Vaccines: Friends or Enemies?

<span property="schema:name">Vaccines: Friends or Enemies?</span>

Vaccines: Friends or Enemies?

    • Author Name
      Andrew N. McLean
    • Author Twitter Handle

    Full story (ONLY use the 'Paste From Word' button to safely copy and paste text from a Word doc)

    According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccines are products that stimulate a person's immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, ultimately protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are credited with saving millions of lives, but can they also irreversibly harm recipients?

    Ask yourself: Do you feel safe using vaccines? Are vaccines a benefit to human health, or an inhibitor? If there were health risks that came along with vaccines would you give them to your child? With the health of our population in mind, should the government mandate vaccines?

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting 28 doses of 10 vaccines, for kids aged 0 to six, but the amount of vaccines required by a child depends in which state said child lives. Montana requires three vaccinations, while Connecticut requires the most, 10. In many states, a parent can avoid vaccinating their child by claiming it's against their religious or philosophical beliefs. However, as of the 30th of July, 2015, in the state of California, that choice no longer belongs to the parents – it belongs to the state.

    In the summer of 2015, the governor of California approved Senate Bill (SB) 277 – a public health bill that states in its opening:

    "Existing law prohibits the governing authority of a school or other institution from unconditionally admitting any person as a pupil of any public or private elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless prior to his or her admission to that institution he or she has been fully immunized against various diseases, including measles, mumps, and pertussis, subject to any specific age criteria."

    According to the CDC, the reason your child should get vaccinated is to protect them from an array of diseases that children are susceptible to. These diseases include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), polio, and pneumococcal disease, and are often treated by the DTaP or MMR vaccines. However, vaccines aren't only recommended for children, but also for adults and health care professionals.

    A study was conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) to gauge the perception of a choice between receiving an annual influenza vaccine, or being forced to wear a mask as a condition of employment. This study, whose goal was to focus on the online public perception of this choice, found that almost half of the participants were against it.

    "Almost half (48%) of commenters expressed a negative sentiment toward the influenza vaccine, 28% were positive, 20% were neutral, and 4% expressed mixed sentiment. 1163 comments made by 648 commenters responding to 36 articles were analyzed. Popular themes included concerns about freedom of choice, vaccine effectiveness, patient safety, and distrust in government, public health, and the pharmaceutical industry."

    This study showed many healthcare professionals are not in favor of vaccinations, due to a lack of trust. Some distrust the effectiveness of the treatment and others distrust those who are implementing these vaccinations, citing that the freedom of choice should override the government's intent to put something in one's body.

    In these cases, if a healthcare professional doesn't receive a vaccination or doesn't wear a mask, their employment can be terminated due to their lack of compliance. The growing fear amongst many is regarding SB 277, and the fact we may no longer have the freedom to choose if we want to vaccinate our children or not.

    Yet, why worry or fear vaccines? They are here to help our children lead a healthy life, aren’t they? That is the million-dollar question – one that has been answered by the CDC, amid scrutiny.

    There are many ingredients in mandated vaccines that may scare the public, including formaldehyde, mercury, MSG, bovine cow serum, and highly flammable chemicals such as aluminum phosphate. These ingredients might draw a red flag amongst many parents, but the biggest argument against vaccines is the tens of thousands of parents who have made claims that, after their child had been vaccinated, they have portrayed major signs of autistic behavior.

    Though the public is told to believe that vaccines are only here to benefit humanity while creating a healthier future, there have been cases in the past where vaccines have caused health problems for those who have received them.

    In 1987, an MMR vaccine by the name of Trivivix was used and produced in Canada by SmithKline Beecham. This vaccine caused meningitis in its recipients. Its negative effects were quickly recognized, and the vaccine was withdrawn in Canada. However, in the same month it was withdrawn in Ontario, Trivivix was licensed in the UK under a new name, Pluserix. Pluserix was used for four years and caused meningitis as well. It also had to be withdrawn in 1992 due to public outcry and lack of confidence in vaccine policy makers. Instead of destroying this vaccine that hindered the health of 1,000's of children, Pluserix was shipped to developing countries like Brazil, where it was used in a mass vaccination campaign, creating an epidemic of meningitis.

    Though vaccines have harmed some of its recipients in the past, there has yet to be concrete evidence made public by the CDC that proves a link between vaccines and autism.

    “In medicine, there have been many studies that prove vaccines don’t cause autism. The problem I have always had with that is thousands and thousands of parents all telling the same story: ‘My child got a vaccine, usually the MMR vaccine. Then that night, or the next day, broke out in fever; then when they came out of fever lost the speech or the ability to walk,’” said Del Bigtree, medical journalist.

    What we know about autism is that it's growing in children at a rapid rate. In the 1970's, autistic disabilities could be found in 1 in 10,000 children. In 2016, according to the CDC, it can be found in 1 in 68 kids. Males are more susceptible to autism at a rate of 3:1. Male autism can be found at a scale of 1 in 42, while 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism. In 2014, there were 1,082,353 diagnosed cases of autism in the United States.

    Autism causes numerous disabilities in a child, some of which include the inability to retain information, repetitive behavior, a lack of intimacy, self-harm, high-pitched screams, and the inability to gauge feelings, among a litany of other symptoms. If any of these behaviors arise in your child, it's recommended to seek medical attention. There have been thousands of instances of parents noticing some of these symptoms occurring in their child after they've received the MMR or DTaP vaccines.

    “What became pretty interesting was seeing the number of families who were reporting that their child had a regressive type of behavior occur right after their vaccinations. One of these parents was showing me footage of their children who had been completely developing normally until 18 months, then all of a sudden, post vaccination, had developed incredible regression," said, Doreen Granpeesheh Ph.D., BCBA founder of Center For Autism and Related Disorders. "Children who had speech anywhere close to 50-100 words had completely lost all of their words. Children who were extremely attached and interactive with their parents had suddenly become isolated, no longer responding to their own name. This was all happening right after their MMR vaccines.”

    The questions surrounding the relationship between vaccines and autism have been brought up in the science community, as well as the highest levels of politics. In 2002, U.S. Congressman Dan Burton was involved in a heated conversation in front of Congress, due to the lack of transparency in the findings of the pharmaceutical companies results regarding vaccines. Burton raised an important question: how will we deal with this problem in the future?

    "It used to be 1 in 10,000, and now it’s 1 in more than 250 kids that are being damaged in this country that are autistic. Now those kids are going to grow up. They aren’t going to die... they’re going to live to be 50, 60 years old. Now who do you think is going to take care of them? It’s going to be us, all of us, the taxpayers. It’s going to cost … trillions of dollars. So we can’t let the pharmaceutical companies and our government cover this mess up today because it ain’t going to go away," Burton said.

    High-ranking CDC officials have been questioned about the possible link between vaccines and autism, and some have admitted to the possibility of receiving autistic behavior due to the MMR or DTaP vaccines:

    “Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines, and if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism,” said former director of the CDC, Julie Gerberding M.D., during a CNN interview. 

    Gerberding isn't the only CDC employee to speak about the possible connections between vaccines and autism. William W. Thompson, a man that has grown to be a sort of folklore after becoming a CDC whistleblower, has also divulged secrets regarding his scientific findings on vaccines. Thompson, a Senior Scientist and Epidemiologist at the CDC, hired a lawyer in October 2002 when he found out that what was being published from the CDC in regards to vaccine safety was not true. In August of 2014, Thompson went public with this statement:

    “My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998. I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”

    Thompson found that African American males who had been vaccinated before the age of three were 340% more likely to receive autistic behavior. Though the risk is greater in African Americans, the risk of autism climbs greatly for any child receiving vaccines before the age of 3.

    “Oh my God, I can’t believe we did what we did, but we did," Thompson told a reporter, regarding his confession. "This is the lowest point in my career, that I went along with that paper. I have great shame now when I meet families of kids with autism because I have been part of the problem.”