Neil Miller: Why people choose not to Vaccinate
Printed with permission from Neil Miller of ThinkTwice.com.
By Neil Miller
Recently I was contacted by an anchorwoman for a TV network asking if I would answer a few questions for a story that she was doing on vaccinations, particularly regarding measles. Here are my responses:
Why would one choose not to vaccinate?
Some parents choose not to vaccinate because they had a personal experience that convinced them vaccines are dangerous. Other people have read peer-reviewed studies showing vaccine safety deficits and decided that the risks are greater than the benefits. For example, numerous studies have confirmed a link between vaccinations and cancer. Children who are permitted to contract measles naturally are significantly protected against various cancers later in life. In fact, the wild measles virus has oncolytic (anti-cancer) properties. Tumor remissions after measles infection are well documented in the medical literature.
Children who are required to be vaccinated against measles have had this anti-cancer protection stripped from them for life. They have been forced to trade a reduced risk of contracting measles for an increased risk of developing cancer later in childhood or as an adult.
I will list just a few of the studies confirming the scientific link between vaccines and cancer:
Albonico et al found that adults are significantly protected against non-breast cancers -- genital, prostate, gastrointestinal, skin, lung, ear-nose-throat, and others -- if they contracted measles (odds ratio, OR = 0.45), rubella (OR = 0.38) or chickenpox (OR = 0.62) earlier in life. [Med Hypotheses 1998; 51(4): 315-20].
Montella et al found that contracting measles in childhood reduces the risk of developing lymphatic cancer in adulthood [Leuk Res 2006; 30(8): 917-22].
Alexander et al found that infection with measles during childhood is significantly protective -- it cuts the risk in half -- against developing Hodgkin's disease (OR = 0.53) [Br J Cancer 2000; 82(5): 1117-21].
Glaser et al also found that lymph cancer is significantly more likely in adults who were not infected with measles, mumps or rubella in childhood [In J Cancer 2005; 115(4): 599-605].
Gilham et al found that infants with the least exposure to common infections have the greatest risk of developing childhood leukemia [BMJ 2005; 330: 1294].
Urayama et al also found that early exposure to infections is protective against leukemia [Int J Cancer 2011; 128(7): 1632-43].
In the world of science, it is quite well known that having infections in early life protects against various cancers in later life. Later born children have less cancer than first born children because they are exposed to more infections in early life from their siblings. Children that go to daycare in early life are more protected against cancers for the same reason. Vaccinations denied babies opportunities to become naturally infected, and with this reduction in exposure to disease there was a tradeoff -- increased rates of cancer.
People may legitimately argue over whether the reduction in disease in exchange for an increase in cancer is a good thing or a bad thing but the tradeoff is a real thing that must be considered when weighing the honest risk-to-benefit ratio of vaccinations. Parents are entitled to know this information in order to retain true informed consent, remain free to accept or reject vaccinations and have their human rights preserved.
What are the concerns?
In the U.S. and Canada, doctors recommend 8 vaccines at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. These vaccines were tested individually but not in combination. No studies anywhere in the world were ever conducted to provide scientific evidence that infants are not subjected to synergistic toxicity from the simultaneous administration of 8 drugs. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. As babies receive more vaccines concurrently, they are more likely to be hospitalized and die: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22531966
Many people have also lost trust in the organizations that are commissioned to oversee vaccine safety. For example, 15 years ago the CDC conducted a study that confirmed a link between thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines and autism. Infants that received vaccines with the highest quantities of thimerosal were nearly 8 times more likely to develop autism compared to infants that did not receive thimerosal-containing vaccines (RR = 7.6). Instead of publishing this study, the CDC quashed it. Here is the abstract: http://thinktwice.com/CDC_quashed_study.pdf
Other studies provide additional evidence of scientific malfeasance with regard to some well-publicized studies purporting to show no link between vaccines and severe safety hazards. For example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065774/
Also, many non-vaccinators are aware that when they purchase vaccines, a portion of the money goes into a Congressional fund that compensates parents when their children are damaged or killed by vaccines. The United States government, through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, has already paid out $3 billion to thousands of parents whose children were damaged or killed by vaccines: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html This information is a contributing factor in their personal calculations of risk-to-benefit tradeoffs.
It is also instructive to note that in the U.S. there were 5,078 adverse reactions reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after MMR or MMRV vaccination during the years 2011 and 2012. This included 20 deaths. There were no deaths attributed to measles in the U.S. during the past 12 years.
Regarding the measles (MMR) vaccine, the loss of anti-cancer protection is just one of the tradeoffs. For example, several studies have shown the risk of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), a serious autoimmune bleeding disorder, to significantly increase in children that receive MMR. In one study, children were 6 times more likely to develop ITP within 6 weeks after MMR vaccination compared to children that were unvaccinated or not recently vaccinated with MMR (relative risk, RR = 6.3). [Black et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2003 Jan; 55(1): 107 11.] Several other studies confirm similar results.
Other large studies show that children who receive MMR have a statistically significant elevated risk of being rushed to the hospital emergency room 1 to 2 weeks post-vaccination when compared to the period 20 to 28 days post-vaccination.
What is the better method of protecting yourself and your children from certain diseases and viruses?
Vaccine-induced immunity is temporary unlike immunity gained from contracting the actual disease. Also, a recent study confirmed that measles can be spread from fully vaccinated people to other fully vaccinated people [Clin Infect Dis 2014 May; 58(9): 1205-10]. Recent outbreaks of measles in Disneyland occurred in both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people. In some measles outbreaks a majority of the cases occur in fully vaccinated people. Thus, vaccine-induced immunity is unreliable.
In all outbreaks of measles going back to the 1980s, whether they were minor outbreaks (like 100 cases at Disneyland) or several thousand cases, between 10% and 99% of all cases were in fully vaccinated people -- they received the recommended 2 doses of MMR. Today, 90% to 95% of all children in the U.S. and Canada who are eligible for MMR have received the vaccine. Yet, authorities tell us that the key to stopping the spread of measles is by vaccinating the remaining fraction. So, by this reasoning it must really be the unvaccinated who are key to whether the vaccinated remain protected!
One of the reasons the vaccine fails, as recent evidence seems to indicate, is because the wild virus may need to be in greater circulation to boost vaccine-induced immunity. Protective antibodies wane more quickly when they are not periodically re-challenged by the freely circulating virus. This happened with the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Studies show that a reduction in the circulation of the natural varicella virus due to high vaccination rates caused an epidemic of herpes zoster (shingles) that will last for 50 years. The elderly, especially, relied on these periodic exogenous boosts to their immune systems (when they went out in public) to keep shingles from occurring. The chickenpox vaccine reduced cases of chickenpox but the circulating cases actually provided a valuable function.
Health authorities need to stop blaming unvaccinated people for causing outbreaks of disease when the design of the vaccine itself is the problem. Scientists should go back to their labs and make a vaccine that doesn't fail when vaccinated people come into contact with the disease. The vaccine can then be given to those who really want it and the small fraction of unvaccinated people can retain their human rights. We should also encourage scientists to make a vaccine specifically for people with compromised immune systems. There is a precedent for this idea.
The chickenpox vaccine was originally designed by the manufacturer for people with leukemia and weak immune systems, so it should be possible for scientists to design a measles vaccine specifically for people with weak immunity. However, the chickenpox vaccine manufacturer sought a wider market for its product and pushed for use in the normal population. Market share is much higher when a vaccine is designed for every healthy child rather than a small subset of unhealthy children -- especially with a mandated market -- so what incentive do the health authorities and vaccine manufacturer have when it's easier to use coercion and shame the unvaccinated?
It is also unethical to require unvaccinated people to risk their own health in an effort to protect people with damaged immune systems. Several studies show that vaccines have increased the risk for autoimmunity. So, vaccines caused some people to have compromised immune systems and now healthy unvaccinated people are told that they must take these very same vaccines to protect the people with vaccine-damaged immunity.
Many non-vaccinators remember a time prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine when doctors actually recommended that children go next door to play with their measles-infected neighbors. Doctors knew that measles stimulated the immune system and was normally a benign disease when contracted in childhood. Infants rarely contracted measles because their mothers were naturally infected as children and passed on maternal antibodies to their babies in utero which protected them for the first 15 months of life. Today, most mothers were vaccinated with MMR and don't have maternal antibodies to pass on to their newborns so infants are susceptible to the disease which can be more severe than when contracted later in childhood. (Measles is a more dangerous disease in developing countries where pregnant women and their babies are malnourished and deficient in vitamin A.)
In the United States, an outbreak of 100 cases of measles in Disneyland, and several more cases scattered across the country, is miniscule in a population of 324 million. The vaccine manufacturer is currently under investigation for scientific fraud associated with its MMR vaccine. Does it seem ironic that the nation has been agitated into a frenzy of fear over 100 cases of measles at a time when the MMR vaccine is under legal scrutiny?
Do you have concerns about getting sick?
Some diseases are certainly more worrisome than others. Of course I would like to see everyone healthy but I don't believe that forced vaccinations are the answer. Too many people are being hurt by vaccines. The true risk-to-benefit ratio is underestimated and denied by health authorities whose main goal is preservation of high vaccination rates. A few days ago, our local paper quoted a pediatrician who claimed that "there is no science that shows vaccinations are harmful to children." That is a bald-faced lie. I have personally read hundreds of studies documenting harmful effects associated with vaccination. When parents are not provided with this information, they have no true informed consent and their human rights are being violated.
What do you say to those that criticize your choices?
Health authorities have done their best to bully and shame non-vaccinators. They have instigated fear and animosity within families that choose to vaccinate, their anger misdirected at non-vaccinators. Everyone's responsibility is to make the best decisions for their families regardless of what others may think. Both vaccinators and non-vaccinators believe they are doing what is best for their children. However, it should be noted that at least ten different studies have confirmed that parents who choose non-vaccination are significantly more educated than parents who adhere to the recommended vaccination schedule.
People that are crying out for all kids to be vaccinated, and for vaccine exemptions to be rescinded, may be next in line. What if you don't want a new adult vaccine that comes on the market in a few years but you need it to retain your job or healthcare or to go shopping in public places. Do we really want to live in a country or world that doesn't allow us to reject medical procedures with documented health risks? Do we really want the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies to dictate which drugs we must have injected into our bodies?
Vocal advocates against informed consent and the right to reject vaccines for our children may be unintentionally invoking a creeping medical tyranny against both children and adults. Overzealous pro-vaccinators need to be more thoughtful and very careful about what they envision for our society or there may come a time, soon, when none of us are free to accept or reject health practices not endorsed by our supreme health caretakers demanding complete obedience to their authority.
Neil Z. Miller is a medical research journalist and the author of the Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners.
I am 68 and had all the childhood diseases, mumps, measles and had chicken pox at 32. I do not take the flu, pneumonia or shingles shots now. The last time I had the flu was 1987. I am against mandatory shots.
Posted by: d. henry Lee | February 21, 2017 at 08:22 AM
This is a very difficult topic. I'm from the generation that had all the childhood diseases. I have a friend partially crippled from polio and my cousin has a friend deaf from measles, yet...I have a friend whose son had seizures for 7 days after MMR and is now neurologically damaged for life, as well as seizures within my own family. My friend looked after a family of 4 children, 3 of which were disabled from vaccines. When I went to Asia I had vaccines (typhoid and other serious) My daughter has only had polio as we were planning a trip to China in an area with polio outbreak. I did my research - as a baby she had poor gut flora and possible genetic markers from BOTH sides of her parents that would give her much greater risk of serious reaction. Her cousin febrile seizured - so I delayed and breastfed till she was 4 1/2. When I went to vaccinate I consulted some top experts who said separate the MMR but that was the exact time Merck stopped separating it. She is an incredibly healthy 12 year old and with the latest research we will do a titer as I think she has had most of the childhood diseases (many people get them with very little symptoms or no symptoms at all - she had very mild). Still it will be a difficult decision especially with the latest research. It is VERY IMPORTANT that everyone has a choice. This is my message. I cost me dearly in worry especially with the culture of fear we live in - but I am glad I did it based on science and research.
Posted by: Elly Smith | March 12, 2015 at 08:53 AM
I'm a 44yr old male who is recovering from the chicken pox. It wasn't that bad.
Posted by: K. Barrett | March 10, 2015 at 12:44 AM
Thanks so much for your well researched and linked article! I am going to forward today to my California state representatives. As you may know there is a big push in CA to force vaccinations on all children. My daughter vaccinates VERY selectively and on her own timetable as do many of her friends.
Posted by: Mary Ethridge | March 09, 2015 at 01:42 PM
I appreciate the kindness of your tone .
Since I had measles as a kid, and now have natural immunity, I'm aware that for the average child Measles infections are itchy and lasts about a week or two. Most of our parents wanted us to get the illness in childhood so we were immune before reaching adulthood.
To be fair, none of us were suffering from malnutrition, and because we used to have to take cod liver oil( tastes horrible) it would probably be correct to also say we weren't deficient in vitamin A.
The World Health Organization states that Vitamin A deficiency, and or malnutrition are strong risk factors for measles complications.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner, are you aware of the vitamin A recommendations made by WHO for measles?
What do you recommend for your patients?
Re the thimerosal stuff, the CDC states that thimerosal is still in flu shot injections from multiple dose vials.
It never was in live virus vaccines. Ironic that you bought up encephalitis as being so bad. Most people here are actually aware of that . Because it is a compensated table injury for the MMR vaccine.
Some parents here have children here who are non verbal because of encephalitis caused by vaccine injury.
Posted by: Hera | March 04, 2015 at 02:05 PM
I would like to add that while you're so fixated on a hundred cases of measles, there will be 80,000 new cases of autism diagnosed this year. Health officials claim that it's a mystery, but they are sure it has nothing to do with vaccines that now start in utero.
Posted by: Linda1 | March 04, 2015 at 01:38 PM
"I remember the measles outbreak in1990s that wiped out the Boston sports teams and college, dorms, it was dreadful, can't forget th conjunctivitis rash and cough and coryzas
It started in a group of unvaccinated religious abstainers. God bless them,seriously, they were following their heart, and code of religion for which I have deep respect but it was not easy for everyone else. The burden was heavy on the community."
If it outbreak started in the unvaccinated, it should have stopped with them, if the vaccine worked.
"Thimersol is gone from vaccines now.no worries."
No. Thimerosal is still in some manufacturers' DPT shots, and is still in the multi-dose flu vaccine that is given to pregnant women and children, among others. Trace amounts are present in other killed vaccines, and like lead, there is no safe amount of mercury, ethyl or methyl, that can be injected into the body. Genetic variation determines ability to eliminate mercury and other toxins, variation which is never determined before vaccination. After the thimerosal in some vaccines was decreased to trace levels, old stock was allowed to be used up, which took several years. Do you have just a teeny bit of intellectual curiousity about what happened to all the children who were injected with a boatload of mercury back then? Mind you, vets removed all mercury from animal vaccines back in the early 1980's, but our AAP fought to keep it in human vaccines and even fought to continue sending these vaccines to developed countries, vaccines which are no longer allowed in the US because of their thimerosal content. Nice, huh? No worries? I don't think so. Then there's the aluminum content of the vaccines, especially in the hepatitis B vaccine given within hours of birth. You really think a newborn needs to have his immune system jumpstarted to hell as soon as he opens his eyes for a disease that he is in zero danger of contracting if his mother doesn't have it?
"unfounded autism fears"
Is that why the federal government has conceded in over 80 cases that vaccines caused encephalopathy that caused autism? How about senior CDC scientist William Thompson coming forward last summer to say that he and his colleagues in the Immunization Safety Division hid data that showed over a 300% increase in autism in African American boys given the MMR before 36 months of age? You didn't know about that or are you just pushing aside anything that conflicts with your dogma?
"religious abstainers due to cell lines used from aborted fetuses from the 1960s"
Dr. Theresa Deisher has found a link between those cell lines and autism, leukemia and lymphoma. Look up her research.
"At 90 percent vaccinated..there will be no outbreaks..but now it's lower like 70-80 percent and Hurd immunity doesn't work. Hence outbreaks."
Assumptions. Where is the science to back all that up?
"I take the risk daily and vaccinate kids,"
How very brave of you.
Posted by: Linda1 | March 04, 2015 at 01:05 PM
I don't know what happened in Boston in th 90s but I suspect it is poetic license to say people were wiped out - unwell for a bit perhaps. What you need to bear in mind is the certain expectation that you will regard with utter indifference the ill effects on anyone you vaccinate, and no doubt put it down to coincidence. It doesn't matter what happens its coincidence, there is no need for concern, no need to monitor sequelae, because it is all scientific!
Posted by: John Stone | March 04, 2015 at 10:53 AM
notes from your pediatric nurse practitioner
Protect yourself and your children!
Pneumonia encephalitis and deadly side effects,of measles are no joke. If you're
Born before 1957, you have natural immunity. I know a few people who have died from the cancers you mention..non Hodgkin lymphomas and prostate, so sad, measles did not protect them.
I remember the measles outbreak in1990s that wiped out the Boston sports teams and college, dorms, it was dreadful, can't forget th conjunctivitis rash and cough and coryzas
It started in a group of unvaccinated religious abstainers. God bless them,seriously, they were following their heart, and code of religion for which I have deep respect but it was not easy for everyone else. The burden was heavy on the community.
Thimersol is gone from vaccines now.no worries. You should always ask just to be sure.
No one died from measles in the last 12 years..this is thought to be due to the second Mmr that was institute in the late 1990s following the outbreak.
measles is very contagious. The virus lives in the room and surfaces for 2 hours after the person with it left. It will spread to 20 percent of vaccinated people. We see this all the time in chicken pox outbreaks which are more common.
Now so many abstainers from unfounded autism fears...and increase religious abstainers due to cell lines used from aborted fetuses from the 1960s...has diminished the number of vaccinated folks. At 90 percent vaccinated..there will be no outbreaks..but now it's lower like 70-80 percent and Hurd immunity doesn't work. Hence outbreaks.
I take the risk daily and vaccinate kids, and work with Merck to eliminate use of measles cell lines from aborted fetuses, and an Fyi for Catholics, the Vatican officially states getting vaccinated is acceptable given the alternative high risk for disease.
Posted by: Janet nagy hanley | March 04, 2015 at 10:38 AM
Thank you for such a calm and informative article! Another reason people refuse to vaccinate is that there are some vaccines which were produced using aborted human fetal cell lines. Some people consider this unethical and/or immoral.
Here's a list if anyone is concerned: http://www.vaccine-tlc.org/human
Posted by: Donna Schwieder | March 02, 2015 at 10:22 AM
Thank you, Neil Miller, for being a voice of reason!
Posted by: 4Bobby | February 27, 2015 at 06:15 PM
Thank you, Neil Miller, for a well-written article!!
Posted by: Kathryn Thomason Cleveland | February 27, 2015 at 09:18 AM
As long as there are healthy unvaccinated individuals, a vax unvax study can be done. So, yes, they are a big threat.
Posted by: Linda1 | February 25, 2015 at 10:12 PM
Clear and concise article. Thank you very much.
Posted by: Danchi | February 25, 2015 at 07:45 PM
Just add my voice to the many grateful ones here for a great article putting the information together so well.
Posted by: Christina Waldman | February 24, 2015 at 08:15 PM
Very good, very good. Thank you!
Posted by: Denise Anderstrom Douglass | February 24, 2015 at 06:23 PM
Hi Neil, Thank you for another excellent piece. So concise and brimming with relevant and timely information.
These simultaneous laws intended to strip parents of their rights to protect their children are quickly becoming an obvious, well-orchestrated attempt to pave the way for the 250+ vaccines that are ready to come to market. Of the 38,802,500 California residents, only 13,258 personal beliefs exemptions have been filed for 2014/2015...the math indicates that something smells fishy. Are parents with PBE's that big of a threat?
Posted by: MichelleF | February 24, 2015 at 06:19 PM
Thank you Neil for a well written article. It was interesting what you had to say about measles virus and cancer. I think few people realize they are trading two years worth of antigen protection against measles for possible cancer in the future. I guess Mumps also gives protection against ovarian cancer. My daughter became ill with autoimmune disease in 1986 although it was actually nearly two decades before she realized her chronic illness had a cause--very typical story when it comes standard pediatric care. I got involved in the autism subculture because the first help she got was from a doctor interested in autism. So I have been aware of Wakefield, stealth viruses, high titers, supplements, gut-brain, candida, good/bad oils, and on and on for a long time: At least since the mid-nineties. The level of awareness now is so much greater than it was twenty years ago. Keep up the fight because inch by inch we are gaining ground.
Posted by: kapoore | February 24, 2015 at 06:05 PM
Whilst the CDC is in a state of suspended inanimation over its vaccine harm, the people are starting to refuse anymore enough is enough.
Posted by: Angus Files | February 24, 2015 at 04:41 PM
Thank you! Vaccine promoters need to stop the censorship and bring their awareness of science and arguments up to this level.
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | February 24, 2015 at 02:13 PM
Superb, like everything else that I have read written by you. Thank you, Neil Miller! Sharing now.
Posted by: Laura Hayes | February 24, 2015 at 01:33 PM
The one size fits all approach to vaccinating children is a disaster as well as lack of prescreening. CDC does not recommending prescreening of high risk who may be at high risk for serious adverse reacton based on family history as part of the vaccination process. Immune respnse vatries and some kids are much more sensitive. CDC has never done follow up studies on documented cases of severe adverse reaction via VICP to investigate what happened to these children- why are they different.
"Familial clustering of autoimmune disorders and evaluation of medical risk factors in autism.
"Autism is an age-dependent neurologic disorder that is often associated with autoimmune disorders in the patients' relatives. To evaluate the frequency of autoimmune disorders, as well as various prenatal and postnatal events in autism, we surveyed the families of 61 autistic patients and 46 healthy controls using questionnaires. The mean number of autoimmune disorders was greater in families with autism; 46% had two or more members with autoimmune disorders. As the number of family members with autoimmune disorders increased from one to three, the risk of autism was greater, with an odds ratio that increased from 1.9 to 5.5, respectively. In mothers and first-degree relatives of autistic children, there were more autoimmune disorders (16% and 21%) as compared to controls (2% and 4%), with odds ratios of 8.8 and 6.0, respectively. The most common autoimmune disorders in both groups were type 1 diabetes, adult rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Forty-six percent of the autism group reported having relatives with rheumatoid diseases, as compared to 26% of the controls. Prenatal maternal urinary tract, upper respiratory, and vaginal infections; asphyxia; prematurity, and seizures were more common in the autistic group, although the differences were not significant. Thirty-nine percent of the controls, but only 11% of the autistic, group, reported allergies. An increased number of autoimmune disorders suggests that in some families with autism, immune dysfunction could interact with various environmental factors to play a role in autism pathogenesis"
Posted by: Autism mom | February 24, 2015 at 01:00 PM
Best written piece I've seen to date on this topic. Share far and wide.
Posted by: Great Job Neil | February 24, 2015 at 08:12 AM
Neil .. I seriously doubt .. in the future .. that particular news anchor-woman will be asking your insight after learning just how competent you are in defending your well-informed and well-resourced opinion on the subject of vaccines.
Job well done.
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | February 24, 2015 at 07:31 AM