Inoculations May Be Rx for Disaster
Taken from Insight on the News, Online
Vol. 15, No. 37 -- October 4-11, 1999
Published Date September 10, 1999, in Washington, D.C.
By Kelly Patricia O'Meara
The ounce of prevention that vaccinations should provide may not be worth the risk, say
parents, doctors and politicians with second thoughts about mandating shots.
Before they can enter kindergarten, children are required by
law in all 50 states to receive 33 doses of 10 different viral and bacterial vaccines --
inoculations that, of course, contain the disease. Now, more than ever before, parents, health
practitioners and elected officials are discussing whether it's right for the good of the many to
sacrifice "small" numbers of children (on average, 10,000 reported cases per year) who
experience adverse side effects to the vaccines.
. . . . Though vaccines long have been considered safe, there is
growing evidence and increasing concern that they may be playing havoc with immune systems and
causing an increase in learning disabilities, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or
ADHD, as well as autism, cancer and autoimmune and allergic diseases.
. . . . Until July, babies only hours old were inoculated with the
hepatitis B vaccine -- treatment for a disease common only among intravenous-drug users and
prostitutes. During testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform about issues related
to vaccines, Professor Ronald C. Kennedy of the microbiology and immunology department at the
University of Oklahoma said, "The chance of an infant or child getting either hepatitis A or
hepatitis B is close to nonexistent."
. . . . Because of the large number of reported adverse effects, the
U.S. Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, have changed their policy
advisories favoring vaccination of newborns with the hepatitis B vaccine and instead have adopted a
new policy recommending that mothers be tested during pregnancy for the disease. If the mother tests
negative, the vaccination of the child may be delayed for as many as six months.
. . . . Kennedy also urged in his testimony that "informed consent
for certain vaccines, such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B, should be considered and the parents
allowed to choose based on their perceived risk to benefit from vaccinating their infants."
. . . . Many parents, newly informed of potentially harmful effects of
some of the "required" vaccines, are becoming increasingly outraged at demands being made
in the name of public health. Mandatory-inoculations opponents note that vaccines are made from
toxic materials. When informed, parents tend to resist having such materials injected into their
. . . . For instance, some of the toxic ingredients used in vaccines
include thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative; aluminum, an additive to promote antibody response
that has been associated with Alzheimer's disease and seizures and found to cause cancer in
laboratory mice; formaldehyde, another carcinogen; and phenol, also known as carbolic acid, used as
a disinfectant and dye.
. . . . But this catalog is only the beginning. The vaccines are grown
and strained through human or animal tissue, including monkey kidney, chicken embryo, embryonic
guinea-pig cells, calf serum and human diploid cells (the dissected organs of aborted fetuses used
in the rubella, hepatitis A and chicken-pox vaccines). Concern is growing that interspecies transfer
of viral infections from animals may be a source of adverse reactions.
. . . . And there have been adverse reactions from the beginning. In
the late 1700s, British physician Edward Jenner was the first to use live disease as a vaccination
when he injected live cowpox into a healthy 8-year-old boy. The boy contracted the mild disease and,
when infected later with the more serious and often fatal smallpox, proved to be immune. This is
regarded as the first successful vaccination. But, even though this early vaccine contained none of
the toxins that are added to vaccines today, many suffered adverse reactions.
. . . . Gradually, techniques and knowledge improved and the medical
community began to drive full throttle to eradicate all disease through vaccinations. Two hundred
years later, public-health officials point to widely reported success stories to support their call
for general and mandatory vaccination. Poliomyelitis is at the top of the list.
. . . . Polio is a contagious disease caused by an intestinal virus
that may attack nerve cells of the brain and spine, though in a majority of cases only flu-like
symptoms are experienced and gone within a few days. During an epidemic in the 1950s, more than
20,000 cases were reported with a little more than 1,000 deaths. In 1955, Jonas Salk, an American
microbiologist, developed a dead-virus vaccine that was used until the 1959 development by Albert
Sabin of a live-virus oral vaccine. After widespread use of both, polio was all but eradicated in
the United States. In fact, the few reported cases were contracted from the live-virus oral vaccine.
Although the live-virus vaccine widely was used for more than 30 years, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, or CDC, this year announced plans to stop using it and return to the
injected (dead) polio vaccine by the year 2000.
. . . . Critics of mandatory vaccination, however, argue that severe
illnesses and deaths associated with polio and other diseases were decreasing at a steady rate long
before the vaccines were introduced. For example, according to Neil Z. Miller, author of Vaccines:
Are They Really Safe and Effective?, "from 1923 to 1953, before the Salk killed-virus vaccine
was introduced, the polio death rate in the United States and England had already declined on its
own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively."
. . . . The same is true of diphtheria. Miller says, "A
significant decline in [the incidence of] diphtheria began long before the vaccine was discovered.
In the United States, from 1900 to 1930, years before the diphtheria vaccine, a greater than 90
percent decline in reported deaths from diphtheria had already occurred."
. . . . While no single cause exists for the decline of infectious
diseases during this century, great progress has been made in the United States and other developed
countries where better diet, living conditions and sanitation are credited for much of the decrease.
Poverty and lack of medical care also contributed to the spread of disease, as did medical
ignorance. Whether the decline of the traditional infectious diseases resulted from increased use of
vaccines or some combination of the social improvements cited above, new and more debilitating
diseases have developed. And people such as Rick Rollens of Granite Bay, Calif., believe their lives
have been tragically altered because of vaccinations.
. . . . Testifying before the House Committee on Government Reform,
Rollens shared his story of what he believes was his son Russell's vaccine-induced autism and the
growing epidemic of autism in California. "Russell was born a normal, healthy child," said
Rollens. "At seven months, he received his third of four DPT [diphtheria, pertussis and
tetanus] shots and first hemophilus influenza vaccine. Within 72 hours, Russell developed a high
fever and shrieked with a high, wailing scream for days. He began losing eye contact, smiling less,
losing interest in people and had constant croup and was chronically ill. At 18 months, Russell
received his first mumps, measles and rubella vaccination. Within days he lost most of his remaining
skills, developing severe sleep irregularities, chronic gastrointestinal problems and expressing
constant pain exhibited by harrowing days of endless crying. At 2-and-a-half years old, Russell was
officially diagnosed with autism."
. . . . Responding to the outcry of parents, professionals and
educators, the California Legislature, under two different governors, funded a study on whether
autism was increasing in the state. After evidence showed a huge unexpected increase, millions of
dollars were appropriated for independent research into all possible causes. The report, released
this year, focused on the increase in autism in California from 1987 to 1988. According to the
Department of Developmental Services, a 273 percent increase occurred in the number of children with
autism entering the developmental-services system.
. . . . During the first six months of this year, 1,027 children
diagnosed with autism were added to the system --which means that California is adding an average of
six autistic children a day, seven days a week, or one new child every four hours. This is just one
state's statistics, and one analysis, suggesting that this may be one of the top epidemics in the
. . . . In response to the huge increase in the number of claims being
filed against pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines, Congress passed the 1986 National
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or NVICP. It set up a system to allow families to file claims
for financial assistance for children injured by vaccines. To date, more than 1,400 families have
received awards totaling $1 billion. Yet Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National
Vaccine Information Center in Vienna, Va., says, "Three out of four vaccine-injured children
are turned away and more than $1 billion sits idle in the vaccine-injury trust fund. Since 1993,
federal health officials under Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala have
moved to systematically gut the law and fight every claim with the help of Department of Justice
lawyers. It's really beautiful: Vaccines are the only personal medical products in the United States
required by law, and the vaccine manufacturers have a stable, predictable, yearly market for their
product -- yet no product liability."
. . . . Public-health officials continue to cite the decline of disease
to prove that vaccines are safe and effective, but critics contend there is no scientific data to
support such claims. In fact, say the critics, data provided by the CDC and the increasing number of
reports of adverse effects suggest that in many cases where diseases have been greatly reduced, the
risk of side effects from taking the vaccine now far exceeds the risk of the disease.