Thank you to longtime reader Josh Mazer for this letter to the editor at The Capital Gazette. Please share from the Gazette website and comment there.
The Sunday Capital article (Sept. 14) "Nearly 1,000 students lack proof of vaccinations" contains misleading and inaccurate statements. Please allow me to correct the record. Vaccines are not "required" to attend school, nor are they safe and "effective."
Title 10 of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene allows opt outs of vaccination for medical contraindications, religious exemptions and proof of immunity by positive blood test. This was not mentioned in the article.
The article says, "vaccinations are the best way to prevent disease." Not always. Attenuated pertussis vaccine can spread the disease via vaccine-mediated facilitation. Unvaccinated children are less likely to develop B. parapertussis infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report over 95 percent of recent U.S. pertussis cases occurred in populations that are fully (four or more DTaP shots) vaccinated; the same is true of measles outbreaks.
This month U.S. District Judge Darnell C. Jones II ruled that two whistleblower lawsuits filed by former Merck virologists will proceed. The judge heard evidence that Merck systematically lies and falsifies research to grossly overstate the effectiveness of mumps vaccine.
The safety record of our vaccine supply is so disgracefully abhorrent that Congress passed the Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, exempting vaccine makers and providers from civil liability. The law, and the U.S. Supreme Court, describe vaccines as "unavoidably unsafe." Our shot schedule has since expanded to 49 doses of 14 recommended vaccines in the first five years, 69 by age 18. The U.S. is ranked 33rd in the world for infant mortality, despite the fact we give more vaccines, at younger ages, than any other country.
Vaccine hesitancy is rooted in vaccine failure and vaccine injury - two subjects The Capital is careful to avoid. Natalie Paniagua is not the only skeptic. Bernadine Healy had her reservations. On Aug. 27, this press release came out - and you have to read about it in The Capital letters, not the news section:
"My name is William Thompson. I am a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.
"I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African-American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism."
- See more at: http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/letters/ph-ac-ce-letters-0919-20140919,0,6051035.story#sthash.6gfYbcYl.dpuf