This post was originally published in February 2012. Last week, The House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform held what was the first Hearing on Autism in 10 years. Many important questions were asked about autism and about the role of vaccines in the Autism Epidemic. There is no mistake… it is an EPIDEMIC.
Will the U.S. Government finally take action? It is Time. When We KNOW Better, We Do Better.
This post contains the bulk of the speech I made on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 on the steps of the state capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. West Virginia is one of two states in the U.S. where parents are being denied their Constitutional right to religious freedom from vaccination.
When we know better, we do better.
– Maya Angelou
The above quote from Maya Angelou is often uttered by parents of vaccine-injured children as we attempt to console each other and assuage each other’s sense of guilt. The guilt comes from our understanding that as parents, we have an obligation to protect our children from harm. Many of us who have become associated with what is referred to as the “anti-vaccine” movement didn’t start out to be anti-vaccine. It was our belief in the safety of vaccines that caused us to follow the CDC’s Recommended Schedule in the first place. It was our belief in the safety and necessity of vaccines that resulted in our children being injured and in some cases killed by the very medications that were supposed to save them. The guilt we often feel is especially strong if we did not take the time or expend the effort to really learn about vaccines prior to our children receiving them. This is why the quote from Maya Angelou is so important to us. When we know better, we do better.
When it comes to making decisions for our children’s health, we are often dependent on the information and advice of our government. When it comes to the laws that determine whether or not our children are allowed to attend school, we are at the mercy of those in the government who make and enforce the laws. Because those in the government hold such a high degree of power, it is incumbent upon those lawmakers to understand the research, and to make decisions that are based on an accurate cost-benefit analysis of the safety and efficacy of the vaccinations they are mandating for our children.
When it comes to the question of vaccinations and school attendance, there are many issues that deserve discussion. For now, I will focus on the mandatory vaccination against a sexually-transmitted disease.
In 1991, the American Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended universal vaccination of all U.S. infants with 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine, beginning within 48 hours of birth. Hepatitis B is a sexually-transmitted disease and is spread the same way HIV and Hepatitis C are spread: through contact with body fluids such a semen, vaginal fluids, and blood. Those at high risk of infection include homosexual men, heterosexuals who have multiple sex partners, and healthcare workers who are exposed to body fluids. Infants whose mothers are actively infected with Hepatitis B are at increased risk of infection. (citation)
Pregnant women in the U.S. are screened for the disease.
Infants who are born to mothers who are not infected with hepatitis B are at very low risk for infection, by virtue of the fact that they are not engaging in high risk behaviors that are associated with the disease. (i.e., Infants are not having sex and they are not using injection drugs.)
The CDC states that the incidence of hepatitis B infection in U.S. children (age 0-19 years) has decreased by 89% as a result of mass vaccination of infants. This is misleading, in my opinion. When you say that the incidence of the illness has decreased by 89% it sounds like the vaccine has been extremely effective in improving the health of children who receive it. The opposite is actually the case.
Here are some studies that have investigated the health effects of hepatitis B vaccine in U.S. children:
- Controlling for age, race and gender simultaneously in the 1994 NHIS, hepatitis B vaccine was found to be associated with prevalent arthritis [odds ratio (OR) = 5.91], incident acute ear infections (OR = 1.60), and incident pharyngitis/nasopharyngitis (OR = 1.41). (citation)
- Hepatitis B vaccinated children had an unadjusted odds ratio of 2.94 and age-adjusted odds ratio of 2.35 for liver problems compared with non-hepatitis B vaccinated children in the 1993 National Health Interview Survey. Hepatitis B vaccinated children had an unadjusted odds ratio of 2.57 and age-adjusted odds ratio of 1.53 for liver problems compared with non-hepatitis B vaccinated children in the 1994 National Health Interview Survey Dataset. (citation)
- In people not previously exposed to hepatitis B, vaccination has unclear effect on the risk of developing infection, as compared to no vaccination. The risk of lacking protective antibody levels as well as serious and non-serious adverse events appear comparable among recipients and non-recipients of hepatitis B vaccine. (citation) (no benefit from receiving the vaccine)
- Engerix B vaccine appears to increase [risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination], particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis, in the longer term. (citation)
- This study investigated the association between vaccination with the Hepatitis B triple series vaccine prior to 2000 and developmental disability in children aged 1-9 years (n=1824), proxied by parental report that their child receives early intervention or special education services (EIS)… The odds of receiving EIS were approximately nine times as great for vaccinated boys as for unvaccinated boys…This study found statistically significant evidence to suggest that boys in the United States who were vaccinated with the triple series Hepatitis B vaccine, during the time period in which vaccines were manufactured with thimerosal, were more susceptible to developmental disability than were unvaccinated boys. (citation)
- Boys vaccinated as neonates had threefold greater odds for autism diagnosis compared to boys never vaccinated or vaccinated after the first month of life. Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine prior to 1999 (from vaccination record) had a threefold higher risk for parental report of autism diagnosis compared to boys not vaccinated as neonates during that same time period. (citation)
The last two articles listed above involved data analysis for children who received the hepatitis B vaccine prior to the elimination of thimerosal, or mercury from the vaccine. This may lead you to believe once that was accomplished the problem was solved. The current hepatitis B vaccines contain high amounts of aluminum. The following articles have to do with the problems associated with aluminum in infant vaccines:
- In the present review we describe how the use of a systems biology approach in cultured hepatoblastoma cells (HepG2) allowed the identification of the molecular targets of Al toxicity. Mitochondrial metabolism is the main site of the toxicological action of Al. Fe-dependent and redox sensitive enzymes in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) are dramatically decreased by Al exposure. In an effort to compensate for diminished mitochondrial function, Al-treated cells stabilize hypoxia inducible factor -1a (HIF-1a) to increase ATP production by glocolysis. Additionally, Al toxicity leads to an increase in intracellular lipid accumulation due to enhanced lipogenesis and a decrease in the B-oxidation of fatty acids. Central to these effects is the alteration of a-ketoglutarate (KG) homeostasis. In Al-exposed cells, KG is preferentially used to quench ROS leading to succinate accumulation and HIF-1a stabilization. Moreover, the channeling of KG to combat oxidative stress leads to a reduction of L-carnitine biosynthesis and a concomitant decrease in fatty acid oxidation. The fluidity and interaction of these metabolic modules and the implications of these findings in liver-related disorders are discussed herein. (citation) (Note: The importance of these findings is relevant especially for brain development and for chronic autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and autism. The disruption of mitochondrial metabolism is significant in the increased risk of vaccine-injury in persons who have underlying mitochondrial disorders – See the Hannah Poling case for more information.)
- When assessing adjuvant toxicity in children, several key points ought to be considered: (i) infants and children should not be viewed as “small adults” with regard to toxicological risk as their unique physiology makes them much more vulnerable to toxic insults; (ii) in adult humans Al vaccine adjuvants have been linked to a variety of serious autoimmune and inflammatory conditions (i.e., “ASIA”), yet children are regularly exposed to much higher amounts of Al from vaccines than adults; (iii) it is often assumed that peripheral immune responses do not affect brain function. However, it is now clearly established that there is a bidirectional neuro-immune cross-talk that plays crucial roles in immunoregulation as well as brain function. In turn, perturbations of the neuro-immune axis have been demonstrated in many autoimmune diseases encompassed in “ASIA” and are thought to be driven by a hyperactive immune response; and (iv) the same components of the neuro-immune axis that play key roles in brain development and immune function are heavily targeted by Al adjuvants. In summary, research evidence shows that increasing concerns about current vaccination practices may indeed be warranted. Because children may be most at risk of vaccine-induced complications, a rigorous evaluation of the vaccine-related adverse health impacts in the pediatric population is urgently needed. (citation)
With all of these concerns about the safety of aluminum in vaccines, and about the Hepatitis B vaccine in particular, you may be led to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
As noted above, the CDC states that the incidence of hepatitis B infection in U.S. children has decreased by 89% as a result of mass vaccination. What does this really mean?
In 1990, the incidence of hepatitis B infection in U.S. children between birth and 19 years of age was 3.03 per 100,000. In 2002, the number had declined to .34 per 100,000. (citation) This is how they came up with the 89% decrease. Another way of putting this is that if the 1990 number had been 1 infection out of 1 Million people, and mass vaccination had wiped out that 1 instance of infection over a period of 12 years, the CDC would be claiming the vaccine was responsible for a 100% decrease in hepatitis B infection.
Can we really credit the vaccine with the reduction in cases? Look at the following two graphs from the CDC. The first is the graph of Hepatitis B and the second is the graph of Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C has decreased at a comparable rate to Hepatitis B, but there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. This suggests that the decrease in incidence is not due to the vaccine, but due to other factors, such as increased awareness of the dangers of unprotected sex among those groups who are at highest risk of contracting both hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The CDC reported a total of 10,637 cases of acute hepatitis B disease in 1996, with 279 of those cases in children under 14 years of age. (citation) Using these numbers we can calculate the percentage of cases of hepatitis B disease that occur in U.S. children between birth and age 14 as 2.62%.
To get an idea of the true decrease as a result of vaccination, we need to look at the data beginning before the mass vaccination of infants. In 1990, the overall rate of hepatitis B infections reported in the U.S. was 21,102 (citation). Using the 2.62% rate, we can estimate the number of cases in children under 14 as 552.87 or 553 cases.
In 2002, the overall rate of hepatitis B infections reported in the U.S. was 8,064 (citation). Using the 2.62% rate, we can estimate the number of cases in children under 14 as 211.27 or 211 cases.
So, from 1990 through 2002, we can estimate that the number of cases of hepatitis B infection per year in U.S. children between birth and 14 years of age decreased by approximately 230 cases.
In general, children who are infected with hepatitis B tend to experience a milder course of disease than adults do. We know that among adults with hepatitis B infection, approximately 5% of them become chronic carriers of hepatitis B. The other 95% have no lasting problems. Among the 5% who become chronic carriers, 5% of them will die from liver cancer that develops decades later in life. (citation) So the overall rate of death from hepatitis B is approximately 1.25% of those who contract the disease. Using the numbers from 1990 (the year before the vaccine was recommended for universal use in infants) we can estimate the overall rate of death from hepatitis B as follows:
1990 infections = 21,102
chronic carriers: 21,102 x .05 = 1,055
deaths from liver disease later in life: 1,055 x .05 = 53
But what about Hepatitis B cases in children, since our infants are the ones who are accepting the major risk from vaccination against hepatitis B disease?
What is the risk to infants in the U.S., when it comes to dying from hepatitis B infection?
If we compare the numbers from 1991 to 2011 (a 20 year span) and we estimate that approximately 230 cases of hepatitis B per year have been prevented in children as a result of mass vaccination, we can estimate that the total number of cases of hepatitis B that have been prevented in children is 4,600 cases (230 x 20).
We know that children generally have a milder case of the disease than adults, but we don’t have a number for that, so we’ll go with the higher number of 5% becoming chronic carriers.
4600 x .05 = 230 (estimated number of chronic carriers)
230 x .05 = 11.5 (estimated number of deaths prevented)
So the estimated number of deaths from hepatitis B infection among U.S. children and infants across the first 20 years of mass vaccination of infants is 11.5
We can estimate that approximately 1 death every 2 years (11.5 deaths /20 years = .575 deaths per year) among U.S. children under 14 years of age may have been prevented by universal vaccination of infants against hepatitis B infection.
Is the vaccine worth it?
A quick search of the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) database gives us the answer to that question.
I searched for deaths from Hepatitis B vaccine in children under the age of 15 years.
Here is what I found:
1022 deaths, with 987 deaths in children under the age of 3 years.
825 deaths in children under six months of age.
[EDIT] – This article was originally written in February 2012. The VAERS search in February 2012 indicated there had been 629 deaths in children under six months of age (reported to VAERS). Today (June 2, 2014), the VAERS database contains 196 more reports for deaths of infants under the age of six months than the number reported for that same cohort just 27 months ago. That works out to an average of 7.26 deaths per month. If these numbers are correct, that means that in less than two months’ time, more infants have been killed by the vaccine than the number of lives (in children aged 0-14 years) potentially saved by the vaccine during the first 20 years of mass administration.
VAERS has been in existence since 1990.
The first four deaths from Hepatitis B vaccine were reported in 1991, when coverage for the vaccine was very low.
The CDC indicates that in 1992, only 16% of infants in the U.S. were vaccinated and during that year there were 14 deaths reported to VAERS.
In the first five years after the Hepatitis B vaccine was recommended for administration to all infants in the U.S., the vaccine killed AT LEAST 235 children. There is a problem with calculating the actual death toll from the Hepatitis B vaccine because physicians are not required to report even the most serious adverse events. Estimates are that less than 10% of reactions are reported and the number may be as low as 1.5 to 2%
When physicians are not required to report adverse reactions, how can we have the information we need in order to make accurate decisions about the risks vs. benefits of vaccines?
The makers of the hepatitis B vaccine admit they have no idea if the vaccine will impair fertility in those who receive it. They also admit they have no idea how long any immunity from vaccination will last. (Engerix) (Recombivax)
The makers of the hepatitis B vaccine report that it has been tested along with DTP, Oral Polio, MMR-II, Haemophilus B vaccine, Inactivated Polio Vaccine, DTaP or Varicella vaccine. Note the use of the word “OR” – not “AND.” (Engerix) (Recombivax)
Yet, when infants are injected according to the CDC’s Schedule, they frequently receive ALL of the following vaccines:
Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, Pneumococcal vaccine, IPV, and Influenza
This is clearly experimental and has not been studied for either safety or efficacy.
According to the Nuremberg Code, which was established in response to the horrific war crimes committed against prisoners during World War II, there are a number of rules that must be obeyed with regard to the performance of medical experiments on human beings.
The rules set forth in The Nuremberg Code dictate, among other things, that
“The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.” (citation)
Clearly, when the number of deaths from the hepatitis B vaccine (1022) is at least 88 TIMES the number of deaths that could be expected in children under 15 as a result of hepatitis B infection (11.5), we can say with certainty that this is in violation of the Nuremberg Code.
Is this a case where we can say with confidence “When we KNOW better, we DO better?”
For many parents I know, the above quote from Maya Angelou is the case, particularly for those of us who have experienced the trauma of losing a child as a result of vaccine-injury. When our children are harmed by vaccines, many of us turn our efforts toward trying to figure out why. We research and we do everything we can to learn from our mistakes, in hopes of preventing further harm to our children.
The problem is, the same cannot be said for the United States Government, and for the the officials within the government who are charged with making decisions about requirements for vaccination of U.S. children.
Documents from the Institute of Medicine, published in 1994, indicate that there have been serious concerns about the research regarding vaccine safety for nearly two decades. The following is from the conclusions of the IOM report:
“The lack of adequate data regarding many of the adverse events under study was of major concern to the committee… the committee encountered many gaps and limitations in knowledge bearing directly or indirectly on the safety of vaccines. These include inadequate understanding of the biologic mechanisms underlying adverse events following natural infection or immunization, insufficient or inconsistent information from case reports and case series, inadequate size or length of follow-up of many population-based epidemiologic studies…”
(citation: Stratton, K.R., Howe, C.J., & Johnston, R.B., Eds. (1994). Adverse events associated with childhood vaccines: Evidence bearing on causality. Vaccine Safety Committee, Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.)
Documentation of debate that took place at the 2000 Simpsonwood Conference, between officials from the CDC, FDA, and vaccine-industry experts reveals there were serious concerns more than a decade ago about the effects of mercury and aluminum, and about the number of vaccine antigens injected into infants when they are vaccinated according to the CDC’s Schedule. Rather than coming forward with this information and informing parents and the public, the information was kept secret and was only made known after the documents were obtained through the Release of Information Act. (citation)
Despite these very significant concerns, including those related to neurological damage, learning disabilities, autism and even death, the officials in the U.S. government refused to act and refused to inform the public of the dangers, opting instead to not only keep the schedule as it was, but to continue to ADD new vaccines.
This is CLEARLY a case where we can say it is NOT TRUE that “When THEY know better, they do better.”
But perhaps we should not expect “THEM” to do better. After-all, we are not talking about parents, we are talking about government entities. The difference between the huge machines that characterize the U.S. government and those of us who are parents is that machines do not have children. Machines are not parents. Machines do not share the same rights and responsibilities to infants and children as the rights and responsibilities of parents.
Parents are the ones who must make medical decisions for their own, individual children. This is true, when we are talking about things like riding a four-wheeler or skateboard, and it is true when we are talking about giving consent for complex medical procedures, including and especially those that are performed on our children.
It would be ideal if we could count on the government to care about the well-being of our children.
It would be ideal if we could count on the government to learn from the deaths of 1022 children, and to change the vaccination policy to prevent future, needless deaths.
History has shown us that if we expect these things from the government, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, and we are putting our children in harm’s way.
Ultimately, our children are our responsibility. It is our responsibility to care for them and to protect them. That responsibility extends beyond our own homes and our own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, when it comes to vaccines, our responsibility to protect our children includes protecting them from the machines that do not have the capacity to Do BETTER, even when they KNOW BETTER.
For more information about the Hepatitis B vaccine, please read:
To read the real-life story of one child’s vaccine-injury and autism from the hepatitis B vaccine given in infancy, please read: