MRSA and Child Flu Deaths

May 5, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: News, Vaccine/Disease Analysis 

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Recent news stories about a link between MRSA and flu deaths in children raise some interesting questions in light of our Sisyphus series (Part I, Part II and Part III).

“Being a carrier of MRSA has increased a lot, especially among school-aged kids,” said Lyn Finelli, chief of influenza surveillance at the CDC. “And being colonized may put them at risk for a severe staph aureus infection when they get the flu.”

This particular news story blames the problem on antibiotic overuse, and, of course, recommends the flu vaccine to save children from this dangerous situation. Read more

Happy May 1st!

May 1, 2008 by · Comments Off on Happy May 1st!
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Insidevaccines is three months old today. In three months our team of writers, editors and proofreaders have put together 23 articles. In the days just before our opening on February 1st we also compiled 22 pages of useful information on a wide variety of vaccine related topics. We have linked to published scientific papers, to the Centers for Disease Control and to manufacturer’s product inserts.

We would like to thank all of the people who have spread links to insidevaccines across the web, with special thanks to Sandy Gottstein of Vaccination News and Ginger Taylor of Adventures in Autism for adding our link to their sites.

Disclaimer: Insidevaccines, although it is three months old, has not yet received any of the CDC recommended vaccines. Enter at your peril!

Vaccine Information Statements For Dummies

April 4, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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Before any doctor gives your baby vaccines, you should be given Vaccination Information Sheets (VISs) to read.

Developed by the CDC, they inform vaccine recipients, their parents or legal representative, about the benefits and risks of vaccines. (1) Federal Law requires their use. This is a result of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. 300aa-26. (1) Before 1986, parents didn’t have any right to printed information about vaccines.

VISs sound like a good system. Parents get concise and easy to understand information on a vaccine’s risks and benefits so they can make an informed decision.

Is that really how it works? Let’s examine the nuts and bolts of VISs.
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The Situation has Changed–For the Better?

March 24, 2008 by · Comments Off on The Situation has Changed–For the Better?
Filed under: News 

Insidevaccines will be posting occasional news stories related to vaccines with commentary by our team of editors. Here we go–
In 2002 Robert Goldberg wrote:

Despite significant activity in the area of vaccine design, vaccinology and immunology, vaccine development is on the verge of becoming a brackish backwater of other biotechnology and pharmaceutical enterprises. The market for vaccines is dominated by government purchasers that drive prices down to commodity levels, the regulations for the development and production of new vaccines are mired in the 1950s and sometimes cost more than producing vaccines themselves.

Public health officials and politicians are — depending on the day — either indifferent or outright hostile to the [sic] providing private companies with incentives for investing in new vaccines for a wide range of diseases. Indeed the solution de jour is to have the government — perhaps the Department of Defense (DOD) or some offshoot of the public health service — take over the development and production of vaccines, as if a U.S. government run National Vaccine Authority could magically and efficiently construct and operate billion dollar facilities without any glitches or major disruptions. Only scientists whose only brush with business is food shopping could concoct such an idiotic scheme.

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Rotavirus: Death by Diarrhea?

February 4, 2008 by · 22 Comments
Filed under: Vaccine/Disease Analysis 

Rotavirus is reported to be the leading cause of diarrhea among children, causing upwards of 55,000 hospitalizations per year in the US. Symptoms consist of vomiting and diarrhea, usually lasting between 3-8 days. Subsequent bouts of rotavirus are usually milder.

When this vaccine made its debute in 1998, I’ll admit to some skepticism. I laughed and said,“Really? Now it’s death by diarrhea!” When the first Rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) was recalled in 1999, for causing intussusception, I felt justified in my stance. Especially when I found out that intussusception caused by this vaccine is a “compensable injury” and is paid for out of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. (1) (Intussusception is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the intestine gets blocked or twisted. One portion of the intestine telescopes into a nearby portion, causing the intestinal obstruction. The most common site is where the small intestine joins the large intestine.)

In 2006, a new rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq) was approved by the FDA. My family doctor and most of those around me were all strongly recommending the new vaccine, so I turned my attention towards some research.
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Measles: The Grim Reality

February 2, 2008 by · 32 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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(Part I of this series: Parents: Does the CDC Think We are Stupid?)

What does the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have to say to parents about measles?

Before measles immunization was available, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles. An average of 450 measles-associated deaths were reported each year between 1953 and 1963.

Was measles a major health problem between 1953 and 1963? Were parents begging for a vaccine? Terrified that their child would die or be permanently damaged by a dangerous disease? Well, no. Some here could give their answer to that question, but better still, ask your parents, and grand-parents what they thought about measles.  Find out who in your family was “at risk” of serious complications or death.

The big question, when you see a death rate, is how many deaths occur in relation to the total number of cases? The reported cases, with something like measles, are always going to be much lower than the total cases, and reported cases will generally be more severe, more likely to be hospitalized, and more likely to have a bad outcome.  I had measles when I was eight, but my parents didn’t report my case of measles, I never saw a doctor and no one in my family (including two younger siblings) caught it from me. Here, from the CDC Pink Book, is the complete story:
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Sisyphus and the Conjugate Vaccines

January 31, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Vaccine/Disease Analysis 

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As a punishment from the gods, Sisyphus was compelled to roll a huge rock up a steep hill, but before he reached the top of the hill, the rock always escaped him and he had to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for Sisyphus due to the mortal’s hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus.

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In September, the AP reported that Prevnar…

“A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children is having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20825107/

I always wonder who actually writes these science stories you see in the media.

Yes, the emerging serotypes cause ear infections and other mild illnesses, but they also cause various deadly forms of invasive disease. It’s a phenomenon called “serotype replacement” (or “replacement disease” in other circumstances) and so far all of the conjugate vaccines (Hib, Prevnar, Menactra) have done this in some form or fashion. The vaccines work extremely well against vaccine-included serotypes of streptococcus pneumoniae, but they work so well that they also prevent asymptomatic carriage of these normally commensal organisms.

And that is a problem.

For example, from The Lancet:

“FINDINGS: We noted no reduction of AOM episodes in the pneumococcal vaccine group compared with controls (intention-to-treat analysis: rate ratio 1.25, 95% CI 0.99-1.57). Although nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci of serotypes included in the conjugate-vaccine was greatly reduced after pneumococcal vaccinations, immediate and complete replacement by non-vaccine pneumococcal serotypes took place.”
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Parents: Does the CDC Think We are Stupid?

January 31, 2008 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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Why else would the CDC supply the parents of America with dumbed down information that contradicts their very own guidelines on how to distinguish trustworthy information from mere opinion? Here are the guidelines from the CDC on evaluating information found on the Internet.

The CDC on trustworthy information.

What is the scientific evidence for claims made? The original source of facts and figures should be shown. For example, the Web site should provide citations of medical articles or other sources of information. You should be able to distinguish facts from opinions. Also, facts are more reliable if they come from a published scientific study on humans rather than from unpublished accounts or from reports of a single person or of animal studies.

When it comes to information for parents, the CDC motto is clearly: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
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