VACCINATIONS: THE CONTROVERSY — Part 1Paul Henderson February 1, 2004
This is part 1 in a 3-part series on problems with vaccines and ways to boost immunity naturally
For those who would hope to reconcile the allopathic with the alternative medical community, no topic seems to be more destructive, more divisive, than vaccinations. The debate over the safety and efficacy of vaccinations rages but in some respects it does so quietly as the topic is so taboo that it is completely avoided in the mainstream media.
Vaccines are such a sacred calf, credited with eliminating many fatal childhood diseases over the last century, that those who question them are either ignored or chastised. Some vaccines certainly do work and they work for what they are intended. The question that needs answering though is do the benefits conveyed by vaccinations outweigh the known – and more importantly the unknown – costs, both human and financial. That is far from clear and there is mounting evidence that the vaccination story is fraught with mistakes, lies, and conflicts of interest.
Much of the evidence about the damaging nature of vaccinations so far is circumstantial and this is used as an argument to downplay parental concerns. But because of the holy status that vaccinations are accorded, no one has done the long-term studies that would prove the alleged connections to autism, ADD, asthma, allergies, etc. It would seem the precautionary principle has been ignored with vaccines. Vaccine addiction is so entrenched in the allopathic ideology that questioning vaccine efficacy or connecting vaccinations to subsequent problems doesn’t even occur to most doctors and public health officials.
Another problem is that vaccinations may in fact be a trigger for other problems or contribute to weakened immunity or they may just be the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” in terms of toxic build-up and disease causation. The direct connection may or may not exist but that doesn’t mean that vaccines shouldn’t be used sparingly, cautiously, and if possible not at all.
As many who read this magazine already know, symptoms of illness are not something one should take a pill for and then carry on as if everything were peachy. Symptoms and indeed illness in general is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. So if a child or adult is experiencing frequent colds or flu, this is symptomatic of a weakened immune system. Vaccination is the allopathic quick fix for broader problems in nutrition and lifestyle.
Dr. Tedd Koren is a chiropractor from Virginia who has devoted a chunk of his career to studying vaccinations and the problems they have caused. He was in Toronto in November giving a lecture on the topic of childhood vaccinations. Incidentally, he recently successfully defended himself against a lawsuit launched by the U.S. federal government based on the information about vaccines he is disseminating.
Dr. Koren frames the vaccination debate in the context of the ongoing conflict between what he calls “vitalism” and “mechanism.” This can essentially be described as the conflict between naturopathic and allopathic care. To vitalists the body is intelligent and something within causes it to behave in a purposive way, learning all the time. To the mechanists you are nothing more than the sum of chemicals that make you up. In fact you are less than that – for if you have a disease, all too often doctors are interested in your disease, not you. To the mechanists that control public health policy, injecting toxic vaccines into otherwise healthy people is a prophylactic way of eliminating diseases (efficacy and side effects, both long-term and short-term, be damned.) But according to Koren,”More and more parents are questioning the wisdom of injecting known toxins into their children.”
Burdened with tunnel vision, mainstream medicine pushes the mass vaccination program hard, and becomes very defensive at any connections being drawn between increases in vaccination and concurrent increases in autism, diabetes, asthma, allergies, ADD/ADHD, cancer, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and so on. Such a sacred calf is the vaccination program that no one is extensively studying the problems to see if the mounting circumstantial evidence provided by parents of autistic children and many ostracized doctors in the medical community is valid. Governments are not keeping track of vaccine-caused deaths or diseases, in part because doctors often don’t realize or report adverse reactions.
As Dr. Robert Mendelsohn says in his 1984 book How to Raise A Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor (Chicago, Contemporary Books, 1984), “While the myriad short-term hazards of most immunizations are known (but rarely explained), no one knows the long-term consequences of injecting foreign proteins into the body of your child. Even more shocking is the fact that no one is making any structured effort to find out. Have we traded mumps and measles for cancer and leukemia?” Twenty years on and the studies still aren’t being done.
Tim O’Shea is a chiropractor and author of The Sanctity of Blood. He was in Toronto in late January giving a full-day seminar on vaccines. Dr. O’Shea says that experts are constantly stating there is no connection between MMR and autism – but the reality is that they aren’t studying it, “The work is just now being done for the first time.
“Does skyrocketing autism rates prove MMR causes autism?” O’Shea asks, keeping strictly to scientific proof. “No. It is another piece of the puzzle and we need to study it further.”
Further to that, even if all the known toxic ingredients were eliminated from all the vaccinations – mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum – no one has ever studied what the accumulation of foreign agents in the system does to a person.
The battle in the U.S. to eliminate dangerous vaccines and institute choice is in part being led by a Republican congressman, Rep. Dan Burton from Indiana. Burton tells a story all too familiar to parents of autistic children. His grandson received nine shots in one day, some of which contained mercury, and two days later began exhibiting all the signs of autism. He says that of all the scientists he has talked to and heard from, none of them will say with certainty that the mercury in vaccines does not cause autism. They will say that there are no studies making the link, there is no scientific data proving the link, and no one is looking.
Burton was the chair of the House Committee on Government Reform at a meeting looking at mercury in vaccines in 1999, and he is still working to get the FDA to remove thimerosal from vaccines and pushing the government to study autism further.
SHORT-TERM CRAP SHOOT
It is easy enough to be disturbed about some of the ingredients in vaccines such as mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, phenoxyethanol (antifreeze). But are those concerned just having an emotional gut reaction to hearing that there is, for example, formaldehyde – a recognized carcinogen, and suspected neurotoxicant and immunotoxicant – in our vaccines? Although massively under-reported, there are numerous immediate adverse reactions to vaccinations. According to a recent three-part article appearing in the Townsend Letter For Doctors (Oct., Nov., Dec., 2003) the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the U.S. reported 38,787 adverse events from 1991 to 1994. Of these 93% were within the first two weeks of vaccination. The FDA openly admits (probably overestimating) that only about 10% these “adverse events” are reported to VAERS.
Additionally, there are many stories of children having reactions to vaccinations but parents are told the vaccination is unrelated to whatever illness or reaction appears. According to the Townsend Letter article, 5,000 to 6,000 children die every year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the incidence peaks in infants aged 2 to 4 months, correlating with the timing of a majority of vaccinations. At least three researchers have shown a potential link between DPT immunization and SIDS, yet none of these SIDS deaths are attributed to the vaccinations by the doctors. This in part can be attributed to the sacred status vaccinations hold in the medical world but there is a more insidious desire to minimize liability behind these responses as well.
In the U.S., the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), has paid out over $1.4 billion dollars since 1991. Why would they pay compensation for something that is not a health risk? Because in 1986 the Reagan administration brought in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, designed as no-fault insurance to protect vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers from liability as a result of vaccine injury or death.
It is because of this act that Dr. O’Shea believes, despite the growing number of lawsuits regarding vaccine damage around the world (not the least of which is the more than 2,000 families involved in a class-action lawsuit in the U.K. against their Department of Health claiming adverse reactions from MMR vaccinations that led to convulsions, autism, arthritis, intestinal and other problems), there will never be any “tobacco industry-style pigroast” in his words. Thanks to Reagan the manufacturers are in the clear, but maybe more importantly no government anywhere is keeping track of vaccine-related deaths and diseases. That is in part due to denial that vaccines can cause illness and death and because the medical community can’t admit the connection and won’t seriously study it. Anyone who does is ostracized, loses funding and/or jobs.
THE LONG-TERM RISKS
This is where the research is really lacking. Too much has been invested economically and emotionally in vaccine-worship to see any pharmaceutical company, or anyone else, funding research finally proving the links to autoimmune diseases of all kinds.
According to the writers of the Townsend Letter articles (Gary Null, PhD, and Martin Feldman, MD), we are amidst one “large-scale human genetic experiment.” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center agrees. “Basically it is an experiment,” she says. “That is really what is happening with most of these vaccines that they bring out. They really don’t know what the long-term effect is going to be.”
Among the possible adverse reactions Fisher reports on the NVIC website (www.909shot.com): paralysis, brain damage, shock, encephalopathy, development of autism and learning disabilities, and death. Fisher’s major bone of contention is that there are no studies being conducted – as there have been for cancer and heart disease – to determine the long-term effects of vaccination.