For the Good of the Herd
In an era where CDC experts are saying, “Just line up for Gardasil, and you’ll have a 70% reduced chance of getting cancer”, are parents asking any critical questions about the crystal ball gazing abilities of these experts now and in the past? Why is there talk of adding a third MMR vaccine into the childhood schedule, and also putting it into adult vaccination programs as regular boosters?
Will most people just roll up their sleeve, assuming the new ideas will have the good outcome the CDC will predict?
Most of those people won’t know, that in 1967, the CDC said: *
For centuries the measles virus has maintained a remarkably stable ecological relationship with man. The clinical disease is a characteristic syndrome of notable constancy and only moderate severity. Complications are infrequent, and, with adequate medical care, fatality is rare.
Effective use of these vaccines during the coming winter and spring should insure the eradication of measles from the United States in 1967.
Or that it was reported in Time Magazine in 1966 that:
The Federal Government last week declared its determination to eradicate measles from the U.S. in 1967.
Perhaps because measles always seemed to be an unavoidable part of childhood, it has not loomed as threatening as other diseases, and its characteristic red spots have long been the butt of comic-strip jokes.*
Though the disease fighters were hampered by the public’s unconcern, they were helped by some characteristics of the measles virus. There is only one type, as against three for polio. One shot of vaccine made from live but attenuated virus confers lifelong immunity
Explains Dr. Dull: When two-thirds or more of the children in any community are immune, through having had either the disease or vaccination, the measles virus simply dies out.
“It’s unprecedented in the history of preventive medicine to try to eradicate an entire disease in one year,” says Dr. Dull, “but there is good reason to believe it can be done.”
What “good reason” did Drs. Sencer, Dull, and Langmuir have, to predict:
a ) That one shot would give lifelong immunity?
b ) That when two-thirds of children are immune measles would die out?
c ) That vaccinating a few million children in one year, would “eradicate measles” permanently?
Worldwide, parents were promised that just one shot would eliminate measles, a disease which in developed countries was considered to be relatively mild, even by doctors.
Unknown to most people, new science emerged over the decades, irrefutable facts were quietly changed, goalposts silently shifted, history privately rewritten, until the Canadian Press told the public, in May of 2008:
Before vaccination became commonplace, adults often came in contact with youngsters suffering from mumps, measles, and the other childhood diseases. That remained the case in the early days of vaccine administration when these diseases still commonly circulated.
If people had protection – natural or vaccine-acquired – those exposures were actually helpful. They acted as a sort of natural booster shot, reminding the immune system to be on guard for this threat.
The end result of the investigation into the durability of immunity in the vaccine age could be a recognition that adults need booster shots to prevent outbreaks of what we now consider childhood diseases. Osterholm, for one, thinks that’s likely.
What they’re referring to is called “secondary vaccine failure”, an almost paradoxical situation resulting in the more effective vaccines losing effectiveness over time as a direct result of their own initial effectiveness.
For some time after MMR was introduced, the wild viruses still circulated, which artificially inflated the estimated vaccine efficacy, because people who got the vaccine, still encountered the viruses occasionally. With a higher vaccine uptake, the ability for immunity to be “boosted” by natural exposure disappeared. Such logic is being admitted to now, to prepare adults for being re-vaccinated with the MMR throughout their lives.
While most experts want their current wisdom to be assumed “accurate”, the most accurate statement in the Canadian Press article was:
“I don’t think we know much at all,” acknowledges Dr. Samuel Katz.
If you told CDC doctors today, that vaccinating two-thirds of all children one summer would result in a common virus simply dying out, they would laugh in your face. But the belief that vaccinating a few million children in 1967 could eliminate measles, was not questioned in 1966, because neither parents nor experts knew that the assumed “knowledge” about the natural history of disease, the development and maintenance of immunity, and how both meshed together, was fundamentally flawed.
In 2008, the simple popular view of vaccination continues to say, “if you are vaccinated you can neither catch nor spread the disease in question, which is good for everyone.” Every vaccination program is built on the sort of simplistic ideas which jumpstarted the original National Immunization Program. It is assumed that every new vaccine will fulfill it’s predicted potential, and have well researched effectiveness and safety.
Unfortunately, like most simple pictures, this is not the whole story.
Let’s look at another flaw they missed in the equation:
During the 1989–1991 measles resurgence, incidence rates for infants were more than twice as high as those in any other age group. The mothers of many infants who developed measles were young, and their measles immunity was most often due to vaccination rather than infection with wild virus. As a result, a smaller amount of antibody was transferred across the placenta to the fetus, compared with antibody transfer from mothers who had higher antibody titers resulting from wild-virus infection. The lower quantity of antibody resulted in immunity that waned more rapidly, making infants susceptible at a younger age than in the past.
Secondary vaccine failure resulting in increased potential for serious disease in both babies and adults, as a result of mass vaccination, isn’t the only glitch in the vaccine-created herd immunity system, either.
Let’s look at some of the childhood vaccines and see what the “herd effects” are.
Protection against disease is due to the development of neutralizing antibodies to the diphtheria toxin. Following adequate immunization with diphtheria toxoid, protection persists for at least 10 years. A serum diphtheria antitoxin level of 0.01 IU/mL is the lowest level giving some degree of protection; a level of 0.1 IU/mL is regarded as protective.1 Levels of 1.0 IU/mL are associated with long-term protection.1 Immunization with diphtheria toxoid does not, however, eliminate carriage of C. diphtheriae in the pharynx or nares or on the skin.
From the CDC’s Pink Book chapter on diphtheria:
Although diphtheria disease is rare in the United States, it
appears that Corynebacterium diphtheriae continues to
circulate in areas of the country with previously endemic
- Tetanus- not a contagious disease, so the question does not apply
Same as MMR in many ways, but in addition to secondary vaccine failure, vaccine induced herd immunity probably causes a massive increase in shingles.
Hib and Prevnar-
Both vaccines do prevent transmission of vaccine serotypes, but both vaccines have adverse “herd effects” or “consequences”, such as “replacement disease”.
- In the absence of circulating disease, some vaccines lose their “punch” leaving adults vulnerable to childhood illnesses (consider recent outbreaks of mumps in the U.S. and the U.K.), which are generally more dangerous for grown-ups than for children. When that happens, infants are also born with significantly less passive immunity from their mothers, putting them at risk of serious complications and death, as well.
- Some vaccines do not prevent the transmission of the disease they are supposed to control, making herd immunity something of an oxymoron.
- Some vaccines clear out one disease organism, which is promptly replaced by another disease organism.
The simple picture: “if you are vaccinated you can neither catch nor spread the disease in question” turns out to largely be a overly simplistic fallacy, mostly useful for attacking parents who are perceived to be failing to contribute towards herd immunity because they chose not to vaccinate their children.
While some might ask the question, “How about a vaccination policy based on real scientific facts, for a change?” others might also ask a different question, which is, “Are the facts presented today, to justify new vaccines being introduced, and extending existing childhood vaccines into adult schedules, based on better logic than the CDC “experts” proclaimed in 1966?”
bottom of page 254:
“The authors are from the Public Health Service’s National Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta, Ga. Dr. Sencer is chief and Dr Dull is assistant chief of the Center. Dr Langmuir is chief of the Epidemiology Program. This paper was presented at the American Publich Health Association’s meeting in San Francisco, November 1, 1966″.