“It is a vaccine that’s been highly marketed, the benefits are over-hyped, and the dangers are underestimated” – Dr Christopher Shaw from the University of British Colombia. (Take from the One More Girl documentary).
In Australia in the 1960s, children were given a total of five vaccines from early childhood to adolescence. Fast forward to 2017, and the full schedule includes over 50 injections. And the list of new vaccines keeps growing.
How many vaccines are enough? What is it going to take to put an end to this dated science that is making our children so sick?
In the near future I will be a grandmother again. New birth is a wonderful time ripe for celebration and happiness. Or it should be. But regrettably for so many of us now, the occasion is also one full of fear for the child and his or her future health. This is because our children and grandchildren are being given far too many vaccines and the result of this over-vaccination is skyrocketing rates of autism and other chronic health problems.
Our human bodies are wonderful and if subjected to a favourable environment including good food, clean water, and adequate housing, most of us will live healthy lives without needing medical intervention such as vaccines.
When my daughter Tamara was born, I was fortunate to have a sensible, down-to-earth mother who encouraged me to breast feed. This was 1971 when it was becoming fashionable for young women to ditch the breast and take up formula feeding. I happily followed her advice and never regretted it for a moment. Breastfeeding is natural, convenient, and more importantly, a perfect feed for baby — not just nutritionally, but replete with immunity, too.
This brings me to the subject of herd immunity — natural herd immunity. We hear our so-called health experts speak of the need for herd immunity in the context of vaccines. But herd immunity is not obtainable from vaccines. Vaccine-acquired protection from childhood infections does not last, whereas the natural infection with its fever and rashes extends immunity and is reinforced by others when they come down with the illness.
Before vaccines, herd immunity is gained in the following way. As a child before the age of vaccines, it was common for us to have infections such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox. A few days off kindergarten or school and then you were well again. We never heard of children having complications from the natural infection. When babies are breastfed, this natural immunity is passed on and protects them in the early months of life. Then when our children have measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox, the adult immunity to these illnesses is reinforced — this I think of as herd immunity.
Take the case of chicken pox, a mild infection. Before the current age of vaccines, chicken pox immunity among adults was regularly reinforced by the young around them who had the natural disease. In this way, elderly people, often susceptible to shingles, were protected from the painful and debilitating disease. This naturally acquired immunity is disappearing now that children are vaccinated for these mild childhood infections and everything else — even against influenza. Nature has it right, and a dose of a mild infectious disease makes us stronger.
In Australia today, penalties are strict and unforgiving for parents who do not choose to vaccinate their children.
Enrolment in childcare centres and kindergarten requires the federal vaccination schedule to be up to date. Certain government benefits are also withheld from parents who do not comply with this overburdened vaccination schedule.
Fear is a great motivator, and our media, at the behest of health departments and the pharmaceutical industry, have exploited the prospect of disease to such an extent that most of society thinks vaccines will prevent childhood disease and the rare death. Before the age of vaccines, there were around 10 cases of death from measles in Australia, and these sadly occurred in areas of poverty and disadvantage. Infectious disease deaths fell before widespread vaccination. Factors that resulted in reduced deaths were improved nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene.
Similarly, when we turn to the issue of cervical cancer and prior to the 2006 release of the first human papilloma virus vaccine, Gardasil, the media message was intense, and scarcely a day passed without a horrifying cervical cancer story accompanied by the promotion of an auspicious, imminent vaccine.
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In my book Gardasil: Fast-Tracked and Flawed, I write about how this message reached an uninformed public, most of whom had never heard of this virus but were now anxiously waiting for a vaccine to become available as quickly as possible. Poverty and environmental factors such as smoking, poor diet, and even natural ageing were displaced as causation in favour of the human papilloma virus or wart virus.
How The Vaccine Was Fast tracked
In 2006 when the HPV vaccine Gardasil was licensed and marketed to young girls and women 9-26 years of age, the phase 3 clinical trials had not been completed. This meant that the benefits of the vaccine and any safety issues arising from it were not known. The time period from clinical trial to recommending the vaccine was only 4 years.
According to Dr Diane Harper, one of Merck’s HPV researchers:
most vaccines take 3 years to develop and then 5 to 10 more for universal acceptance. Merck lobbied every opinion leader, women’s group, medical society, politicians, and went directly to the people — it created a sense of panic that says you have to have this vaccine now.
Gardasil was fast-tracked by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to industry lobbying by the manufacturer Merck who in December 2005 submitted an application to the FDA for fast track approval. Shortly after in February 2006 Merck announced that Gardasil was to be given a ‘priority review’. Such an accelerated review is reserved for vaccines and other products that are urgent and for conditions where other treatment does not exist.
Did Gardasil fulfill this unmet need?
No it certainly did not. Cervical cancer is a rare outcome of HPV infection and in countries with cervical cancer screening programs cases of the disease and fatalities have more than halved and if a cancer is found early and treatment given, the 5 year survival rate is 72%.
But in spite of these facts the FDA review date was scheduled for June 8 , 2006 whereupon the first HPV vaccine was approved and recommended for all women aged between 9-26 years even though it had not been tested for the prevention of precursor lesions in females younger than 15 years of age.
We need to turn this around. There are many awful things happening in the world today, but this one could be stopped tomorrow if there were a will.
In the words of Dr Sherri Tenpenny,
True health cannot come from a needle. Injecting people with something to try to keep them well is a 200 year mistake.
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