Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ingredients of Vaccines

Question:  What about all those other ingredients that I hear about that they put in vaccines?

The concerns about specific vaccine ingredients are common because some vaccine opponents are trying to scare people. Anything in excess is toxic, extremely tiny amounts of relatively toxic things are not harmful.

Mercury - see above (thimerosol)

Aluminum - Alum is not the same as aluminum, it is a salt that is added as an adjuvant. Vaccines contain antigens (either whole viruses or bacteria or parts of them) that we create a memory response against, as well as adjuvants, which are like a 'danger signal' for our immune system that pushes the immune response in specific directions.

Formaldehyde is used to kill viruses to prepare vaccines.  It is mostly removed, but trace amounts remain in some vaccines. These tiny amounts are not harmful, even to newborn infants. In fact, we all have formaldehyde in our bodies because we need it to make DNA and amino acids.

Antibiotics are also added to some vaccines in tiny amounts to prevent bacteria from contaminating the vaccines after they are made.

Human serum albumin is added as a stabilizer.  It is derived from human blood. The only reason I can think of to oppose it is the chance that it might be contaminated with a blood-borne pathogen, or if you are religiously opposed to blood transfusions.  All blood is screened carefully before it is used to reduce the risk of blood-borne infections.

Gelatin is also a stabilizer.  Some people might be allergic to gelatin or to egg proteins (some vaccines come from viruses grown in eggs).  People with these allergies shouldn't get vaccines made from eggs or that have gelatin added.

Some vaccines are made using yeast cells.  Small amounts of yeast proteins may end up in vaccines.  We are loaded with yeast in and on our bodies.  I'm not sure what the problem could be here.

Question:  What if I just don’t feel right about vaccinating my children?

Answer:  We are of course free to make choices that are contrary to the weight of accumulated evidence and rational thinking. Such decisions may however harm others, not just our own families. Look into how babies are dying in California because unvaccinated people spread pertussis to them (whooping cough).  These very small infants can't get this vaccine and they depend on those around them to be immunized to protect them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can Vaccines Overwhelm The Immune System?

Question:  I still feel that I am overwhelming my child’s immune system by exposing it to too many antigens.

Answer:  Some people believe that this could lead to various problems related to interactions between the vaccines, or maybe putting the immune system in a state of shock. Therefore, they follow a delayed or selective vaccination schedule. The reality is that our bodies are continuously exposed to microbes. If you count all the human cells in your body, and then all the bacterial cells, the bacteria outnumber us 10 to 1.  Every time you brush your teeth, you are introducing hundreds of thousands of
antigens into your bloodstream.  Even an infant is able to respond to the equivalent of about 10,000 vaccines at once
.  Neonates develop the capacity to respond to foreign antigens before they are born. B and T cells are present by 14 weeks’ gestation and express an enormous array of antigen-specific receptors.

Question:  Why are there some PhDs out there that are against vaccinations?  Isn’t their argument legitimate?

Answer:  People should be very careful about making sure they get an accurate picture of what the data is regarding the benefits and risks of vaccines. Any yahoo can promote reading "both sides of the issue" as though scientists are evenly split about these issues. They are not.  After all, there are people with PhDs in mathematics and astronomy that are arguing that the earth is actually the center of the universe (  You can always find contrary opinions. Science is about developing new hypotheses, and those that are supported by the data will be accepted over time.

Question:  Do you vaccinate your children?  Why or why not? 

Answer:  Yes, I vaccinate my children and I get vaccinated myself.  I study bacterial diseases for a living.  I know what the risks are, and the benefits, to my family and society. Bad things do happen occasionally after vaccines, ranging from soreness to allergic reactions, encephalitis and death.  These things are extremely rare and it is nearly impossible to predict who will have these reactions.  It is very sad.  But the risks are far greater when we don't vaccinate. In my opinion, the anti-vaccine movement is one of the more damning evidences of the historical and scientific ignorance (and arguably ingratitude) of modern society. Jonas Salk was a national hero in 1955 when his vaccine against polio was proven effective against a disease that Americans feared more than anything else except an atomic bomb. Now vaccine researchers and producers are viewed with hostility and subjected to attacks on their credibility, and some even receive death threats.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vaccines Continued

The following will be a series of common questions asked in regard to vaccines with answers given by the above mentioned Doctors:

Question:  Aren’t the diseases that vaccines protect against rare in the United States?

Answer:  Yes, it is true that many of these diseases are rare in the U.S. but that is only because we are vaccinated.  Most of these diseases are deadly.

Question:  Isn’t it a better idea to wait until your child is older to vaccinate?

Answer:   It is true that often side affects decrease with the children's age but then they are unprotected for longer.  It is a risk.  I know someone who's child got whooping cough at a family party just 2 years ago.

Question:  I have heard that the chicken pox vaccine is dangerous?

Answers:  Since chicken pox isn't usually life threatening I didn't get my 1st child immunized until I met a mother whose child is blind from chicken pox.  I then researched the rates of permanent issues from chicken pox and the rates of issues from the vaccine and once again, the vaccine was the clear choice.  Now all of my children are vaccinated against chicken pox.

Question:  Don’t vaccines contain mercury?  And isn’t mercury poisonous?

Answer:  Another concern that got a lot of press is the common preservative thimerosol, a compound that is 49.6% ethylmercury by weight. It is added to vaccines to prevent bacterial contamination. A fringe medical journal printed a paper proposing (without a shred of evidence) that autism could be a form of mercury poisoning due to thimerosol. Of course ethylmercury is not the same as methylmercury, which is known to accumulate through the food chain and can cause toxicity including neurological effects in people who eat large amounts of fish, for instance. Although ethylmercury is eliminated from the body much faster than methylmercury and does not cause
toxicity, it was removed from all children’s vaccines by 2001 as a precautionary measure. Since then, the thimerosol-autism connection has been thoroughly debunked, but public fears are unfortunately very evidence-resistant.

Question:  I’m worried that by vaccinating my child, I will overwhelm their immune system.

Answer:  Some feel that vaccines “overload” the immune system and lead to chronic diseases. Others have the perception that since many of the vaccine-preventable diseases have largely been controlled (thanks to vaccination!), there is a very low risk of their child actually becoming infected. Since adverse reactions are temporally associated with vaccination in an extremely small percentage of those that are vaccinated, then it doesn’t make sense to them to vaccinate their children. However, no study (that I’m aware of) has ever shown a causal relationship of serious adverse event in healthy children with vaccinations currently in use. Vaccination programs have been successful precisely because of the sort of “social contract” involved – individuals are willing to incur the extremely small risk of an adverse event in order to keep infectious diseases out of their communities. As more and more people choose to take a free ride on the immunity of others, the incidence of these diseases will inevitably rise.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vaccines...What's All The Fuss About!!!???

Being in the medical profession, I see and hear about way too many heart breaking cases of diseases that were vaccine preventable.  About a year ago, I conducted an extensive interview with a couple of PhD's in microbiology about the use of vaccines.  I have their contact information and credentials if you want them.  I wrote a long paper based on the interviews,  I will highlight the important parts for you.  I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you read this.  If you have any further questions, send them my way.  This will be a series of posts.

It began as the scientific paper that served as a central pillar for the idea that vaccination could increase children's risk of developing autism.  Now, with a formal retraction from the Lancet, the medical journal which in 1998 published this piece of research by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, most researchers will view the study as if it had never been published in the first place.
Ten of the 13 authors of the original paper, all of whom were researchers at the Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine in London, partially retracted the paper in 2004. However, the first author, Andrew Wakefield, didn't. Dr. Wakefield, has not been returning phone calls to comment.
Wakefield's hypothesis was that by combining vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella into a single shot, known as MMR, the vaccine weakened the immune system and damaged the gut. He said that this, in turn, led to the development of autism.
The General Medical Council concluded that Wakefield participated in "dishonesty and misleading conduct" while he conducted the research. Specifically, it found Wakefield responsible for an ethics breach because he wrote that the children involved in the case report were referred to his clinic for stomach problems, when he knew nearly half of the children were actually part of a lawsuit looking into the effects of an MMR vaccine. Some children didn't have stomach issues at all.
Wakefield also failed to disclose he was paid in conjunction with the lawsuit, or that he had a patent related to a new MMR vaccine in development when he submitted the case report for publication.
Moreover, according to one of the findings against the doctor, Wakefield took blood samples from children at his own child's birthday party and paid them each five British pounds for their trouble.

In a statement explaining its retraction of Wakefield's paper, the Lancet said: "Following the judgment of the U.K. General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice Panel on Jan. 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield and others are incorrect ... in particular, the claims in the original paper that children were 'consecutively referred' and that investigations were 'approved' by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record."

            Having mentioned this, I feel it is of importance to note that unfortunately, the stigmatism that people have towards vaccines, and the idea that vaccines cause autism is already out there and the damage has already been done.  Years of research have clearly disproven a vaccine-autism link, yet many people continue to believe in it. If all of that research hasn't changed their minds, the Lancet's retraction is not likely to make much difference.

            Because of that, I have dug deep to seriously address the many concerns that people have regarding vaccines.  Even after all this, people will still believe what they want to believe, but the facts are there, and everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with the facts.  I believe in making our own decisions, but I also believe that it is our duty to do as much as possible on our part to gain information.  So it is for that reason that I have taken the time to go out and get as much information as I can about vaccines from those who are most qualified to give it, and share it with as many people as possible.