The question of vaccine safety is one of the most hotly debated topics in the modern world. Opinions on the matter cross all socioeconomic, religious, and educational divides, and entrenched positions on the subject are as zealously defended as one might expect of a debate on faith or nation-building in the Middle East.
Particularly ardent opposition to mass vaccination policies in the U.S. comes from Christian fundamentalist groups, while – broadly speaking – the pro-vaccination camp is largely aligned with pro-science and politically liberal/progressive ideologies. It is important to note, however, that there are very large numbers of people who would object to such broad characterisations and fall outside of easy ideological labels.
Where, then, does the middle ground lie? More importantly, what is the unvarnished truth, established and reproducible in the lab?
In my search for answers, I recently interviewed the former Chair of Microbiology of the University of Calgary, Dr. Glen Armstrong PhD, now a professor and researcher in the fields of vaccine and therapeutic pharmaceutical development. He is also a firm proponent of vaccines and public health initiatives, so speaking with him was quite informative and a sharp insight into the attitudes and goals of the pharmaceutical research community.
Disappointingly, he was incorrect on a number of points regarding vaccines in use in North America (and he is a foremost expert), claiming for example that there are no adjuvants in vaccines in use in Canada. He was casually dismissive of any link between vaccines and autoimmune disorders and, on the whole, was of the opinion that the checks and balances in place for the pharmaceutical industry are more than adequate, a position with which it is impossible to agree if one reads the news on a regular basis.
Our conversation was nothing but pleasant. However, Dr. Armstrong was surprisingly dismissive of the corrupting effect of financial incentives upon the morality of large corporations, as he was regarding the influence of their lobby groups among public monitoring organizations (conflicts of interest within the hierarchies of the CDC, FDA, WHO, NIH, and many other monitoring organizations are endemic), and the resultant ugly history of bad vaccines recalled after high adverse reaction rates and then simply sent overseas, or of “pandemics” reported in the mainstream media which simply do not exist, of vaccines that do indeed prevent the target pathogen from causing disease but have terrible risk-reward ratios, and of hasty pre-license trials that lead to tremendous revenues for products that later epidemiological information prove to have significant and sweeping side-effects.
Unfortunately, a pharmaceutical, once in the marketplace, is very much like a beaurocracy — much harder to remove than to prevent in the first place – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCA5haGU6sI)
There have been bad vaccines, and bad batches of vaccines recalled by manufacturers; but broadly speaking, are vaccines bad, good, or something more ambiguous?
Although I would not single out vaccines as a singular cause for any particular disorder, they are certainly unique in that they bypass mucosal barriers and engage the immune system in a manner distinct from other environmental toxins. Unlike wild pathogens and environmental toxins encountered by means of air, skin contact, or ingestion, vaccines (except for those in nasal or oral form) bypass mucosal barriers and – for the most part – elicit a nil or poor Immunoglobulin A (IgA) response, a response which under normal encounters with pathogens sets off a cascade of protein formation which either informs Immunoglobulin B cells to mature and produce antigen-specific antibodies – and T lymphocytes to mobilize – or informs the immune system that the pathogen is familiar and can be dealt with easily.
Because a vaccine interacts directly and most immediately with T-lymphocytes and Immunoglobulins other than IgA, there is no mucosal “buffer”, which slows and modulates the immune response, contributing to longer-lasting CD8+ and CD4+ antigen-specific memory (which partially explains why many vaccines require multiple boosters, while naturally acquired immunity generally lasts much longer).
The response of some people to injected antigens (by vaccine) is underwhelming in terms of antibody production, so vaccine developers often adjust the formulation through the use of adjuvants (immune system irritants such as aluminum salts) in order to create a dramatic “red flag” response in T lymphocytes, particularly CD4+ cells. T lymphocytes then release millions of T-cytokines (microbiologists refer to this as a cytokine storm) to inform the immune system that a large number of antigens are suddenly present and a profound response – particularly in the form of high numbers of antibodies – is required. Bear in mind that this is desirable from the perspective of an immunologist, as it suggests that the immune system will be prepared to deal with the wild antigen, should it be encountered after vaccination.
The problem with such a direct and large-scale activation of the immune system, however, is that it can and often does result in any of several things:
– Inflammation which may include the brain, which is why encephalitis/ encephalomyelitis/encephalopathy are commonly listed as a vaccine adverse reactions (See http://home.smh.com/sections/services-procedures/medlib/Pandemic/Pan_Geriatrics/PanGer_73_Huynh_050309.pdf;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2025848/?page=1, http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=578962;http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00247-009-1498-9;http://www.neurology.org/content/68/16_suppl_2/S23.abstract)
– Molecular mimicry and resultant autoimmunity, in which some of the antigens specific to the vaccine are similar to – or directly attach themselves to – healthy tissues within the vaccinee. Because so many antibodies are created without a wild pathogen to address, there is strong evidence linking vaccination to autoimmunity, in which antibodies attack one’s own tissues or organs (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10648110 and http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008382).
Although there are other mechanisms besides vaccination that can create trauma leading to antibodies which target one’s own tissues (autoimmunity; exceptional article here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/765271_1:), vaccines are more common triggers of dramatic immune response than anything else I can think of. It is, after all, what they are designed to do.
It becomes particularly disconcerting when one notes that maternal cytokines produced in response to antigens – whether from natural pathogens or vaccine antigens – readily bypass the placental barrier, and that high maternal cytokine counts have been implicated in a number of birth defects, including autism, cerebral palsy, neonatal heart disease, and many others — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3086802/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23428339. One can only conclude that deliberately inducing a cytokine storm in a pregnant mother is a rather poor idea unless the goal is a miscarriage or damaged child.
Just why are some people harmed more than others by vaccines and other environmental toxins? Please give careful attention to the following studies and references:
Institute of Medicine (as pro-vaccine as they come) report comparing various types of mercury exposure: http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/ImmunizationSafety/Lucier.ashx. Note the “conclusions” section, in which it is recommended that ethylmercury (the main ingredient in Thimerosal preservative, used in many vaccines, although less so than in the past) exposure be considered equivalent to methylmercury in neurotoxicity.
When rats were administered ethylmercury by injection, after 3 to 10 days brain concentrations of inorganic mercury were higher than in those injected with methylmercury, with diffuse concentrations in multiple organs, particularly damaging the kidneys. With a 20% increase in ethylmercury dose, ganglion damage and coordination disorders exceeded those of the methylmercury-treated rats (this accords with the IOM conclusion noted above) – Seehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4091651. Also seehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264864/, which suggests the exitotoxicity pathway by which injected ethylmercury may cause such brain damage. More research is needed to establish the chemistry and altered protein synthesis involved, but much is already known. – http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/1/79.full
The results are similar with infant monkeys –http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16079072, with dramatic results for motor coordination and root, snout, and suck reflexes –http://fedgeno.com/documents/delayed-neonatal-reflexes-in-primates-receiving-thimerosal.pdf
Then there’s this to make sense of the above: How Mercury Triggered The Age Of Autism
The aforementioned studies and video are more than sufficient to convince an open-minded researcher of the neurotoxic potential of thimerosal, particularly when administered in multiple doses. Again, I will never assert that thimerosal is the singular cause of autism, but I do assert that lab research confirms its neurotoxicity and supports the FDA position that thimerosal should be removed from a number of products, including pediatric vaccines. For a fact, it should be removed from all vaccines, as this is “public health protective”, as the IOM report puts it.
Some fetuses, infants, children, and even adults are more prone to an inflammatory response or to the types of epigenetic miscue that lead to dysfunction for a number of reasons, not limited to:
– Timing in relation to fetal/neural/organ development;
– Genetic predispositions including mitochondrial dysfunction and/or poor methylation of key genes (see http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-role-of-methylation-in-gene-expression-1070)
– Inability to effectively detoxify metals through feces, urine and skin.
Dysfunctional mitochondria can cause symptoms leading to a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, as they produce more damaging free radicals than normal mitochondria. Mitochondria made toxic by ethylmercury would do the same thing, as the tightest binding site for mercury in the body is in the iron sulfur centers of the electron transport chain. It is that chain which carries the electron used normally to produce the mitochondrial pH gradient that makes energy in the form of ATP. Ethylmercury blockage of this transport chain leads to the production of hydroxyl free radicals by release of the electron to react with water. This causes oxidative stress and reduced glutathione levels, both of which are observed in autism and many other neurological illnesses.
Unfortunately, elimination of toxins and other epigenetic triggers before damage takes place is impossible for some of the compounds in vaccines. An observer may not see or otherwise detect the damage; perhaps it is too diffuse to critically affect one organ or system, or the individual in question has more of a vital amino acid, protein, or enzyme necessary to bond with and neutralize a particular contaminant. But that does not mean that damage – in the form of persistant inflammation and/or autoimmunity that will vary for every person – has not occured.
One major problem with epidemiological studies of toxicological exposures is that they simply do not examine tissues in the lab, and no one – doctor, scientist, or parent – can predict which organ, system, or tissue will be most affected when an inflammatory or autoimmune response is induced, whether by vaccine or environmental toxin. Nevertheless, because of the prevalence of such toxins, we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic of neurological damage and other serious health problems that affect nearly everyone in highly vaccinated populations, and the diverse nature of many of the diseases and syndromes related to such toxic exposures has often prevented direct implication of vaccines as a causative factor.
As for the question of why autism rates continue to climb as thimerosal exposure declines, I have a number of thoughts:
First, I question the claim that autism rates have continued to climb after removal of thimerosal from specific locales. The very few studies making such a claim have been so poorly designed as to be shameful. In fact, I would characterize them as face-saving attempts to hide the truth that autism rates have in fact declined in areas where thimerosal use has been discontinued.
Let me put it this way: While I do not rely upon Age of Autism for data, I find this article (http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/03/the-fallacy-of-thimerosal-removal-autism-increase-a-failure-of-science-a-bigger-failure-to-children-.html) and this video (Is There a Connection with Vaccines and Autism?) compelling on the subject of autism rates after removal of thimerosal.
Additionally, because I believe there are multiple neurodegenerative pathways leading to neuronal hypomethylation and epigenetic damage which may cause a child to be diagnosed with an ASD-spectrum disorder or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, I do not expect autism to go away entirely when thimerosal is removed.
Importantly, thimerosal is still available in some pediatric and prenatal flu vaccines, and in any number of vaccines used outside of North America, and very few pediatricians will advise for a mercury-free variant when advocating for vaccination of a pregnant mother or neonate. It is also significant that many vaccines claiming to be thimerosal-free are still produced using thimerosal, after which every effort is made to remove it, leaving trace amounts (.3 micrograms) that are nonetheless significant if multiple vaccines are administered in a single day, especially if combined with a multi-dose flu vaccine (25 mcg). In my opinion, if you make the decision to vaccinate, you should be sure that the vaccine you choose for yourself or child is made in a facility that is thimerosal-free throughout the production process (this requires a clean-room approach to manufacture to avoid contamination, which has been prohibitive for most manufacturers. This does not mean that I advocate for thimerosal-free vaccines, however. I remain concerned about autoimmune disorders and other issues related to epigenetic damage, which can be triggered by vaccines which contain no mercury.
While I have given very little attention to aluminum in vaccines, others have done an outstanding job of elucidating the dangers of this metal in vaccines. Please see http://vaccinepapers.org/
As one father summarized in a letter to his child’s paediatrician:
“According to the FDA: ‘Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration (this means injected into the body] if kidney function is impaired . . . Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates (babies), who received parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day, accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity [for a tiny newborn, this toxic dose would be 10 to 20 micrograms, and for an adult it would be about 350 micrograms). Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration.’ (Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Document NDA 19-626/S-019, Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for Dextrose Injections.)
“‘Aluminum content in parenteral drug products could result in a toxic accumulation of aluminum in individuals receiving TPN therapy. Research indicates that neonates [newborns] and patient populations with impaired kidney function may be at high risk of exposure to unsafe amounts of aluminum. Studies show that aluminum may accumulate in the bone, urine, and plasma of infants receiving TPN. Many drug products used in parenteral therapy (injections) may contain levels of aluminum sufficiently high to cause clinical manifestations (symptoms) . . . parenteral aluminum bypasses the protective mechanism of the GI tract and aluminum circulates and is deposited in human tissues. Aluminum toxicity is difficult to identify in infants because few reliable techniques are available to evaluate bone metabolism in . . . infants . . . Although aluminum toxicity is not commonly detected clinically, it can be serious in selected patient populations, such as neonates (newborns), and may be more common than is recognized.’ (Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Document 02N-0496, Aluminum in Large and Small Volume Parenterals Used in Total Parenteral Nutrition. Available online at: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/oc0367.pdf)
“Doctor XXXX, the FDA maximum requirements for aluminum received in an IV is 25 mcg per day. The suggested aluminum per kg of weight to give to a person is up to 5mcg. (so a 5 pounds baby should get no more than 11mcg of aluminum.) Anything that has more than 25 mcg of aluminum is a very valid concern for us when it comes to (our daughter).
“Research indicates that ‘patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 (micro)g/kg/day accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity. Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration.’ (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=201.323)
“But did you know most vaccines, for some reason, are not required to have a label containing this information and that practitioners also are not required to follow the maximum dosage of 25 mcg? This is something that actually was very troubling to us.
“So doing some math — the following are examples of weight with their corresponding maximum levels of aluminum, per the FDA:
“8 pound, healthy baby: 18.16 mcg of aluminum
15 pound, healthy baby: 34.05 mcg of aluminum
30 pound, healthy toddler: 68.1 mcg of aluminum
50 pound, healthy child: 113 mcg of aluminum
150 pound adult: 340.5 mcg of aluminum
350 pound adult: 794.5 mcg of aluminum
So how much aluminum is in the vaccines that are routinely given to children?
“Hib (PedVaxHib brand only) – 225 mcg per shot
Hepatitis B – 250 mcg
DTaP – depending on the manufacturer, ranges from 170 to 625 mcg
Pneumococcus – 125 mcg
Hepatitis A – 250 mcg
HPV – 225 mcg
Pentacel (DTaP, HIB and Polio combo vaccine) – 330 mcg
Pediarix (DTaP, Hep B and Polio combo vaccine) – 850 mcg
The HEP-B shot alone is almost 14 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF ALUMINUM THAT IS FDA-APPROVED. The MMR? The dTap? All have similar amounts.” – http://vactruth.com/2014/09/07/informed-parents-vaccine-exemption/
Are you starting to get the idea that the causes of vaccine-induced neurological damage are multi-fold and synergistic? I very much hope so.
Every human being is conceived with a certain genetic blueprint, and the way that blueprint is expressed is akin to the way a home design can be rendered in a variety of ways from the same basic set of plans, i.e. different colour schemes and finishes, bonus rooms and additions, etc. Also, building on a crumbling California cliff-top or above a landfill or termite colony can create profound differences in how houses built from identical plans fare over time.
The hottest thing in microbiology right now is epigenetics, and for good reason (many, many protein synthesis pathways are yet to be established in the lab, but the U.C. Davis Mind Institute and many other research facilities are heading down this road — see here : http://autismepigenetics.org/ ). Epigenetics is the study, not of genetic inheritance specifically (though the blueprints play a large role), but of the way genes are switched on or off, sometimes at critical moments in fetal/child development. Autism, for example, is increasingly seen as the product of improper genetic expression triggered within a brain that could otherwise have been healthy (and may show no underlying genetic defect); however, due to exposure to a substance (gene fragment, antigen, protein, amino acid, chemical, metal, or absolutely anything else) capable of altering genetic expression, certain neuronal scaffolding proteins controlled by methyl CpG binding protein are prevented from being produced in quantities necessary for normal brain function.
Again, I will never say that autism is caused by only one thing. What I do assert is that in children with certain genetic predispositions, the chemicals, antigens, gene fragments, and/or metals present in vaccines – or other environmental sources of exposure – are not effectively eliminated. For a fact, humans did not evolve eliminative pathways for many of the chemicals we have developed since the beginning of the industrial revolution, (we begin with a blueprint that doesn’t work well above a landfill). This means that for a subset of children, especially boys, who do not have the redundancy of double X chromosomes, there is increased risk of incorrect gene expression if exposed to toxins or epigenetic triggers that are not effectively eliminated from the body before altered gene expression takes place.
My greatest objection to vaccination as currently practiced, as brilliant as it seems in principle, is that vaccines were designed from the beginning to alter genetic expression, (whether Edward Jenner knew what a gene was or not). It is their entire purpose.
As for the contention that the benefits of vaccines still outweigh the risks, I believe that is the story we have been sold for many decades, but I do not see support for that conclusion from public records. If all vaccination stopped today and the trillions that are currently spent addressing symptoms (instead of underlying health) each year were spent educating people about voluntarily limiting the number of children they have, maintaining good public sanitation, improving nutritional content and availability of food, providing clean water, and making effective nursing care and quarantine available for the sick, we would be living in a far better world. Instead, we protect and maintain public institutions that put business ahead of public well-being, and that is the state of affairs globally in every industry.
The truth is this: A few vaccines are effective at conveying limited immunity to a tiny percentage of pathogens. Most, however, are of quite limited effectiveness, and all of them have ludicrously overrated safety estimates.
It turns out that unvaccinated people are generally much safer and healthier, contrary to what we have all been told for many decades. It may be difficult to accept the results of the following study, but scientists associated with big pharmaceutical manufacturers are terrified of its replication, because it is simple truth: http://www.vaccineinjury.info/images/stories/ias1992study.pdf
But aren’t vaccines tested extensively before new being granted licenses?
Unfortunately, vaccine manufacturers have a long history of mocking both the scientific method and the process of pre-approval studies in many ways, not limited to use of already vaccinated “control groups” which are compared against newly vaccinated cohorts, very short-term evaluation periods of cohorts for adverse reactions, and “placebos” that contain vaccine active ingredients (such as adjuvants without the addition of an antigen), rather than saline solution, as is used in any other placebo-controlled study on earth. Then, new vaccines are essentially given rubber-stamp approval by the FDA, which is heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies. It is collusion on an epic scale, and not in the interest of public health.
If immunity to pathogens was the only “side effect” of vaccination, I would be fighting on the side of vaccination and calling anti-vax people imbeciles and child-killers. Sadly for science-lovers like me, autism spectrum disorders are not the only concern. Vaccination has been undeniably linked to inflammatory and autoimmune responses and diseases in far greater numbers and with much higher mortality rates than vaccine manufacturers are willing to admit, precisely because they are so effective in creating a dramatic alteration of normal immune response and epigenetic expression.
The elephant in the room is this: What would happen if we abandoned vaccination?
We can argue until the end of time about how many people would die of disease if there were no vaccines, but I dare say that most people of past centuries died from disease because they were filthy, poorly nourished, and rarely had access to skilled nursing while sick. Clean and abundant water and nutritious food, effective public sanitation, and access to good nursing care when sick are the primary factors in decreased mortality rates from disease and increased life expectancy, not antibiotics and vaccines.
In fact, the reason for declining life expectancy in Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and many other African countries today is primarily AIDS, which almost certainly entered the human population by means of the polio vaccine in the late ’50s. There is a great article on the subject here: http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/pubs/94tld.html
Sadly, our toxic environment and resultant epigenetic damage have made it impossible to know exactly what the world would look like without vaccines. In places where vaccine rates are plummeting, maybe we’ll start to get some idea. We certainly haven’t seen any raging epidemics coming from those regions, and even if we did, I’m willing to bet my house that mortality and disability rates would be very low, with high resistance to variants of the original pathogen among the population afterwards.
If there were no vaccines, a disease was allowed to run its course, and the weakest members of society were the ones to succumb and die, it would be tragic. But it always is. We all die, and it’s best to be realistic about that when attempting to “save lives”.
Long-term, I believe we would see weaker versions of common pathogens (instead of the stronger ones which currently survive pharmaceutical intervention), with better resistance among a healthier populace, which is what we were starting to see in the early decades of the 20th century anyway — see http://www.vaccinationinformationnetwork.com/do-vaccines-save-lives-what-infectious-disease-mortality-graphs-show/ .
For a fact, outcomes for anyone presenting disease symptoms today would most definitely be better than at the start of the previous century, no matter what fear-mongers say about the horrible pandemics that arise when people fail to vaccinate.
Whenever there is an outbreak of infectious disease, if we are to learn anything of value we need an open discussion of mortality rates and an honest look at socioeconomic, nutritional, environmental, and other factors that may have amplified the severity of symptoms and/or contributed to a fatality. We can also compare:
– Numbers of vaccinated sick to unvaccinated sick and the relative severity of their symptoms
– Differences between vaccine-induced immunity and immunity acquired through exposure to wild pathogens
– Mother-infant transmission of antibodies
– Unforeseen side-effects of successful vaccination campaigns — such as delayed exposure of a population to mumps and varicella-zoster (chicken pox), which can – and often does – result in sterility for adolescent boys (from mumps) and shingles (from varicella) for adults.
In summary, I can’t tell anyone else what to do, and I wouldn’t want to, but when advocates for vaccination claim that those who advise caution in regard to vaccination are lunatics because we care more about lab results and functionally impaired children than about marketing hyperbole…it’s more than just offensive; it starts to look like an effort to avoid confronting uncomfortable facts.
The science has spoken. We are positively not equipped to deal with the accumulation of toxins in the tiny amounts we receive every day from water, air, and food, and then add to the burden with further tiny amounts (as well as foreign proteins and DNA present in all vaccines, which are rarely even discussed as epigenetic triggers for disease states) via direct injection, without tissue concentrations that blow past EPA safe limits by several thousand percent and correspondingly disastrous health results.
There is now a pandemic of vaccine-related mortality, brain damage and autoimmune disease in the name of public health, which would be a very poor trade-off even if vaccines worked perfectly to prevent disease, which, as any vaccine developer must admit, they do not.