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What are the risks of vaccines?

Dr. Robert Mendelson is author of Confessions of a Medical Heretic and past head of the Illinois State Board of Licensing for physicians. In the newsletter The People's Doctor, Vol.2. No. 4, be wrote:

"With some immunizations, the risk of taking the shots may outweigh their benefits. In 1976, while addressing science writers at a seminar of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Arobert Simpson of Rutgers University pointed out that "immunization programs against the flu, measles, mumps, polio, etc. actually may be seeding humans with RNA to from pro-viruses which will then become latent cells throughout the body Some of these latent pro-viruses could cause a variety of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus, Parkinson's disease and perhaps cancer."

Smallpox: The U.S. finally has abandoned smallpox immunization because the risk of serious complications, leading to death in one per million vaccinations, was higher from the vaccine that from the risk of smallpox itself. The risks of a person being hospitalized with encephalitis or with conditions known as eczema vaccinatum and progressive vaccinia were about 10 per million vaccinations.

Diphtheria: This form of immunization often is of questionable value. For example, during a 1969 outbreak of diphtheria in Chicago, four of the 16 victims (according to a Chicago Board of Health Report) had been fully immunized against the disease, and five others had received one or more doses of the vaccine. In another report of three fatal diphtheria cases, one individual who dies and 14 of the 23 carriers had been fully immunized.

Whopping Cough: Whopping cough (pertussis) vaccine is hotly debated, both because of its effectiveness rate is only about 50% and because it may cause high fevers and convulsions as well as encephalopathy (brain damage). This vaccine is regarded as so dangerous that most public health authorities prohibit its use after age six. Meanwhile, whooping cough itself has almost completely disappeared (less than 1000 reported cases in 1976).

Measles: Contrary to popular belief, measles cannot cause blindness; it can cause a condition known as phtotophbia which parents years ago treated by simply pulling down the window shades.

Measles vaccine is designed primarily to prevent measles encephalitis, which is said to occur in one out of 1000 cases of measles. Any of us who had decades of experience with measles must question this statistic: the incidence of 1/1000 may be accurate for children who live in conditions of poverty and malnutrition, but if one excluded simple sleepiness from the measles itself, the incidence of true encephalitis probably is more like 1/10,000 or 1/100,0000.

Meanwhile, the vaccine itself is associated with encephalopathy in one per million and with a series of other complications such as SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephaliitis). Other neurological and sometimes fatal conditions associated with the measles vaccine include ataxia, retardation, learning disability or hyperactivity, aseptic meningitis, seizure disorders and hemiparesis. I wonder whether the current epidemic of hyperactivity in children may have its origin, at least in part, in the measles vaccines

Mandated Childhood Vaccines

Today, when parents take their child to a doctor's office, they are facing a difficult and sometimes terrifying decision about whether or not to vaccinate their healthy child. Vaccines are supposed to protect against one or more of the seven contagious childhood diseases. As parents become more educated about the risks and benefits of disease and vaccines, they realize the decision is not easy.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) consider serious adverse vaccine events to be rare. If a reaction does occur in a healthy child, many doctors suggest the event was due to an underlying condition within the child and not as a reaction to the vaccine or combination of vaccines. Parents must become educated and make an informed decision. Immunizations are very serious.

Some health professionals warn parents about a slight fever and crankiness, but not prolonged high pitch screaming, excessive sleepiness, seizure activity, shock collapse, etc. that can cause permanent damage and death. These latter conditions are a sample of acknowledged vaccine reactions in The National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, PL 99-660. Under some circumstances, adults may also be required to receive immunizations. Adverse reactions have been reported and confirmed, but little study has been dome and the true extent of adult vaccine reactions is uncertain.

As parents become educated, they realize there are specific contraindications in which a child should not receive a particular vaccine at all, and this could help prevent the child from becoming a vaccine injury statistic. Before entering their health care professional's office, a parent should prepare the facts for discussion and ask the doctor, "What is the most serious thing I should be aware of that can happen to my child from this shot?". A full family medical history should be taken my the doctor, and if a parent does decide to vaccinate at that time, their child should be healthy. Consideration should be given to only administering one shot at a time.

The most complete source about warnings, side effects, and vaccine schedules (which vaccines should be given when and it what combination) is the package insert for each vaccine. This information is compiled by the manufacturer under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The same information is available in the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), universally available in libraries, doctor's offices and pharmacies. Be sure to compare any other information you might be given about vaccines to this reference.

Depending on which shot is given, reactions may begin immediately or up to several weeks or months later. Parents should observe their child closely for any unusual behavior or reaction during this time period. If a reaction is suspected, keep a diary of observations and contacts with your doctor. Parents should insist their doctor or hospital emergency room see their child and help their child if they have concerns. In addition, make sure the doctor enters the vaccine manufacturer and lot number in the child's permanent medical record and the event is reported to the Centers for Disease.

DPT (diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough ) tetanus), MMR ( measles, mumps and rubella (German Measles)), and polio are vaccines mandated in many states and covered under PL 99-660 in a no-fault compensation system. The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine has been the most controversial of all vaccines and the majority of awards in the compensation system have been for pertussis vaccine injury and death. IF a parent feels a child has been permanently injured or died from a vaccine, there must be proof the child was damaged by the vaccine and not from a pre-existing condition in order to receive compensation. HIB is not a vaccine included in the compensation system.

States which do not require vaccination against pertussis for pre-requisite to school entry include AZ, MO, OR, PA, RI, WA, TX and ID. All fifty states require diphtheria, measles, rubella, and polio vaccination. All states except AZ, MO and NY require tetanus vaccination and all states except AK, AZ, AR, IA, KY, MD, MO, NM, SC, VT and WV require mumps vaccination. All states except MS and WV allow a religious exemption to vaccination. Philosophical objection too vaccination is allowed in AZ, CA, CO, ID, IN, LA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, UT, VT, WA, and WI.

A Shot in the Dark by Harris Coulter and Barbara Loe Ficsher, is an excellent source of information about the pertussis vaccine. This book, now in its second edition, is available through the NVIC/DPT. The NVIC/DPT also offers a wide range of educational materials, including copies of the PDR free for members upon request and the NVIC/DPT Resource List for further study. Whooping Cough, the DPT Vaccine and Reducing Vaccine Reactions is available for $5 and A Shot in the Dark is available for $13 (VA residents add 45 cents state tax).

Although most children do not suffer serious problems from the vaccinations, when it happens to your child, the risks are 100%.

Dr. Lehnert concluded form his study on the role of antibiotic therapy in cases of Otitis Media that antibiotics really only need to be administered in 5 to 10 percent of cases. Another available and overly popular treatment is the insertion of tympanotomy tubes into the ear. Though this procedure was used over 670,000 times in 1988, there is evidence that 25% of them should not have been performed, especially not when you consider the hearing loss and permanent scarring that may result from the procedure (which has not been found more effective than medicine or other therapy).

So what are parents doing in light of all this? They are focusing on Natural Health Care, on behavior modification, and on diet to help their children use their own bodies and body resources to stay well.