Vaccines

There is a major problem in this world when we have a major disease that spreads to thousands of people and we have no way of stopping it.  Our best defense is to build our natural defenses against it and the best means to do so is to introduce a weak form of the virus so that our immune systems become familiar with what it is for future prevention of infection.  However, there seems to be a significant amount of people who have a problem with this idea.  There are many claims made and I will systematically tackle each one:

➡ Ethics of Vaccines

First, we must cover the basic ethics argued.  “The greater good” is the commonly held argument and the one that many hold against vaccines.  Vaccines prevent millions of deaths.  However, there is correlative evidence for vaccine-related deaths.  The argument is that, those vaccine-related deaths are reason enough to not use vaccines because the greater good should not out-weight someones life.  The problem with this argument is that it completely ignores the fact that not getting a vaccine is also a means to killing your child.  If you have the means to prevent your child from contriving a disease, it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of that.  Just because we do not use vaccines does not mean you are somehow immune to the disease that the vaccine is intended to defend you against, not too mention the deaths it would cause to thousands of others would need the vaccine.

Secondly, some argue that vaccines are a means to depopulate the Earth as it kills people.  This is probably the most ridiculous argument because, if your intent is to depopulate the Earth, then you ought to not have vaccines as it allows diseases to flourish.  There will be arguments that vaccines cause autism or cancer, however they are unsubstantiated and I will provide empirical evidence of this.

➡ How Vaccines Work

The following is graph illustrating the efficacy of booster shots:

The following is taken from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Here’s how vaccines work:

  • Most vaccines contain a little bit of a disease germ that is weak or dead. Vaccines do NOT contain the type of germ that makes you sick. Some vaccines do not contain any germs.
  • Having this little bit of the germ inside your body makes your body’s defence system build antibodies to fight off this kind of germ. Antibodies help trap and kill germs that could lead to disease.
  • Your body can make antibodies in two ways: by getting the disease or by getting the vaccine. Getting the vaccine is a much safer way to make antibodies without having the suffering of the disease itself and the risk of becoming disabled or even dying.
  • Antibodies stay with you for a long time. They remember how to fight off the germ. If the real germ that causes this disease (not the vaccine) enters your body in the future, your defence system knows how to fight it off.
  • Often, your defence system will remember how to fight a germ for the rest of your life. Sometimes, your defence system needs a booster shot to remind it how to fight off this germ

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/vs-sv/vs-faq01-eng.php

The following is a video on the strategy to eliminate HIV and flu:

➡ The Safety of Vaccines

 The Safety Review of Thimerosal-containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Conducted by the Institute of Medicine

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine convened a committee (the Immunization Safety Review Committee) to review selected issues related to immunization safety. [For more information regarding this committee, their charge, and their reports, find the link to IOM’s Web site in “Related Links” below.] The IOM has, to date, completed reviews in two areas. The first review by this committee focused on a potential link between autism and the combined mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine. The second review focused on a potential relationship between thimerosal use in vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders (IOM 2001). This latter issue was brought to the fore primarily as the result of the hypothesis, formulated by S. Bernard and others from Cure Autism Now, that autism is a novel form of mercury poisoning (Bernard et al. 2001); this hypothesis, linking autism to mercury, was based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on mercury toxicity.

In its report of October 1, 2001, the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee concluded that the evidence was inadequate to either accept or reject a causal relationship between thimerosal exposure from childhood vaccines and the neurodevelopmental disorders of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and speech or language delay. Additional studies were needed to establish or reject a causal relationship. The Committee did conclude that the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines could be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders was biologically plausible.

The Committee believed that the effort to remove thimerosal from vaccines was “a prudent measure in support of the public health goal to reduce mercury exposure of infants and children as much as possible.” Furthermore, in this regard, the Committee urged that “full consideration be given to removing thimerosal from any biological product to which infants, children, and pregnant women are exposed.”

In 2004, the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee issued its final report, examining the hypothesis that vaccines, specifically the MMR vaccines and thimerosal containing vaccines, are causally associated with autism. In this report, the committee incorporated new epidemiological evidence from the U.S., Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and studies of biologic mechanisms related to vaccines and autism since its report in 2001. The committee concluded that this body of evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, and that hypotheses generated to date concerning a biological mechanism for such causality are theoretical only. Further, the committee stated that the benefits of vaccination are proven and the hypothesis of susceptible populations is presently speculative, and that widespread rejection of vaccines would lead to increases in incidences of serious infectious diseases like measles, whooping cough and Hib bacterial meningitis.

The FDA is continuing its efforts to reduce the exposure of infants, children, and pregnant women to mercury from various sources. Discussions with the manufacturers of influenza virus vaccines (which are now routinely recommended for pregnant women and children 6-23 months of age) regarding their capacity to potentially increase the supply of thimerosal-reduced and thimerosal-free presentations are ongoing. Discussions are also underway with regard to other vaccines. Of note, all hepatitis B vaccines for the U.S., including for adults, are now available only as thimerosal-free or trace-thimerosal-containing formulations. In addition, all immune globulin preparations including hepatitis B immune globulin, and Rho(D) immune globulin preparations are manufactured without thimerosal. For additional information on the issue of thimerosal in vaccines, see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

+ The safety of thimerosal in Vaccines and difference between methylmercury and ethylmercury

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

The body of existing data, including the ecologic data presented herein, is not consistent with the hypothesis that increased exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines is responsible for the apparent increase in the rates of autism in young children being observed worldwide.

+ Autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines: lack of consistent evidence for an association
http://www.pkids.org/files/pdf/AMJPRMED.pdf

➡ The Consequences of Controversy

Imagine you had the means to prevent a disease from killing countless amounts of people, but there are so many people who doubt your evidence that it works and no matter what evidence you provide, they don’t believe you that it works.  As Bill Gates put it, “To be skeptical against vaccines is to be for killing children.”

There are a number of documentaries out there that claim that the government is fear mongering you into getting vaccines.  However, it is the very movie itself that is fear mongering you into not getting vaccines based on unsubstantiated or anecdotal evidence. One movie, for example, is “The Greater Good” which does a horrible job of discussing the efficacy of vaccines.  Here is an already existing article that does a wonderful job of showing how these anti-vaccines movies are nothing but “unadulterated anti-vaccine propaganda masquerading as a ‘balanced’ documentary”

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-greater-good-pure-unadulterated-anti-vaccine-propagand/

There are also many cases in which people use inappropriate data systems to collate data for vaccine efficacy.  Here is an article from the American Academy of Pediatrics critiquing a commonly heralded anti-vaccine article as a failed research program:

http://www.vaccinationnews.com/sites/default/files/DailyNews/2003/June/03/AAP3.pdf

➡ Myths About Vaccines

This is taken from the World Health Organization (WHO):

Myth 1. Better hygiene and sanitation will make diseases disappear – vaccines are not necessary.

Fact 1. The diseases we can vaccinate against will return if we stop vaccine programmes.
While better hygiene, hand washing and clean water can protect people against diseases such as influenza and cholera, most viruses spread regardless of how clean we are. If people are not vaccinated, so-called old diseases will quickly reappear, such as measles.

Myth 2. Most of the people that contract vaccine-preventable diseases are actually vaccinated.

Fact 2. Most of the people that suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases are not vaccinated.
Owing to the complexity of the human immune system, no vaccine provides 100% protection, but this persistent myth also draws on the fact that true immunization status is not always recorded correctly and that numbers can be manipulated. Over 90% of the people with measles cases reported in 2009 had received less than the recommended two doses of measles vaccine.

Myth 3. Vaccines have several damaging and long-term side-effects that are yet unknown. Vaccination can even be fatal.

Fact 3. Vaccines have side-effects, but none of them are as severe as the diseases themselves.
All medical treatments, including vaccination, can have side-effects. But soreness, mild fever and the extremely rare serious side-effects must be compared to the consequences of having a vaccine-preventable disease. In the case of polio, these consequences can include paralysis; measles can cause encephalitis and blindness; and vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death.

Myth 4. The combined vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and the vaccine against poliomyelitis cause sudden infant death syndrome.

Fact 4. There is no documented correlation between the vaccines and sudden infant death syndrome.

These vaccines are administered at a time when babies can suffer sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but there is no documented correlation. These four diseases, however, are life-threatening and babies who are not vaccinated against them are at serious risk.

Myth 5. As vaccine-preventable diseases are almost eradicated from western Europe, there is no reason to be vaccinated.

Fact 5. Vaccine-preventable diseases still exist in Europe. Since the proportion of vaccinated people is below 95% in many western European countries, these diseases can quickly return to countries where they were once uncommon.
In western Europe, measles outbreaks have occurred in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom since 2005. In 2009, over 82% of measles cases were in the western part of Europe.

Myth 6. The vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses are just an unfortunate fact of life.

Fact 6. Childhood illnesses are serious and can lead to severe complications in both children and adults.
Diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella are called childhood illnesses because they usually affect children. They are not harmless and can lead to serious complications, including congenital rubella syndrome for rubella, and death.

Myth 7. Giving a child more than one vaccine at a time can increase the risk of harmful side-effects, which can overload the child’s immune system.

Fact 7. A child’s immune system handles several hundred foreign bodies every day and can easily handle multiple vaccines administered at the same time.
Antibodies are proteins designed to recognize harmful invasions. The antigens/antibodies a child is exposed to through vaccine regimens are insignificant compared to those a child is exposed to every day or while having a simple cold or sore throat.

Myth 8. Influenza is just a nuisance.

Fact 8. Influenza is a serious disease that kills several hundred thousand people worldwide every year.
The disease is extremely hazardous to small children, elderly people with poor health and anyone with a lung and/or cardiovascular disease. Further, unprotected people can transmit a virus to at-risk groups such as hospital patients and residents of nursing homes, where it can lead to death.

Myth 9. The influenza vaccine is not very effective.

Fact 9. The influenza vaccine protects 70% of the people vaccinated.
Despite vaccines, influenza causes many people to stay home from work or school and this may lead to the belief that the influenza vaccine is not very effective. In fact, a wide range of viruses can cause influenza-like symptoms, which lead people to think they had influenza. Additionally, numerous influenza strains circulate during each influenza season and the vaccine only offers immunity for the three most prevalent strains.

Myth 10. It is better to be immunized through disease than through vaccines.

Fact 10. Vaccines provide the immune system with enough knowledge to fight an invading virus and can prevent serious complications and death.
Diseases provide the immune system with more detailed knowledge than vaccines. The immune system only needs a certain amount of information to recognize an invading microorganism, however, and vaccines are fully capable of providing this to ensure long-term immunity.

http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/disease-prevention/vaccines-and-immunization/european-immunization-week/10-myths-about-vaccination

This report updates the 2004 recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding the use of influenza vaccine and antiviral agents (CDC. Prevention and control of influenza: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP]. MMWR 2004;53[No. RR-6]:1–40). The 2005 recommendations include new or updated information regarding 1) vaccination of persons with conditions leading to compromise of the respiratory system; 2) vaccination of health-care workers; 3) clarification of the role of live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in vaccine shortage situations; 4) the 2005–06 trivalent vaccine virus strains: A/California/7/2004 (H3N2)-like, A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1)-like, and B/Shanghai/361/2002-like antigens (for the A/California/7/2004 [H3N2]-like antigen, manufacturers may use the antigenically equivalent A/New York/55/2004 virus, and for the B/Shanghai/361/2002-like antigen, manufacturers may use the antigenically equivalent B/Jilin/20/2003 virus or B/Jiangsu/10/2003 virus); and 5) the assessment of vaccine supply, timing of influenza vaccination, and prioritization of inactivated vaccine in shortage situations

– http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5408a1.htm

➡ What Does Cause Autism Then…?

+ Risk of autism is 75 times greater if their sibling has the disorder than those who do not have. (McBridge, Anderson, & Shapiro, 1996)

+ Twin studies show a 60 to 90% concordance for autims between identical twins, compared with concordance rates of 0 to 20% in fraternal twins (LeCouteur et al., 1996)

+ Autism is the most heritable psychiatric disorder with heritability estimates that are even higher than those for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (Nicholson and Szatmari 2003)

“The foregoing evidence indicates that ASD involves changes in
regional brain anatomy and functional neural networks and
likely results from abnormal regulation of multiple ontogenetic
processes”
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/26/26/6897.full.pdf+html?sid=0cb9815c-327b-46fd-9cd3-8f6b8d09b2e9

+ “A Genomic Screen of Autism: Evidence for a Multilocus Etiology”
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929707620667

” It is now generally accepted that autism has a biologic cause, and considerable research has been carried out with the aim of uncovering its nature. Both hereditary factors and the prenatal and perinatal environment have been considered. This paper will review the role of genetic factors in the cause of autism; the role of the prenatal and perinatal environment is considered in the paper by Nelson”
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/87/5/767.short

➡ Alternatives…?

Often it is argued that one can build their immune systems with natural medicines and homeopathy, etc.  However, they fail to recognize that this is only building your already existing antibodies and does not introduce any foreign bodies that could be used to allow the body to familiarize itself with for future prevention.  Vaccines functions on specifics while most alternatives only focus on eating habbits and avoiding certain products.  It is important to here note the concept of herd immunity:

Herd immunity (or community immunity) describes a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.  Herd immunity theory proposes that, in contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to the disease. The greater the proportion of individuals who are resistant, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity

There does exist alternatives to needle vaccines and they are called FluMist.  You can learn about them here:

Flu Mist

➡ Obligatory Case Study

This is the famous Waverly Hills Sanitorium:

Here are some famous legends of Waverly Hills that you may be familiar with:

Room 502

An episode of the Scie-Fi Channel television show Ghost Hunters featured the cast’s investigation of Waverly Hills, including a local myth about the death of a nurse by murder or suicide in Room 502. Legend says the nurse found out she was pregnant by the owner of the sanatorium without being married and had contracted tuberculosis, so she hung herself in the room she was in at the time. The room was also investigated by the show Ghost Adventures in 2010, in which they used a special device called a EM-Pod to detect spirit activity.

Death Rate

Some urban legends claim that “63,000 deaths” occurred at the Sanatorium. According to Assistant Medical Director Dr. J. Frank W. Stewart, the highest number of deaths in a single year at Waverly Hills was 152. Stewart wrote that the worst time for deaths was at the end of the Second World War when troops were returning from overseas with very advanced tuberculosis cases. Some independent researchers suggest that since 162 people died at Waverly Hills in 1945, the highest total number of deaths possible over 50 years was approximately 8,212.

“Body chute” or “Death tunnel”

In recent years the popularity of the Sanatorium as a haunted attraction and exaggerations of numbers of dead that were moved through the first floor tunnel have lead to nicknames such as “Death Tunnel” or “Body Chute.”

There was something that was invented to stop the suffering that happened in this place; a vaccine called Streptomycin

➡ Conclusion and Who Supports Vaccines?

Here is a list of people/companies/etc. that support vaccines that I have cited in this article alone:

Public Health Agency of Canada

US Food and Drug Administration

Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

British Medical Journal

National Center for Biotechnology Information

The Official Journal of the American Pediatrics

Science Based Medicine

The Journal of Neuroscience

The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases

The New York Times

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

There is one very important thing that many people fail to recognize; autism has always manifested within the first 3 years of life. Since vaccines begin at around the same time (respective to your regions vaccine-schedule), there is going to be an inexorable coincidence of occurrence. Autism has existed long before vaccines have and autism would exist even if vaccines did not. Furthermore, the diagnosis for autism has taken several changes. Asperger’s, for example, only became a recognized term in 1981 and even then it was recognized as a medical term until 1991. Please take this information into serious consideration as it is pertinent to peoples lives, children’s lives, and refusal to listen to reason, because of pride, could lead to their death.

Vaccines work.  They prevent millions of deaths.  They are safe.  They do not cause autism.

Follow-Up

Here is a incredibly well written article on the anti-vaccine groups and how they misrepresent data to fear monger people away from vaccines: http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

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