A vaccine is a pharmaceutical product containing an antigen designed to stimulate the production of antibodies against a particular disease or diseases. While this sounds like a beneficial thing in theory, there is significant controversy on this topic. There are numerous reasons why many people prefer to avoid taking vaccines, but laws and other rules (often pushed into place by those who stand to make significant profit) frequently mandate them.
Vaccine manufacturers themselves admit to numerous severe harms caused by their products, in their packaging information which parents rarely see.
If the body produces an antibody against a particular disease or toxin it can identify the infection early on and the immune system can destroy it. Vaccines work by exposing the body to a form of the disease in such a way that it is much less likely to cause illness but still allows antibodies to develop. This confers a level of immunity to the person or animal vaccinated.
Since the adoption of mass vaccination programs, many diseases have been curbed. Smallpox, a contagious disease that killed 30 percent of those it infected, has been entirely eliminated through vaccination, excepting some strains maintained in labs for research purposes. Vaccination programs of the 19th and 20th century were effective at curbing the disease, and in 1979 the World Health Organization declared smallpox to be eradicated.
Another disease that has been eliminated from the US is Polio, which killed over 3,000 people in the United States in 1952, and afflicted such noted persons as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, actor Alan Alda, and musician Itzak Perlman. When doctors began using a vaccine to fight polio, it practically eradicated the disease in the developed world.
The incidence of other diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, and measles, has decreased greatly from improvements in sanitation, increased awareness of the benefits of hand-washing and other preventive measures, and the invention of vaccines against these diseases.
While vaccines have been successful at preventing infectious disease, they have also resulted in controversy regarding their safety and effectiveness, legal and ethical issues surrounding mandatory vaccination, and whether children should be vaccinated against STDs
There are five major types of vaccines and they are differentiated by what type of antigen is used. Live attenuated vaccines are created from the actual disease in question, however before injection the pathogen is attenuated (weakened) by growing successive generations of the pathogen in poor nutrient conditions. Because they contain live pathogens, it is still possible for these vaccines to cause infection, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. Inactivated vaccines are created from pathogens that have been killed, usually with formaldehyde. Toxoid vaccines are created by using toxins produced by the pathogen, these toxins are exposed to heat and/or chemicals such as formaldehyde to inactivate the toxins, but antibodies that are produced to these deactivated toxins will also protect against the real toxin. Subunit vaccines use pieces of the pathogen in the vaccine. These pieces often consist of unique protein segments that stimulate the production of antibodies. Finally, conjugate vaccines protect against bacteria that are encapsulated in polysaccharides (complex sugars), which disguise the bacteria, making it hard for the immune system to recognize them. Conjugate vaccines overcome this by attaching the sugar to a protein the does stimulate the immune system, thus triggering the immune system to react to the sugar in the future even if it is not accompanied by the protein.
The flu vaccine is an example of modern vaccination. Due to the change in allele frequency over time in the population of the influenza virus, new influenza vaccines are created each year. In some years the vaccines are less effective than in other years. According to the CDC,
Influenza viruses are always changing. Therefore, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and annual vaccination is recommended.
Since the production of the vaccine must begin many months before the influenza season starts models of the population genetics of the virus must be produced. The success of vaccinations programs is dependent on the accuracy of these predictions. The National Institute of Health recently assigned $26 million to establish a research center to better develop molecular models of influenza.
Vaccination requirements are inserted into laws, often unjustifiably, by Big Pharma for profits and by governmental officials to increase their control. It is common for advocates of vaccination to receive undisclosed compensation from Big Pharma, either directly or through a spouse. This medial offering which was initially developed and released as something to benefit society has become a point of tension and even oppression to many individuals.
Many injuries from vaccination are admitted by the government, and severe potential side effects are disclosed on packaging labels that most parents never see. The sharp rise in autism, which is generally considered incurable and afflicts 1 out of every 59 children, has a correlation with the increase in vaccination; the incidence of autism is greater in states where children receive more vaccines, such as New Jersey and North Carolina. "The new estimate represents a 15% increase from two years prior and a 150% increase since 2000." See generally vaccines and autism.
Traditionally a few highly tested vaccines were recommended for children to protect against deadly or severe diseases, such as smallpox and polio. Beginning in the 1990s, however, profit-driven vaccine manufacturers lobbied states and pediatrician organizations to compel numerous additional vaccines for sexually transmitted or less dangerous diseases. In addition, emotion based on inadequate information can cause over-vaccination.
15 US states have philosophical exemptions allowing parents to decline the vaccines; 45 states have religious exemptions; all states have medical exemptions, but they are hardest to obtain. Some parents choose to homeschool rather than submit their children to numerous vaccinations as required by state laws, due to lobbying by vaccine manufacturers, as a condition of being in school.
Vaccines have substantial side effects, and many vaccines have significant morbidity and mortality associated with them. In the fiscal year 2017 alone, it is estimated that $220 million will be paid to victims of vaccines, and underpayments or improper denials of payment are common. More than Postvaccinial encephalitis is a known hazard of smallpox vaccine, for example. A recently introduced vaccine against human papilloma virus, the causative agent of cancer of the uterine cervix, has now been linked to a number of sudden deaths reported within days of its administration.
Bulging or swollen fontanelles have been linked with many vaccines commonly given to infants, such as the diphtheria-tetanus (DPT) vaccine. Many families, out of concern for their child's health, have sought legal justice for the potential health damage.
Only live attenuated vaccines can still cause infection. All vaccines can cause illness, but this is commonly a hypersensitivity reaction (similar to an allergic response), not due to the disease itself. Very rarely a serious disease known as eczema vaccinatum can be caused by the smallpox vaccine. Vaccines that use pieces of pathogens often use a carrier virus in the injection. Those with very weak immune systems that are exposed to such a vaccine can become infected with the carrier virus and develop eczema. A recent case of this was reported in the United States after a military man was vaccinated with smallpox and his two-year-old son became ill.
A number of vaccination reactions are deemed serious enough to contraindicate further vaccinations of the same type. These include extensive swelling and redness at the injection site, prolonged fever, bronchospasm and laryngeal edema (narrowing of the airways causing difficulty in breathing), and collapse/seizures with or without unconsciousness and/or encephalitis.
Published Adverse Reaction Rates
Most medical journals and the CDC are heavily influenced by vaccine manufacturers, and hence their published information about side effects is one-sided. The packaging labels on vaccines are more candid.
This is what the CDC and medical journals claim:
- The Hepatitis B Vaccine (HBV) has a .000167% chance of causing anaphylaxis upon vaccination.
- There is no correlation between the HBV and multiple sclerosis.
- The Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine has a 25% chance of causing arthralgia (joint pain) and a 10% chance of causing arthritis-like symptoms in women who are past puberty. This pain and stiffness begin 1–3 weeks after vaccination, persisting for 1 day to 3 weeks.
- The MMR vaccine has a .00484% chance of causing thrombocytopenia. However, the measles and rubella both have much higher chances of causing thrombocytopenia.
Common Misconceptions Surrounding Vaccines
Many people assume that official vaccine recommendations are based on recommendations of independent panels of experts after reviewing risk-benefit and cost-benefit analyses. They are not. The government panels are dominated by vaccine industry representatives and they have no consumer representatives.[Citation Needed]
Vaccines have injured many in the developing world, sometimes due to contamination in donated stale vaccines. The vaccine was banned for over a year in Nigeria after concerns about safety were raised. The ban has since been lifted, but the vaccination rate remains low.[Citation Needed]
Herd immunity and mandatory vaccination
When a certain percentage of a population is vaccinated, those within the population who are not vaccinated are protected from the disease, this is called herd immunity. If 90 percent of a population is immune, then the chances that a carrier of the disease will come into contact with a non-immune member of the population (or "herd") is low. Herd immunity is the goal of most vaccination programs as it is the point where disease can start to be eliminated from a population altogether.
For example, in 1962 Japan instituted mandatory vaccination against influenza in school children. This continued until 1987 when the program was changed to optional; it was abandoned in 1994. Approximately 85 percent of children were estimated to have been vaccinated. Several studies examined the mortality rates due to influenza during this period of time and revealed that the death rates due to influenza in all population groups were drastically decreased, including older adult populations. Since there was no increased rate of vaccination in these populations, the decreased mortality was caused by herd immunity effects of vaccinating so many children. Many researchers have written that this and other evidence argues strongly for mandatory vaccination programs worldwide as a means of controlling many diseases and preventing a pandemic.
The USA has federal vaccination recommendations according to an official CDC schedule. Requirements are up to the states. Most states have medical and religious exemptions. Some states make it very easy to opt-out of vaccines, while other states strictly enforce compliance for school attendance. The difference in vaccination rates between these states is actually very slight, and usually not nearly enough to affect herd immunity.[Citation Needed]
As of February 2008, the CDC noted that "fewer than 100 measles cases are now reported annually in the United States and virtually all of those are linked to imported cases" in which someone is infected during overseas travel. The USA maintains herd immunity for measles, even in states where it is easy to opt-out of vaccination requirements. Measles can be serious; according to an article in The Times, "About one in every 15 children has complications that can include meningitis, pneumonia, fits, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), blindness and brain damage." In the England and Wales, there were 1,348 cases of measles in 2008; two children died of the disease.
The CDC notes that when a measles outbreak occurs, the cost to taxpayers can be substantial. Public health responsibilities include "identification of cases, isolation of patients and vaccination, administration of immune globulin, and voluntary quarantine of contacts who have no evidence of measles immunity...In Iowa, the public health response to one imported measles case cost approximately $150,000."
Other diseases besides the measles have also started not only to reappear but also to kill children. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) meningitis recently killed an infant in Minnesota. The child who died had not been vaccinated. Two others who had been either partially, but not fully, vaccinated, or who had an immune deficiency became seriously ill. The vaccine for Hib is less than twenty years old, but this is the first death due to the disease in the state of Minnesota since the vaccine was introduced.
Herd Immunity in Britain
Due to a decrease in vaccination, measles has become endemic in Britain. This means that measles does not need to be brought in by travelers, but instead has a large enough base of non-immune individuals for it to continuously spread inside the country. In London, only 71 percent of children receive the first dose of the vaccine and only 51 percent receive the second dose. Due to this decline, there were 461 measles cases in Britain in the first half of 2008. These cases have had tragic consequences, with the death of a 17-year-old reported in 2008. This immunization failure is due to parents opting out of the MMR vaccine program in the wake of the false claims that the MMR vaccine causes autism.
- http://www.howstuffworks.com/immune-system7.htm How stuff works: Antibodies
- "Inactivated Influenza Vaccine, What you need to know," a publication of the Center for Disease Control, 2006. Available online at: https://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/VIS/vis-flu.pdf
- http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v5/n3/full/nrd1988.html Influenza vaccines
- http://www.nature.com/news/2003/030324/full/030324-5.html Flu changes modeled
- http://www.spiritindia.com/health-care-news-articles-8024.html $26 million NIH contract to establish new flu/bird flu Center of Excellence
- Cockcroft, Lucy, "Cervical cancer drug Gardasil linked to deaths," London Daily Telegraph, October 29, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
- http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/183349/soldier_infects_toddler_son_with_lifethreatening.html AP article on eczema vaccinatum
- General Practice Notebook - vaccine reactions
- E Miller et al., Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and MMR vaccine in Archives of Disease In Childhood, 84:227-229
- http://www.mathepi.com/maindir/herd.html The mathematics of herd immunity
- Glezen 2004
- http://www.newsrx.com/newsletters/Vaccine-Weekly/2001-04-11/200104113335VW.html Mandatory Vaccination of Japanese Schoolchildren Demonstrates "Herd Immunity"
- http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1360502 Herd Immunity
- The Sunday Times, How the MMR scare led to the return of measles, February 8, 2009 
- The Sunday Times, MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism, by Brian Deer, February 8, 2009 
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Outbreak of Measles --- San Diego, California, January--February 2008, February 29, 2008 
- Hib Outbreak Kills Unvaccinated Child
- Health Direct NHS watch blog
- Balbier, Thomas E., Jr. (1999-09-28), Statement on National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by Thomas E. Balbier, Jr., United States Government retrieved on 2008-01-21
- Glezen, W. Paul (2004), Control of Influenza, vol. 31(1), Texas Heart Institute Journal retrieved on 2008-01-21
- Pear, Robert (2008-01-21), Threats and Responses: Leagal Risks; For Victims of Vaccine, Winning Case Will Be Hard, The New York Times retrieved on 2008-01-21
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- HPV vaccine
- Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
- Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
- Acellular vaccine
- Vaccine FAQ