- Reports of Adverse Reactions
We do not hold vaccines to the same standards as other things we put in our bodies. If you were to go to a restaurant and then come down with food poisoning a few hours later you would not call it a coincidence. (You would probably call the Health Department!) If a smoker develops lung cancer, no one claims that it “would have happened anyway”. But when it comes to injecting ourselves with viruses and chemicals, we have been told that only good will come of it and that anything bad that develops around the same time is merely coincidental.
Adverse reactions to vaccines are not rare. In fact, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has received over 200,000 reports since 1990, and about 30,000 reports annually, with 13% being associated with hospitalization, serious injury, disability or death (6). These reports most likely represent only a fraction of actual reactions. VAERS acknowledges that these reports by no means constitute a complete data set since under reporting is very common. VAERS, which is co-managed by the FDA and CDC, does not determine causality and states, “Some of the reports in VAERS are coincidental to vaccination, meaning they would have occurred even if vaccination had not and they are not caused by vaccination.” (7) Claims such as this are illogical, though, because it is impossible to prove something that has not happened, (i.e. a medical condition would have occurred had the individual gone on unvaccinated) and also because the causes of many adverse events that have been associated with vaccination like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are reportedly unknown. It hardly seems reasonable to claim with certainty that something with an unknown cause would have happened anyway.
Exposing individuals to a number of intramuscular injections also carries with it increased risk of contracting poliomyelitis. This fact has been known for years and is corroborated by the findings in several studies such as HV Wyatt’s 2003 study (8), a 1995 study by Strebel et. al. (9), and the 1949 JK Martin study (10).
- Conflicts of Interest in Research
Studies establishing the safety of vaccines are often tainted by funding and gifts from vaccine manfacturers. For example, the Griffin and Cherry studies are two large studies which are said to be proof that there is no connection between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the diptheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine. These studies suffer serious conflicts of interest though. Dr. Marie Griffin reportedly received her funding from Burroughs Wellcome, one of the largest manufacturers of pertussis vaccine in the world. Dr. James Cherry was a paid consultant for Ledberle Laboratories, America’s largest pertussis vaccine manufacturer. In 1988, Cherry also admitted to receiving $50,000 per year for testifying on the behalf of vaccine manufacturers in vaccine injury lawsuits. He also received $400,000 in grant funds for UCLA (which partly covered his salary and expenses) and his department at UCLA received $450,000 in “gifts” from Ledberle Laboratories (Neustaedter 21).
Other studies on vaccine safety have a number of conflicts of interest. A 2003 study on the safety of thimerosal in vaccines was headed up by Thomas Verstraeten, who took up a post at vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmith Kline shortly thereafter, as his profile on LinkedIn shows. Financial support for the study Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association by Paul Stehr-Green was provided by the National Immunization Program, as noted in the “thank you” at the end of the study.
Statistics on vaccines often suffer from incomplete information, such as the role of vaccines in disease reduction. In 1953, Tavia Gordon, a statistician with the Office of Vital Statistics wrote a glowing report about the decline in deaths from infectious diseases, including measles, diphtheria, pertussis and scarlet fever. Gordon does mention vaccination programs as contributing to the decline (though vaccines did not exist or were only very recently introduced for most of the diseases mentioned in the report), but also mentions improved sanitation in water and milk supplies, cleaner sewage disposal in rural areas, and improvements in diet, hygiene, and medical care as being major contributors to the dramatic decline in infectious diseases. The whole cell DTP vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis was first licensed in 1949, but the charts in Gordon’s report show that diphtheria deaths had declined dramatically between 1900 and 1950 and by 1942 had reached less than 1 per 100,000. Pertussis deaths declined from about 17 per 100,000 in 1918 to less than 1 per 100,000 in 1945. (11)
The CDC’s official statement on measles reads: “In the United States, measles caused 450 reported deaths and 4,000 cases of encephalitis annually before measles vaccine became available in the mid-1960s.” (12) In 1955 the death rate from measles was .03 per 100,000. (Mendelsohn 237). These numbers are congruent with the charts in Gordon’s report. With a population of about 165,931,202 in 1955, this would mean that there were only about 50 deaths from measles in the United States that year. Obviously, 450 deaths was true in the early years of the twentieth century, but by 1955 (eight years before the vaccine was introduced), the number of measles deaths was far fewer than what the CDC is quoting. Measles enchephalitis is said to occur in 1 of every 1,000 cases of measles, however, many physicians who actually practiced when measles was common questioned this statistic and put the rate of encephalitis at 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 for children who are adequately fed and living in sanitary conditions (Mendelsohn 239-7)
Rates and severity of H1N1 influenza infection and deaths are another example of incomplete information. It is true that during 1918-1919 (which coincided with increased travel for World War I) a swine flu pandemic swept the world and killed many people, including large numbers of young people. However, in 1918 the idea that viruses could cause disease was still relatively new and factors claimed by doctors to cause the flu included nakedness, German contaminated fish, dirt, dust, unwashed pajamas, Chinese people, open windows, closed windows, old books, and “some cosmic influence” (Garrett 158). Furthermore, an article written for the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases shows evidence that the high number of deaths among young adults during the 1918 pandemic was due to doctors giving dangerously high dosages of aspirin. (13) Many doctors attacked the CDC’s projection of 21 million people dead worldwide from H1N1 in 1976. They said that most of the deaths in 1918-1919 were because of secondary infections of bacterial pneumonia, which could be easily treated in twentieth-century intensive care units (Garrett 169).
In fact, the mass vaccination campaign that took place in 1976 happened not because thousands of people were dying, but because an eighteen year old army private in the middle of basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey fell ill with the flu and (against orders) left his quarters to go on an all-night hike with his platoon wearing a fifty pound pack in the middle of winter and subsequently collapsed and died. Test revealed H1N1 in his body and public health officials panicked. It should be noted that Private David Lewis’s sergeant performed CPR on him when he collapsed and did not become sick. Private Lewis was the only casualty of the 1976 flu scare, however twenty-five people died from the flu vaccine and 500 developed Guillain-Barre syndrome. (14)
Lack of testing disputes the validity of actual occurrences of diseases, such as the case of a ten month old boy in San Diego hospitalized during a 2008 outbreak of measles. Reported cases of young infants with measles without any mention of testing should be regarded with a healthy amount of skepticism since only 11% of cases of measles in infants under 1 are validated by laboratory tests. (15) The number of actual swine flu cases in 2009 is another example since the CDC told doctors not to test for the H1N1 virus, saying that the test can be inaccurate and give false negatives, despite the fact that this would have given a more accurate number of cases than diagnosing by symptoms. (16)