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Prescription For Disaster - Is Vaccine Policy A "House of Cards"?

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Recently, a number of highly provocative and substantive disclosures have been reported in the mainstream press.  These revelations, combined with a growing number of other important admissions threaten to shake the very foundation upon which official vaccine policy, and the rationale underlying their use, rests.

First came notice that the chickenpox vaccine is not nearly as effective as it was touted as being.  Once again, it has turned out that promises that one shot would do the trick were premature, having been based on wishful thinking rather than real science.  As usual, these assurances about long-term effectiveness of the vaccine, used to promote use of the chickenpox vaccine, were made without having conducted any long-terms studies.  And as it turned out, there was not even short-term effectiveness for many.

Rather than result in official questioning of the underlying logic in vaccinating children against this normally benign disease, or acknowledging that they never really could have known that the vaccine was as effective as they said it was, the news was accompanied by the glib suggestion that the vaccine follow in the footsteps of other vaccines which require booster doses.  This thoughtless recommendation, however, begs the question of whether children should be vaccinated against chickenpox at all, given that it usually is not serious for them and confers lifelong immunity against the disease, thereby avoiding its occurrence during adulthood, when it can be serious..  Making this suggestion even more irresponsible, however, is the fact that clearly no one knows just how many of those already questionable vaccines will be required in order to create life-long protection against chickenpox, or if repeated vaccination even has the potential to offer such protection.

In another recent shocker, we learned that not only is our supposition that polio is spread only via humans possibly incorrect, but that once again, not only has the vaccine strain of the oral polio vaccine virus mutated, reverting to wild type, but it has resulted in polio deaths in formerly vaccinated adults.

Is this not further evidence that our efforts to "eradicate" polio may be misplaced?  And what will be the long-term consequences of vaccine-induced mutations?  Is there anything about our experience with antibiotic resistance which might be relevant here?

Then, finally, in another story,  the New York Times reported that "many of us are not receiving enough infections", as well as that "the final consequence of all of this, according to the theory, is that — maybe — those who grow up in less hygienic, less germ-free and less vaccine-punctured environments have substantially lower rates of an array of autoimmune and allergic diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, asthma and eczema." 

This is hardly a new idea.  According to The Economist in 1997, in its article "Plagued by cures",   "....childhood infections do indeed seem to reduce the probability of chronic disease".  Others have made this point as well. 

Apparently, however, even the most basic understanding of vaccines eludes us.  "'I'm amazed by the amount of basic science we don't know,' Philippe Kourilsky, director of the Paris-based Pasteur Institute, told the meeting: 'We've had many successful vaccines over the past decades but we've missed a chance to see how these vaccines work.'"

While industry researchers like Hilleman, as noted in Vaccines, may find comfort in ignorance - "The first of the licensed live virus vaccines against measles was developed empirically and was approved in 1963. It provides high level and lasting immunity and is a paradigm for solving major medical problems without really understanding them." - I, for one, am not reassured.

Thus, the following are among the possible adverse consequences of vaccination:

1) trading the relatively low probability of long-term complications from acute infectious disease for a higher probability of chronic, life-long disease;

2) trading normally benign childhood infectious diseases (in developed nations) for the increased likelihood that those diseases will be contracted during adulthood, when they are frequently more severe; and

3)  contracting the disease anyway, despite vaccination, sometimes in a mutant or more virulent form.

And to top it all off, we don't know how they "work", or even how well they work. 

What this all means, however, is we may be exposing ourselves to these myriad possible adverse effects of vaccination without necessarily deriving any benefit, either short or long-term, from them  - i.e., short term avoidance of disease afforded by waning vaccines may result both in long-term chronic disease and acquisition of serious disease during adulthood, as well as make both childhood and adult versions of these diseases more serious due to vaccine-induced immune impairment.

Sounds like a prescription for disaster to me.  We're already seeing a huge "unexplained" increase in autoimmune and chronic disorders among both adults and children

Why has legitimate concern about vaccines possibly undermining our immune systems been at best ignored, and at worse, trivialized, by the so-called "experts" in the vaccine promotion arena?

Might we not be, in effect, weakening the strong, in order to "protect" the weak? 

And what does all this say about our understanding, not only of vaccines, but of the diseases they are designed to protect us from?

For how much longer are we going to put our faith in something so poorly studied and understood?

Is the vaccine house of cards beginning to teeter?  Isn't it about time?

Sandy Gottstein

Date: 1-3-2003

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing John Philpot Curran (1808)