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Questioning Vaccines Around the World

Rethinking By Kim Stagliano

I don't mean to sound like a reverse Marcie Syms (of the discount clothing chain here in the Northeast called "Syms" where the tagline is "An educated consumer is our best customer." But it appears that an educated consumer may be a vaccine company's worst customer. 

I think the travesty that is Gardasil has really opened people's eyes as to the intense marketing - by pharma and collaborative governments alike. What are the ramifications of having a worldwide population that mistrusts vaccines? And how will pharma respond to allay fears? With bullying or research?  Here are two stories from Ukraine and Indonesia:

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A widespread scare about vaccine side effects in Ukraine has led to a sharp drop in immunizations that could result in disease outbreaks spreading beyond the former Soviet republic, international and local health officials say.

Hundreds of thousands of fearful Ukrainians have refused vaccines for diseases such as diphtheria, mumps, polio, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, whooping cough and others this year, according to official estimates.

Authorities have canceled a U.N.-backed measles and rubella vaccination campaign funded by U.S. philanthropist Ted Turner, and will have to collect and incinerate nearly 9 million unused doses in coming months.

"I never thought I'd see the day where perfectly good vaccines are being destroyed," said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for UNICEF.

Around the world, health officials say they are struggling with the repercussions of vaccine fears they call unwarranted and dangerous. Read more (HERE).

JAKARTA, Indonesia —

Indonesia's controversial health minister says she wants to end vaccinating children against meningitis, mumps and some other diseases because she fears foreign drug companies are using the country as a testing ground.

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari — who first drew widespread attention by boycotting the World Health Organization's 50-year-old virus sharing system in 2007 — said Tuesday she wanted "scientific proof" that shots for illnesses like pneumonia, chicken pox, the flu, rubella and typhoid were "beneficial".

"If not, they have to be stopped," she said, declining to say exactly what that would mean. "We don't want our country to be a testing place for drugs, as has been the case in Africa." Read more (HERE).

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.

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"Authorities have canceled a U.N.-backed measles and rubella vaccination campaign funded by U.S. philanthropist Ted Turner, and will have to collect and incinerate nearly 9 million unused doses in coming months." ==> Dr. Wakefield needs to have a little chat with Ted Turner regarding vaccine strain wild measles virus taking up residence in the intestines of the majority of autism cases. Regardless, there are now 9 million children less at risk for autism.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 75, No. 4, 659-661, April 2002
Collateral damage in the battle against hypovitaminosis A?1,2
Noel W Solomons and Klaus Schümann

Chinese diplomats killed in the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Belgrade, Red Cross workers bombed in a warehouse in Kandahar, and Afghani women crushed by a crate of humanitarian rations are recent examples of collateral damage, which occurs when innocent people become casualties of missions of supreme urgency and high moral justification. It is the consequence of being caught in the path of "friendly fire."

Collateral damage has its reflection in medical and public health risk assessment as well. When we and other young house physicians were undergoing clinical training in the 1970s, we would often discuss the example of smallpox vaccination and comment among ourselves that more people were succumbing to vaccinia from the vaccinations than were then actually dying of smallpox itself. Shortly thereafter, of course, obligatory vaccinations were suspended, and the book was closed on the smallpox pandemic.

When 3200 persons were killed in the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers, the specter of biological terrorism with the smallpox virus reopened that book, with a call for universal vaccination of the 280 million residents of the United States.

According to calculations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000–3000 deaths would be attributable to any universal smallpox vaccination campaign, almost the number of deaths that occurred during the first strike of the new war. Such are the equations for collateral damage in the public health aspects of war and in public health battles.

For some of us involved in micronutrient deficiency issues in developing countries, it has been disconcerting to see the brouhaha arising in the medical press over something gone (fatally) awry in a recent mass distribution of high-dose oral vitamin A supplements by the United Nations Children's Fund to 3 million children younger than 6 y in the Assam province of India.

Despite the flurry of commentary that appeared on the pages and web pages of the British Medical Journal, the facts remain elusive, pending the filing of an official inquiry.

What is clear, however, is that

1) the vitamin A preparation was a liquid, produced less expensively within India (rather than the more costly, imported gelatin capsules);

2) the possibility of giving more than the intended 2-mL dose was produced by shifting from 2-mL spoons to 5-mL medicine cups for dosing; and

3) it was widely claimed in the Indian press that numerous recipients of the vitamin A supplements were made ill and that the deaths of 14 recipients are attributable to the vitamin A distribution .

In belligerent tones from within India came the allegation that rates of vitamin A deficiency in the Assam province did not justify public health intervention and that vitamin A supplementation will not reduce child mortality. In this latter respect, some historical factors are clear, and truth should not become the first casualty of this rhetorical skirmish.

As reviewed by Narasinga Rao, former director of the Indian Nutrition Institute, safety and efficacy trials of periodic supplementation were conducted in India with pulse doses of 90000 retinol equiva-lents (300,000 IU) vitamin A in the context of reducing nutritional blindness; this dose was certified as safe and effective.

Within the subsequent paradigm of hypovitaminosis A and mortality, analysis of data from field-level vitamin A intervention trials suggests that on average a 23% reduction in mortality from common childhood infections could result from public health campaigns such as those being under-taken in Assam.

Moreover, trials in India and Nepal provide some of the most powerful mortality-reduction effects, ranging from 26% to 50% of lives saved with supplementary vitamin A.

==> Interestingly, low-dose weekly supplementation decreased mortality by the greatest amount.

If the human ecology of Assam is anything like that of the nearby Orissa province, hypovitaminosis A probably affects more than 50% of the population targeted for vitamin A intervention.

India's National Foundation for Health Statistics reports a mortality rate of 89.5% in children younger than 5 years. Hence, at least 135000 of the 3 million children aged 2–5 y in 2001 living in the Assam province would be expected to die before reaching their 6th birthday.

This means that, across the province, 185 Assam children in this age range would die in accidents or of natural causes on any given day, with or without a vitamin A distribution campaign.

Moreover, if the overall projected death rate were reduced by one-fifth as a result of a sustained and universal vitamin A intervention policy, 27000 lives saved could be attributed to the measure.

If one extended the smallpox vaccination collateral damage argument to the hypovitaminosis A situation in India, one could even accept the validity of the claim that 14 deaths are attributable to the high-dose vitamin A pulse campaign.

With this premise, one might even rate the favorable equation of 642 lives saved for every vitamin A–related mortality over a 3-y period in this cohort of vitamin A recipients in the Assam province as an acceptable tradeoff.

Trained in the clinical practice of medicine, we two physicians have a professional discomfort with the calculus of collateral damage, whether applied in military war or in public health battles. Calculations of collateral damage involve ethical dilemmas and converging and diverging ethical standards.

As a discipline, ethics has developed an orderly set of principles. Among them are principles of autonomy, utility, and nonmaleficence.

The first principle relates to a respect for the free will of individuals, which in the present context would mean that they were suitably informed of the risks and benefits and participated voluntarily.

The second principle relates to effecting policies that provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

The third principle maintains that the proponents of a measure should do no harm to their clients.

As physicians sworn to the Hippocratic primerum non nocere (first do no harm) dictum, we must point out the ethical dilemma raised by the nonmaleficence principle that is entailed in any acceptance of the concept of an acceptable attributable mortality risk from a public health intervention.

We must point out that retinyl palmitate is both a nutrient and a drug, depending on the dosages involved. Indeed, just having a large amount of the compound in a vial poses a risk of accidental poisoning.

Retinyl esters can be sight-saving and life-saving drugs. The standard unit dose of vitamin A for a therapeutic application, as in acute xerophthalmia or complicated measles, is 200,000 IU or 60,000 retinol equivalents, and this dose is to be repeated on the next day.

==> No human food, except for morsels of shark or polar bear liver, could ever deliver this amount of pre-formed vitamin A in a single sitting.

From this logic, it is reasonable to propose that administering any amount of a potentially toxic nutrient that cannot commonly be consumed with a meal should be subject to the requirement of 'medicalization' of its use.

A confirmed diagnosis of deficiency and medical supervision would be the minimal criteria for administration of high-dose vitamin A. These procedures would clearly raise the ante on safety considerations and reduce the chances of doing any harm.

In the public health battle against hypovitaminosis A, however, these criteria would raise the cost of programs and reduce the efficiency of covering a populations' risk. With this approach, we will have reduced collateral damage from high-dose vitamin A at the probable expense of greater net mortality, i.e., that associated with hypovitaminosis A itself.

Even constrained under a safety-first, Hippocratic resolution of the ethical dilemma, public health authorities still have options to reduce child mortality in hypovitaminosis A–endemic populations with campaigns of vitamin A promotion that involve no pharmacologic agents and only minimal risk. This solution would rely on foods.

What separates industrialized societies from the risk of hypovitaminosis A is the pre-formed vitamin A used to enrich and fortify processed foods. Eventually, periodic supplementation could be replaced by fortification of staple items or a variety of processed foods.

Meanwhile, the high-dose supplementation scheme could move from medicinal preparations of potentially toxic pre-formed vitamin A to virtually equally potent — but innocuous and nontoxic —provitamin A carotenoids in an oily matrix.

A protective benefit comparable with that for high-dose vitamin A supplements can be claimed for periodic administration of red palm oil (8, 17, 25). Moreover, the autonomy of informed choice is certainly maximized in food-based interventions, because the public at large understands matters of food better than they do those of chemical prophylaxis.

The greatest ethical transgression that can occur is that of the big lie.

Misinformation and dis-information are the greatest dangers to public health efforts at all levels, because they rob the populace of the autonomy to make an informed choice.

On the one hand, incidents such as the one that occurred in the Assam vitamin A–distribution campaign allow a forum for the naysayers and the doomsayers to spread truly lethal disinformation, i.e., that is conducive to inaction.

On the other hand, expedience and efficiency justifications for accepting some collateral damage cannot be a priori answers to the ethical dilemmas that arise in the battle against vitamin A deficiency.

Although it may cost more efforts and resources, we must seek approaches that are both effective and safe. Such approaches will include providing the greatest good for the greatest number, ie, both those at risk and those not at risk of deficiency. They will also allow for truer informed free choice among the recipients of the interventions. These are the challenges and the ethical lessons of the Assam incident.

Very good news. At least we know someone in other countries is learning you can switch one epidemic for another, and that's what we did the the states!

This all just makes me want to scream. There's a little boy named Alex in my neighborhood, who like my son Jack, is nearly recovered. Is doing just fantastic. He's going to kindergarten in the fall (solo, no aide) so his mom reluctantly agreed to get him three vaccines mandated by the school. Poor little guy has been a mess for the past three weeks. Here's a child who's been doing consistently well for nearly three years, and suddenly he's exhibiting regressive behavior after shots. It all makes me want to scream. His poor mom is riddled with guilt for not submitting a religious exemption, which is her right. She didn't want the school to think she was "weird."

Wow, I take my hat off to Indonesia. SOMEONE is doing their job there!

Oh ya, we're winning, we're winning. The things I have learned on my journey to recover my children has shocked me to my bones. But, thank God we gaining a foot-hold. I was beginning to think the end of the world was here. Maybe there is a glimmer of hope now, just maybe.

Oh Good God! I've refrained... until now. I can no longer hold my mouth. (I know - ya'all are shocked LOL) :D

When Merck first suggested that Guardasil be approved for use in boys to prevent oral cancer I about had a fit. I had a lovely conversation with my mom about this. She happens to be one of my best friends, and the conversation was very open as always and the main topic was sex, and sexual practices.

Merck made some outrageous claim that we have more oral cancer now due to changing sexual practices over the years and I said right then and there it was a bunch of BS.

Keeping in mind that this is a family blog, I will try to keep this as clean as possible.

The vast majority of men are happy to have "it" anywhere a woman will have it, and on the flip side, the vast majority of men are willing to do what ever it takes to fully satisify their woman. This is how it's always been - are you kidding me??? Before my grama passed away, I asked her about how it was with my grapa. She told me straight. And they were still "doin' it" up until he passed on at the ripe old age of 78, and having fun!

Guardasil is a stupid vaccine and worthless in my eyes, if not dangerous (adverse events and death aside - not to minimize those that have happened in any way). The best prevention of cervical and oral cancer is a visit to the doc (ND or MD or Dental MD) for screenings and check-ups.

As someone who has "survived" CIN-3 because of HPV and who was applying to midwifery college when my youngest was diagnosed; Guardasil is just a stupid vaccine. It creates a false sense of security. The best prevention is safe sex practices, and of course those yearly check-ups. That yearly check-up is what saved my life. And honestly, I think they should be recommended and covered bi-annually. But I guess that would take more money away from Big Pharma.

Interesting... I no longer test positive for HPV. I guess there is some truth in that the body does clear on its' own.

""I never thought I'd see the day where perfectly good vaccines are being destroyed," said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for UNICEF."

Funny, I was thinking of all the perfectly good children being destroyed by vaccines.

New ad: "Don't blow it! Get your daughter Gardasil. Prevent Oral cancer. (Free logo promise bracelet included because we know she's not having "sex...")"

New WJS headline: Merck Stock: New Gardasil approval for Oral Cancer prevents Stock from Going Down.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that either Big Pharma's hubris knows no bounds or they are frantically trying to wring every possible penny of profit from the populace before the truth can no longer be denied. I read just today that Gardasil is now being suggested as a preventive measure for oral cancer.

http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Health/Conditions-Diseases/Protect-Yourself-Against-Oral-Cancer.html

I did a little Googling and was shocked that this idea has been around since before Gardasil was even approved! Furthermore, HPV-16 is only linked to a fraction of oral cancers.

And then there's the malaria vaccine in the works:

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-02/knocking-out-malaria

Too bad the clinical trials are not going so well:

http://www.eatg.org/eatg/Global-HIV-News/TB-Malaria/Malaria-vaccine-trials-raise-concerns-over-risks-to-infants

At this rate, the families of the vaccine-damaged folks ("anti-vaxxers") will be the only healthy people left.


Yes!!!

Use of vaccines should never be considered without taking into account the conditions prevailing in a region. There was an interesting incident in Kyrgystan in which about 20 women contracted AIDS from their newborn babies ! You can well imagine how that happened. The nurse on duty has to fulfill her job of giving birth vaccines such as Hepatitis B vaccine, so she picks up one single syringe , which may have already been used on some other patient, and she injects all the 6 babies born the previous night. One could argue that vaccines given at birth are the best means of spreading AIDS and Hepatitis B and other disease causing organisms. In so many countries, the parents are not present when the vaccines are given. Vaccines given later in life have oversight of the parents

Garbo
I have heard of mothers running into the jungle for fear of the american vaccinators. They are not stupid, they talk to other moms or see it themselves? The thing is, soon after a measles shot, the child's immune system is so SHOT, that they succomb to malaria...great thinking...about about sanitation, hygeine and nutrition guys...oops, I forgot, too expensive...the long term solutions always are....

I would love to advocate for the appointment of an Autism Czar to act in the same capacity as the newly appointed AIDS Czar, the first in two years, thanks George Bush. This role could create a global mobilization of countries to establish a safe vaccine policy.

Kim, what do you think?

Best regards,

Maria Dwyer

February 26, 2009
AIDS Czar Named
President Barack Obama today tapped Jeffrey Crowley to fill the top slot in the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP).

The move comes amid growing concern that the United States does not have a national HIV/AIDS plan. Crowley, a public health specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., will coordinate HIV/AIDS policy both domestically and internationally. Between 1994 and 2000, Crowley worked at the National Association for People with AIDS, rising to a deputy executive director.

The director of ONAP, once given the elevated moniker of the “AIDS czar,” has lost cachet as of late—the Bush Administration did not even fill the post for the past 2 years.

"He’s a terrific choice for this job. He certainly comes with all the right background and experience, and on top of that he’s one of the hardest working people I’ve known in my life," says Georgetown University health policy expert Tim Westmoreland.

And so the chickens are coming home to roost. By kowtowing to Pharma, by abdicating their responsibilities for protecting our kids from harmful vaccines and/or bad manufacturing practices, FDA and CDC/HHS are killing the vaccine program. The overreach is becoming clearer every day with Gardasil, but the cynic in me says it probably won't fully be felt until Gardasil is approved for boys and the star (male) high school athletes start keeling over.

Well, the vaccine industry only has itself to blame for this. Really interesting report and thank you.

Something tells me that suspicions of vaccines in Africa are not so gauche as the press reports. You always hear that "plot to cause infertility" line and I'm sure it's overblown to make Americans believe that Africans who suspect or resist Western technology (gasp!) harbor dangerous feelings towards the U.S. It smacks of that typically incendiary reverse-engineering-of-aggression that the mainstream press loves so well. It can't be entirely real and it's dangerous propagandizing against other countries.

I'm sure the bulk of those fears are realistic and have to do with the mass vaccine trials and resulting child deaths and maimings in some countries as well as news from U.S. and Europe that the shots may cause autism, crib deaths and LDs.

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