Respecting Our Families

When it comes to the media and the so-called Skeptic community, there is a real double-standard in regards to the value of not only our children but our rights to keep them safe from harm as we see fit – whether that is the harm posed by disease or the harm posed by vaccines.

Children who have been hurt by diseases and their families are treated like saints. They are sanctified in the corridors of government (with many of them becoming unqualified consultants on government vaccination policy), in the press and amongst their fellow citizens.

Those who were harmed by vaccines, however, are told to shut up, stop their whinging and, even worse, are told that they are imagining what they saw with their own eyes. Their children are invisible, disregarded and just considered to be the sacrificial virgins thrown into the volcano to save everyone else’s children.

Worst of all, however, is the treatment that parents of unvaccinated children receive when someone in their family contracts or is harmed by one of the diseases covered by our vaccination schedule. These parents are treated like criminals, openly and gleefully abused and basically told they are getting what they deserve without any question about what actually happened.

The media and incomplete, biased coverage

Yesterday, there was a story on the ABC as well as in the Northern Star newspaper about a family whose child was near death in hospital from a tetanus infection. This young, 7-year old girl had been transferred from Lismore Base Hospital to the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane for emergency treatment and was near death. Everyone from the paediatrician who saw her in Lismore to the members of various internet hate groups to random commentators on Facebook and other social media outlets were having a go at the parents of this little girl and blaming them for her condition.

I’ve spoken with someone who knows this family well and have gotten the real story about this child’s illness and the family’s reasons for rejecting vaccines. Rather than being a story of irresponsible parenting, one could possibly make a case that this is instead a case of medical negligence based on ignorance of the symptoms of tetanus infections and potentially incorrect or incomplete cleaning of the child’s wound in the first instance.

I was told that this little girl had two members of her family who reacted badly to vaccines – one of whom nearly died from a tetanus shot. Another close relative had a serious reaction to a different vaccine which led to long-term physical problems. As a result, this family had made an informed decision not to take a risk with the tetanus vaccine. I will include more about tetanus and the vaccination at the end of this blog post.

The history of this case

On the 21st of February, a brick was dropped on this child’s toe, crushing the toe and nail badly. Her parents brought her to the local Nimbin Hospital where she was treated for this wound. They took here there once a day to get her dressing changed. The schedule later went to once every two days and then, as the wound appeared to be healing, once every few days. All this time, the child was being seen by doctors and hospital staff and was thought to be improving.

Her doctor noted that the nail would grow back crooked if she did not receive further treatment so surgery was performed on her toe to remove and reinsert the nail. This was done a couple of weeks after the initial injury took place.

Tetanus-recognised by friends and family but not by the medical staff

Lockjaw, one of the most common early symptoms of a tetanus infection, did not start to present itself until approximately 10 days later. Although she had been brought to hospital several times over this period, and her parents had asked the doctors about whether or not their daughter might have tetanus, they were always told no.

On Monday, March 13th, she was taken to a physio because of a sore back and the physio thought perhaps it was a growth spurt. That night, she woke up crying every 15 minutes so her mother slept with her and found she was waking to convulsions. She had no fever. She had weak legs and difficulty standing up. She could not open her mouth very wide and her jaw hurt when she tried to.

The parents want to make clear that they feel the medical staff did their best over this entire period and were very respectful towards them and their daughter, but no one had had any prior experience with tetanus. Regardless of this, the parents had expressed concern a number of times over their hospital visits regarding tetanus. They had pushed the point that they felt it could be tetanus and the staff had dismissed these concerns.

The child’s condition worsens

On Tuesday, March 14th at 3:30 pm, the little girl saw the local doctor who phoned a paediatrician for advice. Neither had had any experience with tetanus and felt it best she be taken to Lismore Base Hospital either that night or the next day. The parents were very concerned and rushed her in that night.

At Lismore Base Hospital, they finally diagnosed her with tetanus and gave her two vials of tetanus immunoglobulin as that was all they had. She was placed on a ventilator and rushed to The Lady Cilento children’s hospital in Brisbane. Once at Lady Cilento, they gave her more immunoglobulin. They removed the toenail to make sure the site had been cleaned correctly and no tetanus spores remained.

The girl has now stabilised and is doing well. It was thought that she would be off of the ventilator last night and was hopefully improving now after receiving the proper treatment.

The parents have said although questioned about their stance on vaccines, all staff in all three hospitals were respectful and were doing their best with the knowledge and experience they had.

What is tetanus?

To start with, for all those out there who are filled with fear by this story, I need to tell you that tetanus is not a transmissible disease. A person who has a tetanus infection cannot then give that disease to anyone else.

The infection is caused by a bacterium – clostridium tetani – which is anaerobic in nature – in other words, oxygen will kill it.

This bacteria lives quite happily and usually harmlessly in the gut of all mammals, including humans. The problem occurs when there is a deep puncture wound which (usually) does not bleed freely and is then covered, preventing oxygen from reaching the site.

A hydrogen peroxide solution is often applied to deep puncture wounds, forcing oxygen into the site and if necessary, there have been recommendations to apply pressure to the wound, forcing blood to the surface since blood is highly oxygenated. In addition, bleeding and cleaning should hopefully remove any tetanus spores which may be present.

I have heard many stories of hospital staff recommending tetanus boosters to patients who present with closed wounds (eg non-compound fractures, sprains and severe bruising without a break in the skin). From my reading, this should not be necessary since without an entry wound, tetanus should not be able to enter the body. It is also potentially unnecessary to administer a tetanus vaccine to someone who has had a wound that has no possible contamination with tetanus spores (carried in animal faeces, remember), such as someone who has cut their hand or foot on a broken glass in their kitchen or who has cut themselves with a clean knife, though I have been contacted by many people whose doctors had made this recommendation to them. Vaccines are not benign products. They carry with them real and in some cases, quantifiable risks of harm or death and their use should be limited to instances when the potential benefits outweigh any known risks.

Tetanus in Australia

Tetanus is very rare in Australia – mainly due to the fact that very few of us now live on the same land occupied by large animals such as cattle and horses who carry tetanus spores in their faeces. We are also much more likely to clean wounds thoroughly and properly when they occur, not allowing them to fester.

Each year, an average of 7-10 (mostly elderly) Australian adults will contract tetanus infections. Many of these occur in diabetics who, due to a lack of circulation to their extremities, may not be aware of their wound and as a result, may not care for it properly.

Tetanus reports Australia
Tetanus reports – Australia 1991 to 2017 to date

Most of those who have contracted this illness since widespread vaccination began during and after WW II were at least partially, if not fully, vaccinated against it. The NNDSS (National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System) has classed many of the elderly in Australia who contracted tetanus as being unvaccinated, but it is difficult to know if that means they have not received any tetanus vaccines or they had simply not received the recommended tetanus boosters and would, therefore, have been considered to be up-to-date.

The case of tetanus in this young child yesterday is only the second case in a child in Australia since 1991. The risk for an individual child is vanishingly small – though if that child happens to be yours, this statistic will be cold comfort.

Prevention

The tetanus toxoid vaccine has been used in other countries, as I stated earlier, since the 1920s. The first tetanus toxoid vaccine was introduced in Australia in 1939 (mostly for use in our armed services) and was not routinely administered to children until 1953 when our modern schedule of mass vaccination began. At that time, it was combined with diphtheria and pertussis shots to form the DTP vaccine.

This article, by Dutch physician Dr Kris Gaublomme, tells a great deal about the ineffectiveness and risks of this vaccine. The tetanus vaccine has been routinely administered in combination with diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines since early last century. Many reactions which occurred after the DTP combined shot were blamed on the pertussis component. But many of those who received the tetanus-only shot (no longer available in Australia) suffered severe and even life-threatening reactions to just that vaccine.

One of the noted reactions is something called hyperimmunisation. Tetanus boosters used to be recommended for adults every five years. It was found, however, that such frequent boosting could lead to hyperimmunisation, meaning that the vaccinated person would develop symptoms of a tetanus infection (lockjaw, severe muscle spasms, etc) without ever suffering a tetanus-prone wound.

One of the first people to contact me to report his vaccine injury to the AVN’s database in the early 1990s after the AVN first started was a local builder who had developed hyperimmunisation. As a builder, he was constantly getting injuries at work. Despite the fact that he was totally up-to-date with the government recommended schedule, every time he was admitted to hospital for treatment, he would be given a routine tetanus booster (Tet-Tox) without being asked about how long it had been since his last shot. He subsequently developed this condition, meaning that he would suffer from periods of lockjaw and extremely painful muscle spasms over and over again.

Alternatives to medical vaccination

As many of you would know, my eldest child was injured by his DTP and then MMR vaccines. My second child received DT (we left out the pertussis component – parents can no longer do that) and polio and my third child got polio only. My 4th is completely unvaccinated.

We live on a farm so we were always aware of the potential risk of tetanus. Our solution was to always have hydrogen peroxide on hand, to clean and bathe any wounds the children got (and since they always ran around barefoot, as good country children do, there were many wounds!) and to bathe the area thoroughly in this solution. We also kept (and still keep) a vial of Ledum on hand. Ledum is one of the homeopathic remedies for tetanus and we would administer that to the children should they have a wound we felt might be at risk for a tetanus infection.

I have spoken with other families who have used other strategies to prevent tetanus infections. It is probably a good idea, if you are interested in this issue, to speak with your own trusted health professional to seek their opinion. There are several books I can recommend for further reading on this and other vaccination issues as well. I will list them in the bibliography at the end of this post.

Respect

I guess the takeaway message for this article is that parents will always love their children more than anyone else will. More than the doctors; more than the government; more than the pundit wanna-be’s at SAVN; and more than anyone in the media. They will make the decisions they feel are best for their family’s health based on the information they have at the time.

Life is filled with risk

On average, 7 children under the age of 15 are killed every year in Australia and 60 are injured after being run over by cars in their own driveways. These deaths and injuries would be (for the most part) preventable through the requirement to install reversing cameras in every car, ute and truck registered in this country. Yet the government has not made this recommendation nor do these children make front page news when such tragedies occur.

Why then is the finger of blame so often and so cruelly pointed at loving families who are doing the very best they can in a very difficult situation? There is no proof that tetanus vaccination would have prevented this child’s illness and a lot of potential evidence that earlier recognition by medical staff might have saved a lot of suffering.

We all do what we can, when we can to keep our children safe, happy and healthy. When something goes wrong, that is the time for us to come together and support each other – not to play the game of ‘what if’, ‘if only’ and ‘you should have…’.

Please try to keep that in mind the next time this situation arises. Especially those of you in the media who are the biggest and most public offenders.

Until then, I wish this family and their little girl all the very best for a quick and complete recovery to full and vital wellness.

by Meryl Dorey

Suggested reading:

Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, 2nd Edition: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection

Vaccine Illusion

Dissolving Illusions

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the nocompulsoryvaccination blog. This blog is a forum, support and information site and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

 

Jane Hansen: Can We talk? My Shout!

Dear Jane Hansen,

As you know, I have long been critical of your reporting on the issues surrounding the subject of vaccination. I believed and still do believe that your attacks on those who hold a different opinion to your own are beyond the pale, unfair and in some cases, cruel and abusive.

Of course, I do understand where that attitude comes from. Most of those in mainstream media would see nothing wrong with your position and how you promote it. They would say that for the greater good, those like myself who question both the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations need to be silenced and if that means bullying them or calling them and their children names, so be it!

But I don’t believe this sort of behaviour is necessary. I think it is fear-based, ignorant and beneath the dignity of someone who calls herself a journalist.

So, I would like to ask you to meet with me here in the Northern Rivers for a meal and a chat – my shout. I know you are up here often but if you are no longer in this area, I will be happy to pay for your airfare.

What precipitated this offer?

Earlier this week, I received an email from a long-time AVN supporter. She had approached you regarding your attacks and was quite polite, I felt, in her language (please note: I have not changed or corrected any of the text in either her message or your responses). The original post from the AVN supporter is in blue and the responses from Jane Hansen are in red – just for ease of identification. My comments are in black.:

I read your article with disappointment about anti vaccers. There are many facts and studies about why people choose not to vaccinate their children. And yes there are cases on both sides where children have died. I believe good journalism provide both sides of the argument and allows people to think, questions and decide from an informed position…not the fear mongering we have ended up with in so many articles. Please take a look for yourself with I hope an open mind to discover why there are so many people who do not vaccinate their children. http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

Your response to her was indicative of the problem with your reporting on this issue. You have conflated so many facts and shown a horrendous amount of ignorance for someone who has been writing about this subject for so many years!

Are you serious? You think this fraud of a film is correct? If it was true it would be on the front pages of papers around the world.

There are many truths that never make it to the front pages – or any pages – of newspapers. If that is your gauge of veracity, I’m afraid you are being naïve in the extreme!

The study got retracted because the African American children already had autism and were behind in their MMR vaccine..

Jane Hansen, I am unsure of which study you are referring to. I believe you may have confused the original 1990 Wakefield study, Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children; THE LANCET • Vol 351 • February 28, 1998, with the 2004 Dr William Thompson study but f that’s the case, I have to tell you that neither of these studies says what you have claimed.

I would have thought since you have been calling Wakefield a fraud for nearly a decade, you would have at least read the study to know what you’re writing about. Apparently not.

Please read the study and view the documentary before commenting on them

There were no African-American children in Wakefield’s study since all of the subjects (12 of them) were British.

None of the children were “behind in their MMR vaccines”. They had consulted with Dr Wakefield and his 12 co-authors including Dr John Walker-Smith, the preeminent paediatric gastroenterologist practising at that time. Dr Walker-Smith had also been struck off by the GMC and he was able to take his case to the High Court in the UK to oppose that decision regarding the so-called Wakefield study. In case you were wondering, Dr Walker-Smith was cleared and the GMC were criticised by the court for the way they handled this case. No fraud was found.

I believe your statement was probably referring to the African-American children who were left out of the study co-authored by Dr William Thompson, the CDC Whistleblower. As you would know, if you had actually watched the documentary, VaxXed, (a video dealing with the cover-up of vital information linking vaccination with the current epidemic of autism, not, as you appear to believe, with Dr Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study) Dr Thompson was ordered by his superiors in the CDC to destroy evidence demonstrating that African American boys were 380% more likely to develop autism following vaccination depending upon the age at which they were vaccinated. The CDC found backhanded ways to exclude this cohort from the trial and used other fraudulent methods to massage the data to make it look like this risk didn’t exist – but the actual data shows that the correlation was real and strong.

It was a requirement to access autism services to catch up their vaccines .. So of course all the kids in that group with autism has the MMR vaccine .. That’s why they were left out of the study.. Doh!!

Where do I start? Jane Hansen, I have no idea what you are referring to here? There is no study that I am aware of (certainly none that are discussed either as part of Dr Wakefield’s original case series or in the documentary, VaxXed) where children had to have vaccines to access autism services. Your use of the pejorative – Doh!! – to someone who approached you honestly and kindly, is uncalled for, don’t you agree? Especially when you are the one making an incorrect statement.

I don’t want to be rude but you insult all journalists believing this shit.

Handy hint, Jane Hansen. If you start out saying you don’t want to be rude, it’s not a good idea to finish by being rude.

Sorry you’ve been conned but you have. William Thompson never spoke to the vaxxed team who are not journalists .. He sought whistle blower status to avoid getting sacked for being a bad scientists..

I’m beginning to think you are making this up as you go along. Dr William Thompson spoke with Dr Brian Hooker for many years and Dr Brian Hooker is, most assuredly, one of the VaxXed team. Again, had you watched the documentary prior to commenting on it, you would have known that.

Dr Thompson sought whistleblower protection because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), his employer and the organisation that had ordered him to commit fraud in a study he co-authored on vaccination and autism, was afraid that he would be arrested for speaking with Dr Hooker about this subject. You are the first (and only) person I have ever heard claim that Dr Thompson would be granted whistleblower protection because he was a bad scientist. Think about it. Bad science is not a reason for someone to become a whistleblower. It is, however, a reason to try and cover up results which the CDC has done and is still doing regarding this case.

The other scientist tried to put the confounding factor tram back in and his paper got thrown out too.. Not because it’s a conspiracy but because it was bad science. Now you do your research !

What scientist are you talking about Jane Hansen? And what confounding factor are you referring to? Honestly, my head is spinning here. You are moving seamlessly from 1998 when Wakefield publishing his original Lancet paper (with 12 other scientists, remember) to 2004 when Dr Thompson published his CDC Study to 2016 when VaxXed premiered. You are very unclear about what you’re referring to so a bit of clarity would be very helpful. What data, study and scientist are you referring to here?

Oh, and the producer got struck off the medical register for chafing dates on vax, performing lumber punctures on children without permission, accepted millions from the lawyers to ‘find a causal factor’ and was developing his own vaccine !!!

Jane Hansen, I studied journalism for a time at University and one thing I clearly remember learning, though it was so many years ago, was to research before writing. That was drummed into my head – research, research, research! It is obvious that you’ve forgotten this lesson. You see, the producer of the documentary, VaxXed, is Del Bigtree. Del, though he was a producer on the television show, The Doctors, for many years, has never been a doctor himself. Therefore, he never was, nor could he ever be, struck off of any medical register. I believe you are referring to Dr Andrew Wakefield who directed VaxXed but was not the producer (details do matter). And Dr Wakefield was a gastroenterologist. He referred children for endoscopies – not lumbar punctures. Ethical permission for both publication and testing was properly obtained and as far as I know, this was never in question. 

Please note – I have received a correction to the above statement (the one that has been struck out) and until it has been confirmed by Dr Wakefield, I will insert the correction below. I will update this when and if I have more information:

Could someone who knows Meryl please tell her she has got this bit below wrong? He did not refer children for endoscopies, he suggested parents get referrals from their doctors to go to the hospital, (so was found guilty by GMC of interferring with referrals), he was found guilty of organising tests including both endoscopies and lumbar punctures when it was not his job at the hospital (his defense was he had only an administrative role in planning the tests), and most importantly, not having ethical permission for the testing (according to them) was the main thrust of the charges against him, so was certainly in question.

“And Dr Wakefield was a gastroenterologist. He referred children for endoscopies – not lumbar punctures. Ethical permission for both publication and testing was properly obtained and as far as I know, this was never in question.”

A better response to Hanson’s lumbar punctures claim would be W didn’t treat children, the hospital’s doctor did, and he didn’t need permission.

Dr Wakefield was never paid ‘millions from lawyers’ to find a causal factor. He was retained by a legal team preparing a compensation case in the UK and both his involvement in this case and his fees (which totalled in the thousands – not the millions) were public knowledge at the time the Lancet article was published. The Lancet editors were perfectly well-aware of this as were the other doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

You also claim that he (again, I’m assuming you mean Dr Wakefield though you are referring to the producer of VaxXed) was developing his own vaccine. Again, this is incorrect. Dr Wakefield was working on something called transfer factor to help prevent inflammatory bowel disease (this was never designed to be a vaccine) as well as a diagnostic test for determining the presence of measles virus in the body. It is time for you to stop getting all of your information from the so-called Skeptics and do some reading yourself, Jane.

Now there is corruption .. That is the story ! Now goodbye.

I will rephrase that to make it more accurate. Now THERE is ignorance. Now THERE are rumours. Now THERE is a made-up story.

Please don’t say good-bye. Take me up on my offer. We can have a good meal, a good chat, and I can hopefully encourage you to become a bit better informed and (I have to say it) a bit kinder to those whose knowledge about the subject of vaccines differs from your own.

What do you say, Jane? I’ll even buy you a glass of chardonnay – though I don’t drink it myself.

Experts in Ignorance

ignorance of expertsWe are told all the time that we are not qualified to make medical or healthcare decisions for ourselves or our children. Instead, we need to leave it up to the ‘experts’ – namely the doctors and medical specialists – whose training has supposedly made them better-qualified than any of our own research and knowledge possibly could.

This is despite the FACT that medical doctors learn very little (nothing, really) about vaccination, nutrition or most other aspects of staying healthy when they receive their medical school training. Once they leave school, much of their continuing education comes directly from the drug companies so really, I think they are not qualified to advise anyone about these topics. The only exception would be if they themselves have done research outside of their normal areas and, if they have done so and offer advice that goes against the status quo, they are threatened with deregistration or worse!

Most doctors are only qualified to advise patients about drugs, and even that qualification is not independent since, as I said earlier, their training, in large part, comes from the multinational pharmaceutical companies who test and market their own products.

Do doctors understand health?

If you feel that health does not come from a pill or a needle, I think there is very little that a doctor can offer you in the way of staying healthy.

Time and time again, doctors have demonstrated clearly that their knowledge of the basics of health and the immune system/infectious diseases is seriously lacking.

A recent example of this was the incident with Dr Richard Kidd, head of the Australian Medical Association in QLD. During a hearing into legislative changes in the QLD Parliament, Dr Kidd advised a sitting Member to ask her doctor to give her an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine during her next pregnancy. This despite the fact that MMR is absolutely contraindicated during pregnancy because the rubella portion of the shot could possibly cause congenital rubella syndrome in an unborn child.

I filed an official complaint with the QLD Health Care Complaints about Dr Kidd’s dangerous advice and was told that because Dr Kidd had said this during a hearing, it was not official advice and therefore, was not covered by their legislation! Yet, if you’d said this to your neighbour over the back fence, you could be in trouble! Double standards once again.

In the last few days, another AMA official – this one, none other than the National President – has demonstrated an incredible ignorance of something so basic, most parents would be ashamed to have made this kind of error.

AMA and PolioLuckily, Dr Julie Leask (a social scientist – not a medical doctor) picked him up on his mistake, but the fact remains that not only is the President of the AMA displaying a shocking lack of knowledge about one of the main diseases we vaccinate against, but he is comparing those of us who are better informed and better qualified than himself on this subject (e.g., most educated parents and natural therapists/holistic GPs) to Islamic terrorists!

Now, I can’t follow the link to the BBC article the @amapresident was referring to because he removed his original tweet (what is it with health officials constantly trying to rewrite history in order to cover up their numerous errors?) but the implication is obvious: If you are sharing information about vaccination that the AMA does not agree with, you are the equivalent of a terrorist.

Responsible health choices

I believe that making decisions by ONLY seeking the advice of self-proclaimed experts who make such basic errors is irresponsible. I also believe that parents should be taking responsibility for the health of their children, and this means that in addition to speaking with their doctors, they should be seeking out information from a wide range of sources, including their own reading and research and sourcing data from organisations that are critical of government vaccination policies such as the Australian Vaccination Network and the National Vaccine Information Centre (for just two examples).

To show you that this sort of institutional ignorance is nothing new, here is an interview I did on Channel 7’s Sunrise Program in 2002 with Dr Trevor Mudge, then Vice President of the AMA. While I was able to cite data from peer-reviewed medical journal sources, Dr Mudge’s only comeback was to accuse me of being Anti-Vaccine and therefore, claim that everything I said was wrong whilst not being able to back up anything he said with source material.

He admitted that we did not test vaccines here in Australia; he admitted that he had no information on the known side effects and deaths from the vaccine in question (the then unlicensed meningococcal vaccine) and he admitted that the strain covered by the shot did not match the circulating strain of the majority of cases in Australia.

Despite these admissions and despite his lack of knowledge, he still urged people to get this shot because – SCIENCE!

There’s science – and then, there are vaccines…

Science means never having to say you haven’t studied anything thoroughly. Science means always questioning, always testing and never making any absolute statements because today’s science is tomorrow’s junk.

The ignorance being displayed by those who the government claims are the experts we should be listening to without question is disturbing. It is frightening and it should not be allowed to continue.

Doctors have done nothing to earn our trust or our respect, nor have their peak bodies. Indeed, the arrogance, the ignorance and the insistence on being trusted simply because they are doctors has only led to a great deal of suspicion from the majority of the thinking public.

Some doctors have even gone so far as to say that those who disagree with them should be punished, fined or jailed for their beliefs – even if those beliefs are backed by real science! The question that needs to be asked here is – is there more than one way to stay healthy? And if the answer to that question is yes, should any one segment of society – especially one responsible for a holocaust’s worth of pain, death and suffering worldwide each year – be allowed to dictate to others?

YOU as the parent and a thinking adult are and will always be the expert on your body and on the bodies of your children. YOU should ask your doctor for advice, but YOU should only consider taking that advice after seeking out a second (and perhaps a third) opinion, doing your own research and considering your options carefully.

Any doctor who does not respect that innate right; any industry body (like the AMA) who insists on your not being allowed to make these choices, deserves to be shut down; and any government that tries to force free citizens to make medical choices which they do not feel is in their family’s best interest deserves to be charged with crimes against humanity and replaced by a truly representative body.

Show us the evidence

10502323 - magnified illustration with the word facts on white background.
Where is the evidence that vaccines are either safe, effective, or necessary?

Evidence-based medicine has been the buzz-word of the last 10 years. It makes people feel confident about seeing their doctor and taking the treatments on offer if they are thought to be ‘evidence-based’. After all – medical drugs (and vaccines are a drug) are supposed to be ‘evidence-based’, right? They’ve been through all the standard tests, have been studied for years before being released and have stood the test of time to prove they are both safe and effective.

Only they haven’t. Estimates that pharmaceutical products have any benefit range from a low of 15% to a high of only 50% (Ioannidis JPA (2005) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS MED 2 (8)) – a pretty sorry situation – especially when we see industry-sponsored front groups like the Friends of Science in Medicine (FOSIM) trying to destroy 5,000 year old practices like Ayurveda and Chinese Herbal Medicine because they are not ‘evidence based’.

Of course, my focus is and always has been the practice of vaccination, so how can I show that vaccines are not evidence-based?

I have often posted copies of graphs from Greg Beattie’s excellent book, Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines showing the decline in mortality (deaths) well before the introduction of either vaccination or (in most cases) antibiotics. (and these or similar graphs can be found for just about every country that instituted mass vaccination campaigns in the early part of the 20th century)

These graphs demonstrate clearly and scientifically that there is little to no evidence that vaccinations were responsible in any way for the decline in deaths from infectious diseases experienced over the last 2 centuries.

But what about today? 

Australia instituted mass vaccination in 1953. At that time, the only vaccines being used were DPT (diphtheria, pertussis [whooping cough] and tetanus), smallpox, tuberculosis for some individuals, typhoid (mostly for indigenous populations) and a couple of years later, oral polio.

So, we would expect that the introduction of and encouragement to vaccinate all children would have seen an immediate and permanent decline in the rates of infectious diseases we vaccinated against.

But have they?

Pertussis is the most obvious example that all is not right in the state of vaccine effectiveness. We first started using the DPT (whole cell) vaccine in the 1930s, but it was not in widespread use until 1953. In 1991, the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) created a database of all laboratory-confirmed cases of infectious diseases in Australia. This database tracks ALL confirmed cases of these illnesses each year, though it does not track (or even ask) about vaccine status. Now the database itself is suspect because vaccinated people are FAR less likely to be tested for a so-called vaccine-preventable disease than their unvaccinated peers, so we know that this database would underestimate the true rate of infection. But bad data is the only data we have to we’ll go with that for the time being.

For all we know, 100% of those on the NNDSS database who are reported to have had these “vaccine preventable’ diseases were fully vaccinated against them. The fact that this basic information is not requested is an omission so blatant, it would appear to most of us to have been intentional.

But I digress.

Below is the table of reports for pertussis from 1991 (when the NNDSS started collecting data) to 2016. Of course, the 2016 figures are only preliminary and not complete. As you can see, there has been a huge increase in laboratory-confirmed cases of pertussis – an increase that would indicate there must have been a decline in vaccination. After all, if vaccination rates were steady or even increasing and the vaccines provided ANY protection whatsoever, we would expect to see a decline in incidence, not an increase.

Pertussis notifications 1991 to 2016 NNDSS

But over the time period covered by this table, Australia’s childhood vaccination rates went from a low of 68% (in 1991) to a high of 95% in 2008.

Evidence-Based medicine demands that there be at least some proof of a treatment’s or preventative’s effectiveness. Well here, we have proof positive that the whooping cough vaccine is ineffective (and evidence that it might be counter-productive since increases in vaccination rates have been met with concurrent increases in notifications).

To add insult to injury, if we look at the per capita (per head of population) rate of whooping cough, we find that in 1953, when mass vaccination began, the rate of whooping cough was approximately 100 cases per 100,000 Australians. In 2011 when we had nearly 40,000 cases of pertussis reported in Australia (and a 95% vaccination rate), that equated to a rate of over 181 cases per 100,000 head of population – nearly double what it was before the vaccine was used nationally in 1953.

Mumps (see NNDSS table below) has gone from less than 200 cases per year to over 600 in 2015. This year looks like it might be even higher. Again, there is no information about the vaccination status of these children and adults, but if the Australian situation is anything like that in the US, most of them would have been fully vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR. America has now added a third dose of MMR to the vaccination schedule, simply because the number of mumps and measles cases amongst the vaccinated is exploding.

Mumps notifications 1992 to 2016 NNDSS

One has to ask – if 2 doses aren’t working (and when this vaccine was introduced, we were assured that it would be one dose for life), why in the world would 3? Is that really the answer to a vaccine that is not effective – give more ineffective vaccines? I guess if you were a drug company profiting from every shot, it would be the best possible answer. But if we are talking about ‘evidence-based’ medicine, surely we can do better?

In addition, the mumps portion of the MMR vaccine is now the basis of a major whistleblower lawsuit in the US. Two Merck scientists have been granted whistleblower protection for their claims that the protective efficacy of the mumps vaccine has been fraudulently overstated! Merck says it protects 95% of those who receive it – these scientists say it could be less than 60% protective. If Merck loses, they could be subject to a fine totalling in the billions of dollars. Just the cost of doing business for a company like Merck, however.

Reports of influenza are a true shocker! According to the NNDSS, there were over 100,000 cases of laboratory-diagnosed influenza last year – a year in which the stated efficacy of the flu vaccine was 17%. Influenza seems to be exploding in Australia and the more the government and the medicos campaign to get people – from 6 months of age through to the elderly – vaccinated – the higher the number of reports of influenza (much like pertussis).

Influenza Notifications 1992 to 2016 NNDSS

There are many more tables that you can access at the NNDSS – click here or on any of the tables above for a searchable page where you can filter by disease so you can see for yourself how little vaccination has done to reduce reports of infectious diseases.

The last illness I would like to cover – briefly – is Hepatitis B. A birth dose of Hep B vaccine was introduced in Australia in the 1990s. As most of you would know, Hep B is a sexually transmitted disease and a disease of intravenous drug users. It is NOT a disease you can contract from casual contact and it is NOT a disease that newborns or children are prone to contracting unless their mothers are carriers (and women are routinely tested for this during pregnancy).

To target babies with this vaccine would require real evidence that they are at risk of contracting and suffering from Hep B. Evidence that is non-existent.

Hep B itself is not a disease that, in most cases, causes disability or serious health problems. In most people, the virus is cleared from the system without long-term issues. In a tiny percentage, however, the virus is not cleared and with those people, it is thought that the infection can lead to liver cancer decades later.

This is why the vaccine was introduced – to prevent liver cancer in those who are affected.

So, we would expect, when looking over the incidence of liver cancer during the period of time after the introduction of the Hep B vaccine, that we would see a huge decline in diagnoses.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however.

Since the introduction of Hep B vaccination in the 1980s, the incidence of and mortality from liver cancer has skyrocketed! (Graph from Cancer Australia)

Liver Cancer Mortality

In conclusion, there is no statistical evidence to show that vaccines have been responsible in any way for a reduction in either the reported incidence of or mortality from most infectious diseases they are meant to prevent.

At a time when all treatments must prove to be ‘evidence-based’ and when our tax dollars are having trouble keeping up with the growing demands for medical services, one has to ask why we are continuing to throw good money after bad on ever-more vaccination campaigns targeting the entire Australian population.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid

46496240 - businessman balancing hourglass on edge of wooden plank, with sun sky cityscape background.
What is there to be afraid of? Quite a bit, unfortunately.

The whole thing about vaccination is – it’s supposed to keep you safe.

If you’re vaccinated against measles, you shouldn’t get measles. If you are vaccinated against whooping cough, you should be protected from whooping cough.

That’s the ‘promise’ of vaccines. It’s why doctors and government officials refer to them as immunisations. Because the people who are vaccinated are the last ones who should be getting those diseases.

But the fact is, the vaccinated ARE getting sick with the very things they’ve been vaccinated against.

That used to be called vaccine failure; or breakthrough disease.

Now, it’s called exposure to the unvaccinated.

Pharma may be evil – but you can never say it’s stupid.

Turn a weakness into a strength and you have the beginning of a great marketing campaign. And that’s what we’re seeing right now.

Vaccines not working? No problem! We just need more of them and we need more people to take them. That’ll do it. And, if it doesn’t work, well, the fact that we were able to convince you lot that if 1 wasn’t good, 2, 3, 4 or 8 are better, means you will believe anything we say – no matter how unscientific or idiotic it is.

Because government vaccination policies aren’t based on science – far from it! They are based on emotion; on a religious, some might even say fundamentalist belief that vaccines are the only answer to infectious diseases. Even if the diseases we are trying to prevent rarely, if ever kill and may even be beneficial (measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox come to mind); even if the diseases are easily prevented with clean water and breastfeeding (rotavirus and polio), vaccines will always be the best answer. Even when the vaccines don’t work.

And when they don’t work, the pat answer is – it wasn’t the fault of the vaccine. Oh no! It was the fault of some unknown, unnamed faceless child whose parents were so irresponsible as to not vaccinate them.

Think about that for a minute. We vaccinate to protect our children, but when the vaccines haven’t protected them, we’re told it’s because some outside force has broken through their protection.

Does that make sense to you? If it does, I have some desert land in central Australia that I’m developing into a theme park and I think you’re just the kind of investor we need!

All Theory-All the Time

The theory behind vaccination is – you inject a tiny bit of a chemically-altered (attenuated) virus or bacteria into a person’s body and the body creates antibodies that will stay there forever so that when you are naturally exposed to that virus or bacteria down the track, those antibodies are ready, willing and able to protect you without you developing symptoms.

Sounds good, right?

But we KNOW (don’t think, opine or conjecture – but KNOW) that those antibodies aren’t protective. In fact, they may be counter-productive.

All antibodies indicate is that you have been exposed to an antigen. It’s a sign that either naturally or by other means, your body has come into contact with virus A or bacteria C.

Natural exposure will not always cause the production of antibodies. And true immunity (not to be confused with the production of antibodies) can occur without developing any symptoms whatsoever (called a sub-clinical infection).

The whole basis for the theory of vaccination was disproved decades ago in the 1940s, when Dr Merrill Chase proved that antibodies do not, on their own, protect against disease.

Of course, by then, medicine was already on a course of no return when it comes to vaccination. They could see the dollar signs in their future. They could also see the risks to lucrative treatments if they came out and admitted that the cornerstone of Western medicine had just collapsed.

So, like all good profit-based businesses, medicine just ignored what Dr Chase said and kept on doing the same old, same old. It’s easy to claim that vaccines work if you set the bar so low. All vaccines have to do is induce the production of antibodies and, since vaccines expose you to viruses and bacteria and being exposed will usually cause antibodies, vaccines became a huge success story. Insert shot – antibodies! Nearly every time. And for those who don’t develop antibodies, well, we make up this theory called herd immunity. It’s great! You see, for those few unlucky souls whose bodies, for whatever reason, don’t ‘do the right thing’ and make antibodies, they will be protected by the those around them who have those wonderful things circulating in their bloodstreams.

Great system! Not based in science. Not backed by any proof or evidence whatsoever. But hey, we fooled you once, didn’t we?

So the people who are vaccinated and develop antibodies are protected from disease by their antibodies. And the ones who are vaccinated, but didn’t develop antibodies are protected from disease by the people with antibodies (are you still with me?). But neither the ones with antibodies or the ones who are vaccinated, but didn’t get the mojo from the shot will be protected if an unvaccinated person comes near them.

I see. Makes perfect sense.

But, you ask, what about those people who are vaccinated and develop antibodies, but whose antibodies wear off 6 months to 3 years down the track? What about them?

For them, we have boosters! Or, should I say BOO$TER$! (The worldwide vaccine market is predicted to total $77.5 billion by 2024 – more than double its current value due to mandatory vaccination and the introduction of potentially dozens of new vaccines.)

More money in pharma’s pocket. More expensive visits to GPs. Win/win!

And all of this is because 2 generations have been trained in the most Pavlovian of ways, to be afraid of viruses, bacteria and ALL diseases-more afraid than the are of poisons. Think of the chemicals in those toxic hand sanitisers that are so pervasive today; or the poisons in household cleaners that are far more toxic than most germs you would come into contact with in your home; or the toxins in vaccines and pharmaceutical medications that are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year.

So fearful, they are no longer able to think logically or sensibly about these topics.

They say that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, but I disagree. There is a lot to fear.

Be afraid – and be active

I fear the medical/pharmaceutical cartel that wants to take away our right to say no to poison;

I fear the government and media who are doing the bidding of the medical/pharmaceutical cartel without any care whatsoever for the citizens who elected them or those who buy their newspapers or watch and listen to their programmes;

I fear a population that has become so controlled, it will attack and condemn law-abiding citizens who make medical choices they disagree with;

most of all, I fear that we are quickly approaching the point of no return where so many of our children will be so damaged by vaccines and pharmaceutical medicines (1 in 6 is now learning disabled, 1 in 50 is autistic and 1 in 2 is suffering from at least one chronic illness) and you will see that our current generation of adults may well be the last one that will be able to think, act or decide for themselves about anything at all.

God help the human race as it travels down this path. May it find the courage and fortitude to fight for its rights – indeed, for its very soul – before it is too late.

by Meryl Dorey

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the nocompulsoryvaccination blog. This blog is a forum, support and information site and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

 

I’ve changed my mind

They say it’s a woman’s prerogative. Making one decision and then, down the track, changing your mind. But everyone does it and it’s not necessarily a bad thing either.

Think about those words – changing your mind.

Brain CarvingTaken literally, they may sound a bit strange. They conjure up a scene of someone – an artist, perhaps, carving out a brain from hard wood and then, deciding at the last minute that something’s gone wrong and it might need a little bit of work here or there. A few hits with the hammer and chisel, being careful not to break it and have to start again.

That’s how my strange mind works and what I’ve visualised 🙂 But changing your mind is one of the many, many idioms that make the English language so difficult for non-native speakers to learn.

When it comes to vaccination, I started to change my mind 26 years ago.

Like many parents, I didn’t just decide blithely one day to stop vaccinating my son or my subsequent children. It wasn’t like taking my clothes out of the closet and deciding that the red top looked better with those pants than the blue one. I changed my mind because I saw that vaccines had hurt my child and, like most people who were trying to be the best parent they could, seeing that harm and having it confirmed by my doctor (who told me that he would leave out the whooping cough portion of my son’s next shot – something that isn’t even possible today!) made me start to search for more information about these shots I was giving my son.

And I didn’t change my mind that day or that month – or even that year.

Trying to be a responsible parent, I couldn’t decide until I had enough information about what I was doing.

In retrospect, I should have put off any further vaccines until I was fully informed, but the default position back in the late 1980s/early 1990s was to vaccinate so, I did.

It wasn’t until my son was hospitalised 10 days after his MMR vaccine (the most common time for certain reactions following that particular shot, as I found out later on through my research) that I decided enough was enough. And even then, I didn’t have enough information to stop vaccinating my children completely. My daughter received 3 DT (diphtheria and tetanus) and OPV (oral polio) vaccines and my next son got 3 OPVs. My youngest child is the only one who is completely unvaccinated.

By the time she came along, I had gathered together enough information and done enough research to completely ‘change my mind’ about vaccination. By then, my husband and I had both knowledge and confidence about our decision – it was a good place to be!

Many parents have stories that echo ours. Nearly everyone I know who started out totally committed to vaccinating (or just going along with it because it was the default position) but who stopped at some point, changed their mind because of either personal experience with vaccine reactions, reactions in a friend or family member or exposure to information that made them question and want to know more.

I am very proud of the fact that some of these people were able to find the information they needed because of the existence of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), the organisation I started way back in 1994. The AVN had and has many sister organisations:

VINE (Vaccination Information Network);

VISA (Vaccines Information Serving Australia);

VAIS (Vaccination Answers Informed Sources);

IAS (Immunisation Awareness Society);

VAG (Vaccination Awareness Group);

VIS (the Vaccination Information Service);

and the group started by Kerry Hamblin in the Blue Mountains in the 1980s that pre-dated all of the others and whose name escapes me (if anyone remembers, please let me know and if I’ve left any organisations off, I apologise – let me know and I will amend this).

When I originally had my change of mind, the internet was not as easily accessible as it is today. I got my information the old fashioned way – I visited medical libraries, copied medical journal articles, took them home and sat with my highlighter pen and read them through. I went to the medical library in Princeton, New Jersey. I visited the Library of Congress for one amazing day of obsessive reading, photocopying and research. I remember being afraid that those articles would weigh so much, I wouldn’t be able to take them home with me to Australia!

Parents that Don't Vaccinate

How times have changed. What used to take me hours and a lot of money at 10 cents a page to photocopy, is now nearly instant and free.

The AVN’s library contains hundreds of books and tens of thousands of journal articles dating back to the early part of the twentieth century – and even further back when it comes to the smallpox vaccine.

I – like most parents who have changed their minds about vaccination, nutrition and medical treatments – made my decision after a lot of thought and a lot of discussions with health professionals and natural therapists about these issues. I took my responsibility seriously.

And yes, like the artist in my earlier thoughts who changed the direction of his carving in hard wood with great difficulty, it was not easy for me to change my path or for my husband to do the same. We were your classic ‘true believers’ like most of our generation.

A belief and trust in doctors was hard-wired into our consciousness through years of medical shows, government pronouncements and social conditioning. But once we were empowered through our own research to understand that we could change our minds, the veil was torn away and we were able to see this situation clearly for what it was – a mass delusion that was built on quicksand and that needed bullying and lies to shore it up and keep it from sinking away forever.

understanding-understanding

If you are like I was – a true believer in vaccine safety, effectiveness and necessity – challenge yourself to read a bit about the other side of this issue. You may never change your mind or your beliefs, but at least you will come to understand that those of us who stopped vaccinating made that choice with valid information and out of love for our children. Understanding can overcome fear and hatred and right now, there is way too much fear and hatred going around regarding the issue of vaccination.

By Meryl Dorey

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the nocompulsoryvaccination blog. This blog is a forum, support and information site and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

 

Social media: A Source of Information, Support and a Trap

We are all tough guysI have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Flickr. They take a bit of time, but I’ve felt that the investment was worth it for the gain received.

News tends to come out very quickly on these venues, so I have stayed on the very cutting edge of updates about vaccination, health and politics. I’ve also liaised with activists around the world in ways that just don’t seem to happen in other venues. We’ve strategised, supported each other and instantly shared information, local events and vaccination and other personal data.

It’s been marvellous!

But it’s also lulled me into a false sense of action.

Armchair warrior

From the comfort of my own chair, I’ve gotten to the end of the day feeling like I’ve accomplished so much when in fact, all I’ve done is talk (and virtual talk at that!)

You see, getting onto social media and saying rah, rah, rah! You’re right and what the government is doing is wrong, makes me feel better; makes me feel like I’m part of the solution; but if that’s all I do, it accomplishes nothing.

Social media has so many benefits, but one of its downsides – and perhaps one of the many reasons why participation in these outlets is openly encouraged by so many businesses and governments (aside from the purposes of data mining and financial gain) is that it keeps ‘the masses’ complacent. It makes us feel like we are participating in the issues we feel passionate about when really, all we’re doing is sending out a bunch of ‘me too’ posts that might make us and the post-recipients feel good, but do nothing to remedy any problems or right any wrongs.

These outlets are a tyrannical government’s dream! Yes, on the one hand, they do allow us to share information quickly, efficiently and with little government interference (Twitter and Facebook being the notable exceptions with censorship and algorithm fiddling constantly suppressing anti-government and anti-corporate interest posts), but on the other hand, they keep us in front of our computers and off the street.

Civil disobedience and protests before social media

An artist's depiction of the Leicester anti-compulsory vaccination protest of 1885 which saw up to 100,000 people marching against compulsory shots.
An artist’s depiction of the Leicester anti-compulsory vaccination protest of 1885 which saw up to 100,000 people marching against compulsory shots.

In the mid-1800s when the UK Parliament first passed compulsory vaccination legislation, without any media or social media, England organised massive protests which were eventually successful at overturning that draconian legislation which, like today’s No Jab, No Pay laws, unfairly targeted those on lower incomes whilst not touching the wealthy.

In the Leicester rally of 1885, as many as 100,000 people marched in protest to these laws – 100,000 people who found out about the protest and got off their arses to publicly protest against government overreach!

Rallies in Sydney, Brisbane and other capital cities last year – with all the benefits of media and social media – only attracted a maximum of 1,000 individuals in each location – far less the second time around.

Why is this? Why is it so difficult today to get people out of their houses to physically attend protests against injustices which, if allowed to continue, may harm or even kill us? Why are we so unwilling to show up, even when we know that NOT showing up will appear to uninformed outsiders to indicate tacit approval or even support of these laws?

I believe that social media is one of the reasons.

Say it to my face

After speaking with many people who fully intended to come to these anti-No Jab, No Pay rallies last year, but who never actually got there, a single theme appeared. I have paraphrased some of the reasons below:

1- I was busy, but I did share it with my friends on Facebook.

2- I was afraid to come, but I emailed a couple of people. Did they turn up?

3- I am SO behind this event, but I just couldn’t make it. I put it out on Twitter and I’m sure lots of my friends would have been there.

4- Great event! Would have loved to have come. I support it 100%. Saw it on Pinterest and did share it with a few friends who I know are on side. Didn’t want to have any blowback from my other friends though.

All of these people believed they were supporting the events and the cause. In their heart, they were actively involved in advancing informed choice because they shared information on social media. Don’t get me wrong – sharing is VERY important, but it will take so much more than that to overturn discriminatory legislation; to change the minds of an uninformed public, to make Australians understand how wrong it is to coerce parents into doing something to their child that is not (according to the parents) in their best interests.

It takes action – physical action.

It takes letter writing – not just emailing.

It takes protests where tens of thousands turn up.

It takes people getting outside of their comfort zones to speak with friends, family and associates and explain why they support free and informed health choice.

If, like me, you have been a keyboard warrior who hasn’t gotten out much of late, don’t despair! That false sense of action hasn’t been a complete loss. Sharing information and support is one plank in a vital effort to raise the consciousness of Australians everywhere about the dangers facing them, their families and their basic, inalienable human rights.

But it is just ONE plank. There is so much more that needs to be done.

Protest-1900_518x230

Social media can be instrumental in advancing causes and achieving goals. It has brought down governments and informed the world. Without social media, the Arab Spring never would have happened. While it may have started on Twitter, it was only successful because people got out and marched and protested in their hundreds of thousands. We are missing that important final step.

I am going overseas for a few months shortly and won’t be back until early 2017 (2017? How did that happen?????) When I do, I pledge to be more present, more active and more vocal about these issues.

I pledge to do more seminars, provide more information both on and offline and write more letters to politicians and to the editors. I pledge to call more talkback radio stations and speak to more people – both friends and strangers – about why I believe in health freedom (in appropriate circumstances of course – I’m not just going to walk up to complete strangers and say, Hey, do you vaccinate?)

Will you join me? 

Please don’t stop your social media chatter – it’s important. But don’t feel that it’s the be-all and end-all. When the call comes to go to a seminar or a protest march or to visit your members of Parliament, please do it! Be there in the flesh – and make your voices heard.

I would love to hear what you think about this. Please make comments on this blog post.

by Meryl Dorey

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the nocompulsoryvaccination blog. This blog is a forum, support and information site and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

 

measles in africa, vaccination africa, measles

Measles deaths in Africa

The following article is by Greg Beattie, author of Vaccination: A Parent’s Dilemma and the more recent Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines. It was originally published on the REAL Australian Sceptics blog and bears repeating.

This information and the graphs included are excerpted from Mr Beattie’s latest book. It demonstrates very clearly that a true sceptic will not necessarily believe in headlines such as “Measles deaths in Africa plunge by 91%” without seeing the proof of those claims. Question everything – accept nothing at face value – that is the credo of the true sceptic.

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Bertrand Russell

Africa, measles africa, vaccination africa
0.450–0.499 0.400–0.449 0.350–0.399 0.300–0.349 under 0.300 n/a (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are not one to follow the news, you may have missed it. Others will have undoubtedly seen a stream of good-newsstories over the past five years, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%[1],[2]

There have been many versions on the theme; the percentage rates have changed over time. However, the bodies of the stories leave us in no doubt as to the reason for their headlines. Here are some direct quotes:

In a rare public health success story on the world’s most beleaguered continent, Africa has slashed deaths from measles by 91 per cent since 2000 thanks to an immunization drive.

An ambitious global immunization drive has cut measles deaths…

Measles deaths in Africa have fallen as child vaccination rates have risen.

These stories represent a modern-day version of the belief that vaccines vanquished the killer diseases of the past. There is something deeply disturbing about the stories, and it is not immediately apparent. The fact is: no-one knows how many people died of measles in Africa. No-one! Not last year and not ten years ago.

I will repeat that. No-one knows how many measles deaths have occurred in Africa. So, where did these figures come from? I will explain that in this blog. In a nutshell, they were calculated on a spreadsheet, using a formula. You may be surprised when you see how simple the method was.

We all believe these stories, because we have no reason to doubt them. The only people who would have questioned them were those who were aware that the deaths had not been counted. One of these was World Health Organisation (WHO) head of Health Evidence and Statistics, who reprimanded the authors of the original report (on which the stories were based) in an editorial published in the Bulletin of the WHO, as I will discuss shortly. Unfortunately, by then the train was already runaway. The stories had taken off virally through the worldwide media.

Overview

First, an overview of the formula. The authors looked at it this way: for every million vaccines given out, we hope to save ‘X’ lives. From that premise, we simply count how many million vaccines we gave out, and multiply that by ‘X’ to calculate how many lives (we think) we have saved. That is how the figures were arrived at.

The stories and the formula are both products of a deep belief in the power of vaccines. We think the stories report facts, but instead they report hopes.

The nuts and bolts

Hardly any of the willing participants in spreading the stories bothered to check where the figures came from, and what they meant. That was possibly understandable. Why would we need to check them? After all, they were produced by experts: respected researchers, and reputable organisations such as UNICEF, American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, and the World Health Organisation.

However, I did check them. I checked because I knew the developing world wasn’t collecting cause of death data that could provide such figures[3]. In fact, it is currently estimated that only 25 million of the 60 million deaths that occur each year are even registered, let alone have reliable cause-of-death information[4]. Sub-Saharan Africa, where a large proportion of measles deaths are thought to occur, still had an estimated death registration of only around 10%[5] in 2006, and virtually no reliable cause-of-death data. Even sample demographic surveys, although considered accurate, were not collecting cause-of-death data that allowed for these figures to be reported. Simply put, this was not real data: the figures had to be estimates.

I was curious as to how the estimates were arrived at, so I traced back to the source—an article in The Lancet, written by a team from the Measles Initiative[6]. After reading the article, I realised the reports were not measles deaths at all. They were planning estimates, or predictions. In other words, they represented outcomes that the Measles Initiative had hoped to achieve, through conducting vaccination programs.

Don’t get me wrong. We all know that planning and predicting are very useful, even necessary activities, but it is obvious they are not the same as measuring outcomes.

The title of the original report from the Measles Initiative reads, “Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study.[7] The authors took one and a half pages to explain how natural history modelling applied here. I will simplify it in about ten lines. I realise that in doing so, some may accuse me of editorial vandalism, however I assure you what follows captures the essence of the method. The rest is detail. If you are interested in confirming this, I urge you to read the original article for that detail. Here we go… the formula at the heart of the stories:

My interpretation of the Measles Natural History Modelling Study

  1. Open a blank spreadsheet
  2. Enter population data for each year from 2000 to 2006
  3. Enter measles vaccine coverage for each of the years also
  4. Assume all people develop measles if not vaccinated
  5. Assume vaccination prevents 85-95% of measles cases
  6. Calculate how many measles cases were ‘prevented’ each year (using the above figures)
  7. Calculate how many measles deaths were ‘prevented’ each year (using historical case-fatality ratios)

There, simple. As you can see, this is a typical approach if we are modelling,for predictive purposes. Using a spreadsheet to predict outcomes of various plans helps us set targets, and develop strategies. When it comes to evaluating the result of our plan however we need to go out into the field, and measure what happened. We must never simply return to the same spreadsheet. But this is precisely what the Measles Initiative team did. And the publishing world swallowed it—hook, line and sinker.

As mentioned earlier, WHO Health Evidence and Statistics head, Dr Kenji Shibuya, saw the problem with this method. Writing editorially in the Bulletin of the WHO, under the title “Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets”, Shibuya had this to say[8]:

Unfortunately, the MDG[9] monitoring process relies heavily on predicted statistics.

…the assessment of a recent change in measles mortality from vaccination is mostly based on statistics predicted from a set of covariates… It is understandable that estimating causes of death over time is a difficult task. However, that is no reason for us to avoid measuring it when we can also measure the quantity of interest directly; otherwise the global health community would continue to monitor progress on a spreadsheet with limited empirical basis. This is simply not acceptable. [emphasis mine]

This mismatch was created partly by the demand for more timely statistics …and partly by a lack of data and effective measurement strategies among statistics producers. Users must be realistic, as annual data on representative cause-specific mortality are difficult to obtain without complete civil registration or sample registration systems

If such data are needed, the global health community must seek indicators that are valid, reliable and comparable, and must invest in data collection (e.g. adjusting facility-based data by using other representative data sources).

Regardless of new disease-specific initiatives or the broader WHO Strategic Objectives, the key is to focus on a small set of relevant indicators for which well defined strategies for monitoring progress are available. Only by doing so will the global health community be able to show what works and what fails.

In simple terms, Shibuya was saying:

  • We know it is difficult to estimate measles deaths, but
  • You should have tried, because you attracted a lot of interest
  • Instead, you simply went back to the same spreadsheet you used to make the plan—and that is unacceptable!
  • If you want to make a claim about your results, you need to measure the outcomes and collect valid data
  • Until you do, you cannot say whether your plan ‘worked’

Unfortunately, by the time Shibuya’s editorial was published, the media had already been trumpeting the stories for more than a year, because the Measles Initiative announced its news to a waiting media before subjecting it to peer-review. So, without scientific scrutiny, the stories were unleashed into a world hungry for good news, especially concerning the developing world. The result… the reports were welcomed, accepted, and regurgitated to a degree where official scrutiny now seems to have the effect of a drop in a bucket.

The question of who was responsible for this miscarriage of publishing justice plagued me for a while. Was it the architects of the original report? Or was it the robotic section of our media (that part that exists because of a lack of funds for employing real journalists) who spread the message virally to every corner of the globe, without checking it?

One quote which really stands out in the stories is from former director of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“The clear message from this achievement is that the strategy works,” said CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding

What strategy works? Is she talking about modelling on a spreadsheet? Or, using the predictions in place of real outcomes? More recent reports from the Measles Initiative indicate the team are continuing with this deceptive approach. In their latest report[10] it is estimated 12.7 million deaths were averted between 2000-2008. All were calculated on their spreadsheet, and all were attributed to vaccination, for the simple reason that it was the only variable on the spreadsheet that was under their control. And still there is no scrutiny of the claims. Furthermore, the authors make no effort to clarify in the public mind that the figures are nothing but planning estimates.

No proof

Supporters of vaccination might argue that this does not prove vaccines are of no use. I agree. In fact,let me say it first: none of this provides any evidence whatsoever of the value of vaccination. That is the crux of the matter. The media stories have trumpeted the success of the plan, and given us all a pat on the back for making it happen. But the stories are fabrications. The only aspect of them which is factual is that which tells us vaccination rates have increased.

Some ‘real’ good-news?

General mortality rates in Africa are going down. That means deaths from all causesare reducing. How do we know this? Because an inter-agency group, led by UNICEF and WHO, has been evaluating demographic survey data in countries that do not have adequate death registration data. These surveys have been going on for more than 50 years. One of the reasons they do this is to monitor trends in mortality; particularly infant, and under-five mortality.

Although the health burden in developing countries is inequitably high, there is reason to be positive when we view these trends. Deaths are declining and, according to the best available estimates, have been steadily doing so for a considerable time; well over 50 years.

One of the most useful indicators of a country’s health transition is its under-5 mortality rate: that is, the death rate for children below five years old. The best estimates available for Africa show a steady decline in under-5 mortality rate, of around 1.8% per year, since 1950[11]. Figure 1 shows this decline from 1960 onward[12]. It also shows the infant mortality rate[13]. Both are plotted as averages of all countries in the WHO region of Africa.

Figure 1. Child mortality, Africa

This graph may appear complex, but it is not difficult to read. The two thick lines running horizontally through the graph are the infant (the lower blue line) and under-5 (the upper black line) mortality rates per 1000 from 1960 to 2009. The handful of finer lines which commence in 1980, at a low point, and shoot upward over the following decade, represent the introduction of the various vaccines. The vertical scale on the right side of the graph shows the rate at which children were vaccinated with each of these shots.

The primary purpose of this graph (as well as that in Figure 2) is to deliver the real good-news. We see a slowly, but steadily improving situation. Death rates for infants and young children are declining. I decided to add the extra lines (for vaccines) to illustrate that they appear to have had no impact on the declining childhood mortality rates; at least, not a positive impact. If they were as useful as we have been led to believe, these vaccines (covering seven illnesses) would surely have resulted in a sharp downward deviation from the established trend. As we can see, this did not occur.

In Africa, the vaccines were introduced at the start of the 1980s and, within a decade, reached more than half the children. The only effect observable in the mortality rates, is a slowing of the downward trend. In other words, if anything were to be drawn from this, it would be that the introduction of the vaccines was counter-productive. One could argue that the later increase in vaccine coverage (after the year 2000) was followed by a return to the same decline observed prior to the vaccines. However, that does not line up. The return to the prior decline predates it, by around five years.

With both interpretations we are splitting hairs. Since we are discussing an intervention that has been marketed as a modern miracle, we should see a marked effect on the trend. We don’t.

The WHO region of Africa (also referred to as sub-Saharan Africa) is where a substantial portion of the world’s poor-health burden is thought to exist. The country that is believed to share the majority of worldwide child mortality burden with sub-Saharan Africa is India, in the WHO south-east Asia region. Together, the African and South-east Asian regions were thought in 1999 to bear 85% of the world’s measles deaths[14]. Figure 2 shows India’s declining infant and under-5 mortality rates, over the past 50 years. Again, the introduction of various vaccines is also shown.

Figure 2. Child mortality, India

And again, vaccines do not appear to have contributed. Mortality rates simply continued their steady decline. We commenced mass vaccination (for seven illnesses) from the late 1980s but there was no visible impact on the child mortality trends.

In a nutshell, what happened in the developed world is still happening in the yet-to-finish-developing world, only it started later, and is taking longer. The processes of providing clean water, good nourishment, adequate housing, education and employment, freedom from poverty, as well as proper care of the sick, have been on-going in poor countries.

I would have loved to go back further in time with these graphs but unfortunately I was not able to locate the data. I did uncover one graph in an issue of the Bulletin of the WHO, showing the under-5 mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa to be an estimated 350 in 1950[15]. It subsequently dropped to around 175 by 1980, before vaccines figured. It continued dropping, though slower, to 129 by 2008[16].

The decline represents a substantial health transition, and a lot of lives saved. When cause-of-death data improves, or at least some genuine effort is made to establish credible estimates of measles deaths, it will undoubtedly be found they are dropping as well. Why wouldn’t they? This is good news, and all praise needs to be directed at the architects and supporters of the international activities that are helping to achieve improvements in the real determinants of health. In the midst of all the hype, I trust we will not swallow attempts to give the credit to vaccines… again.

I am not confident, however. I feel this is simply history repeating itself. Deaths from infectious disease will reach an acceptable “low” in developing countries, at some point in time. And although this will probably be due to a range of improvements in poverty, sanitation, nutrition and education, I feel vaccines will be given the credit. To support the claim, numerous pieces of evidence will be paraded, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%

We need to purge these pieces of “evidence” if we are to have rational discussion. The public have a right to know that these reports are based on fabricated figures.  Otherwise, the relative importance of vaccines in future health policy will be further exaggerated.


[1]    Medical News Today 30Nov 2007; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/90237.php

[2]    UNICEF Joint press release; http://www.unicef.org/media/media_41969.html

[3]    Jaffar et al. Effects of misclassification of causes of death on the power of a trial to assess the efficacy of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in The Gambia; International Journal of Epidemiology 2003;32:430-436 http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/32/3/430

[4]    Save lives by counting the dead; An interview with Prof Prabhat Jha, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 2010;88:171–172

[5]    Counting the dead is essential for health: Bull WHO Volume 84, Number 3, March 2006, 161-256 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/3/interview0306/en/index.html

[6]    Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative is an international partnership committed to reducing measles deaths worldwide, and led by the American Red Cross, CDC, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, and WHO. Additional information available at http://www.measlesinitiative.org

[7]    Wolfson et al. Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study; Lancet 2007; 369: 191–200 Available from http://www.measlesinitiative.org/mi-files/Reports/Measles%20Mortality%20Reduction/Global/Wolfson%20Lancet2007_Measles_Mortality_Reduction.pdf

[8]    Kenji Shibuya. Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets; Bulletin of the World Health Organization June 2007, 85 (6) http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/6/07-042887/en/index.html

[9]    MDG – Millennium Development Goals, to be discussed shortly in this chapter.

[10]  Dabbagh et al. Global Measles Mortality, 2000–2008; Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. 2009;58(47):1321-1326 http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/714345

[11]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

[12]  If you perform a ‘google’ search for ‘infant mortality rate’ or ‘under-5 mortality rate’ you will locate a google service that provides most of this data. It is downloadable in spreadsheet form by clicking on the ‘More info’ link.  http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.DYN.MORT/countries/1W-US?display=graph :Vaccine coverage data is available from the WHO website http://www.childinfo.org/files/Immunization_Summary_2008_r6.pdf

[13]  Infant mortality rate is “under-1 year of age” mortality rate.

[15]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

Vaccine Bigots

Reject BigotryPolitical correctness will be the death of us all. We’re so afraid to say what we think for fear of being judged, that we stay silent rather than starting a storm. But I say, if our words are going to create a storm, let’s make it the best and biggest storm we possibly can. Let the winds blow and the rains wash away this shameful era of world history.

Those who support No Jab / No Pay / No Play are bigots – pure and simple.

Whether they are members of parliament, media representatives or your next door neighbours – if they believe it is OK to discriminate against you and your family or to treat you with anything less than the respect all citizens of a democratic nation should expect, they are bigots.

Definition: Bigot: a person who has strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion, and who thinks anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong.

Our government – elected and funded by US – is comprised of bigots.

Many within mainstream medicine are bigots.

And members of the hate groups, Friends of Science in Medicine, Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics are all bigots.

Watch this powerful short video about a woman who has decided that she is not going to put up with vaccine bigotry any longer. Like Rosa Parks did over 60 years ago when she was arrested for not moving to the back of a bus due to the colour of her skin, Sheila Ealey has decided to ‘get off the bus’. She will hopefully be joined by a lot more of us, standing in solidarity against discrimination of any kind – racial, sexual, religious or medical.

“Get off the bus!” Sheila Lewis Ealey unites Compton! from Francesca Alesse on Vimeo.

Bigotry must be stamped out. It is the sort of thing that you would have seen in many countries 50 or more years ago; the sort of thing we were taught about in school history classes as an object lesson in wrong-headedness and injustice; the sort of thing that we look back on now and think – that would never happen today!

Except that it has. And it has been government-approved.

When we see the leader of the Australian Greens party standing up in Parliament to thank people who have abused and threatened parents whose only ‘crime’ was wanting to care for their children as they feel is best – we know that vaccine bigotry has institutional support.

When we see someone who has made a name for themselves by publicly shaming or abusing those who think differently about vaccination, receiving government awards instead of jail sentences, we know that vaccine bigotry is systemic in our society.

And when we read media articles written by journalists who are functional illiterates yet feel that they have the right to tell the government how they should punish anyone who disagrees with them on scientific or medical health issues, we know that vaccine bigotry has pervaded the very fabric of Australian life today.

Let’s fight against this by first and foremost, calling these people what their words and their actions have defined them as – bigots. The language is powerful, so let’s use this weapon to defeat bigotry.

If we can be called anti-vaxxers for asking valid, scientific questions about medical procedures that are capable of killing or injuring us or our children (let’s not even think about the fact that vaccines don’t work as promised – or at all), then we can use a more appropriate name for those who are responsible for this sociopathic and discriminatory behaviour – BIGOTS.

Let’s wipe out bigotry in Australia today. By naming it. By shaming it. By not standing for it any longer.