Vaccines at risk

A meritless suit claiming vaccines cause autism could drive vaccine makers out of the business, warns Paul A. Offit, an infectious diseases specialist, in a Boston Globe column. Without vaccines, children once again will suffer blindness, retardation and death.

On June 11, in an unprecedented action before a federal claims court, lawyers for 4,800 autistic children will argue that vaccines caused autism. If successful, these claims could exhaust the pool of money currently set aside to compensate children who have been hurt by vaccines. Further, lawyers will likely take their claims that vaccines cause autism to civil court, where awards could be enormous.

In the ’70s, after a British researcher linked the pertussis vaccine to brain damage, the rate of vaccination plunged in Britain, Offit writes. In a few years, 300,000 unvaccinated children were hospitalized with pertussis; 70 died. In the U.S., lawsuits drove all but one manufacturer out of the vaccine business. Yet, large-scale studies showed “the risk of permanent brain damage was the same in children who had not received the vaccine as in those who had.”

Similarly, the evidence shows no link between vaccines and autism.

Fourteen epidemiological studies have shown that the risk of autism is the same whether children received the MMR vaccine or not, and five have shown that thimerosal-containing vaccines also do not cause autism. Further, although large quantities of mercury are clearly toxic to the brain, autism isn’t a consequence of mercury poisoning; large, single-source mercury exposures in Minamata Bay and Iraq have caused seizures, mental retardation, and speech delay, but not autism.

Finally, vaccine makers removed thimerosal from vaccines routinely given to young infants about six years ago; if thimerosal were a cause, the incidence of autism should have declined. Instead, the numbers have continued to increase.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Before the vaccine was developed, measles killed 3,000 children a year in the U.S. and rubella “caused 20,000 babies to be born blind, deaf, or mentally retarded.” Mumps is rarely a killer but can cause brain inflammation, deafness and sterility in men.

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  1. The effects of omitting vaccination would be strongly nonlinear. If 1% of the kids skip getting vaccinated for a particular condition, then 5% of those kids might get the disease, for a total impact of .0005 of the relevant population. (Made-up example.) But if 5% of the kids skip the vaccination, it would be erroneous to conclude that the impact on the total disease incidence would be 5X…it might be many times higher because of the interaction of the contagious subpopulation with the subpopulation vulnerable to infection.

  2. SuperSub says:

    Yet another case of science being replaced by litigation and politics.
    I’ve heard over the past couple years of stories about diseases like polio and such making a comeback in states where parents can exempt their children from receiving vaccinations.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    One more promise that Arnold broke – he was going to tax punative damages at an extremely high percentage. I have always felt that a criminal trial was the apropriate place to punish, and that civil trials should be restricted to actual damages. People interested in the jackpot should be allowed to buy an insurance policy to give that chance.

  4. I was under the impression that the rules by which federal judges vetted expert witnesses pretty much put an end to specious, one-book wonder expert witnesses. That change to the rules is what moved a lot of these “greenmail” law suits to state courts. Not so?

  5. The only studies discrediting the vaccine autism link I have read have been epidemiologic, and I hope you are intelligent enough to know that we can manipulate numbers in these studies. There have been NO clinical scientific based studies that prove live virus vaccines do not cause autism.

    I would like to share a story about a similar conflict in our recent history. Another time when the medical community relied on epidemiologic studies.

    There were many epidemiologists, including prominent statisticians Joseph Berkson and Sir Ronald Fisher (often considered the “father of modern epidemiology”) who stood firm in their view that the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was simply a coincidence. Many scientists had blamed the increase in lung cancer on air pollution. For many years, the medical community relied on Sir Ronald Fisher’s epidemiologic studies (such as current studies dismissing the link between vaccines and autism), and not clinical research (such as Wakefield’s, or Bradstreet’s studies on autism) in stating that smoking did not cause lung cancer.…mererDirectCross.PDF…ld+Fisher%22+tobacco

    A few scientific studies, looking for a relationship between smoking and lung cancer, had been carried out before the Second World War, and indeed had found some evidence of such a relationship, but generally their results were not particularly persuasive and had very little impact on the medical establishment or on public opinion.

    It seems as though history is repeating itself.

    So if you believe the epidemiologic studies that smoking does not cause cancer, I suppose my argument is lost on you.

    Here is a clinical scientific study that proves there is a link between the measles and autism-

    Can you explain to me how the vaccine strain measles virus ended up in the cerebral spinal fluid of these autistic children, yet was not found in any typically developing controls? Can you find a similar study on the csf of autistic children that does NOT replicate these findings?

    The measles virus is an extremely nasty bug- and can cause severe neurologic damage. Take a look at SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), or MIBE (measles inclusion body encephalitis). Here you will find studies that show what the mealses virus can do to a compromised immune system.…22autism%22+MET+gene…_panencephalitis.htm

    I find it interesting that the Mayo clinic associates Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (one of the many conditions under the umbrella of autistic spectrum disorders) with SSPE.…r/DS00801/DSECTION=3

    Why don’t all children who receive the MMR develop regressive autism? Because they don’t all have the same immune response. Vaccines were created largely in anticipation of one typical immune response. With amazing HIV research in the past 2 decades, we now know that there are over 100 immune responses.

    Do some research on Primary Immune Deficiency, or Primary Immunodeficiency, and learn how horribly underdiagnosed this condition truly is. It is also fact that individuals with immune deficiency are contraindicated for live virus vaccine administration.

    The latest scientific genetic studies show that children with autism have ATYPICAL IMMUNE FUNCTION.…22autism%22+MET+gene

    Sadly, the children that have adverse reactions to live virus vaccines, are also likely to have serious sequela to vaccine preventable diseases, such as SSPE or MIBE, and even death, so herd immunity is still very critical to protect these individuals. It is quite a double edge sword.

    Regressive autism shares the same symptoms as encephalopathy.

    In the US, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program does pay out to autistic children injured by the MMR, if the virus is found in the CSF, although- parents and doctors are instructed to use the diagnosis of “encephalopathy”, as the NVICP refuses to pay out for a diagnosis of autism. I have spoke with 2 parents who have gained compensation in this manner.

    Check out what the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the US will cover-

    As a parent of a child who had undiagnosed immune deficiency before vaccination with the MMR/Varivax, a child who now has regressive autism, empty sella syndrome, and GI dysfunction that did not appear before a reaction to the MMR/ Varivax combination- I can assure this is a topic I have spent thousands of hours researching.

    My daughter had seizures, fever and rash 2 wks after the mmr, and then severely regressed within 2 wks of the reaction. We have since learned that she has an immune deficiency, and the virus over replicated. She also has pituitary damage that can only have been caused by an infection of the csf. Now her docs say no more live virus vaccines- EVER.

    Even the CDC states in their own vaccine information statement for the MMR and chickenpox vaccines;
    “Some people should check with their doctor about whether they should get MMR / chickenpoxvaccine, including anyone who:
    – Has HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system”

    here is some more scientific evidence, not numbers, for you to chew on

    Abnormal Measles-Mumps-Rubella Antibodies and CNS Autoimmunity in Children with Autism…7&filename=65007.pdf

    The autism research monographs of Teresa Binstock goes into great detail explaining the effects of live virus vaccines on a dysfunctional immune system , and how it contributes to autism.

    Here you will find 38 references to SCIENTIFIC STUDIES that support Wakefield’s theory

    Status of Serological and Molecular Virological Findings Implicating Measles Virus in the Etiology of Autism

    And this, this is just the tip of the iceburg of information implicating live virus vaccination in the etiology of autism.

    Medicine, as all science, is continually evolving. To think we have all the answers now is incredulous. Should we eliminate the vaccine- by all means, NO. We should follow suit with recent changes in the administration of the polio vaccine. Many are surprised to learn that the only cases of polio on the US over the last 20 yrs were caused by the OPV- oral polio vaccine, which is a live virus vaccine. That is why the US government began using IPV, an inactivated polio virus vaccine in 2001. Children with immune deficiencies contracted VDPV, or vaccine derived polio virus from virus replication of the OPV, and are now crippled for life.

    There has been no increase in wild polio virus, only VDPV.

    An inactivated measles vaccine HAS been created. It is time we start using it.

    The only evidence disproving a link between the MMR and autism is the Cochrane report.

    The summary reads beautifully
    “Measles, mumps and rubella are three very dangerous infectious diseases which cause a heavy disease, disability and death burden in the developing world. Researchers from the Cochrane Vaccines Field reviewed 139 studies conducted to assess the effects of the live attenuated combined vaccine to prevent measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) in children. MMR protects children against infections of the upper airways but very rarely may cause a benign form of bleeding under the skin and milder forms of measles, mumps and rubella. No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease was found. No field studies of the vaccine’s effectiveness were found but the impact of mass immunisation on the elimination of the diseases has been demonstrated worldwide.”

    But, any educated person can choose to read further into the Author’s Conclusion in the abstract-

    “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with MMR cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.”

    Largely inadequate, as is the state of today’s “one size fits all” healthcare system.