ARE VACCINES SAFE AND EFFECTIVE?
by: Diodati, Catherine, M.A.
Catherine Diodati received her Master's Degree at the University of Windsor. Her postgraduate research focused on biomedical ethics and mass immunization. She has received many honours for her work there including the prestigious Board of Governor's Medal. Her recent book about vaccinations, Immunization: History, Ethics, Law and Health, is the most comprehensive book in its field to date. This book is meticulously researched and fully documented. She continues her research on immunization issues and is viewed by her peers as an expert on vaccine-related issues.
Fifteen years ago my daughter had her third DPT-Polio (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio) vaccination at six months of age. After the first two vaccines, she had a fairly typical reaction: a little fussiness, a little fever, nothing extraordinary. But after her third vaccine, she began crying; the crying turned to screaming. This lasted for a few hours and then there was silence. She didn't wake up for seven days. (This semiconscious condition, called "excessive somnolence," is indicative of encephalitis or swelling of the brain due to the vaccine - Ed.) I had no idea that vaccine reactions existed, but I knew that something was wrong. Our doctor said her reaction had nothing to do with the vaccine, that I was a hysterical mother, and insisted that I continue vaccinating my daughter. Instead I began to do some research and discovered that many lives have been devastated by adverse vaccine reactions. After a great deal of investigation, I found experimental research showing that if you have a sensitivity to a component in milk called bovine serum albumin, and you are exposed to the pertussis vaccine, there is a high probability of brain damage and death. In fact, all of the mice in the experiment who were allergic to milk died. My daughter also had a milk allergy. Although they knew about her severe adverse reaction and the potential for further injury, our local health unit called me frequently, trying to pressure me into vaccinating her. The only way I got them to stop calling me was to ask for their personal signed guarantee that they would be financially responsible for her further care if she was injured.
NATURAL IMMUNITY IS PERMANENT - ARTIFICIAL IMMUNITY IS TEMPORARY
Vaccinations are intended to prevent disease through low exposures to the diseases themselves. However, our immune systems respond differently to natural immunity (becoming infected by a disease naturally) and artificial immunity (becoming injected with a vaccine). Artificial immunity is temporary and doesn't elicit a permanent immune response, which is why we have to have booster doses. However, natural infection almost always results in permanent immunity.
NATURAL IMMUNITY VS ARTIFICIAL IMMUNITY
Vaccines bypass normal immune defenses that we use to fight diseases naturally. Vaccinations tend to stimulate only one part of the immune response and that is the antibody response, but suppress the T-cell response (cell-mediated immunity) and other aspects of the immune response. This is why we are seeing an increase in allergies and autoimmune diseases (particularly with certain vaccines like the hepatitis B vaccine). T-cell immunity is just as important if not more important than antibody, because it is the T-cells which activate other elements of the immune system, help them to mature and get rid of the infected cells. Antibodies, on the other hand, stop a virus or bacterium from penetrating a cell and producing toxins. You need both sides of the immune system working optimally, and the problem is that vaccines are imbalancing our immune systems. If you happen to have a history in your family of autoimmune disease or allergies, the vaccines will increase the imbalance. So we have to consider very carefully what we are trading off when we have vaccines. The reason we vaccinate universally is to create herd immunity. The herd immunity theory proposes that if a certain percentage within the population become immune to a disease, the whole population should be protected from an epidemic. This is based on a 1933 Baltimore study of measles. They found that when 68% of the population contracted the measles naturally and became immune, epidemics stopped. This same herd immunity theory has been applied to vaccines but we are finding that it requires an 85% to 95% vaccination rate to induce herd immunity, and often that high number is insufficient.
CHANGING THE AVERAGE AGE OF INFECTION
Vaccines are changing the average age of infection of many childhood diseases so that they are occurring outside of the normal pediatric range. This is significant because we may be preventing the disease in one group where few complications are expected only to find that more cases arise in infants or adults who will experience more complications.
Measles provides a prime example in that most infections now occur in infants and adolescents where more complications arise, rather than in the normal 4 to 5 year-old range. Why is this happening? Vaccinated mothers are not passing on adequate immunity to their infants, and vaccine-induced immunity wanes in many by adolescence. Thus, both groups are left vulnerable to infection. It is entirely likely that the second dose of measles vaccine will only defer infection to even older persons.
During the second dose measles campaign, many children were told that if they didn't receive the vaccine they were going to die. This is nonsense. Anybody who remembers measles from their childhood knows that it is a mild disease. We know now, as well, that you can prevent measles-related complications with vitamin A. Recently in the Netherlands, a large number of complications followed a measles epidemic. Medical journals from the area stated that the doctors were not aware of vitamin A therapy and they could have prevented these complications had they been aware of that simple treatment.
Pertussis (whooping cough) provides another interesting example of how vaccines can change our experience of disease. Before the pertussis vaccine was used, the average age of infection was one to four years of age. Pertussis is not a huge problem for children in this age group. Children under six months of age are at greatest risk for complications. Viera Scheibner reported that during the height of vaccination, the average age of infection changed so that 70% of the infections were occurring in children under one year of age. Fatalities increased 20 times from this disease. People stopped vaccinating because they were worried about the reports of vaccine-induced brain damage and deaths in infants. During the period when vaccine rates were reduced, the average age of infection returned to one to four years of age. Complica-tions and deaths were reduced.
CHANGING THE FREQUENCY OF EPIDEMICS
We are frequently told that if we stop vaccinating, we will experience more epidemics. Interestingly, when Great Britain and Sweden stopped vaccinating, the opposite occurred. The period between epidemics lengthened.
ADVERSE REACTIONS TO VACCINES
Any vaccine can cause serious adverse events. This is hardly surprising when you consider the number of vaccines our children receive and how those vaccines are made. We typically give our children 36 vaccines by the time they finish school, and that number is going to increase in the future. Thirty of those vaccines are administered by the time children are six years old. This is a significant number and we need to know what is going into our children's bodies.
Vaccines contain a number of antigens (e.g. viruses and bacteria) , which are grown on foreign host tissues (e.g. monkey tissues, aborted fetal lung cells, etc) and a series of toxic and cancer-causing chemicals (e.g. mercury, phenol, formaldehyde, aluminum, etc). Just because these components may appear in small amounts in vaccines, it does not mean that the risk is also small. Further, even the host tissues used in the initial stages of vaccine development can contain diseases that will appear in the final vaccine. A shocking example of this is SV40 which appeared in early polio vaccines, a disease that is innocuous to monkeys but causes cancer in humans. The SV40 virus was discovered in the vaccine by 1960, and it was known that this virus caused cancer in laboratory hamsters, but it wasn't until 1963 that the host tissues (rhesus monkeys) were changed, using another type of monkey, which was free of SV40. SV40 is a slow-acting virus and it wasn't until the 90's that we began seeing SV40-related cancers arising in people who received the contaminated vaccines. Incidentally, SV40-related cancers are arising in their children as well indicating that the parents are passing SV40 onto their children.
Irresponsibility in the vaccine industry has been repeated again and again. It was shocking to learn that rhesus monkey tissues were again used in the rotavirus vaccine. The rotavirus vaccine, which was meant to address a diarrheal disease, was taken off the market shortly after release because it was causing intussusception in infants. This means that the intestine telescoped in on itself, necessitating surgery in a number of children. One child lost seven inches of intestine. Intussusception from the rotavirus vaccine was predicted by the clinical trials, yet the results were concealed. The vaccine was released to an unsuspecting public whose children suffered more from the vaccine than they ever would have suffered from rotavirus. This is particularly true in the developed world where the disease causes relatively few problems.
Perhaps one of the most serious considerations for parents involves the use of the hepatitis B vaccine, administered to our grade VII students. This disease is transmitted in the same way as HIV, through contact with blood, drug use and sexual contact. The reason we are vaccinating these young children is because supposedly they will be protected when they are older and engage in risky behaviours. But even Smith-Kline, Beecham, one of the manufacturers, suggests revaccination after five years because the immunity will wane. There are a huge number of very serious adverse events occurring following hepatitis B vaccination, far more than the ordinary number of cases of hepatitis in children. Less than 3% of hepatitis B cases occur in children under 15 years of age, and most of those are infants whose pregnant mothers are already infected. We can screen mothers while pregnant and treat their children, so there is really no reason to vaccinate all the children en mass and expose them to these risks. In 1997, eight US states were surveyed by the National Vaccine Information Center. They found that there were 25 cases of children who had contracted hepatitis B under age five. Amongst the same age group, in the same area, there were 106 serious adverse events and ten deaths. Clearly the risks outweighed the benefits of vaccination.
Many parents are concerned about tetanus. Tetanus spores are virtually everywhere but interestingly there are few infections and even fewer deaths. There are generally only between two to seven cases reported each year and no deaths have been reported since 1991. Most cases of tetanus actually result from severe burns rather than cuts. You need an oxygen-deprived environment for tetanus to survive. So if the wound is properly cleaned and has bled well, the blood will carry out the bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide is a great way to oxygenate the wound, so that tetanus cannot take hold. The tetanus vaccination is temporary, and even if we have had tetanus and recovered, we still do not have permanent immunity. One important effect of the tetanus vaccine is immune suppression. In one study of eleven healthy adults, researchers noted a significant drop in T-cells. In four of the eleven healthy adults, the T-cell drop was equivalent to active AIDS patients. This is frightening because if our immune system is that suppressed, we become more prone to contracting disease.
MANDATORY FLU VACCINES FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS
It is also important that we look at vaccines that affect adults. In particular, there are certain professions where vaccines may be mandated by internal regulations. Our long-term care facility and hospital workers are facing this outrageous situation right now. They are being forced to have the flu vaccine as a means to prevent transmission to patients - an action that has not been scientifically shown to be effective. Health officials hope to have this internal mandate brought to legislation. The flu vaccine is one of the least effective vaccines on the market. If you do produce vaccine-induced antibodies, they are not going to endure for the full flu season. Even then, there is no guarantee that the three flu strains chosen for the vaccine will match circulating flu strains for the current year. If the match between vaccine and circulating strains is poor, then no protection can possibly be afforded. With all of this uncertainty over the vaccine's efficacy, how can we force our health care workers to inject a vaccine that may well cause permanent disability (e.g. transverse myelitis, Guillain Barre Syndrome, etc). Recent evidence, presented by a leading US immunogeneticist, also suggests that repeated influenza vaccination (i.e. one shot per year for five years) will increase your chances of developing Alzheimer's 10-fold. What do we do when our health care providers are forced to become residents in their own institutions?
Health care workers have also been asked to take Amantadine, a medication that may be better known to you as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease. This medication has been known to cause serious adverse effects, many which will affect mental and visual acuity. This medication has also been associated with suicide attempts and suicide ideation even in those with no prior history of mental illness.
WHAT CAN HEALTH CARE WORKERS DO?
The most important thing for our health care workers to do is to present a strong unified voice. When their unions agreed to the mandate, they were not given adequate information on the risks, or on the unproven benefits, of the flu vaccine/Amantadine policy. The first step is to present your concerns to your union. Inform them of the unacceptable risks you are being asked to take. Be aware that if this mandate is allowed to become legislated, there will be legal precedent allowing future bodily invasions to occur while your job is held hostage. It is vital that we bring this issue to our Members of Parliament immediately saying that we don't want this bill passed because it is dangerous. Trying to legislate a mandate like this is unconstitutional and there are a number of people working on this issue right now. Petitions are being circulated; groups are connecting with each other to form a strong voice. I will be happy to put people in touch that way. Other provinces are looking at this policy too but they are adopting a "wait and see" attitude because they know that there are ethical and legal problems with it. They are waiting to see if Ontario will let it pass without incident.
DO STATISTICS SHOW THAT VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE?
We are generally shown statistics to prove that vaccines are effective. We are told that the benefits outweigh the risks. The poliomyelitis and the smallpox vaccines are held up as shining examples of good health care. In 1979, the World Health Organization claimed that smallpox had been eradicated worldwide. This claim was premature. The disease, which has mutated slightly, is now called monkeypox and a number of cases have been reported in Zaire. It is common knowledge that antibiotics have caused diseases to mutate. Basically, we are doing the same thing with vaccines, except when a vaccine is at fault, we just give the mutation a different name.
Polio is another disease supposedly on the trail to eradication. Many scientists don't believe eradication to be remotely possible; in fact, there is a great deal of disagreement amongst scientists on this very point. When we are shown statistics, we are usually shown the point at which a vaccine is introduced. If we look at polio mortality statistics from when the vaccine was introduced to the present, it looks as though the vaccine was extremely successful in reducing polio-related deaths. Looking at long-term statistics, however, we can see that polio-related deaths declined by more than 90% before a vaccine was even introduced! The same is true of measles-related deaths. The death rate for children with measles started to drop in 1915, 50 years before the vaccine became available. It wasn't the vaccine. There were important changes between the antigen (the virus) and the host (us) whereby we became more resistant and the antigen became significantly less capable of causing serious complications.
There are only three provinces in Canada that have any legislation whatsoever on immunization of school children. These are Ontario, Manitoba (measles only), and New Brunswick. Vaccination is completely voluntary in every other province so you don't need an exemption. In Ontario we do have exemption forms, but this is one of the best-kept secrets. You don't have to vaccinate your child for admission to school or daycare, yet we are not told this during informed consent process. I have yet to hear of an M.D. who explained the availability of exemptions to a patient or parent.
The Health Care Consent Act states that we must be told about the material risks and side effects of vaccinations, as well as alternative courses of action. When I ask parents if they were told about alternative courses of action and likely consequences of not having the vaccine, they are generally told to "go to a graveyard" and they will see what will happen to their children if they don't vaccinate. There is no scientific support for this kind of advice. We should be told of any serious adverse events, if there is a risk of brain damage or if a vaccine is associated with a high number of cases of autism, paralysis, death, or autoimmune disorders. Adverse events occur all the time, yet we are not told about them; we are merely told that there is a chance of fever, fussiness, and a little swelling at the injection site. But these are only short-term adverse events. If someone does admit that there are serious long-term adverse events, we are generally told that they are rare. We incorrectly assume that this means it can't happen to our child.
The literature that we receive on vaccines is usually produced by the manufacturers. If it is from the health department, quite often they simply reprint material furnished by the manufacturer. We are rarely given adequate information, and we are never given as much information as health care workers are given. For example, the oral polio vaccine, a vaccine that is no longer used in Canada, was known to cause polio. In fact, since 1980, virtually all cases of polio within Canada and the U.S. were a result of that vaccine. It was known that children who had the oral polio vaccine shed the poliovirus in the feces for at least two months and if the person is immune-compromised, it could be years. Parents were not warned that they should wear gloves when they were diapering their baby and wash immediately afterwards. However, health care professionals were provided with a leaflet giving this warning. Why aren't we getting this vital information?
There are three types of exemptions:
(1) The medical exemption is obtained from your doctor and it is the only exemption that has limitations. For example, if your child has already had the disease, he does not need a shot! The recommendations on the consent forms may say that if your child has already had a particular disease, she can still go ahead and have the shots... but why? There may be financial profits to be made, but there is no logical health reason for this. A medical exemption may also be obtained if the child is allergic to something in a particular vaccine, or if the child has an illness that precludes vaccination. The medical exemptions are temporary and generally need to be renewed every year.
(2 and 3) The Statement of Conscience and Religious Belief Affidavit are combined in a simple form available from your local health unit. It is a simple form that must be signed by a Commissioner of Oath, or a Notary Public. Your health unit or city hall may have a Commissioner of Oath willing to sign the form without charge. There are no limitations regarding this type of exemption. Fortunately, a number of very dedicated people in the Vaccination Risk Awareness Network (VRAN) fought very hard so that we could have religious and conscientious exemptions.
ADVERSE EVENT REPORTING
Adverse event reporting is voluntary in Canada. The only province that actually has legislation is Ontario, where reporting is supposed to be mandatory. When my daughter had a vaccine reaction, no adverse event report was ever made because the doctor didn't believe the reaction had anything to do with the vaccine. This is what often happens. Almost every parent I have spoken to, whose child has had a vaccine reaction, said that no adverse event report was ever made. So the legislation covering this in Ontario is clearly not enforced. In the rest of Canada, they haven't even bothered to try. There are between 4,000 and 5,000 reports made every year to our Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (LCDC). Only 10% of adverse events are ever investigated. There seems to be little interest in keeping track of adverse events, and this is criminal, because if we don't know how many adverse events are occurring, we don't know which vaccines are the most dangerous or who is going to be most at risk. If we can explore the patterns, we can prevent many adverse events.
COMPENSATION FOR VACCINE-RELATED INJURIES
Although there are a great many vaccine-injured people in this country, and in this province, there is no compensation for our vaccine-injured. Quebec is the only province that has a compensation program, and they have had it for about 15 years. Quebec has been challenging other provinces to establish a vaccine-injury compensation program but to no avail. The LCDC informed me that nothing was being done about this on a federal level either - the issue had been brought up, but it was quietly dismissed. Children are dying, many are paralyzed or brain-damaged; families are facing emotional and financial ruin because of the injuries and they can't get any compensation. I talk to these parents frequently and they really need this sort of help just to have a decent equitable life.
HIDDEN AGENDAS IN THE VACCINATION PROCEDURE
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons stated that there are incestuous ties between the vaccination policy makers and the vaccine manufacturers. These groups are allied far too closely and often there are financial ties precluding objectivity. Vaccination is a multi-billion dollar industry and we cannot assume purely altruistic motives.
We are born with immune systems designed to fight disease and keep us healthy. We will not even experience symptoms to over 90% of the diseases we come into contact with because our immune systems prevent their progression. We have immune systems that work! Good nutrition, clean water and clean air are the most important factors for good health. Supplementing our diets with good vitamin and mineral compounds are also necessary because much of our food is over-processed. Choose organic foods whenever possible to avoid hormones, antibiotics, chemicals and pesticides. There are good immune strengthening products, such as Echinacea or Moducare's Sterinol, which you may wish to investigate. Educate yourselves about the risks and benefits of vaccination before making any decisions. There is no need to rush into the decision. If you are unsure, defer.
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For more information, you may contact Catherine Diodati at diodati@MNSi.net
Her book Immunization: History, Ethics, Law and Health contains complete references to research mentioned above. Her book is available at Consumer Health Organization at 416-490-0986
or through the publisher at (519) 972-9567; Fax (519) 966-3392.
People are not being told of the potential health risks associated with the flu vaccine, yet consent forms include a clause stating that no one (the vaccine manufacturer, employer or any other involved party) will be held responsible for any adverse event caused by the vaccine.
If you are a health care worker and wish information about the mandatory flu vaccine, please contact:
Linda Loder at 519-523-4718 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eagle Foundation www.eaglefoundation.org
VRAN and Freedom of Choice in Health Care www.yesic.com/~fchc
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
Australian Vaccination Network www.avn.org.au email email@example.com
(engaged in legal actions with government regarding informed consent)
Immunization Awareness Society (New Zealand) www.ias.org.nz
Len Horowitz www.tetrahedron.org
National Vaccine Information Center email firstname.lastname@example.org www.909shot.com
INFORMATION FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL:
Institute for Molecular Medicine www.trufax.org/gulfwar2/gws.html
Issue 9 |
Immunization, History, Ethics, Law and Health
DIODATI, Catherine, MA
Emerging Viruses: Aids and Ebola
Vaccines: Are they really safe and effective
A Shot in the Dark
COULTER, Harris & FISHER, B.