Friday, February 21, 2014

Fordham University - Mumps

As reported in the NY Post (see #1 below) Fordham University is experiencing what is presumed to be an outbreak of mumps - per the article (citing a university statement, so an actual person may not have interviewed) this has not actually been confirmed by lab testing, so the diagnosis is based on clinical exam/symptoms/history; The university statement cited by the article is accurate and non-inflammatory in what it says, as it acknowledges all the cases occurred in vaccinated students due to university requirements for admission - and likewise states that vaccination does not guarantee immunity from this, or any, infectious disease. The university statement also notes that "Mumps in college-age men and women usually runs its course without any lasting effects. They also took measures to quarantine/isolate those affected and clean common areas.

All of the above begs the question as to why mandatory vaccination is even necessary? Is the risk of vaccination worth any risk reduction for an illness that is generally mild and self-limiting, which rarely results in complications (especially if it happens in children rather than adults).

What's essentially unknown at this point in time is if this cohort had not been vaccinated early in their life (and it is unknown how many Fordham University students had been vaccinated with the MMR as children and then again prior to matriculation) ... but if they had not been vaccinated and had contracted Mumps as a child (when the risks of additional complications are a bit lower compared to infection as an adult - especially if a child is generally healthy and well nourished, immuno-competent, and does not have any pre-existing health problems, #2), then their risk of contracting this may well have been even lower, as "natural" spontaneous infection with "wild" (ie: not a vaccine manufactured strain) produces a different, and generally more robust level of protection (as opposed to the risk reduction of a vaccine). Those born prior to 1957 are presumed to be immune ... because they were more likely to have had the infection as children.

Because the vaccine for mumps in only available as a tri-valent vaccine (3 antigens - MMR,
measles, mumps, rubella) it is more difficult to determine what causes any adverse reaction or outcome from the vaccine - which of the three antigens, or which of the adjuvents or other ingredients (or preservatives) or which combination thereof contributed to any undesired

The use of vaccines may well have begun a round robin from which many want to get off.
Receipt of a vaccine may offer temporary risk reduction against contracting an infection, but then obligates the receiver to a lifetime of re-vaccination in order to maintain whatever level of risk reduction they may have obtained from vaccination - this absolutely benefits the makers of vaccines. It is not at all clear how much this benefits those receiving them, especially if they need continual "boosters";

Vaccination is not protection, it is risk reduction.
Vaccination is not immunity.
Any benefit is temporary.
Vaccination is not free of risk.

Those at risk should be free to decide what risk they are willing to live with ... if they want to avoid the risks of vaccination (which are real, but generally not acknowledged) and are willing to accept the risk of becoming ill (and the smaller risk of complications if they contract the infection), then they should not be compelled to take the vaccine.

If a person feels the benefit of risk reduction from the vaccine is greater than the risk of vaccination (and is willing to accept that they may get sick from the infection regardless of vaccination) then they should get the vaccine.



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