Each Disease and its Vaccine
excerpt from The Vaccine Guide
1. Tetanus is a potentially life-threatening disease.
2. Infection occurs through wounds.
3. Incidence of tetanus is approximately 50 cases per year for the past 10 years; less than 10 of these cases are under 30 years old, and these cases are rarely fatal.
4. A series of tetanus toxoid injections does provide protection from tetanus for at least 10 years. Tetanus immune globulin protects unvaccinated individuals if they receive an injection soon after injury.
5. Immediate vaccine reactions are usually mild, though many severe reactions have been reported, some of them causing permanent disability and a few fatalities. Long-term adverse effects are unknown.
1. No cases of wild polio have occurred in the United States since 1979. The risk of a child acquiring polio in the United States is zero, except from the vaccine itself.
2. The vaccines have questionable effectiveness.
3. Oral, live-virus vaccine (OPV) does cause polio in vaccine recipients and contacts. It has caused Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in recipients. It also may contain live monkey viruses that have been associated with human diseases, including AIDS.
4. Killed polio vaccine (IPV) may have some adverse effects, but does not cause polio in recipients.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
1. The vaccine is associated with severe reactions including encephalitis, seizures, brain damage, and deaths.
2. The disease itself has these same risks, though the incidence of pertussis is now low in the United States.
3. The vaccine has limited efficacy—60-80 effective in various studies.
4. The disease can be treated with homeopathic medications.
Acellular Pertussis Vaccine
1. Severe reactions to the whole-cell pertussis vaccine have spurred worldwide efforts to produce a safer vaccine.
2. The acellular form of the pertussis vaccine seems to diminish mild-type reactions compared to the whole-cell vaccine.
3. Severe reactions to the acellular vaccine also occur, including encephalitis and possibly death.
1. Diphtheria is a potentially serious disease, but extremely rare in the United States, with an incidence of less than 5 cases per year.
2. The vaccine has questionable effectiveness.
3. Long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown.
1. Measles has historically been a common childhood disease with rare complications.
2. Mass vaccination has resulted in a dramatic decline in measles incidence, but outbreaks now occur in older populations and in infants born to women whose immunity from vaccination has deteriorated. Periodic epidemics continue to occur.
3. The vaccine is associated with serious adverse reactions including permanent nervous system damage and thrombocytopenia (a decrease in blood platelets responsible for blood clotting with accompanying spontaneous bleeding) all resulting from autoimmune disease triggered by the vaccine. Long-term effects are unknown.
1. Mumps is generally a benign disease of children. Complications of mumps do occur, but an estimated 30 percent of cases go unnoticed.
2. Mumps has increasingly become a disease of adolescents and adults since the widespread use of the vaccine.
3. Complications of mumps occur much more frequently in adults.
4. The vaccine has caused significant adverse reactions, including vaccine associated meningitis, in as many as 1 per 1,000 doses.
1. Rubella is a mild childhood disease which requires no treatment.
2. A woman who contracts rubella during the first three months of pregnancy risks abortion, miscarriage, or birth defects in her child.
3. Rubella incidence has shifted to older age groups since widespread vaccination.
4. Rubella vaccine is associated with significant adverse effects, including arthritis and central nervous system disorders (peripheral neuropathies, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and transverse myelitis, a paralyzing disease of the spinal cord).
5. Parents have three options: avoid the vaccine entirely; vaccinate their child against rubella; or test girls for antibodies at adolescence or before considering pregnancy, and decide whether to vaccinate then. Since a child’s health is not compromised by contracting rubella, there is no advantage to the child from vaccination.
Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) Meningitis
1. Hib meningitis is a potentially life-threatening disease, and long-term sequelae of infections (hearing loss, learning disabilities) do occur.
2. Long-term effectiveness of the vaccines has not been determined, and reports of short-term effectiveness vary considerably.
3. Serious vaccine-associated reactions have been reported. These result from autoimmune processes apparently triggered by the vaccine, including Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), thrombocytopenia, and transverse myelitis (a paralyzing disease of the spinal cord).
4. The vaccine has been associated with an increased susceptibility to Hib meningitis in the first week following vaccination.
1. Hepatitis B is primarily a sexually transmitted disease. Other common sources of transmission include exposure to infected blood, injected-drug use, and occupational or household contacts.
2. Infants can contract hepatitis B from their infected mothers.
3. Women can be tested during pregnancy to determine if they are infected, and infants born to infected mothers can receive hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis immune globulin at birth.
4. The practice of vaccinating all infants for hepatitis B is unnecessary since only those children exposed to infected mothers are at risk. Antibody levels produced by vaccination will probably decline to non-protective levels before children reach the age when they are sexually active or exposed to other risk factors.
5. Hepatitis B vaccine has been associated with severe, debilitating, and life-threatening adverse reactions. These include the typical autoimmune reactions common to other vaccines, arthritis, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), thrombocytopenia, and other paralyzing nervous system disease processes.
1. Chickenpox is a mild disease of childhood; complications of the disease are extremely rare in healthy children.
2. Adults almost always have more severe infection than children, and disease complications are more common.
3. Long-term efficacy of the vaccine is unknown. Widespread vaccine usage may shift the age distribution of chickenpox from children to adults.
4. Adverse and long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown. They could be more serious than measles and mumps vaccines, because the chickenpox virus is associated with cancer and herpes zoster.
5. The only justification for the use of the chickenpox vaccine in healthy children has been the saving of parents’ time lost from work.