimethylsiloxane states that it has been shown to produce tumors and reproductive problems in animals. Potassium chloride is used in lethal injection executions for criminals.
Many have argued that the chemicals in vaccines are a “drop in the bucket” compared to what the body is exposed to on a daily basis. But during vaccination, these chemicals bypass normal methods of exposure such as ingestion and inhalation and go straight into the bloodstream to be absorbed by the body when an individual is vaccinated. It hardly seems likely that we can inject ourselves with known carcinogens and hazardous chemicals and not see any harmful effects.
Also of concern are animal byproducts contained in vaccines, which are often contaminated with animal viruses. Animal virus contamination should not be taken lightly. Simian Virus 40 is an example of what animal viruses in vaccines can do. Simian Virus 40 (SV40) was in monkey cell cultures used for growing polio vaccines 1954 to 1963. An estimated 98 million Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide received the contaminated vaccine. A 1990 study found a higher incidence of brain tumors in recipients of the contaminated vaccine. A 1988 study of 58,000 women who had received the vaccine showed a thirteenfold increase in brain tumors among the children of these women. Laboratory testing later confirmed the relationship between SV40 and cancer when lab animals injected with the virus developed cancer. More than 60 studies have found SV40 in brain, bone, and lung cancers and linked the monkey virus to early childhood brain tumors. Researcher Michele Carbone found an unopened case of the 1955 vaccine in a Chicago doctor’s office, compared the strains of SV40 from the vaccine to the strain in human bone and brain tumors and in monkeys and found they were identical, providing proof that the vaccine was the source of the spread to humans. (Neusteadter 58-9). More detailed information can be found in the book Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Translational Therapies, edited by Harvey I. Pass, Nicholas J. Vogelzang, and Michele Carbone.
Another example of vaccination-spread animal viruses causing health problems is the African green monkey virus in other polio vaccines. In 1995 Dr. John Martin published his findings about an unusual virus he discovered in cultures isolated from two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. It was a cytomegalovirus-like “stealth” virus, so called because lacking target antigens for recognition by the body’s cellular immune system, it failed to provoke an inflammatory response. Comparisons of the stealth virus and other viruses showed its DNA sequences to be very similar to a simian cytomegalovirus found in African green monkeys. Dr. Martin identified stealth viral infection in the following conditions: chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, adult depression and dementia, and children’s attention deficit and behavioral disorders. The most likely route of transmission is the polio vaccine since it contains African green monkey tissues (Neustaedter 65). Dr. Martin’s first study was published in Clinical and Diagnostic Virology, volume 4, issue 1, in July 1995.
Individuals with allergies to eggs should be very careful about receiving MMR and flu shots as many of these contain egg proteins and can cause allergic reactions. Vaccines also contain a number of antibiotics and individuals with allergies to antibiotics should be aware of which shots they are putting into their bodies.
Another item that may concern some Latter Day Saints is that some vaccines contain cell cultures which have been derived from aborted human fetuses. These cell cultures are used to grow the viruses for the vaccines and are preferred because animal cell cultures can contain harmful viruses. There are two strains of these cell cultures used in vaccines, WI-38 and MRC-5. WI-38 was developed in the United States in 1961 and MRC-5 was developed in the United Kingdom in 1966. WI-38 was used to make the rubella vaccine Meruvax (4). The CDC’s list of vaccine ingredients shows that MRC-5 is found in the following shots: MMR ProQuad, DTaP-IPV/ Hib Pentacel, Hepatitis A Havrix and Vaqtel, Hep A/ Hep B Twinrix, Rabies Imovax, Varicella Varivax, and Zoster Zostavax shots.
Since the babies were aborted at three months gestation, their genitals had already formed and researchers documented the babies’ sexes in their reports. WI-38 came from the lung cells of a baby girl and MRC-5 came from the lung cells of a baby boy (5).