Measles Hysteria and California SB 277

We live in a polarized nation with major schisms of Democrat vs. Republican, religious vs. secular, pro-life vs. pro-choice, believers in mainstream medicine vs. adherents of alternative medicine, those who trust our government and authority vs. those who question our government and authority, etc. The current widespread debate about vaccination is a near-perfect storm that brings many of these into collision, igniting strong feelings, anger and fear in many quarters.

People have passionate views on this subject. Many of those who are “pro-vaccination” seem to believe the “anti-vaxers” are paranoid conspiracy theorists who are unaware that Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s research has been (supposedly) debunked (as if that is the entire body of science that questions vaccine safety) and who base their beliefs on the teachings of Jenny McCarthy; after all, how can a former Playboy Bunny who gets most of her information from the internet possibly have anything valid to say about vaccine hazards? (it is nearly impossible to find an article critical of “anti-vaxers” that does not mention Jenny McCarthy).
Most proponents of vaccination and SB 277 appear to have an attitude of smug arrogance as they believe that science is on their side and that it has been firmly proven that vaccines are “safe and effective.” They generally believe those those who question vaccine safety are emotional and “anti-science.” (for a wonderful article that explores the complexities and sublteties of the modern scientific process, both in general and with regards to vaccines, I highly recommend 
http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/anti-science-you-keep-using-that-word-i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means/ ).

Some people believe this issue is so black and white that any doctor who questions vaccine safety and efficacy should have his or her medical license taken away. In reality, studies have found that those who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines as a group have a higher level of education and income than those who champion vaccination and these “vaccine-skeptics” include many thousands of well-credentialed doctors and researchers.

Vaccine skeptics tend to see the pro-vax community as mindless people who do not question authority and have been gullible enough to believe the narrative of government officials and the fear-mongering mainstream media which is unduly influenced by Big Pharma, which stands to profit handsomely from more widespread vaccination. Of course those who are pro-vaccine are genuinely afraid and concerned for the health and well-being of themselves and their loved ones and see people who do not
vaccinate as directly threatening their safety. Thus, many in the pro-camp are calling for mandatory vaccinations, which has the “anti-vax” camp extremely fearful of the prospect of being forced to have something toxic and hazardous administered against their will.    
No wonder people are so upset!

In the midst of all of this polarizing conflict I would like to take this opportunity to look at the actual facts and examine both what is known and not known about this issue. I am going to focus on what we know for sure, and one thing I know for sure is that not all vaccines are created equal. While many in both camps may see all vaccines as good or bad, the reality is that each vaccine has its own unique sets of risks and benefits, so I going to focus a great deal upon the MMR vaccine and on Measles, as this is the current focus of people’s concerns.

Before delving into this topic I want to briefly review my background and
qualifications. I earned my undergraduate degree in Biology at Stanford University.
I studied Biology because I am fascinated by biochemistry, physiology and
understanding how our bodies work.
I then attended medical school at the University of Michigan where I also completed my residency in Family Medicine. While mainstream Western medicine is often miraculous, it has very few cures to offer for most chronic disease, instead treating superficially and symptomatically with expensive and often-hazardous pharmaceuticals. I thus studied nutrition, herbal medicine, mind-body medicine, homeopathy and other complementary therapies which I integrate with conventional therapies as appropriate. I was a founding diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine in 2000. I have had a solo family practice in Soquel, CA since 1988. I do not consider my self pro or anti-vaccination but, as mentioned, I look at the potential risks and benefits of each vaccine as well as the health of
the potential recipient. Because these issues are so charged and controversial I encourage my patients to study the research and be involved making in these decisions.

Currently 20 states allow for exemptions from vaccination based on personal beliefs or philosophy, while 48 states allow exemptions based upon religion. Shortly after the “measles outbreak” that started at Disneyland in December 2014 legislation was introduced in several states including California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Vermont and Washington to eliminate exemptions based on personal beliefs and, in some cases, religious beliefs. As of 4/17/15 this legislation has already been withdrawn in Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington after encountering public opposition.

Currently the California State Assembly is considering SB 277, a bill that requires ALL children, even if they are home-schooled (with very rare exceptions) be FORCED to receive vaccines for
“(1) Diphtheria.
(2) Hepatitis B.
(3) Haemophilus influenzae type b.
(4) Measles.
(5) Mumps.
(6) Pertussis (whooping cough).
(7) Poliomyelitis.
(8) Rubella.
(9) Tetanus.
(10) Varicella (chickenpox).
(11) Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.”

(for the complete text of SB 277 see http://tinyurl.com/n7w7h7p )

The current personal belief and religious exemptions would be removed. The only exemptions allowed would be medical exemptions (more on these below).

SB 277 was recently approved by the California State Senate after being approved by the Health, Education and Judicial Committees despite many hundreds of concerned citizens who came to the hearings to ask the Senators to oppose it (those who attended to oppose it dramatically outnumbed those who expressed support).

(On a personal note, I have been a life-long liberal Democrat. To the dismay of myself and many others who oppose this bill, it is the Democrats who are strongly pushing SB 277 and the Republicans who are questioning its wisdom.)

Our local State Senator, Bill Monning, played a key role in the passage throught the Senate because he sat on all 3 committees that approved it. I am among Senator Monning’s many local constituents who requested to meet with him to discuss this important bill. To the great disappointment of many in our community, Senator Monning refused to personally meet with any of his constituents about this issue despite many pleas to listen to our views.

As Senator Monning is my district’s representative, I wrote him a letter before the 4/8 vote summarizing why I feel SB 277 would be a huge mistake. I am sharing that letter here:

Dear Senator Monning,

I am writing to express my concerns about SB 277 as a Family Physician who has practiced in California since 1984. I am a graduate of Stanford University (where I earned a degree in Biology) and the University of Michigan Medical School, where I also completed my residency in Family Medicine.

As most members of the Senate Health Committee probably already know, in 1970 the normal childhood vaccination schedule included 23 doses of 7 vaccines. There are currently 68 doses of 16 vaccines recommended by age 18 (35 of which are given in the first 18 months). There are currently nearly 300 new vaccines in development. If Senate Bill 277 passes, we are agreeing to not only to most of the current schedule without any adjustments, but we are also agreeing to force children to take any future vaccines that are introduced to the schedule and “deemed appropriate by the department” without giving parents or doctors the option to choose.

A central tenet of SB277 is the elimination of all exemptions from any vaccination on the state’s prescribed schedule except for “medical reasons.” These medical reasons are not further defined in the bill as currently written, but the CDC contraindications for vaccines, which many doctors would likely use as guidelines for issuing medical exemptions, are extremely restrictive. I believe that doctors will feel quite constrained in their abilities to approve medical exemptions, so virtually all school-aged children and those in daycare will be forced to comply. Conscientious doctors who believe that some of their patients might benefit from an altered vaccination schedule, beyond the narrow contraindications in the CDC’s “Pink Book,” will either feel they can not grant exemptions or might very well come under attack for deviating from “standards of care”. This troubles me deeply.

One of the primary tenets of medical ethics is voluntary informed consent. Quoting the American Medical Association, “Informed consent is a basic policy in both ethics and law that physicians must honor, unless the patient is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting and harm from failure to treat is imminent.” This means explaining to a patient the risks and benefits of any medication or procedure before administering it,
especially when the risks include serious injury or death, and then allowing the patient a choice whether to receive the treatment.

Every medication has inherent risks. Anyone with online access can quickly find a list of 20-30 common and/or serious potential reactions to any vaccine, including in the manufacturers’ own product information pamphlets. The adverse reactions listed tend to be only those that are obvious within a few days of vaccination (generally only reactions obvious within 4 days) and the frequency of serious long-term effects such as autoimmune diseases are unknown. There are, of course, also risks with any illness so it is also important to educate people about those as well. When I meet with patients, we discuss, for example, the hazards of high blood sugar or obesity or measles and then discuss the risks and benefits of various treatments. Then I allow my patients to choose whether a particular treatment or medication is right for them. SB 277 TAKES AWAY INFORMED CONSENT. I find this an outrageous assault on personal liberty, and it is deeply disturbing to me that, due to this legislative action, I will be prevented from helping a parent make an educated, informed, and appropriate decision for one of my patients.

The reason given by proponents of this bill is that those who do not get vaccinated are endangering others, but over 90% of children in California are fully vaccinated and most of the rest are partly vaccinated. Only 3% of children have parents that file the personal belief exemptions that this bill outlaws. Unfortunately, vaccines are not universally effective. For example, up to 15% of those who are fully vaccinated for measles are not immune to it, and some of the 3-5% of children who have not gotten measles vaccines are likely immune because those who have not been vaccinated may catch the vaccine version of the virus from their friends and become immune (while it has been documented that some children can shed the attenuated measles virus in the MMR, it is not known how commonly this occurs). The 5-15% who have been vaccinated but are not immune are a greater risk of spreading measles than the unvaccinated, since they outnumber those who are unvaccinated. Even fully vaccinating everyone will probably not wipe out measles and many other diseases such as whooping cough due to limitations of the effectiveness of vaccines (there have been documented measles outbreaks in populations that are 99% vaccinated).

As for the measles outbreak that apparently precipitated SB 277, as of 3/27/15, in a nation of over 300 million people there have been 178 cases of measles (120 in California), with 74% related to the Disneyland case. Less than half of those infected are known to have not been vaccinated (see http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html). Not one single person has died; in fact there have been no confirmed deaths from measles in the US since 2003.

As a medical doctor I have additional concerns. Every disease is different and every medication is different. Thus, each vaccine has a unique set of risks and benefits so it makes little sense to mandate all 10 that are mandated in SB 277. For example, the Hepatitis B Vaccine is typically given during the first day of life. However, a young child can only contract Hepatitis B from IV drug abuse, sexual activity with an infected partner, a blood transfusion using contaminated blood (and all blood is first screened) or from its mother. Thus, the only significant risk is if the mother has Hepatitis B infection. If a mother has been screened for this (as most mothers have), there is NO rational reason to expose a newborn to this vaccine, which is not without risk (see pages 5-7 for a lengthy list of adverse reactions from the official package insert:
https://www.gsksource.com/pharma/content/dam/GlaxoSmithKline/US/en/Prescribing_Information/Engerix-B/pdf/ENGERIX-B.PDF
Many studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature have documented that receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine is associated with increased risk of an autoimmune disorder similar to Multiple Sclerosis as well as arthritis and other serious hazards ( see
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266455/ and
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11164115 and
http://shoemakerassociates.com/documents/girard-autoimmiunehazardsofhepbvaccine.pdf).

The CDC states “There is no confirmed evidence which indicates that hepatitis B vaccine can cause chronic illnesses.” I believe the studies I just cited are “confirmed evidence” of this and this is evidence why the CDC, unfortunately, can not always be trusted. Quoting French vaccine researcher Dr. Marc Girard “hepatitis B vaccine is remarkable for the frequency, variety and severity of complications from its use. The toxicity of this vaccine is so unusual that, even if crucial data are regrettably concealed or covered by Court order, scientific evidence is already far higher than normally needed to justify severe restrictive measures.“
The objectivity of the CDC in these matters has been questioned by many including US Congressman Bill Posey who criticizes “the incestuous relationship between the public health community, vaccine makers, and public officials” including the CDC (see http://nsnbc.me/2014/04/17/congressman-blasts-cdc-incestuous-relationships-vaccine-makers/ ). Mandating that all newborns receive the Hepatitis B vaccine, even when their mother is proven to not have Hepatitis B, makes absolutely no sense from a public health perspective. I can think of no rational reason to mandate this vaccine (other than to increase the profits of Merck and GlazoSmithKline).

As for the side effects of vaccines, while a medication may be safe for most, I am not aware of a single medicine, herb or supplement that is safe for everyone. For example, penicillin clearly saves lives and is safe and well-tolerated by most, but many also have life-threatening reactions so it would be unwise to mandate that everyone who has an infection must get penicillin. While some would counter that medical exemptions are allowed, it is likely one could only obtain a medical exemption for someone who has
already had a severe reaction. While a reaction to penicillin will not have long-term consequences (if one survives the acute reaction), reactions to vaccines can result in life-long disabilities.

One of the many things that can contribute to the toxicity of vaccines is that many of them contain aluminum as an adjuvant (including 5 of the 10 currently mandated by SB 277). Quoting from “Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are They Safe?” by Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic and Dr. Chris Shaw, a Neuroscientist and professor at the University of British Columbia, “Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. In our opinion, the possibility that vaccine benefits may have been overrated and the risk of potential adverse effects underestimated, has not been rigorously evaluated in the medical and scientific community. (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21568886 ).
One of the reasons I mention this is that the toxic effects of aluminum do not manifest within the 4 days after vaccination during which adverse reactions to vaccines are typically studied.

Another concern about vaccine safety is that, just as two medications can be reasonably safe when given individually, they may have serious and even fatal interactions when given together. There have been NO research studies on the safety of the current schedule of 16 different vaccines. There have been NO studies comparing the health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations, so there is no research proving that there is a benefit to the current schedule. Clearly, most authorities and doctors, as well as the authors of this bill, simply assume that the vaccination schedule is beneficial but this should not be mandated for everyone without clear unequivocal scientific evidence, and this is, unfortunately,
completely lacking. While vaccination almost certainly has reduced the incidence of many serious infections, many highly-credentialed scientists and researchers believe that there is strong evidence that vaccines increase the incidence of a variety of chronic autoimmune diseases.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.”
(Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC131 S. Ct. 1068, 179 L.Ed.2d 1)

Another important consideration that is often overlooked is that naturally acquiring certain infections such as measles may result in significant long-term benefits to immune function and thus health. There are several studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature showing that adults who had measles in childhood have significantly lower rates of several common forms of cancer than those who did not have measles (see
http://thinktwice.com/Measles_and_Cancer.pdf ).
While there is an approximately 1 in 7000 risk of death in those who get measles, of the 7000 who do not get measles due to getting the MMR vaccine, there might be literally hundreds of cases of cancer that they would not have gotten if they had gotten measles instead of the vaccine.

I am not saying that vaccines do more harm than good. Clearly most who have been fully vaccinated enjoy good health. However, there is no denying that a significant number of children have had serious disabling and even fatal adverse reactions to certain vaccines. Until there is a quality study comparing the health of vaccinated to unvaccinated populations, it is impossible to know for certain if the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. And since we can not yet be certain that the current vaccine schedule ultimately improves the health of our population, it is premature to mandate it for those who would prefer to be cautious and exercise their rights to decide whether they or their children should do a particular medical treatment that has known risks.

Thus, I can find very little scientific rationale for mandating universal vaccination. There is no current imminent (or foreseeable) threat to public health drastic enough to warrant such a draconian, intrusive law that is such an extreme violation of individual liberty and informed medical choice. The state legislature enacted AB2109 very recently to encourage more conversation between doctors and parents who wish to have their children on an adjusted vaccination schedule or to forgo some vaccinations. This type of law has been effective in other states at reducing exemption rates, and it appears to be working in California as well. Doctors can be very persuasive with parents, and we are also able to note differences in individual situations that can’t be accommodated by a forced, one-size-fits-all mandated vaccination schedule.

Please drop this proposed bill, as states like Washington, Oregon, Maryland and North Carolina have recently done, and please focus on other ways to achieve the public health goals that do not infringe upon the relationship between doctor and patient. A better approach would be one that focuses on education and encouragement (as the federal government recommends in its National Adult Immunization Plan), particularly targeting areas of concern that parents have regarding vaccine safety.
Lobbying the federal government to fund more scientific work to better understand why some children experience serious adverse effects from vaccines could be an excellent long-term component of such an “educate and encourage” approach, as well as conducting overdue research on the long-term health outcomes of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. Gathering better data about our actual public health situation is important before considering any change in vaccination legislation.

While there is a great deal of misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric on both sides of this heated issue, I believe every statement I have made is both factual and verifiable. Thank you for considering my perspective. I would be happy to speak or correspond with any members of the Health Committee about any of these points.

Sincerely,
Randy Baker M.D.
Soquel, CA 95073

As you can see, I covered quite a bit of ground in my letter but there are a few more points I wish to make and a few articles I wish to share for any of you readers who have been interested enough to read this far (and if you are among those, I appreciate your time and interest!).

One of my first thoughts when I learned about this bill is that some people believe vaccines are safe and effective while some question this. Those who support this bill obviously believe vaccines are safe and effective. If this is the case, why are they so concerned that a small percentage of their children’s classmates are not fully vaccinated? If they believe vaccines are effective, then they should have faith that their fully-vaccinated children are fully protected from any exposures they might get from unvaccinated classmates.
However, Dr. Pan and other proponents say they are concerned about immunocompromised children, such as those who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer and who are thus unable to be immunized and who might have serious illness if they got an illness such as measles. However, such immunocompromised children are far more at risk from getting common viruses like cold and flu viruses that their fully-vaccinated classmates often get. Typically children who are significantly immunocompromised do not attend classes at their public schools and the schools provide teachers who visit them at home. This is wise, as immunocompromised children are more likely to be exposed to live vaccine viruses shed by classmates recently immunized with the MMR or varicella or live influenza vaccine than a classmate ill with “wild measles.”
As an interesting aside, there is research being done showing that modified versions of the measles virus can be very effective in treating certain forms of cancer! See
http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/neurosciences/update-measles-virus-novel-therapy-glioblastoma

If SB 277 passes, children will be required to get a large number of vaccines in a relatively short amount of time as advised by the CDC’s “catch-up schedule,” the safety of which has not been studied.

Even if one agrees that it is wise to vaccinate children for infectious diseases, some of the requirements of SB 277 make no sense. For example, all children would be required to be immunized for Haemophilus influenza Type B (Hib), even though the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices does not recommend routine Hib vaccination of healthy children 59 months of age or older, even if they have no prior history of Hib vaccination. So why does SB 277 mandate this?

Update: on the afternoon of 4/17/15 some anti-SB 277 constituents had an opportunity to briefly chat with Senator Monning at a reception at his office. One reported that he said something to the effect that “the needs of the few are outweighed by the needs of the many.” Even if one agrees with this, one can say that the vast majority of the population that wants the protection of vaccines are fully vaccinated and thus not significantly threatened by the 8% or less who are not fully vaccinated. So if one considers the needs of those who can not be vaccinated because they are immunocompromised, those few are FAR outnumbered by those whose parents would rather decline full vaccination. So the needs of the few who can’t be vaccinated should be outweighed by the needs of the (relative) many who do not want to be vaccinated.

In my letter I mentioned evidence that getting actual measles as a child reduces risks of adults getting several types of cancer. There is also evidence that getting measles can prevent lifelong allergies:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19255001
Info on Measles and how much of a threat it really is:
http://tinyurl.com/kvgbw5j

A good review of the research on how effective (and ineffective) the MMR vaccine is:
http://tinyurl.com/n9rtnj4

An Open Letter to Legislators Currently Considering Vaccine Legislation from Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD in Immunology:
http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/an-open-letter-to-legislators-currently-considering-vaccine-legislation-from-tetyana-obukhanych-phd-in-immunology/

It has been interesting to observe media coverage of SB 277 and those who are opposing it. Major papers like the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee have run editorials and opinion pieces in favor of SB 277, which invariably mention scientifically-proven safe vaccines and emotional opponents who are “science-deniers” such as this quote from an editorial by the Sacramento Bee urging the passage of SB 277: “It simply makes it harder for a vocal, misinformed minority of science deniers to endanger the health of the majority’s children.” (see
http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article18729762.html#storylink=cpy )
I was honestly surprised that no one at these papers seems concerned about how obtrusive this bill is but this excellent article may explain why there is such uniformly biased coverage in the mainstream media. This article explains why this issue is symptomatic of the insidious corporate takeover of American politics:

http://themomstreetjournal.com/2015/04/15/does-big-pharma-own-america/

Some additional commentary on the politics of this debate and how this could even lead down the slippery slope of a totalitarian state; at first that may sound extreme but is a country where people are forced to have toxic chemicals and biological agents injected into them against their will a free country?

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/so-should-we-just-round-up-the-anti-vaccine-parents-and-ship-them-to-guantanamo/

http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/dr-lee-hieb-m-d-vaccine-hysteria-could-spark-totalitarian-nightmare/

 

Thanks for reading!
PLEASE feel free to share this essay with anyone who you believe would be interested…
Those who want to read my overview about the Vaccine Debate written in 2012 can visit
https://drrandybaker.com/2012/05/04/the-vaccination-debate-7/

Randy Baker MD 4/17/15t

THE VACCINATION DEBATE

THE VACCINATION DEBATE

by Randy Baker MD

Please note that I first published the following essay on 5/4/12. See the bottom of this essay for a new update regarding the current controversy regarding Measles, but please read the original essay first! Here it is:

Few subjects in medicine are as controversial as vaccination. Both sides of the debate are passionate. Most vaccination advocates sincerely believe that vaccinations are safe and effective and save lives; they believe that those who do not vaccinate their children are foolishly endangering them, not only risking their lives but endangering others in the community as well. Vaccination opponents sincerely believe that vaccines are neither safe nor effective and have a significant potential of causing serious irreversible harm. Neither side is easily persuaded by the opposing side’s arguments. One would hope that science would provide the information necessary to settle this disagreement, but, unfortunately, the type of research that could best answer this question (long-term prospective studies evaluating the health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children) has not been done. Each vaccine has its own set of risks and benefits, so the rational approach is to evaluate each individual vaccine with regards to risks and benefits. However, the full extent of the risks and benefits are not fully known. Those favoring a vaccine will tend to emphasize the benefits and minimize the risks, while opponents tend to minimize the benefits while emphasizing the risks. Intelligent people may disagree. Because this issue is far from black and white, I advise my patients to read both sides of the debate and make their own decisions. However, there is one vaccine that I strongly recommend against, which is the Hepatitis B vaccine for newborns. Newborns have virtually no risk of getting Hepatitis B and this vaccine has many serious adverse reactions. In a 1993 survey 87% of pediatricians and family practitioners felt this vaccine was unnecessary in newborns. I also have strong concerns about the safety of the HPV vaccine and about immunizing children for influenza. The polio vaccine no longer seems necessary, the chickenpox vaccine seems like a bad idea and there are significant questions about the safety of the MMR vaccine.


I will briefly summarize the main arguments pro and con vaccines: Vaccine advocates believe vaccinations are largely responsible for the tremendous decline of serious childhood infectious diseases such as smallpox and polio. Critics note that nearly 90% of the decline in childhood mortality from infectious disease occurred before 1940, before most current vaccines were available or widely used. This decline was primarily due to improved sanitation, hygiene and other public health measures.
Vaccine advocates feel vaccines are effective in preventing disease. Critics point out that an overwhelming majority of those who have been infected with measles, mumps and pertussis in recent years were vaccinated. Mortality from influenza is just as high in years when the influenza vaccine is a perfect fit for the circulating strains as in the years when influenza vaccine does not at all match the circulating strains and is thus worthless, suggesting that influenza vaccine does not save lives.
Vaccine advocates claim that vaccines are largely safe, with most adverse effects being mild and serious adverse effects rare. Critics point out that vaccines have been linked with anaphylaxis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, polyneuropathy, thrombocytopenia, encephalopathy and death. These are acute reactions known to occur within hours or days of vaccination. There is concern that vaccines may commonly cause more insidious long-term reactions that do not manifest immediately, like allergies, asthma, autism, arthritis, colitis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases and may also cause cancer many years later. A study published in 2000 involving 14,000 children found those who had received the DPT or tetanus vaccine were twice as likely to develop asthma and 63% more likely to have other allergy symptoms than unvaccinated children.

Concerns about vaccine safety can be summarized as follows:
1) the toxicity of additives, preservatives and adjuvants including mercury (as thimerosal), aluminum and formaldehyde
2) the effects of vaccines on immune function. Natural immunity after infection is much more complex than the type of immunity conferred by vaccines. This is why many people will get infections they have been vaccinated against.
Many vaccines have been shown to at least temporarily suppress immune function and some have been shown to trigger autoimmune disease. Giving vaccines by injection is an unnatural process that the immune system has not evolved to handle.
3) the unknown effects of giving multiple vaccines, often at the same time, and starting as early as the first day of life, when the immune system is still largely undeveloped. Even many vaccine advocates believe it is wiser to start vaccines when the child is older and to not give so many at once. Current CDC recommendations call for children to receive 33 vaccinations for 14 diseases in the first 18 months of life.

4) the hazards of waning immunity. Chickenpox is fatal in 1 out of 100,000 children, but 31 of 100,000 adults. A child who gets chickenpox is immune for life, whereas those who are vaccinated have imperfect short-lasting immunity (18-34% still get chickenpox 5-10 years after vaccination) and will be more prone to becoming infected later in life. This is one of many such examples, with other illnesses such as mumps also much more serious in older people.

5) the hazards of live virus vaccines. Vaccines such as measles, mumps and rubella use weakened live viruses that may create chronic low-grade infections and have been associated with increased risk of autoimmune diseases. According to a 1995 study, those who received measles vaccine were 2.5 times more likely to develop ulcerative colitis and 3 times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than unvaccinated controls (though some have criticized this study): http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2895%2990816-1/abstract
6) the contamination of vaccines with live viruses, prions and oncogenes. Vaccines are manufactured by culturing bacteria and viruses in live tissues, such as chicken eggs, cow serum and monkey kidneys. Many vaccines have been shown to be contaminated with live viruses including retroviruses and fragments of DNA from host cells and viruses.
Polio vaccine was contaminated with the SV40 virus between 1955-1963, when 100 million Americans were vaccinated. This virus is known to cause cancer in animals and has integrated into the genetic code of those vaccinated. This virus is often detected in a wide variety of human cancer cells, including brain cancer, bone cancer and lymphoma.

7) another fascinating though rather esoteric (yet potentially profound) objection to vaccination is advanced by proponents of Anthroposophical Medicine, a sophisticated system and philosophy of healing based on the work of German philosopher Rudolph Steiner (who also founded the Waldorf schools). Anthroposophic physicians believe that humans have co-evolved with viruses such as measles and that contracting these illnesses plays a key role in the psycho-spirtual and physiological evolution of a child’s development. They believe that childhood illnesses allow the physical body to transform to match changes in their etheric beings. Therefore, vaccination interferes with this natural and important process that enables personal evolution and development. This is, of course, rather difficult to either prove or disprove via our current scientific methods but adds another interesting dimension to this debate. A reference to a more detailed discussion of this is included below.

One of the principle precepts of medical ethics is “primum non nocere,” first do no harm. No one denies that vaccines can and do cause serious harm to at least some of the recipients; what is in debate is whether this is a tiny fraction or very significant percentage.  Vaccine proponents feel that this risk is counterbalanced by the benefits, but while many of the risks are well proven, the benefits are surprisingly unproven and questionable.

There are many good articles online exploring vaccine safety. Some worth looking at include:

Vaccination: An Updated Analysis of the Health Risks by Gary Null PhDand Martin Feldman MD
http://www.townsendletter.com/Oct2007/vaccinate_null1007.htm

Vaccines’ Dark Inferno: What Is Not on Insert Labels?by Richard Gale and Dr. Gary Null
http://www.townsendletter.com/Dec2009/vaccines1209.html

As mentioned in the article above, besides the toxic chemicals deliberately added to vaccines they contain many dangerous contaminants. This article from the mainstream International Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination published on 1/23/17 says “”It is important to remember that particles (crystals and not molecules) are bodies foreign to the organism and they behave as such. More in particular, their toxicity is in some respects different from that of the chemical elements composing them, adding to that toxicity which, in any case, is still there, that typical of foreign bodies. For that reason, they induce an inflammatory reaction.
After being injected, those microparticles, nanoparticles and
aggregates can stay around the injection site forming swellings and granulomas [17]. But they can also be carried by the blood circulation, escaping any attempt to guess what will be their final destination. We believe that in many cases they get distributed throughout the body without causing any visible reaction, but it is also likely that, in some circumstances, they reach some organ, none excluded and including the microbiota, in a fair quantity. As happens with all foreign bodies, particularly that small, they induce an inflammatory reaction that is chronic because most of those particles cannot be degraded. Furthermore, the protein- corona effect (due to a nano-bio-interaction [18]) can produce organic/inorganic composite particles capable of stimulating the immune system in an undesirable way [19-22]. It is impossible not to add that particles the size often observed in vaccines can enter cell nuclei and interact with the DNA [23].

http://medcraveonline.com/IJVV/IJVV-04-00072.pdf

 

Summary of study on link between DPT and asthma/allergies:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10714532

Impressive interview with neuroscientist Dr Andrew Moulden MD, PhD. Here is a quote from it: “I have discovered that vaccinations are causing impaired blood flow (ischemia) to brain and body from clinically silent to death. These are strokes – across the board for all of us. I have reason to believe that all are being affected and all vaccinations ARE causing the overwhelming rise in autism, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, sudden infant death, gulf war syndrome, dementia, seizure disorders, some cancers it would appear, and much much more.”

http://vactruth.com/2009/07/21/dr-andrew-moulden-interview-what-you-were-never-told-about-vaccines/

A recent rare placebo-controlled study showing that Influenza Vaccine actually dramatically INCREASES one’s risk of getting other respiratory infections:

http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/study-flu-vaccine-causes-5-5-times-more-respiratory-infections-a-true-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-study/

And a recent study showing that Influenza can increase risk of getting Influenza!

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/03/flu-shot-increase-flu.aspx

Great article on the lack of effectiveness of Whooping Cough vaccine, how it may actually increase risk of Whooping Cough and the differences between naturally-acquired immunity and vaccine-induced “immunity”:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/30/whooping-cough-vaccine.aspx

A collection of graphs showing the decline in mortality rates in a variety of infectious diseases and the relationship (or lack thereof) to vaccination that impressed me a great deal at first. However, I have leaned that this information is misleading. This is an interesting case study regarding the need to be careful about believing what you see on the internet. First the graphs:
http://genesgreenbook.com/resources/Natural_Infectious_Disease_Declines_Immunization_Effectiveness.pdf 

And now a critique of these graphs:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vaccines-didnt-save-us-intellectual-dishonesty-at-its-most-naked/

A more detailed look at the decline in the rate of various diseases before and after the introduction of vaccines:

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/11/12/vaccines-a-peek-beneath-the-hood-by-roman-bystrianyk-and-suzanne-humphries-md/

A fascinating detailed analysis of the research on the safety/toxicity of mercury (as Thimerosal) in vaccines and how research studies can be manipulated to demonstrate a particular conclusion even when the actual data supports a different conclusion:
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/study-finds-evidence-cdc-cover-link-between-autism-and-mercury-vaccines

Many supporters of vaccination seem to think the only evidence linking autism and vaccines was the research conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that has been discredited. Here is a link to 99 other papers in the peer-reviewed literature suggesting a link between vaccines and autism:

http://experimentalvaccines.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/86-Research-Papers-Supporting-the-Vaccine-Autism-Link.pdf
However, I am trying to present both sides of the debate so this is a well-written essay which points out that many of those studies have little information directly linking vaccies to autism and which gives reasonable criticism to many of these studies:
https://angryautie.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-definitive-reference-debunking-vaccine-autism-myth/

More on this topic:

The Autism-Vaccine Debate: Why It Won’t Go Away by David Kirby
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/autism-vaccine-_b_817879.html

Vaccine Court: Autism Debate Continues by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and David Kirby
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism (recent news)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/cdc-to-study-vaccines-and_b_837360.html

“The true story of SV40, the cancer-causing virus hidden in polio vaccines”
http://www.naturalnews.com/032854_SV40_polio_vaccines.html

Comprehensive article on SV40  contamination of the polio vaccine. An estimated 98 million Americans have this virus in their bodies:

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2000/02/002bookchin.htm

Report on recent German study on differences in chronic disease rates in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children:

http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/new-study-vaccinated-children-have-2-to-5-times-more-diseases-and-disorders-than-unvaccinated-children/

Vaccine advocates often point to polio vaccine as a great example of how effective vaccines can be, but the story, again, is far from black and white.
This is a lengthy and fascinating article about polio and how much of what was called polio before the introduction of the vaccine was actually caused by DDT toxicity and other factors, and how what might be polio (usually caused by the oral polio vaccine) now is labelled as something else:

http://jeffreydachmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Suzanne_humphries_dissolving_illusions_disappearance_polio.pdf

Because the above article is so lengthy here is a very brief summary:
http://whale.to/a/smoke_mirrors.html

The most thorough discussion of tetanus and the hazards and benefits of tetanus vaccination that I have seen:

http://preventdisease.com/news/13/050713_Why-You-Never-Need-A-Tetanus-Vaccine-Regardless-of-Your-Age-or-Location.shtml

Proponents of vaccination, especially those who wish to limit the freedom of individuals to decline vaccination, base much of their arguments on the concept of “herd immunity.”
Here is a good article on this questionable and unproven concept:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/herd-immunity-myth-or-reality

An article summarizing a variety of epidemiological studies demonstrating the association between various vaccinations (esp. multiple vaccinations given at once) and increased infant mortality:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/multiple-infant-vaccines-linked-dramatically-increased-mortality

An essay on the Anthroposophical perspective on vaccination by Vance Dietz MD

http://www.anthromed.org/Article.aspx?artpk=764

Websites with multiple articles and links include:
National Vaccine Information Center http://www.nvic.org/

Curezone
http://curezone.com/topic/vaccination/

Vaccination Debate
http://www.vaclib.org/sites/debate/

General review of a large body of research and historical data questioning the safety and efficacy of vaccination by Patrick Quanten MD:

http://freespace.virgin.net/ahcare.qua/literature/medical/vaccination.html

Well-written essay by Suzanne Humphries MD:

Vaccination

The HPV Vaccine (Gardasil) appears to cause more serious reactions than most with over 150 deaths reported and over 20% reporting adverse reactions including autoimmune disease. While purported to reduce risk of cervical cancer this has not been proven and it may actually increase risk in those previously exposed to HPV. Most HPV infections are mild and self-limited and may stimulated immune function. For article on the concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the HPV Vaccine (Gardasil):

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/hpv-vaccines-unnecessary-and-lethal

http://truthaboutgardasil.org/breaking-news-diane-harpers-latest-interview/side-effects/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/24/hpv-vaccine-victim-sues-merck.aspx

http://drwilliammount.blogspot.com/2014/01/guadisil-guards-against-nothing-says.html

http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/sane-vax-inc-discovers-potential-bio-hazard-contaminant-in-merck%E2%80%99s-gardasil%E2%84%A2-hpv-4-vaccine/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/does-gardasil-actually-increase-your-risk-of-cervical-cancer.aspx

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/hpv-vaccine-maker-s-study-shows-natural-hpv-infection-beneficial-not-deadly?utm_source=www.GreenMedInfo.com&utm_campaign=0d890fec9c-Greenmedinfo&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_193c8492fb-0d890fec9c-86796697

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/study-reveals-unavoidable-danger-hpv-vaccines

Useful books include:

Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners,Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection by Neil Z. Miller, Russell Blaylock MD (the most comprehensive resource for the documented downsides of vaccines)

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child By Robert W. Sears MD
(a largely pro-vaccine book that does acknowledge some of the risks)

A useful DVD on this subject is Vaccines: The RIsks, The Benefits, The Choices by Sherri Tenpenny DO, an excellent presentation by one of the leading experts on vaccine safety.

Here is a video on youtube by Dr. Tenpenny, Vaccination: What CDC documents and Science reveal…

2/8/15 UPDATE

Here is the first draft of a work-in-progress, my essay on the current measles hysteria:

We live in a polarized nation with major schisms of Democrat vs.
Republican, religious vs. secular, pro-life vs. pro-choice, believers in mainstream
medicine vs. adherents of alternative medicine, those who trust our government and
authority vs. those who question our government and authority, etc. The current
widespread debate about vaccination is a near-perfect storm that brings many of
these into collision, igniting strong feelings, anger and fear in many quarters.
People have passionate views on this subject. Many of those who are
“pro-vaccination” seem to believe the “anti-vaxxers” are paranoid conspiracy
theorists who are unaware that Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s research has been debunked (as
if that is the entire body of science that questions vaccine safety) and base their
beliefs on the writings of Jenny McCarthy. Some believe this issue is so black and
white that any doctor who questions vaccine safety and efficacy should have their
medical license taken away. In reality, those who question the safety and efficacy
of vaccines as a group have a higher level of education and income than those who
do champion it and include many thousands of well-credentialed doctors and
researchers.

Vaccine skeptics tend to see the pro-vax community as mindless people who do not
question authority and have been gullible enough to believe the narrative of
government officials and the fear-mongering mainstream media which is unduly
influenced by Big Pharma, which stands to profit handsomely from more widespread
vaccination. Of course those who are pro-vaccine are genuinely concerned for the
health and well-being of themselves and their loved ones and see people who do not
vaccinate as directly threatening their safety. Thus, many in the pro-camp are
calling for mandatory vaccinations, which has the anti-vax camp extremely afraid of
the prospect of being forced to have something toxic and hazardous administered
against their will. No wonder people are so upset!

In the often-inflammatory online discussions I have seen, I have seen many in the
pro-vax camp rail against the “smug arrogance” of the “anti-vaxxers” but I see those
people as every bit as smug and arrogant about the validity of their own beliefs. In
the midst of all of this polarizing conflict I would like to take this opportunity
to look at the actual facts and examine both what is known and not known about this
issue. I am going to focus on what we know for sure, and one thing I know for sure
is that not all vaccines are created equal. While many in both camps may see all
vaccines as good or bad, the reality is that each vaccine has its own unique sets of
risks and benefits, so I going to focus on the MMR vaccine and on Measles, as this
is the current focus of people’s concerns.

Before delving into this topic I want to briefly review my background and
qualifications. I earned my undergraduate degree in Biology at Stanford University.
I studied Biology because I am fascinated by biochemistry, physiology and
understanding how our bodies work.
I then attended medical school at the University of Michigan where I also completed
my residency in Family Medicine. While mainstream Western medicine is often
miraculous, it has very few cures to offer for most chronic disease, instead
treating superficially and symptomatically with expensive and often-hazardous
pharmaceuticals. I thus studied nutrition, herbal medicine, mind-body medicine,
homeopathy and other complementary therapies which I integrate with conventional
therapies as appropriate. I was a founding diplomate of the American Board of
Integrative Holistic Medicine in 2000. I have had a solo family practice in Soquel,
CA since 1988. I do not consider my self pro or anti-vaccination but, as mentioned,
I look at the potential risks and benefits of each vaccine as well as the health of
the potential recipient. Because these issues are so charged and controversial I
encourage my patients to study the research and be involved making in these
decisions.

Now let’s look a the facts. I want to examine Measles including how it is spread and
just how dangerous it is, the Measles vaccine and how effective it is and how
hazardous it is. I will also examine whether there may actually be benefits to
getting Measles…

That is it thus far. As stated, a work in progress. Here are some of the articles I will be discussing and linking to as this essay continues:
Info on Measles and how much of a threat it really is:
http://tinyurl.com/kvgbw5j

A good review of the research on how effective (and ineffective) the MMR vaccine is:
http://tinyurl.com/n9rtnj4

Evidence that getting measles can prevent lifelong allergies (there is also evidence mumps significantly reduces risk of ovarian cancer and many other vaccines may directly or indirectly increase cancer risk):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19255001

Evidence that getting measles significantly reduces risk of a wide variety of cancers!

http://thinktwice.com/Measles_and_Cancer.pdf

Some commentary on the politics of this debate and how this could even lead down the slippery slope of a totalitarian state; at first that may sound extreme but is a country where people are forced to have toxic chemicals and biological agents injected into them against their will a free country?

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/so-should-we-just-round-up-the-anti-vaccine-parents-and-ship-them-to-guantanamo/

http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/dr-lee-hieb-m-d-vaccine-hysteria-could-spark-totalitarian-nightmare/

That’s all for now but check back for the full version, hopefully coming soon…