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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vaccinated Against Complaints

Many people are up in arms about the recent Associated Press story on vaccines and religion, which highlights the fact that the number of people refusing vaccines on religious grounds is rising. This has caused a large number of people to chastise the benighted ignorance and superstition of Jesus freaks and other backward-thinking peoples.

To demonstrate exactly what's going on, let's take a look at two vaccines: HPV and chickenpox.

The HPV vaccine only protects against about 70% of the organisms that cause cervical cancer. If you are already infected with the disease, it won't help. Men transmit the virus, but they aren't required to be vaccinated. It is recommended for girls as young as 9, but it is only known to be effective for 5 years. The American College of Pediatricians has come out in opposition to mandating it in school-age girls.

Worse, the vaccine doesn't appear to be necessary. Fifty to seventy-five percent of all people are exposed to HPV in their lifetimes. The virus clears spontaneously by the immune system within two years in over ninety percent of all women, posing no risk at all.

Furthermore, the incidence of cervical cancer has already decreased dramatically through routine cervical screening with pap smears and HPV (DNA) testing. For example, the National Health Service of England reports that the incidence of invasive cervical cancer fell by 42 percent between 1988 and 1997 in the U.K because of cervical cancer screening programs.

How useless is this vaccine? Let's look at actual incidence of the disease. In a 2006 study at the University of Alabama, of 39,661 Pap smears, only 732 cases of high risk HPV were detected. Only 6 had smears that required follow-up. Only one of these had high-grade dysplasia.

On the bright side, eleven children have died from the recent HPV vaccination push, and 3700 have reported adverse reactions, according to a report released October 5, 2007 by Judicial Watch using FOIA on the FDA. Of those reactions, 52 were life-threatening, 119 required hospitalization.

So, HPV in non-immunosuppressed, healthy women, is normally cleared just fine by the immune system in about two years. Regular screening substantially reduces the cancer risk in any case, and screening is going to continue to be necessary because the vaccine is only 70% effective at best.

What can we conclude? this vaccine is just a money-maker for Merck. Every companies dream is to become a line item on a government voucher. Merck found a way.

What about chickenpox? For chickenpox, the BBC reports there were a grand total of 269 deaths from chickenpox between 1986 and 1997. 88% of those deaths occurred in people over the age of 20. In the US, of the roughly 100 deaths each year, 55% occur in people over the age of 20.

15-20% of the people who are vaccinated still catch the disease. Vaccinations are not required for adults, even though adults suffer a greatly disproportionate death toll (very few adults catch chickenpox, but they make up over half the fatalities).

So, if you catch chickenpox as an adult, or if you are on any kind of steroids or have an immunopressive disease, such as leukemia, then chickenpox can kill you. But for a normal child not on steroid drugs and without cancer? Not a problem. And notice that a vaccine doesn't work on the immuno-suppressed, so you couldn't vaccinate the leukemia patients anyway.

But wait, there's more. Shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is much more likely among people who have received chickenpox vaccinations than it is among people who caught the wild strain.

Estimates of costs that these new cases of vaccine-generated shingles will produce over the next 50 years? That would be 4.1 billion.

Hmmm.... what to do?

I've got it! They are now working on a shingles vaccine to compensate for the health problems the chickenpox vaccine is going to cause! And they already know it won't work because vaccination campaigns among adults never do.

The Japanese only vaccinate high-risk populations (1 in 5 children), because they know that regular contact with wild strains boosts the vaccine effectiveness. Our universal vaccination campaign will destroy that natural boost.

But there's a final irony. US pharma companies were careful to use the tissue of aborted children to isolate and grow the virus for vaccine production, even though this is entirely unnecessary. The Japanese, for instance, developed both chickenpox and measles vaccines by simply swabbing the throats of infected children and growing the virii on a morally acceptable tissue substrate.

They had a chickenpox vaccine before we did, but instead of simply approving their vaccine for import, our pharma companies insisted on producing their own and insisted on using aborted children to accomplish it. Chickenpox vaccine isn't the only one that suffers this problem: many of today's vaccines were developed on substrates that used human tissues obtained from aborted children. Many parents, including myself, find these kinds of vaccines as repugnant as using soap derived from the fat of Auschwitz victims.

The number of vaccines recommended for children has more than doubled (23 in the 1980's, 48 today). Giving multiple vaccines simultaneously is KNOWN to increase the risk of negative sequelae, and we're forced to do it more often now precisely because the number of vaccinations keeps increasing, but the time for them (between 6 months and five years for most) doesn't.

Vaccines for polio, tetanus, etc. - all well and good. But we are vaccinating for sillier and sillier reasons. Hepatitis-B in infants? HPV in a nine-year old? Chickenpox? What's the point here?

Now, many people have heard parts of this story swirling around their homes, their schools, their places of work. Is it not the case that even those who cannot articulate their opposition to a stupid vaccine may still rightly reject it?

Is it the fault of religion that the government mostly only allows refusal of vaccines on religious grounds, and won't allow you to refuse the vaccines on the grounds that the relevant scientific studies demonstrate certain vaccines are stupid?

It's another case of government controlling the conversation. I can't walk into most schools in the US and say, "As a certified medical professional who has studied the relevant medical literature on the subject, I find Vaccine X to be a taxpayer boondoggle designed to line the pockets of pharma companies." Nope, that won't cut it. Other "health professionals" opinions trump mine, for no particular reason other than they have billions of dollars backing them and I don't.

Instead, I have to walk into that school and say, "God told me this was wrong." THAT'S the only way I can keep the needles out of my kids' flesh.

So, when a reporter asks me why I don't want the vaccine for my kids, am I going to publicly say anything but what the government requires me to say? NO, I am not.

If I've heard rumors that the medical community is not united on the subject of Vaccine X, can I point to that and opt out? No, I can't. I have to say "God told me it was wrong."

What's the point of even doing the research on the vaccine if I know none of it will matter anyway? All I have to say is, "God told me it was wrong." And if someone I trust has already done the research and tells me the vaccine stinks, then I know my lines: God told me it was wrong.

The problem with government mandates is they create a path of least resistance that doesn't involve learning anything. You just look for the loophole and jump through it.

And how is this the fault of religion?

The way things work now, government isn't the fall guy for buying tons of stupid vaccines with taxpayer money. No, religion is the fall guy. We don't question the vaccine, we look at the Jesus freak and cluck sadly.

Nice work, if you can get it.


Patrick said...

This will only get worse if universal healthcare is impossed on the population. When the issue that some diseases were beginning to appear in the US that we had "all but wiped out" with childhood vaccines, several political candidates have said that there will be no opting in or out of any vaccines once the government provides all healthcare in the country. After all, the government is doing such a wonderful job with veteran hospitals. Now that kids will also given birth control in public schools without parental consent (even though at that age its technically illegal for them to have sex at all and therefore the government is supporting illegal activities) the pharms will be the final word to any social problem whether its the morality of sex, ADD, depression or diseases that your child has very little chance of every getting - yet has associated risk side effects that can be severe and that the government's own studies show will effect a percentage of the population. It takes a village to destroy your children.

cjmr said...

And add to that the fact that in some states you have to opt out of all vaccinations. You can't only opt out of the ones you scientifically (or religiously) object to. Our county requires all vaccines be given or a statement signed by both parents saying they are religiously opposed to vaccination. If there is a 'valid' medical reason why a child isn't vaccinated for a particular disease (my son is allergic to one of the 'inactive' components of the MMR vaccine, for instance) then you have to have a signed pediatrician's statement. But you can't say, "I'm religiously opposed to the chicken pox vaccine", and have all the other ones. It's all or nothing.

Brandon said...

Vaccines for polio, tetanus, etc. - all well and good.

I don't know, have you read what Dr. Herbert Ratner thought of the original polio vaccine and the Saulk company? That was the beginning of the end, from what I've read.

Rhys said...

The chickenpox vaccine is not really necessary anyway, most people experience a 1-2 week inconvenience (or holiday, if you prefer to see it that way) and then you're over it. Some kids would rather go through that than have yet another jab in the arm.