Monday, March 31, 2014

Vaccines and the California Measles Outbreak

If there are doctors who have taken the time to read the full package
insert on vaccines I have not met them yet. Typically they rely
on the handouts from the CDC.  Photo courtesy of

I don't believe heavily in vaccinations for lots of reasons. For full disclosure I did vaccinate my children until they were about 12 to 18 months old before I started to realized the potential hazards of vaccines.  I don't get my information from celebrities but medical journal articles. 

Rarely are unvaccinated children the cause of an outbreak. Normally the cause is someone traveling out of the US (or entering the US from a foreign country). These are called import cases. In the articles listed below, the fourth paragraph down, states that 99% of the 159 measles cases were import associated. From January 1, 2013 to August 24, 2013, there were no deaths were recorded due to measles.

Even in the most recent outbreak in California less than half of the people that got the measles were unvaccinated children. In the last paragraph the article details ten people who had been out of the country and they are the ones that probably brought the measles back. In the United States measles is not prevalent due to proper sanitation, improved hygiene and good nutrition.  

Here is a post from Facebook from Dr. Bob Sears.  I like him because he provides a fair and honest evaluation concerning the California measles outbreak. 

Orange County Measles Epidemic . . . Not (yet, anyway)!

Wow. Who would have thought that a few simple sentences in my last post would cause such an uproar? If you missed it, check it out below. All it says is “don’t panic. If your child hasn’t had a measles vaccine, you can get one now. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t panic, because there are only seven cases (at the time).” That’s it.
But it’s interesting what people took from it:
Some people seem to believe the post advises people to not get the vaccine, which the post clearly doesn’t say. The post says get the vaccine, or don’t – it’s up to you. I guess what the vaccine militants wanted me to say, instead, is that every single person, without fail, should get the vaccine no matter what.

Some have attacked me for starting a measles outbreak seven years ago in my waiting room, which is false because no one with measles has ever even been inside my office (except for one child about 15 years ago who came down with a live measles infection from the vaccine, which is pretty rare but known to happen); so much for journalistic integrity for whoever wrote that (to be fair, most journalists do have integrity).

Some took my post to say that the MMR vaccine causes autism. WTF? The post doesn’t even include the “A” word.

Oh, and some thought my post said measles is harmless. My post didn’t even comment on the severity of the disease at all. Of course measles is sometimes harmless. It’s a tough disease. It’s no fun at all. The measles chapter in the book makes that very, very clear. My mistake though – I didn’t reiterate that in the post. So, for the record, measles CAN be very serious. It RARELY causes severe complications though. Almost everyone who catches measles here in the U.S. will be fine. You’ll be sick for a week, need to be quarantined, then you’ll be fine. IF your case is typical. BUT, in a small percentage of cases, even in the U.S. where we don’t have Vitamin A deficiency and protein malnutrition, complications can occur. About 1 in 1000 may die from it (studies vary – some say 1 in 3000, some say 3 in 1000). We haven’t had a measles death in the U.S. in over 10 years. But you know what? We will someday. May be this year. May be next. May even be here in the O.C. Every death from a vaccine-preventable disease is tragic. I’ve never said otherwise. So, just to make a few of you pro-vaccine militants happy, there you go. Measles can be bad. In developing countries with malnourished children, it’s even worse.

But for most, it’s a harmless disease. Old pediatric textbooks call measles a harmless and routine disease of childhood. IN DEVELOPED, WELL-NOURISHED COUNTRIES, for most people, that’s true. But not for all.

Finally, some love to blame me for the outbreak. As if people aren’t getting the MMR vaccine because of me. In the measles chapter of the book, AND in my alternative vaccine schedule, the MMR vaccine is very clearly listed at 1 year and 5 years. I very clearly recommend the vaccine in the book.

The post was simple – there’s a small outbreak, don’t panic. Get the vaccine or don’t. Up to you. Perhaps I should have said, “It’s really NOT up to you. It’s your social responsibility to get your children fully vaccinated so you don’t infect others. That way, NO ONE would ever need to have measles.” Keep reading – more on this later.

So, now we have about 21 cases in Orange County. We all knew it wouldn’t stop at seven. In my last post I gave a heads up that we’d see more. I thought maybe a few more, and didn’t think it would jump to 21. But it did. 5 cases are children, all unvaccinated. 5 are healthcare workers exposed to patients. They were vaccinated when younger, but the vaccine had worn off. As for the other 11 cases, I don’t know. Those details weren’t disclosed. But they are adults, according to the public health department notice. The outbreak won’t die out until everyone who’s been exposed either gets infected (which will be a very small few) or doesn’t, because they’ve been immunized or their immune system fights it off. Most outbreaks nationwide are restricted to a small number. The largest outbreaks from last year (58 in New York and 20 in Texas) occurred because the exposures were in large groups of unvaccinated people. Here in the O.C., almost everyone is vaccinated, so we are unlikely to see such a large outbreak. But it WILL extend a bit more. Who knows what the final number will be? But in the absence of a large unvaccinated group, it isn’t likely to spread much more than it has now. IF it hits a particular school or group where many are not vaccinated, it will likely spread through that group.

Finally, a message to those who chose to not get the MMR vaccine. I would still say don’t panic. The chance that your child will be caught up in this small outbreak is still very low. I understand your reasons for not wanting the vaccine. Every parent is required to read the CDC-mandated list of side effects to every vaccine before it is given. And the list of side effects to the MMR vaccine is quite daunting, and would scare any parent. You’ve probably read this list and opted out of the vaccines. The CDC handout tones it down a bit, but the MMR vaccine product insert doesn’t. And that’s what is spelled out in the measles chapter of the book. I simply list the side effects as described in the vaccine product insert. So, if any mandatory vaccine militants are going to be mad at me for that, then what you are really saying is that parents should NOT receive informed consent about this medical treatment. They should NOT be informed of the risks of a vaccine; they should just be reassured that the risks are small, they don’t need to worry their pretty little heads about the details, and just go ahead with the vaccine. If that’s how you feel, then you are justified in being angry with me. For the rest of you who like to follow proper medical procedure and medical ethics, you provide informed consent for vaccinations. Allow the parents to be involved in this decision. Some will decide NOT to vaccinate; this puts their child at a small risk of disease, and it poses a risk of their child spreading the disease to other unvaccinated or too-young-to-be-vaccinated or those-who-got-vaccinated-but-it-didn’t work (I don’t think that was grammatically correct), but parents have that right to make that decision.

If we could guarantee that every single dose of MMR vaccine would be harmless to every child who received it, then we could be justified in making the vaccine mandatory. Since that’s not the case, we must allow parents to decide.

Bottom line: if your child has had one vaccine, then there is a 95% likelihood that he or she is protected. If two doses, it’s about 98 to 99%. So, you’re in good shape. You likely have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in this outbreak, some adults will lose their immunity, and may catch the disease. If you decided to not get the vaccine yet, then you have a decision to make. Read all the pros and cons. Understand the side effects of the vaccine as well as the disease. Consider the importance of public health protection. If you were planning to have your child get the vaccine at some point anyway, but you were waiting until an older age, maybe now’s a good time to consider it. But the outbreak is still small enough where you don’t have to rush into it. If you decide against the vaccine, the disease risk is still acceptably low. Stay tuned.

Often vaccines do not confer a life long immunity to a disease so it gives people a false sense of safety against the disease. This is somewhat prevalent in measles and is definitely seen in whooping cough. (Fourth paragraph down)

Have you read a package insert for the MMR? Here is the package insert from the MMR II made by Merck. On page six it says there have been no animal studies to determine if the vaccines can affect reproductive capacity. At the end of page six is the start if adverse reactions. These include vasculitius, diabetes, anaphalaxis, arthritis, Guillian-Barre syndrome, seizures, encephalophy, and death. There are many more side effects that I did not list (both severe and not so severe).

As the old saying's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.  That is the way I feel about vaccines.  IF you are the unlucky parent of a child injured by a vaccine (yes, it DOES happen) then YOU have to deal with the aftermath!  You cannot sue the doctor or manufacturer of the vaccine for compensation to help pay all the medical expense YOU will now have to deal with.  This is due to legislation passed by Congress called the
National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34).  Since 1989 the National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) has awarded 2.7 Billion dollars in damages!  Often vaccine injuries are self reported by doctors so the number of vaccine injuries could be much higher than listed on VAERS.  It is not easy to win a case in the vaccine injury court.  Here are three links to give you an idea of what happens.

I often hear the argument to get my children vaccinated for the greater good. Do you know what? The greater good would not be taking care of my child if they were injured from a vaccination...that would be my job. So, since its my job, then I feel like I should have the decision left to me.  I should be able to choose to risk my child's health by vaccination or take the risk of the miniscule chance they will catch the disease. It is a bit of a gamble either way. With the general lack of prevalence of infectious disease and I home school my children the likelihood of them catching an infectious disease is pretty low.  I think I will continue to not vaccinate.  Sorry greater good.   

Also have you ever thought about the connection between the CDC and pharmaceutical companies? There is a very close tie there. This is part of the reason why the CDC pushes for more vaccines than ever. The bill discussed in the article was not passed due to pressure from the large pharmaceutical lobbyists.
I've put a lot of thought and research into vaccinations. I don't think I should have my parental rights questioned when it comes to medical decisions concerning MY children. That is why I disagree with what Colorado and several other states have done but more on the erosion of parental rights in another blog post. 

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