It wasn’t MMR that made me decide not to vaccinate, although I think doctors wish that was the case. If I said MMR and autism were the reasons I decided not to vaccinate, then they could pat me on the head and point to lots of studies from the vaccine manufacturers that say that MMR does not cause autism. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of risks with MMR, but it was DTaP that scared me silly, specifically the aP and specifically SIDS. They can still do all of the head patting with DTaP, but concern over the pertussis vaccine is kind of 1980’s and out of style. If you’re concerned about DTaP, you do more than just read the newspapers.
Dr. William Torch of the University of Reno found that of 103 children who died of SIDS, two-thirds had been vaccinated with DTP three weeks before death. (Mendelsohn 250). The most comprehensive study of the whole-cell pertussis vaccine was conducted at UCLA in 1978-1979, which compared the reactions seen in the 48 hours after vaccination in a group of children receiving the DT vaccine and those receiving the DTP vaccine. The study showed that 50 percent of DTP vaccinees developed fever, 34 percent showed irritability, 35 percent had crying episodes, 40 percent had localized inflammation, 3 percent had prolonged, inconsolable periods of crying and screaming, and 31 percent developed excessive sleepiness (compared with 14% in the DT group) (Neustaedter 127). That was just in the first 48 hours- not enough time to see if brain damage would result from the reactions. The Pollock and Morris study of 1983 tracked a very large number of children (134,000 DT recipients and 133,000 DT recipients) and noted that the chances of seizure were 5.3 times greater for DTP recipients than for DT recipients. (Neustaedter 127). Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn quoted the Journal of the American Medical Association on the pertussis vaccine in his book How to Raise a Healthy Child... In Spite of Your Doctor:
“To health professionals, of course, the dangers of DPT are nothing new. The D and T components, which were given long before the P was added in the late 1940’s, are partially purified toxoids considered to carry little risk. The whole-cell P component, consisting of 4 units of protective pertussis antigen per 0.5 ml of DPT is universally acknowledged to be relatively crude and toxic, and the advent of a safer version is eagerly awaited.
But now we have the acellular pertussis vaccine, health professionals say. It’s all upside now!
In fact, a 1998 study based on reports to VAERS showed that there was little change in the number of reports of deaths associated with pertussis vaccination as the DTaP and DTPH shots were introduced. (85 deaths reported in 1995, 82 in 1996, 77 in 1997 and 41 in the first half of 1998. If there about as many deaths in the second half of 1998 as there were in the first half, it would equal the number of deaths in 1996 when DTP was still commonly used. But the report conveniently doesn’t cover the second half of 1998. And reports to VAERS represent only a fraction of actual vaccine damages because of under reporting.) (Neustaedter 12)
And all of those reassuring reports about there being no connection whatsoever between SIDS and DTP have problems of their own. 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. Dr. Marie Griffin reportedly received her funding from Burroughs Wellcome, one of the largest manufacturers of pertussis vaccine in the world. And 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).
SIDS still remains relatively rare. But when it happens to your baby, it doesn’t matter how many other babies it doesn’t happen to. As for me, I kind of like the feeling of knowing that my baby will wake up from his naps.