Skip to main content

Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals

Posted on by

Baby getting a vaccine

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

I was born in 1950 and was home-schooled until the 6th grade. Thus, I missed exposure to several childhood illnesses that affected most of my generation. I never gave it much thought until, as a medical resident in North Carolina in 1979, I came down with a potentially life-threatening febrile illness that required hospitalization. Only after four days of 105 degree fever did a rash appear, and the diagnosis was made: measles. That was the sickest I have ever been. It turned out that one of my daughter’s school friends had developed measles in a small outbreak of unvaccinated kids in Chapel Hill, and I had been exposed to her. I was born too early to have been vaccinated.

But for most people born in the United States after the 1960s, they have never had to experience the high fever and rash of the measles or the coughing fits of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. That’s because these extremely contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases have been controlled with the use of highly effective vaccines and strong vaccination programs. And yet, the number of Americans sickened with measles and pertussis each year has recently crept back up.

Now, an NIH-funded report confirms that many of the recent outbreaks of these vaccine-preventable diseases have been fueled by refusal by some parents to have their children vaccinated [1]. The findings, published recently in JAMA, come as an important reminder that successful eradication of infectious diseases depends not only on the availability of safe and effective vaccines, but also on effective communication about the vaccines and the diseases they prevent.

In the study, led by Saad Omer of Emory University, Atlanta, researchers searched the medical literature for all reports of measles outbreaks in the United States from January 2000 through November 2015. They did a similar search for pertussis outbreaks since 1977, when cases of this disease reached their lowest point in the U.S.

Omer and his colleagues identified 18 published reports of measles outbreaks, describing more than 1,400 cases in people who ranged in age from 2 weeks to 84 years old. Although vaccination information was lacking for about 29 percent of the people, 804 cases (56.8 percent) were confirmed to be unvaccinated. Only 199 cases (14 percent) involved individuals known to have received a measles-containing vaccine.

The researchers next drilled down to seven studies with the most-detailed vaccination summaries to look for those who were intentionally unvaccinated. They found 574 out of 970 individuals were unvaccinated, despite being old enough to receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Of the 574 people, 405 had filed an exemption for religious or philosophical reasons.

Omer and his colleagues also identified 32 reported pertussis outbreaks, totaling more than 10,000 cases in people whose vaccination status was known. In the five largest statewide epidemics, the data show that a substantial number—at least 1 in 4—of those who became ill were unvaccinated.

Unlike the measles vaccine, the pertussis vaccine can lose some of its effectiveness over time. As a result, some pertussis outbreaks have arisen in places with high vaccination rates. Still, the evidence shows that people who are intentionally unvaccinated have played an important role in many of the recent pertussis outbreaks.

The researchers also noted that the contribution of vaccine refusal to outbreaks of both measles and pertussis often appears greatest early in an epidemic. This trend suggests that vaccine refusers provide “pockets of susceptibility” that can help to trigger an outbreak.

This is an especially important point. Parents have a responsibility not only to their own children, but to their communities—it’s only by achieving a very high level of population immunity that outbreaks can be prevented. Vaccination is particularly crucial for children with cancer and other diseases that cause immunosuppression. They cannot be vaccinated safely, but are at high risk of severe consequences if they are infected—and, thus, they depend on the community’s so-called “herd immunity” for protection against a potentially fatal illness.

While some parents continue to express concern about a possible link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders, the original report claiming this connection has been debunked and retracted.  A large number of carefully designed follow up studies have been carried out, and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows no evidence for such a link. That’s why it continues to be so important to get the word out to parents: Have your kids vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children receive a first dose of the MMR vaccine by 12 to 15 months of age, and a second dose between 4 to 6 years old. [2]. For pertussis, CDC recommends that children receive four doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines (DTaP) in the first 1½ years of life and a final dose between 4 and 6 years old [3].

References:

[1] Association Between Vaccine Refusal and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States: A Review of Measles and Pertussis. Phadke VK, Bednarczyk RA, Salmon DA, Omer SB. JAMA. 2016 Mar 15;315(11):1149-1158.

[2] Measles (Rubeola), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 1, 2015.

[3] Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 3, 2016.

Links:

Vaccines (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIAID)

Vaccines Protect Your Community (Vaccines.gov)

Measles (MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia)

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Omer Research Group (Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

NIH Support: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

32 Comments

  • Barbara Loeppke says:

    Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see where any potential conflict of interests were listed for you – any compensation by pharmaceutical companies, prior position with any pharmaceutical companies or any conflicts where the government owns any patents on vaccines. Could you please be transparent with these?

    • Moderator says:

      The JAMA article includes a section that discloses any possible conflicts of interest. Three of the authors reported no potential conflicts of interest. One reported receiving grant funding from Crucell, Pfizer, and Merck.

      • Fubeca12 says:

        Yet stayed on the team. How possible is it to remain unbiased when your paycheck comes from the very companies which stand to profit or loss from the outcome?

      • Barbara Loeppke says:

        Actually, if you read my comment, I was asking about YOUR conflicts of interest – not those on the study. Prior to the NIH or even during, which pharmaceutical companies have you been compensated by – in any manner whatsoever – or what pharmaceutical companies have you worked with on “projects”, studies, conventions, etc that could be considered collaboration?

  • Barbara Loeppke says:

    Btw, I read that study. It is definitely biased and does not actually correctly represent what has occurred in the US with regard to the vaccine failure.

    But, let’s addresswhat you wrote – Less than half of the measles cases were intentionally unvaccinated (due to exemptions) and THIS constitutes a crisis? The waning effectiveness of the MMR isn’t your concern? And I’m curious, how many of these people died from the measles? This is decidedly a 1-sided look at vaccines. We KNOW that injuries and death occur from vaccines. Why is there zero concern about THIS FACT? There absolute concern that some people refuse the MMR-II vaccine, but not a concern for why over half were NOT due to the exemption? This sounds like a narrow-minded focus on simply selling vaccines – not about true public health.

    And the fact is, the most whooping cough outbreaks in recent times occur in the vaccinated population. By choosing the outbreaks that the JAMA study did, and adding the numbers all in together, they effectively tried to negate the fact that many of the outbreaks of WC are ONLY in the vaccinated group!

    Parents have no responsibility to their communities – no responsibility to potentially harm their children to maybe keep someone else from getting sick. What about the duty of those who have been vaccinated and either shed or become asymptomatic carriers? What about the baboon study? The baboon study showed that the vaccinated for Pertussis can actually become asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Why do you fail to include this in your blog? This makes you look like a vaccine spokesperson rather than a researcher. I’d be ashamed!

    And why isn’t the government forcing Merck to provide the documents – requested in court – for the whistleblower lawsuits claiming Merck defrauded the American people AND the government by faking their mumps efficacy studies? Where is the outrage?

    Your bias is clear!

  • Jack423 says:

    Thank you for sharing this research. I understand that parents don’t want to put anything into their child’s body that isn’t necessary. However, if you want to live in a community where you can reasonably expect that all of your children and your friends’ children will not become extremely sick or die from preventable illnesses, you should find a way, even if it’s an extremely modified schedule, to vaccinate. We have become too removed from a time where it was fairly common for families to lose a child to one f these diseases or to have a child with lifelong health issues related to these illnesses. My Grandma and her 4 sisters all caught whooping cough in the early 1940’s. The youngest, a 3 month old baby, died from it. I’m told that it is one of the worst ways to watch your child die. People need to be aware that it’s not just their own children this impacts. How would you feel if your unvaccinated LD infected the baby or child of someone else and that child died?

    • Barbara Loeppke says:

      Jack423. Youre basing your information on anectdotal evidence from the 1940’s but you are failing to note that by the 1960’s the death rate from most of those disease dropped tremendously. Yes, MORBIDITY of the diseases continued but mortality had dropped. We cannot continue to use an outdated method, which has proven to not only be ineffective (waning coverage, exponential increase of vaccine schedule) when this PREVENTATIVE medical treatment actually harms as many as it helps! Adverse events from vaccines are NOT rare – only under-reported as even acknowledged by the government (estimated that less than 10% of all vaccine injuries are reported, yet the compensation fund has paid out almost $4,000,000,000.00 for injuries and death). Social media has connected parents who have been told that their experiences are not true. United, they will be heard. If vaccines were completely harmless, there would be no issue – but they are not only not harmless, they are increasing in number WITHOUT a clinical study showing the safety of the schedule!!! What happened to: “First, do no harm”? You can’t know that some WILL be harmed and be okay with that. So, Jack, my question to you is, how would you feel if a child dies from catching a disease from your child who got a live, SHEDDING vaccine? The vaccinated are more likely to have the disease (it’s been injected into them) than a child who has no vaccine and does not have the vaccine!

  • Barbara Loeppke says:

    One last comment. I have to, given my family’s situation. So, you suffered through measles as a 29 year old adult because you were kept isolated in homeschool? Yes, it always was more difficult to get these diseases as an adult than as a child. That’s why they were supposed to be caught in childhood. But let’s look at what you said. You stated that you had febrile seizures due to this disease and really imply how bad that was. Do you even realize that febrile seizures are extremely common for children to experience after vaccination and are considered to be benign and are basically “schluffed off” by doctors when hysterical parents call because their child is that sick (from the vaccines)? So you are trying to elicit sympathy and fear about experiencing the same thing that hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of infants, babies and children suffer through from vaccines??? Wow! That’s all I can say, is Wow! My granddaughter suffered grand Mal seizures from her 1 year vaccines and spent 5 days in NICU. Pardon me if I don’t feel any sympathy toward you having a febrile seizure from the disease. Pushing the vaccines is the same as pushing the disease onto people – can’t you see that? Because you KNOW that some who are vaccinated with actually come down with THE disease (you stated it above). Vaccines were a good theory but the FIRST do no harm has been forgotten. By pushing vaccines, you will ensure that some children will actually get the disease…and that will be on you.

  • Vaccinessuck says:

    Apparently the author is unaware of the increase in pertussis due to vaccine failure and silent carriers. Actually, getting the vaccine for pertussis makes you more likely to become infected without symptoms and transmit the illness to others. Instead of spreading rumors about unvaccinated people, lets educate people on how to control the spread of disease by covering their coughs and sneezes since we don’t know who’s infected, vaccinated or not.. That would be the responsible thing to do.

    • Tellmehowmeaslestaste says:

      If you’re not experiencing the symptoms then YOU are not affected by the virus. You may be a carrier sure, but you’re only at risk to those not vaccininated. Vaccines work best when 95% of the population is vaccinated not all vaccines work flawlessly which is why a high number percentage of the population need vaccinating. I understand arguing with an antivaxxer is pointless since logic is not there strong suit. Your fears are emotion based, which is your God given right but please exclude yourselves from public events/places since it is my right to be alive and healthy.

    • Dana says:

      Preach it, sister.

  • Lauren says:

    What a ridiculous, completely ignorant article.
    Did you bother to do any research or did you just copy old articles that don’t bother with the facts either?

    You are not fooling any intelligent person who can read the CDC & FDA research & press release.

    The article completely ignored the fact that DTaP replaced the more dangerous DPT and that vaccine failure and thst the majority of the strains circulating in the US are PRN neg ( per CDC survelience 85%) of which there is no vaccine coverage.
    The CDC 2013 Board of Scientific Counslors also stated the research determined that the vaccinated were at significantly higher odds than the unvaccinated for getting infected with PRN neg strains.

    Per the FDA press release and warning, while the DTaP can prevent disease , it does NOT prevent shedding and spreading ( transmission) to the vaccinated & unvaccinated . . .

  • Fubeca12 says:

    Ever wonder why they focus on the 25% who were not vaccinated while glossing over the fact that 75% of the pertussis victims were vaccinated…? Perhaps the science that has shown that the vaccine is both ineffective and/or wears off very quickly is fact.

    Condemning people for not vaccinating when being vaccinated is clearly a more probable precursor to being infected is deceitful and looks like shilling for Big Pharma!

  • Jennifer Redwine says:

    This is the kind of hate that will lead to people being killed, or at the very least having their children removed and placed in foster homes. Also, why was the Dr. Collins homeschooled in the 1950s? That was extremely rare at the time, and possibly illegal. Was he suffering from an illness that prevented him from being safe around children? It’s not clear why. Had he been in school, like probably 99.99% of kids his age, he would have had measles and have a life-long immunity. Since he didn’t, he got it as an adult, but I have to ask why he wasn’t vaccinated?

    The vaccine for measles was available starting in the late 60s, and at any point his pediatrician could have recommended it; most medical schools require their students to be fully up to date with vaccines, so why wasn’t he at least vaccinated for college? Maybe because he was born before 1956 and considered immune? Couldn’t titers have been drawn? Ironically, today, he would be one of the ones accused of spreading measles, since he wasn’t vaccinated for it. Isn’t this more about a flaw in vaccine requirements than about anti-vaxers? Why were there so many unvaccinated children in his child’s school? That’s not typical, especially for 1979.

    • Dr. Francis Collins says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. Let me clarify. I was born in 1950. Yes, home schooling in the 1950s was very unusual, but my mother was a gifted teacher and the local school superintendent gave permission. As to immunity, I just assumed that I must have had all the childhood illnesses as a kid (I did have chickenpox and rubella), so being susceptible to measles was a total surprise when I fell ill in my late 20s.

  • Hudson says:

    Despite all the scientific research, CDC and NIH need to do a better job of formative research – understanding ‘the why’ behind unvaccinated children – and do less paternalistic messaging. Translating scientific research is so much more, especially if you really want to have impact and care about YOUR paid civic responsibility.

  • Albert Enayati says:

    Dr. Collins should take a note that a recent study among parents by the Simons Foundation found that 42% of parents felt vaccines contributed to their child’s autism.1, The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which Dr. Collins is a board member and it is part of NIH has ignored this large segment of the community and observations by so many parents regarding their children’s developmental history.
    In 2009 the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) 2, 3, 4 recommended to this committee a number of feasible research proposals on vaccines and autism. Not a single one has been implemented.
    My son Payam regressed after his vaccinations. He is suffering from his autism and breaks my heart piece by piece. He has serious self-injurious behavior. He has run away, ended up in the emergency room, and been tased by law enforcement. His finger was nearly amputated because he cannot communicate his pain from infection. His medications don’t help. Meanwhile, the main decision-makers on autism research, here at the IACC – the NIH, CDC- have been discriminating against children like my son and many children across the country whose parents report regressions after their childhood immunizations. Even if it is “unpopular”, it is ethically imperative that Dr. Collins should recommend investigate these reports and study these children. Public health is not simply freedom from infectious disease. Autism is not always a gift or alternate way of being. It often comes with a great cost. My son deserves to have attention paid to him and research done to help him have a better quality of life.
    On one occasion Dr. Collins informed me that “science does not support my point of view”. In fact, very little meaningful science has been done on vaccines and autism, only a small fraction of possibilities have even been looked at, and the studies that have been published are riddled with conflicts of interest, data manipulation and in the case of Dr. Thorsen, indictment for financial research fraud. In addition, Dr. William Thompson, a senior researcher at the CDC who has whistleblower status, has reported dumping inconvenient data in a garbage can, along with colleagues, to avoid reporting an increased risk of autism in African American boys who received MMR vaccine.
    A 2011 study by the Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee5 evaluated the evidence on possible causal associations between immunizations and certain adverse outcomes. In 135 of 158 pairs evaluated, they found that “evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship”. They found no relationship between MMR and autism, but given that their evaluation included studies like the one where data was dumped, the safety of our children demands that we allow for future research to inform the questions.
    Even the package insert for DTaP6 vaccine suggests that we need further study. Here’s a quote from 2005:
    “Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, SIDS, anaphylactic reaction, cellulitis, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence and apnea. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting.”
    Yet, there are no studies looking specifically at autism and receipt of DTaP vaccines.
    In a recent study of 100 published papers analyzed by Science magazine7, only 39% of published articles could be replicated unambiguously. Dr. Collins needs to keep an open mind and start actually funding unbiased research into vaccines and autism. A recent paper indicates that aluminum in vaccines may have direct association with the increased rate of autism8. Another paper found increased risk of autism from the birth dose of Hepatitis B.9 The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has compensated at least 83 cases with autism or autism-like conditions.10 Vaccines have been found to increase the risk of seizures, tics and mitochondrial collapse, all of which commonly co-occur in autism.11,12,13
    A controlled study has not been done of autism risk among children given the recommended vaccine schedule compared with those not so vaccinated.
    Autism can no longer be considered a purely heritable, genetic disorder by Dr. Collins and NIH. Several studies suggest that as much as 50% of risk may be due to environmental factors. It is imperative that the non-genetic causes of autism be investigated . Unbiased research on the role of vaccinations needs immediate support. Our children are too important to let even a controversial stone go unturned.
    Sincerely and respectfully
    Albert Enayati, MSME
    Board Member, SafeMinds

    1. Goin-Kochel RP, Mire SS, Dempsey AG.. Emergence of autism spectrum disorder in children from simplex families: relations to parental perceptions of etiology. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 May;45(5):1451-63. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2310-8.
    2. http://archive.hhs.gov/nvpo/nvac/documents/NVACVaccineSafetyWGReport041409.pdf
    3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/cdc-to-study-vaccines-and_b_837360.html
    4. https://snt153.mail.live.com/mail/ViewOfficePreview.aspx?messageid=mgTej-OXeB5RGKhgAhWtgZSg2&folderid=flinbox&attindex=0&cp=-1&attdepth=0&n=34466307
    5. http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-and-Causality.aspx
    6. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/biologicsbloodvaccines/vaccines/approvedproducts/ucm101580.pdf
    7. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/aac4716
    8. http://www.oapublishinglondon.com/article/1368
    9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21058170
    10. Mary Holland, Louis Conte, Robert Krakow, and Lisa Colin, Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury, 28 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 480 (2011) Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss2/6
    11. http://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/news/20110223/small-seizure-risk-with-flu-pneumococcal-vaccines
    12. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/environmental-exposures.html
    13. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/environmental-exposures.html

    • Alison says:

      Mr. Enayati wrote, “On one occasion Dr. Collins informed me that “science does not support my point of view”.

      I hear this SO often, not just from scientists, but from people in the community who know nothing about science.

      Science is a process, not an ideology.

      And that process, in the US for the last few decades, has become increasingly flawed.

      The “science” that is displayed along with claims that vaccines are supposedly safe for the vast majority is flawed in method, conclusion, and lack of freedom from conflicts of interest.

      We are shown a “study” that compare 2 groups of children that have each received dozens of vaccines–not an unvaccinated child anywhere to be seen–and we are then told by public health officials that that somehow “shows no link” to risk of autism. We are not told that 25% of the “control” group displayed behaviors and other red flags of autism, but were not given autism diagnoses by the researchers. We are not told that the only vaccine ingredient being compared is the number of antigens in the vaccines, not the number of vaccines, not which specific antigens, not the cumulative amount of thimerosal, not the cumulative amount of aluminum, and certainly not any predisposition to vaccine reaction of the children involved.
      (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23545349)

      We are shown prelicensure safety data on Gardasil, where tracked adverse events with a saline placebo are hidden by mixing that data with data from a group 3 times the size, that was given a reactive adjuvant or even another vaccine as “placebo,” and then we are told by pediatricians and health officials that those results somehow “prove” safety. (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/PediatricAdvisoryCommittee/UCM235889.pdf) http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM111287.pdf

      If vaccine safety science doesn’t conform to the standards and protocols of other pharmaceutical products, why do we still think of it as science?

  • Alison says:

    Dr. Collins, I’m disturbed by the conclusion that outbreaks of disease are fueled by vaccine refusal. This is not actually supported by the data listed, despite some confusing and misleading language. In addition, several important and relevant issues are ignored.

    There is no evidence given of DELIBERATELY-unvaccinated children taking a significant role in spreading either measles or pertussis, nor is there discussion of the large number of vaccinated children and adults who came down with and spread the diseases. We also do not know how many vaccinated individuals may have had mild cases of measles in the index week of an outbreak, but went undiagnosed.

    Where is the evidence that “the evidence shows that people who are intentionally unvaccinated have played an important role in many of the recent pertussis outbreaks,” when vaccinated individuals can colonize and spread pertussis WITHOUT EVER HAVING SYMPTOMS THEMSELVES? http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm

    The researchers merely found that a certain portion of individuals in measles and pertussis outbreaks had not been vaccinated. Omer’s conclusion that “A substantial proportion of the US measles cases in the era after elimination were intentionally unvaccinated” is not supported by the fact that only 405 of the 1416 cases had actually filed religious or philosophical exemptions.

    That’s only 28%. That means that 72% were either vaccinated, or thought they were, or meant to vaccinate, or had filed a medical exemption.

    There is also is no indication of how many of the parents of the children involved had actually exposed their children deliberately, after carefully weighing the risks of vaccination FOR THEIR CHILDREN versus the risks of the disease–again, FOR THEIR CHILDREN. Please remember that the CDC does not consider even seizure reactions to vaccines to be “serious enough” to warrant medical exemption, nor are siblings of children who DIED from vaccine reaction allowed medical exemption. This puts parents in a terrible position.

    As you know from your own personal experience, measles can be more severe for an adult, with a higher rate of complications. It’s highly likely that if you had been exposed to measles as a child, you would have recovered with no complications. After all, in 1922, the death rate from measles was only 4.3 in 100,000, according to the official mortality statistics:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=weVakfr9l0oC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=measles+death+rate+1913&source=bl&ots=rE1sW6nWtq&sig=mwQFNGYgOqaIlWKEW463BtGwsl4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiulfvQwpvKAhVFthQKHeLXC14Q6AEIMTAD#v=onepage&q=measles%20death%20rate%201913&f=false

    Scroll up to the bottom of page 28.

    This was before modern everything. Before much of the country had running water. Before we had IV hydration and antibiotics to treat the most common complications, diarrhea and pneumonia. Before it was discovered that those complications are largely preventable in children by addressing vitamin A deficiency. And nearly 100 years before the advanced medical care available to all in this country today.

    That strongly suggests that healthy, well-nourished unvaccinated children in a community with adequate sanitation and clean water actually have extremely good odds that they will recover from measles with no complications.

    You mention that children with cancer are especially vulnerable to disease, and this is certainly true. However, since the package insert for every vaccine given in this country states: “___ [This vaccine] has not been assessed for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or impairment of fertility,” how do we know that vaccines are not actually contributing to the rising rates of cancer, especially pediatric cancers?

    Finally, I take issue with your assertion: “Parents have a responsibility not only to their own children, but to their communities—it’s only by achieving a very high level of population immunity that outbreaks can be prevented.”

    The evidence has shown that even very high levels of vaccination rates do not achieve population immunity, and do not prevent outbreaks. This kind of “herd immunity” is true for disease that has been naturally acquired, but is not true for vaccine-acquired immunity, which wanes over varying amounts of time, fails altogether in a small minority, and is not passed from mother to newborn.

    This means that vaccination has shifted the risk to two populations that were never at risk before: older adults (whose vaccine-induced immunity has waned), and infants.

    The only concern surrounding vaccines that you mention is autism, and you mention only one retracted study supporting that claim; but autism is only one of many serious concerns surrounding vaccine safety. Autism is only the tip of the iceberg.

    There have been over 2,000 cases of vaccine-induced brain damage (and that is only a small percentage of those reported) that were conceded and compensated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as thousands of reports of vaccine-induced seizure disorders, paralytic disorders, autoimmune disorders, digestive disorders, strokes, sudden unexplained death, and other serious adverse reactions that are far more numerable than the allergic reactions that can also occur.

    We cannot ethically draw conclusions as to a parent’s responsibility to “the community” when we don’t know what particular predisposition to risk their child faces with vaccines.

    We know some of these predispositions, such as autoimmune disorders, neurological and developmental issues, food allergies, vitamin deficiencies, and genetic mutations such as MTHFR.

    How many remain unknown?

    It is utterly unethical for anyone–government, health officials, or even neighbors–to ask parents to put their own child at risk in order to POTENTIALLy protect another.

    You might as well insist that those parents risk setting their child on fire, in order to potentially keep another one warm.

  • Alison says:

    Dr. Collins, I’m disturbed by the conclusion that outbreaks of disease are fueled by vaccine refusal. This is not actually supported by the data listed, despite some confusing and misleading language. In addition, several important and relevant issues are ignored.

    There is no evidence given of DELIBERATELY-unvaccinated children taking a significant role in spreading either measles or pertussis, nor is there discussion of the large number of vaccinated children and adults who came down with and spread the diseases. We also do not know how many vaccinated individuals may have had mild cases of measles in the index week of an outbreak, but went undiagnosed.

    Where is the evidence that “the evidence shows that people who are intentionally unvaccinated have played an important role in many of the recent pertussis outbreaks,” when vaccinated individuals can colonize and spread pertussis WITHOUT EVER HAVING SYMPTOMS THEMSELVES? http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm

    The researchers merely found that a certain portion of individuals in measles and pertussis outbreaks had not been vaccinated. Omer’s conclusion that “A substantial proportion of the US measles cases in the era after elimination were intentionally unvaccinated” is not supported by the fact that only 405 of the 1416 cases had actually filed religious or philosophical exemptions.

    That’s only 28%. That means that 72% were either vaccinated, or thought they were, or meant to vaccinate, or had filed a medical exemption.

    There is also is no indication of how many of the parents of the children involved had actually exposed their children deliberately, after carefully weighing the risks of vaccination FOR THEIR CHILDREN versus the risks of the disease–again, FOR THEIR CHILDREN. Please remember that the CDC does not consider even seizure reactions to vaccines to be “serious enough” to warrant medical exemption, nor are siblings of children who DIED from vaccine reaction allowed medical exemption. This puts parents in a terrible position.

    As you know from your own personal experience, measles can be more severe for an adult, with a higher rate of complications. It’s highly likely that if you had been exposed to measles as a child, you would have recovered with no complications. After all, in 1922, the death rate from measles was only 4.3 in 100,000, according to the official mortality statistics:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=weVakfr9l0oC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=measles+death+rate+1913&source=bl&ots=rE1sW6nWtq&sig=mwQFNGYgOqaIlWKEW463BtGwsl4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiulfvQwpvKAhVFthQKHeLXC14Q6AEIMTAD#v=onepage&q=measles%20death%20rate%201913&f=false

    Scroll up to the bottom of page 28.

    This was before modern everything. Before much of the country had running water. Before we had IV hydration and antibiotics to treat the most common complications, diarrhea and pneumonia. Before it was discovered that those complications are largely preventable in children by addressing vitamin A deficiency. And nearly 100 years before the advanced medical care available to all in this country today.

    That strongly suggests that healthy, well-nourished unvaccinated children in a community with adequate sanitation and clean water actually have extremely good odds that they will recover from measles with no complications.

    You mention that children with cancer are especially vulnerable to disease, and this is certainly true. However, since the package insert for every vaccine given in this country states: “___ [This vaccine] has not been assessed for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or impairment of fertility,” how do we know that vaccines are not actually contributing to the rising rates of cancer, especially pediatric cancers?

    Finally, I take issue with your assertion: “Parents have a responsibility not only to their own children, but to their communities—it’s only by achieving a very high level of population immunity that outbreaks can be prevented.”

    The evidence has shown that even very high levels of vaccination rates do not achieve population immunity, and do not prevent outbreaks. This kind of “herd immunity” is true for disease that has been naturally acquired, but is not true for vaccine-acquired immunity, which wanes over varying amounts of time, fails altogether in a small minority, and is not passed from mother to newborn.

    This means that vaccination has shifted the risk to two populations that were never at risk before: older adults (whose vaccine-induced immunity has waned), and infants.

    The only concern surrounding vaccines that you mention is autism, and you mention only one retracted study supporting that claim; but autism is only one of many serious concerns surrounding vaccine safety. Autism is only the tip of the iceberg.

    There have been over 2,000 cases of vaccine-induced brain damage (and that is only a small percentage of those reported) that were conceded and compensated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as thousands of reports of vaccine-induced seizure disorders, paralytic disorders, autoimmune disorders, digestive disorders, strokes, sudden unexplained death, and other serious adverse reactions that are far more numerable than the allergic reactions that can also occur.

    We cannot ethically draw conclusions as to a parent’s responsibility to “the community” when we don’t know what particular predisposition to risk their child faces with vaccines.

    We know some of these predispositions, such as autoimmune disorders, neurological and developmental issues, food allergies, vitamin deficiencies, and genetic mutations such as MTHFR.

    How many remain unknown?

    It is utterly unethical for anyone–government, health officials, or even neighbors–to ask parents to put their own child at risk in order to POTENTIALLy protect another.

    You might as well insist that those parents risk setting their child on fire, in order to potentially keep another one warm.

  • Alison says:

    Dr. Collins, I truly appreciate your writing this blog, and your allowing us to post comments. I have 4 questions I am hoping you can answer:

    1) If vaccine safety studies do not conform to the standards and protocols required by every other scientific study, why do we still refer to them as “science,” or even “the science,” and speak of them as though they were conclusive?

    2) What is the upper limit to the number of individuals who can be acceptably harmed by adverse reaction to vaccines?

    3) What is the upper limit to the number of vaccines that can safely be given to a single individual? How will we know when it’s too many, if some effects are synergistic, while others might not be apparent for several days, months, or years?

    4) How can we effectively assess long-term adverse effects of vaccines, such as those that affect neurological development, or those that might contribute to risk of cancer, if vaccines are given not only to newborns within a few hours of birth, but also to women in all stages of pregnancy? Doesn’t that make it impossible to ever have a control group in any future studies?

  • Dawn Loughborough says:

    Dr Collins,

    I do not believe that you have actually read the “debunked” Lancet study for if you had you would know that it makes no such claim about MMR causing autism. Furthermore, you would know that it says the parents indicated a concern that MMR caused their child with autism to have GI disorders. I am very concerned that you have not actually read the paper. The paper simply requests further study into a potential link.

    Personally, I am a mother and a professional who has raised three great children, two who experienced adverse events pursuant to their vaccinations. One child of mine reacted to the MMR at 13 months. The other child to his kindergarten DTAP shot at 4.5 years. The child with the MMR reaction then got asthma and now lives with an autoimmune disease that kept her out of school for 4 years. While in school she was the top student in her school. My son who reacted to DTAP had brain encephalopathy, seizures, and was left side impaired. He had golf ball sized lymph nodes in his groin and screamed a high pitch inconsolable cry while I rushed him to the ER three hours after his vaccine. He lost speech, eye contact, and coordination as well as developing GI problems. It took 8 years to recover him. I home schooled him and he went through Olympic training like therapies such that a stroke victim does to recover. He was given an autism spectrum diagnosis. Multiple doctors like yourself, specialists in their field, examined him and suggested that I may need to institutionalize him and to “go home and pray”. I did go home and pray but it was a prayer for him to come back. And he did. He is now better and is a straight A student at a Jesuit Catholic Boys High School. He is working on getting his Eagle Scout in the Boyscouts. He still has a stutter but he is being unstoppable. He is in the games club. He is in Cyber Security club and he is loving, compassionate, empathetic and has friends. He does not self identify as having autism. He is frustrated that it was not called vaccine injury and that it has derailed his life. He asks me to advocate so that this stops happening to innocent children. You can meet us if you would like. I have met with Congressmen and Senators on behalf of our community.

    My children and I have lost trust in the system. It is quite the flip side of the story that “vaccines save lives” because to us we were nearly destroyed by vaccines. I can hardly get them to take an medicine for a headache because they believe that it could hurt them. They believe the system lies to make money and that you don’t care about them, what happened, and you certainly do not care about preventing this in the future. They think poorly of you and the NIH as a result. Our family has read all the research and knows the NIH has already shown many possible links to vaccines and the underlying medical pinnings that are called autism.

    The vaccine program that I was told to trust is protected more fiercely than the children it was designed to protect. Vaccine injury is real and I was the one left holding the baby.

    I am disappointed by the federal response and the arrogance towards the families who have had this experience. And the science exists showing a connection.

    I have attended the NVAC meetings where the agency scientists talk openly about the Pertussis vaccine waning. They know it doesn’t last and yet you blame the increase on unvaccinated people.

    Instead of blaming, you could look into this and start putting our nation on track to make vaccines safer and more effective.

    I have given public comment at IACC, NVAC, DHHS, presidential commissions, the IOM and have testified to COGR. I will not stop because we are not going away and our numbers of affected children keeps growing. The prevalence numbers for autism show a real increase and yet you deny a causal component. All good science starts with observational research.

    Listen to the parents. The current policies for how we manage infectious disease are harming children. This has to stop.

  • MERYL J NASS says:

    Growing numbers of yearly pertussis cases have been recorded over the past few years in the US: more than at any time since 1959.

    Yet additional doses of the vaccine (for diptheria, tetanus and pertussis, or DTaP) have come to be recommended by CDC:

    1. Many states have recently added a booster dose in 7th grade
    2. 3 years ago CDC recommended that women should be given a booster dose of vaccine in the middle of every pregnancy, even though the vaccine was not then approved for pregnancy use.

    * Notes the Boostrix DTaP package insert:

    “Animal fertility studies have not been conducted with BOOSTRIX. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, BOOSTRIX should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.”
    Essentially, very young babies are at serious risk from pertussis. For most of the rest of us, the disease causes an annoying cough for about two months. So it might be reasonable, in principle, to vaccinate pregnant women to protect their neonates from the disease. But is it reasonable to do so in the absence of animal fertility studies?

    It became clear to anyone who looked that the pertussis vaccine wasn’t working very well.
    Now, in the March 2016 issue of Pediatrics, a study from the huge Kaiser Permanente database confirms what we were seeing:

    Waning Tdap Effectiveness in Adolescents

    Nicola Klein, et al.

    RESULTS: On the basis of 1207 pertussis cases, Tdap VE during the first year after vaccination was 68.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 59.7% to 75.9%), decreasing to 8.9% (95% CI –30.6% to 36.4%) by ≥4 years after vaccination. Adolescents who were more remote from Tdap were significantly more likely to test positive for pertussis than were those vaccinated more recently (HR per year 1.35, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.50).CONCLUSIONS: Routine Tdap did not prevent pertussis outbreaks. Among adolescents who have only received DTaP vaccines in childhood, Tdap provided moderate protection against pertussis during the first year and then waned rapidly so that little protection remained 2-3 years after vaccination.

  • MERYL J NASS says:

    A few facts about measles need to be told. Measles is not expanding in the US nor internationally, and CDC says the rate of vaccination for measles has been stable since 1994. (However, in some states, like Oregon, the number of vaccine waivers has tripled to 6% in about 10 years. In response, last March Oregon tightened its rules for vaccine exemptions, requiring parents to be educated about vaccines before refusing.) The following comes exclusively from the CDC and WHO.

    1. No one has died in the US from an acute case of measles since 2003. Because Snopes claimed this was a lie, I checked with the measles experts at CDC, who wrote me the following email:

    “…The last documented deaths in the US directly attributable to acute measles occurred in 2003. Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, we estimate that 3-4 million people got measles each year in the US, and 400-500 of those died (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html).
    Kind Regards,
    Division of Viral Diseases
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”

    2. Worldwide, according to the WHO, measles deaths were reduced by 74% between 2001 and 2010.

    The majority of measles deaths occurred in India and Africa where not enough children are being vaccinated. India accounted for 47% of all measles deaths, followed by the entire African region at 36%…

    “This is still a huge success,” study author Peter Strebel, a measles expert at WHO, told the AP. Strebel said the 85% vaccination coverage rate is the highest ever recorded.

    3. Almost all recent Disneyland-related US cases (110 through February 8) have occurred in California residents, with only 17 cases from other states, Canada and Mexico.

    4. Over half the cases have occurred in adults. The median age of recent measles cases is 22.

    5. Only 28 (25%) of the recent Disneyland-associated cases were vaccine refusers. From CDC:

    “As of February 11, a total of 125 measles cases with rash occurring during December 28, 2014–February 8, 2015, had been confirmed in U.S. residents connected with this outbreak. Of these, 110 patients were California residents. Thirty-nine (35%) of the California patients visited one or both of the two Disney theme parks during December 17–20, where they are thought to have been exposed to measles, 37 have an unknown exposure source (34%), and 34 (31%) are secondary cases. Among the 34 secondary cases, 26 were household or close contacts, and eight were exposed in a community setting. Five (5%) of the California patients reported being in one or both of the two Disney theme parks during their exposure period outside of December 17–20, but their source of infection is unknown. In addition, 15 cases linked to the two Disney theme parks have been reported in seven other states: Arizona (seven), Colorado (one), Nebraska (one), Oregon (one), Utah (three), and Washington (two), as well as linked cases reported in two neighboring countries, Mexico (one) and Canada (10).
    Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses, 47 (43%) had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one (1%) had immunoglobulin G seropositivity documented, which indicates prior vaccination or measles infection at an undetermined time. Twelve of the unvaccinated patients were infants too young to be vaccinated. Among the 37 remaining vaccine-eligible patients, 28 (67%) were intentionally unvaccinated because of personal beliefs, and one was on an alternative plan for vaccination. Among the 28 intentionally unvaccinated patients, 18 were children and ten were adults…

  • John Stone says:

    Dear Dr Collins,

    This is a shamefully opportunistic article for a scientist. The paper is itself a piece of rigged evidence, and woefully unconvincing, particularly in the case of the pertussis vaccine. It would show integrity if governments listened to the families of the vaccine injured rather than shunned them and ran campaigns against them through the media. All government agencies seem to deal in now is high prejudice.

    A decade ago – as head of the Human Genome project – you warned Congress that autism was among the chronic diseases the rise of which could not be explained by genes: I don’t think we know that it is not caused at least in part by vaccines. According to a CDC paper last year (Braun), autism rose by nearly four times among 8 year-olds in Atlanta between 1996 and 2010, and at that time was running at at a rate of 1 in 64.5. In the mean time all the NIH and IACC have done is twiddle their thumbs pursuing conspicuously pointless projects. Never in history has a public emergency been dealt with with such insouciant contempt. Nor have you addressed the Thompson issue, which ought to be worrying you great deal more than Dr Wakefield.

  • John Stone says:

    It is also the case that vaccines can and do cause autism and the US government knows it. This was admitted by Merck’s chief strategist Julie Geberding when she was head of the CDC (ncidentally she went from the CDC to Merck in less than a year). She told Sanjay Gupta of CNN:

    “Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/29/hcsg.01.html

    Government officials also told journalists Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby on seperate occasions:

    “The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20101106061707/http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20016356-10391695.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

    It is evident enough beneath the bureaucratic language what all this means.

    Well, we have a lot of autism now, an expanding vaccine schedule, a greedy industry, and ever more parents who are simply being ignored or vilified in the name of the program.

  • Tim Lundeen says:

    Dear Dr Collins,

    I hope your will update your blog post to incorporate the excellent information from the comments.

    You should also include information about risks from the aluminum adjuvant used in the DTaP vaccine: it is known to induce near-term brain damage through immune activation and through chronic inflammation, as the immune system carries nano-particle adjuvant throughout the body including the brain …

    Further, the long-term risk from aluminum adjuvant is not well characterized, it could be a risk factor for cancer, autoimmune illness and to Alzheimer’s/dementia.

  • Sofie C. says:

    Pertussis and measles are nothing compared to vaccine-induced autism – a life long crippling, dehumanizing disease. Furthermore, currently pertussis and measles occur mostly in vaccinated children, hence if we must blame some group – it should be the vaccinated, who are spreading infectious diseases. My own child became sick with pertussis immediately after vaccination and our whole family became infected from him. Mass vaccinations kill and maim millions of previously healthy children …

  • 1 2

Leave a Comment