Sunday, May 10, 2015

Not such a happy Mother's Day

All mother's want their children to be healthy, and few things warm a mother's heart than knowing that their child(ren) are safe and thriving. This is universal for all parents, but late last week two 1 month old infants died in Mexico after receiving a variety of vaccinations (39 others are hospitalized). To their credit the Mexican government has suspended all vaccinations while they investigate. They had received 3 vaccinations simultaneously - tuberculosis, rotavirus, and Hepatitis B vaccines. Because they received multiple vaccinations simultaneously it will be all the more difficult to determine if it was one particular vaccine that was the primary cause or if there was a synergy in receiving multiple vaccines at the same time that resulted in the deaths. The practice of giving multiple vaccines at the same time is poorly studied as vaccines are simply added to the schedule once they are approved and deemed "safe and effective".

The last paragraph of the article includes the knee-jerk disclaimer that vaccines are in important public health strategy but all medications have risks, etc ... this politically correct statement has begun to fall rather flat, as it is nothing but a token acknowledgement of reality - yet (at least in the United States) it is increasingly difficult to avoid vaccination - there is little choice in the matter, so there is no way for individuals to avoid the risks and while the "herd" may have a short-term benefit, the collective group bears no responsibility when adverse events (like DEATH) occur.

My heart aches for these families - they were doing what they thought was best for their children (and as many think, fulfilling their "duty" to society), yet the result was tragedy. I pray for their comfort and peace as they grieve.

I don't doubt the motive of the parents, or of public health officials (and others) who fervently believe in the necessity of vaccination. I do wish someone would describe how many deaths as a result of vaccination is acceptable ... how many adverse events (either short or long term) ... and why policy makers refuse to insist upon LOTS of studies comparing the vaccinated with the unvaccinated (in both short term health and long term health) as that is the kind of information that would help both policy makers and parents and adult individuals decide what level of risk/benefit ratio with which they are willing to live.

Why are those who set vaccine policy permitted to be financially conflicted and connected with vaccine manufacturers when both benefit financially from the decision to use vaccines? Why do we not insist that those who set vaccine policy have no financial relationship with vaccine manufacturers, ever - not before they set policy, not after they set policy (Dr. Julie Gerberding, Dr. Paul Offit among many, many others). 

I hope Mexican public health officials have the backbone, and integrity, to not allow the vaccine makers the cover of the "Wyeth strategy" in response to these tragic outcomes. While Mexico was not included in this study I hope Mexican health policy makers consider its implications - that more vaccines do not necessarily mean better health.

 Because we do not have good data comparing short and long term health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals it is difficult for individuals to determine the level of participation in vaccination with which they are comfortable - what vaccines they may want, what they do not want.

Because vaccines have been declared both "safe and effective" by policy makers saddled with conflict of interest and also "unavoidably unsafe" (so says the SCOTUS in Bruesewitz v Wyeth, 2011) people must be able to decide for themselves what vaccines they use and when they use them.

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