To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?…that is the question!

If you have children, are planning to have children, are currently pregnant, or know other sisters who fit any of the afore mentioned criteria, please read this, comment, and spread the knowledge.  History does not have to repeat itself!  Know the facts and give yourself the right to choose!



Answering Pro-Vaccination Questions

Originally Posted by Natural Mama NZ
Recently I got into an online discussion about vaccines (which prompted me to write this post). Two people in particular where adamant vaccines were 100% safe, and that anyone who disagreed was an ignorant quack. They went on to quote what they called “facts” (that were flat out untrue) but they were adamant they were right.

I presented many valid points and studies but they were ignored, and instead I got this response:

‎”There is no comparison between the scientific method and a bunch of yahoos who publish stuff over the internet.”

But I was quoting REAL, scientific studies. It made me realise the vaccine debate has been drawn away from facts – instead pitting people against hated stereotypes to gain a following. I’m not a hippy, I’m not easily sucked in, I like facts, logic, and clear, unbiased stats. So I said to her:

“It’s not a matter of anti-vax versus pro-vax, it’s a matter of decifering common sense and accurate stats from a myriad of bull shit.”

But it fell on deaf ears. On and on the discussion went, back and forth, until I had to leave for a family outing – feeling mentally drained and wondering whether anything I’d said made any difference at all.

The draining discussion did present a gift though, it showed me what questions many pro-vax parents have about vaccines, that NEED to be addressed publicly. Below are statements taken from our conversation and answers to them:

“Thimerosal has not been used in childhood vaccines for 10 years.” 
Thimerosal (contains 50% mercury) HAS indeed been used in vaccines since the 1930’s right through to today, and I’m sure will continue to until there is a law prohibiting it. Ten years ago there was a major enquiry into the effect thimerosal had on young children. As a result major health organizations issued a joint statement recommending it’s removal as soon as possible (excerpt from the CDC website):

“The Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two Joint Statements, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible (CDC 1999) and (CDC 2000).”

Despite the above statement, no recall of the vaccines containing mercury was ever issued and companies continued to sell lots already manufactured with expiration dates as late as 2007. It is plausible then that vaccines containing large amounts of thermerosal were still being administered to children as recently as 2007. The removal of thimerosal in vaccines has been more of a gradual phasing out, than a sudden halt.

While most vaccines manufactured today have abided by the above recommendation to reduce or eliminate thimerosal, six different types of vaccines in the U.S still contain it, and some are part of the current childhood vaccine schedule:
(Table excerpts from the CDC and Vaccine Safety websites)

Trade Name
Thimerosal Concentration
CSL Limited
0 (single dose)
0.01% (multidose)
0/0.5 mL (single dose)
24.5 µg/0.5 mL (multidose)
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
25 µg/0.5 mL dose
Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Ltd
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Japanese Encephalitis7
Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University
35 µg/1.0mL dose
17.5 µg/0.5 mL dose
Menomune A, C, AC and A/C/Y/W-135
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
0.01% (multidose)
0 (single dose)
25 µg/0.5 dose
All Products
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Tetanus Toxoid
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc
25 µg/0.5 ml dose

Is the amount of mercury in currently manufactured vaccines safe? The safety guidelines set out by the CDC state:

A person must not recieve more than 0.1mcg of mercury, per kg of body weight per day.

An average 6kg 6 month old infant must not exceed 0.6mcg in a single day. Yet as seen in the table above, many vaccinations shots contain 42 times this amount. What compounds the problem is that in other documents the CDC recommends children receive up to 9 vaccination shots at one doctors visit. It’s entirely possible that a child will receive the DTwP and Influenza both at the same doctors visit, where the child will recieve 50 mcg at once, exceeding the mercury toxicity threshold 83 times.

Many of these shots also need up to 5 repeated shots every couple of months, so the child will continue to receive toxic doses of mercury at regular intervals throughout the year. Whether a person will display symptoms of mercury toxicity depends on the person’s individual physical ability to process it – some people can not process mercury at all and will react severely and immediately, others will take days, weeks or years.

Any amount of mercury is toxic and is extremely difficult to remove from the body without chelation therapy. Symptoms of toxicity depend on the amount injected and the person’s ability to process it – but it will cause toxicity make no mistake, it may just be more gradual in some. So no, the amount of mercury in the above current vaccines is not safe.

“There has been no fall in the rate of Autism since thimerosal’s removal from vaccines.”
The removal of thimerosal from vaccines has been a gradual phasing out, not a sudden halt. And it is still in 6 different types of vaccines, in no way has it been entirely “removed”. Vaccine caused autism would match a gradual decline seen in statistics below.

The below graph shows the prevalence of autism in the U.S and outlying areas in the year 2009. Many statistics like this repeadly show children born between the years 1998-2003 make up the majority of those diagnosed with autism, with a decline in those born more recently. (Click for a larger view)

This graph shows some important details:
• Older children with autism are continuing to be identified.
• It takes from 2 to 7 years or longer for older children who have autism to be identified.
• Children under three years of age lag in being diagnosed.
• Prevalence for each birth year will continue to rise until all persons in that birth year are identified.

The problem is current charts often show a continued increase in overall autism rates, which on the surface is misleading. It makes it seem as if each year the number of babies born with autism is sky rocketing. When in fact it is the older children who are only now being diagnosed with autism who are making up the bulk of the current statistics.

My question is what happened to children born between 1998-2003 that triggered a massive increase in autism cases?

“All evidence that mercury causes autism has been refuted.”
In a report authored by the CDC in June 2000 it was concluded exposure to more than 62.5 micrograms of mercury within the first three months of life significantly increased a child’s risk of developing autism. Specifically, the study found a 2.48 times increased risk of autism.

“Exposure evaluated at 3 months of age found increasing risks of ‘neurological developmental disorders’ with increasing cumulative exposure to thimerosal.”

These disorders included developmental disorders, specific delays, developmental speech disorder, autism, stuttering and attention deficit disorder.

“This analysis suggests that in our study population, the risk of ticks, ADD, language and speech delays, and developmental delays in general maybe increased by exposure to mercury from thimersoal containing vaccines during the first six months of life.”

As a consequence of this study major health organizations issued a joint statement recommending the removal of thimerosal as soon as possible. And while many vaccine manufacturers complied, as shown in the above table many still contain amounts that if taken together at the single doctors visit would be far too close for comfort to the 62.5 mcg of mercury mentioned in the CDC’s study.

But even if mercury containing vaccines are not taken together, the amount would still be damaging, maybe half as bad, and I’m sorry I don’t want ANY ‘neurological development disorder’ affecting my child for the sake of a vaccine – it is not a viable tradeoff.

Studies have continued to examine whether there is a link between vaccines or mercury and vaccines, and the link is very clear:

“A thorough review of medical literature and U.S. government data indicates (i) that many and perhaps most cases of idiopathic autism, in which an extended period of developmental normalcy is followed by an emergence of symptoms, are induced by early exposure to mercury; (ii) that this type of autism represents a unique form of mercury poisoning (HgP); (iii) that excessive mercury exposure from thimerosal in vaccine injections is an etiological mechanism for causing the traits of autism; (iv) that certain genetic and non-genetic factors establish a predisposition whereby thimerosal’s adverse effects occur only in some children; and (v) that vaccinal mercury in thimerosal is causing a heretofore unrecognized mercurial syndrome.” 7

“The overwhelming evidence from the peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature favours acceptance that mercury exposure is capable of causing some Autism Spectrum Disorders, particularly in children who are biochemically and/or genomically susceptible to mercury intoxication. A review of treatments suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorder patients who undergo protocols to reduce mercury and/or its effects show significant clinical improvements in some cases.” 4

“The children with Autism Spectrum Disorder:
Had elevated levels of androgens.
Excreted significant amounts of mercury post chelation challenge.
Had biochemical evidence of decreased function in their glutathione pathways.
Had no known significant mercury exposure except from Thimerosal-containing vaccines/Rho(D)-immune globulin preparations.
Had alternate causes for their regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders ruled out.
Had a significant dose-response relationship between the severity of the regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder and the total mercury dose children received from Thimerosal-containing vaccines/Rho (D)-immune globulin preparations.
Were exposed to significant amounts of mercury from Thimerosal-containing biologic/vaccine preparations during their fetal/infant developmental periods, and subsequently, between 12 and 24 mo of age.
Were previously normally developing children prior to mercury exposure.
Suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies (brain injury) that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders.” 5

“Boys aged 3 to 17 years (born before 1999 with a vaccination record) who received the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine during the first month of life were 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism, than boys either vaccinated later or not at all.”1

“The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of Autism or Speech or Language Impairment. A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having Autism or Speech or Language Impairment. Aluminum, which is found in at least 20 U.S. childhood vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010), is not only a neurotoxin, but also an immunosuppressant that may allow measles-containing vaccines to create cytokines that damage the brain.Enhanced exposure to aluminum via vaccines may be associated with an increase in the prevalence of neurological disorders such as autism, especially if an aluminum-containing vaccine is administered along with a measlescontaining vaccine.” 2

“Children with severe Autism Spectrum Disorder had biomarkers consistent with mercury toxicity such as significantly increased mercury intoxication-associated urinary porphyrins (pentacarboxyporphyrin, precoproporphyrin, and coproporphyrin); significantly decreased plasma levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), cysteine, and sulfate; significantly increased plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG). This study concluded mercury intoxication is significantly associated with autistic symptoms.” 3

“Boys who were vaccinated with the Hep B triple series vaccine were 9 times more likely to need early intervention or special education services, than boys who were not vaccinated with the Hep B vaccine.” 6
*Note: The Hep B triple series vaccine contained thimerosal at the time this data was collected

“The anti-vaccination movement twist facts”
To that I replied, “ALL studies and publications twist facts. Yes that’s right, every single study is funded by someone, and each person has their own personal point of view, their own bias.” Again this was brushed off.

It’s an illusion that because a study was conducted by a “scientist” the contents of are of pure truth. We can never be sure a study was accurately conducted, but often it’s all we have to go on. And the stats themselves can be interpreted literally any way you like, the way in which it’s delivered to you will sway you in whatever direction the commentator wants you to go.

For an example of the integrity of today’s scientific studies, there was a recent study,‘Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years’published in The New England Journal of Medicine on September 27, 2007 that was touted as a ‘Weight of Evidence Against Thimerosal Causing Neuropsychological Deficits’by many medical publications. But by looking just little closer major flaws in the study became self evident:

– The study specifically eliminated any children with autism or a neurological condition.  Children who had had encephalitis and meningitis were also eliminated. This literally makes the study null and void. And I’m quite dumbfounded every time I read it. They removed any child that would conflict with the outcome they wanted: to show thimersoal does not cause neuropsychological deficits. What a novel way to deal with the problem, just remove the evidence and continue as it you’re conducting a valid study. If the study were conducted honestly these would have been the children they were specifically looking for, they were what the whole study was supposed to be about.

– The authors went on to eliminate 70% of the study participants. The authors themselves also acknowledge that selection bias might have been a factor in the findings. It really sounds more like it was an audition to find the healthiest children, than a valid, randomized group of study subjects.

– The primary concern about thimerosal, that it causes autism, was not addressed or included in the study. The study noted that autism itself – the condition most often connected with thimerosal – was not considered.

 The authors of the study had major conflicts of interest.

Dr. Offit
Serves on the scientific advisory board of Merck (major vaccine manufacturer). Holds a patent on the RotaTeq vaccine produced by Merck.

Dr. Thompson
The lead investigator, is a former employee of Merck.

Dr. Marcy
Has received consulting fees from Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and MedImmune.

Dr. Jackson
Received grant money from Wyeth, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis. He received lecture fees from Sanofi Pasteur and consulting fees from Wyeth and Abbott. Currently, he is a consultant to the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Dr. Lieu
Is a consultant to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunication Practices.

Dr. Black
Receives consulting fees from MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Merck, and grant support from MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis, Merck, and Novartis.
Dr. Davis – Receives consulting fees from Merck and grant support from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

As you can see you’ve got to be very careful which studies you tout as evidence.

Below is a large excerpt from Immunization Awareness Society Inc website, with some rather damning info regarding the integrity of scientific studies:

Conflict of Interest
The burgeoning problem of conflict of interest was discussed in a paper in a 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association:

The vast majority of doctors involved in establishing national guidelines on disease treatment have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry that could potentially sway their recommendations and inappropriately influence thousands of other physicians… 38% of respondents said they had served as employees or consultants for pharmaceutical companies and 58% had received financial support for medical research. In addition, 59% had links with drug companies whose medications were considered in the particular guidelines they authored… 19% said they thought their co-authors’ recommendations were swayed by their relationships and 7% said they thought their own relationships influenced recommendations.”1

On the same topic a Lancet editorial asks just how tainted by commercial conflicts has medicine become? The author concluded that the answer was heavily tainted, and damagingly so.2

A paper published in the British Medical Journal in 2003 found that:

“Research sponsored by the drug industry was more likely to produce results favouring the product made by the company sponsoring the research than studies funded by other sources. The results apply across a wide range of disease states, drugs, and drug classes, over at least two decades and regardless of the type of research being assessed.”3

In another paper, published in the journal Psychological Medicine in 2006, Researchers found that in studies on psychiatric drugs favorable outcomes were significantly more common in studies sponsored by the drug manufacturer (78%) than in studies without industry sponsorship (48%) or sponsored by a competitor (28%).

Another study into bias in reported research on psychiatry drugs in 2007 “confirmed previous findings that industry-funded studies are less likely to report negative findings.” The authors went on to say that their “novel finding is that this effect appears to be largely or exclusively due to the presence of a company employee among the authorship.”4

These are just three of many, many papers on conflict of interest within the pharmaceutical industry and the reporting of drug trial results. Such conflict of interest is so widespread and has become such a significant problem that is has begun to be addressed by the major peer-reviewed medical journals. Many medical journals have initiated stricter ethics codes for publishing research funded by pharmaceutical or medical device-makers, including many journals that have instituted zero-tolerance policies for study authors with financial ties to drug companies.

However, this doesn’t avoid the problem of many studies that produce negative results never being published at all. Added to this is the use of spin to convince readers of a more favorable result.

In a 2009 report, Dr Isabelle Boutron said that more than 40% of studies with negative findings were “spun” and even in trials with favorable outcomes, 49% of phrases considered to be positive “spin” weren’t accompanied by any mention of a statistically significant result.

The researchers defined spin as an attempt to “convince the reader that the treatment is important” even though the trial had nonsignificant findings.5

Another problem can be the mismatch between what is reported in the media from a study, or even between an abstract and the rest of the paper. If possible don’t just rely on reading an abstract as they can mislead and conclusions drawn may not match the actual results of research.

For example, in a 1998 study of the efficacy of the hepatitis B vaccine in Gambia, the researchers found that, 14 years after administration of the vaccine 37.4% of participants in the study in had been infected, and of the uninfected, 36% had undetectable levels of antibodies.6 In total, 61% of the adolescents and young adults had no immunity to hepatitis B only 14 years following vaccination. Incomprehensibly, the authors concluded in the paper and the abstract of the paper that vaccine efficacy was remarkably well maintained. Only by reading the full paper was it clear that the vaccine had a very low efficacy. No refusal to publish here, just conclusions that are diametrically opposed to the facts.

1. Choudhry, N.K., Stelfox, H.T., Detsky, A.S., 2002: Relationships Between Authors of Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Pharmaceutical Industry, JAMA, 287: 612-617.
2. No Author Listed, 2002: Just how tainted has medicine become? Editorial The Lancet, 359, 9313.
3. Lexchin, J., Bero, L., Djulbegovic, B. and Clark, O., 2003: Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review British Medical Journal, 326:1167-1170
4. Tungaraza, T, and Poole, R., 2007: Influence of drug company authorship and sponsorship on drug trial outcomes, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2007) 191: 82-83.
5. Boutron I, et al, 2009: Spin’ in reports of randomized controlled trials with nonstatistically significant primary outcomes, International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication.
6. Whittle, H., Jaffar, S., Wansbrough, M. Mendy, M., Dumpis, U., Collinson, A., Hall, A., 2002: Observational study of vaccine efficacy 14 years after trial of hepatitis B vaccination in Gambian children, BMJ, 325: 569.

I hope this info has answered some of the questions that linger around in vaccination debates. I know there’s plenty more questions, so I’ll continue researching.

Child Vaccination – Mercury
Cherie Raymond
Changes in the California Caseload An Update: June 1987 – June 2007
Andrew T. Cavagnaro, Ph.D.
Autism – Statistics, Incidence, Prevalence, Rates
Critique of CDC’s Thimerosal Study
Risk of neurological and renal impairment associated with thimerosal containing vaccines
Thomas Verstraeten and others
Dissecting a Thimerosal Study
Heidi Stevenson
Changes In The California Caseload:An Update: 1999 Through 2002
Autism Survey
by Generation Rescue
Cal-Oregon Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Survey
by Generation Rescue
NHIS 1997–2002

2. A positive association found between Autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population
3. Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism
4. A comprehensive review of mercury provoked autism 
5. A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders
7. Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning

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