Scientists usually receive very few grants for research on the safety of vaccinations, adjuvants and other vaccine components. However, there is more than enough funds to research why people do not vaccinate, and how to make them vaccinate their children. Therefore, there are many studies characterizing "anti-vaxx" parents.
Argument: "If there were any problems with the vaccines, if they were unsafe or ineffective, doctors would know about it. But there is currently almost complete scientific consensus - vaccines are safe and effective. After all, doctors, with their long years of formal training, have probably studied vaccines much more than you could ever read on the Internet".
How should the safety of vaccines be tested? By performing randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, during which the data on adverse effects experienced by the vaccine recipients is collected and compared to the control group.
We have already seen that safety of vaccines is tested without a real placebo, but only in the comparison to other vaccine, or in comparison with some other toxic compound. But this is not all. There are a few more problems with testing vaccines’ safety.
Neither CDC, nor FDA, and especially not the pharmaceutical companies, conduct studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Here the director from CDC, being back against the wall, admits to this fact at the congressional hearing (20 seconds). (Full version)
Most people assume that a vaccine is just a weakened or killed virus/bacteria. The immune system produces antibodies for the injected killed virus, and subsequently, if the person becomes infected – his immune system can already recognize the virus and react quickly to it.
This description is simplified to such extent that one might argue that it is completely untrue.
I’m beginning the review of individual vaccines with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, as it is, without doubt, the most dangerous and useless one.
If there were anything more stupid than vaccinating a teenager against HPV, it certainly would be vaccinating a newborn baby against hepatitis B.
Pertussis is caused by a bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, that settles in the airways of the respiratory tract. While the bacterium itself is not so dangerous, it secretes a toxin known as the pertussis toxin. This toxin irritates the respiratory tract and results in the release of mucus, ultimately leading to a severe cough with a characteristic sound (whoop). The cough can last for weeks, the reason why the Japanese and Chinese call this disease the "100-day cough". Although this disease can be quite unpleasant for both children and adults, it is generally not dangerous. However, for babies, especially those below the age of 3 months (those who cannot really cough to withdraw mucus), whooping cough can be fatal. In infants up to four months, about 1% of all whooping cough cases have a lethal outcome.
Unlike papilloma or whooping cough, tetanus is a really dangerous disease. Many parents, who refuse other vaccinations, still consider it necessary to vaccinate against tetanus. But what is the probability of contracting tetanus? Is it more dangerous than the vaccine? And, does the vaccine protect against tetanus?
Diphtheria, like tetanus, is also a rather dangerous disease, but what is the probability of getting sick with diphtheria today, and how effective is the vaccine?
Measles is undoubtly the most frightening infectious desease. According to the media, measles is much more dangerous than Ebola.
Mumps in children is usually so mild that even WHO does not scare anyone with it. In adults, however, they say that mumps can cause severe complications. Hence it is important to vaccinate infants.
Rubella in children is even milder than mumps. However, rubella can be dangerous for pregnant women in their first trimester.
Unlike the whooping cough, when adults and children are vaccinated to protect infants, in case of rubella, infants are vaccinated to protect pregnant women. Or, to be more precise, babies are vaccinated to protect the unborn babies.
Despite the fact that poliomyelitis has not been observed in developed countries for decades, for some reason it continues to inspire terror.
It is believed that influenza kills more people than all the other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. Therefore, theoretically, if there is any point at all to get vaccinated, it should be against the flu.
Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus and meningococcus are the three main types of bacteria that can cause meningitis and other invasive diseases. Bacterial meningitis, unlike viral meningitis, can be very dangerous.
Pneumococcus is a common bacterium that, like Haemophilus influenzae, can lead to meningitis and other invasive diseases. After the start of Hib vaccination, the incidence of Haemophilus influenzae temporarily decreased, and the incidence of pneumococcal infection increased. However, if the mortality rate from Haemophilus influenzae meningitis is 3%, the mortality rate from pneumococcal meningitis is 19%.
Just recently, chickenpox was a harmless childhood disease, but it becomes more dangerous each year, and soon will come the time when it will become more dangerous than measles, which is already more dangerous than Ebola.
Before the introduction of the vaccine, few people have heard of rotavirus infection, despite the fact that almost all children got infected with it.
If children and adults are vaccinated against whooping cough to protect infants, and infants get vaccinated against rubella to protect unborn infants, in case of the hepatitis A, infants get vaccinated to protect adults.
Meningococcus is the third type of bacteria causing meningitis and bacteremia. The incidence of meningococcal infection is significantly lower than the incidence of pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae infections, but since meningococcal vaccine is the newest licensed vaccine, meningococcus has recently become the biggest horror story.
BCG vaccines have been given to billions of people since 1921, more than any other vaccine. Despite such a lengthy track record, BCG vaccination has also generated at least as much controversy as any other form of immunisation. Most importantly, the capacity to protect individuals against tuberculosis is still debated, since randomised clinical trials have provided estimates ranging from 80% protection to no benefit. Traditionally, BCG vaccines have been considered among the safest in use. However, the true incidence of disease due to BCG strains (called “BCG-itis” or “BCG-osis”) is unknown.
With the concerns about BCG efficacy and safety have come calls for new vaccines against tuberculosis. Various new vaccine candidates have been developed and tested in animal models. Notably, of nearly 200 candidate vaccines tested to date, only one has provided better protection than BCG, a recombinant form of BCG itself.
The history of BCG begins with pathogenesis experiments by Calmette and Guerin in the first decade of the 20th century. To study tuberculosis in cattle, they worked with cultures of bovine tubercle bacilli (M. bovis), which explains why our present vaccines against M. tuberculosis are derived from closely related M. bovis. The importance of differences between M tuberculosis and M bovis in the derivation of a live, attenuated vaccine against human tuberculosis remains unknown.
For optimum oral infection of cattle and guineapigs, Calmette added a detergent, specifically bile, to the culture medium, to prevent the bacteria from clumping. Within a few months, an unusual colony type arose, which was less virulent to the guinea pigs. Calmette continued the process of growing these bacteria in the presence of bile, for 13 years, changing the nutrient medium every two weeks.
Beginning in 1921, BCG was administered to people to prevent tuberculosis. At this time, it was not possible to freeze-dry (lyophilise) BCG or put away a stock of the strain in a freezer. Therefore, BCG continued to be grown in much the same conditions that had resulted in its original attenuation until the lyophilisation of BCG-Pasteur after 1173 passages in 1961.
During these decades, the same poorly understood laboratory selective pressures that had created BCG in the first place were presumably still at work. Since Calmette first reported attenuation of virulence after 15 passages in vitro and reported further attenuation of virulence over the next 215 passages, was it possible that no further attenuation would happen during the subsequent 943 passages? Since neither the parent strain of M. bovis that gave rise to BCG nor the original BCG of 1921 are available for study, this question cannot be answered directly.
In 1924, BCG lots began to be distributed to various different countries for local preparation of vaccine. BCG was propagated at these laboratories in the same conditions as at the Pasteur Institute, with the same goals – namely to prevent BCG from reverting to virulence while preserving an acceptable degree of what was called “potency”. Over the course of a few decades, each of these BCG vaccine laboratories developed its own daughter strain of BCG, typically named after the laboratory director, the city, or the country.
Presently, all BCG strains are prepared as lyophilised stocks that are resuspended before inoculation. The proportion of BCG vaccine that is dead versus live varies greatly after reconstitution. Most lyophilised BCG vaccines are 90–95% dead bacteria, but BCG-Tokyo is a notable exception, estimated to consist of perhaps 25% live bacteria at vaccination. The importance of the proportion of viable bacteria in the vaccine has yet to be formally assessed; for instance, does giving more dead bacteria compensate?
In the rational design of an attenuated vaccine, one would presumably attempt to remove virulence factors while maintaining antigens. It is known today that several antigenic proteins are either absent from all BCG strains or absent / not expressed in BCG vaccines obtained after 1931. The loss of antigens from certain BCG strains is apparently contrary to what would be desired and suggests an important phenotype for further study.
The other important phenotype of BCG strains is their safety, and more specifically the rate of BCG dissemination. One such experiment involved the replacement of BCG-Prague with BCG-Russia in the former country of Czechoslovakia. Rates of disseminated BCG disease, including BCG osteitis were greater with the Russian strain. An epidemic of BCG osteitis was also reported in Sweden and Finland in the 1970s, but not due to a change of strain, rather because the Swedish strain of BCG was sent to Copenhagen for production of vaccine. In Sweden, BCG vaccination was halted. In Finland, BCG vaccination continued, with a change to another BCG strain.
Have BCG strains evolved over time? The answer is clearly yes. Does this matter? The answer depends on who is asked. A bacteriologist would be surprised if BCG has not changed considerably during a half-century of growth in the laboratory. For the person planning to administer BCG to an infant or the public-health official planning for the vaccination of millions of newborns, more information is needed. Is there a “most protective BCG”? Is there a “safest BCG”? Are these necessarily different? Unfortunately, answers to these questions cannot yet be given.
Regardless of whether the future involves specific BCG strains, a genetically altered BCG, or a completely new vaccine, one hopes that those currently providing BCG vaccines will be prepared to validate laboratory observations in the field, so that we are not again left with the uncertainty of vaccinating millions each year without a clear understanding of its risks and benefits.
Vitamin K injection is one of the procedures almost every child undergoes immediately after birth in most developed countries. Vitamin K plays an important role in the blood clotting process, and it is believed that its deficiency can potentially lead to Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of a healthy baby in the first year of life. SIDS is the leading cause of post-neonatal mortality in the United States (1 in 2,000 infants).
SIDS is the diagnosis made by exclusion, that is, if after investigation and autopsy no other cause of death is established. Although the cause of SIDS is by definition unknown, it is crystal clear that vaccines have nothing to do with it, exactly as is the case with autism.
According to the WHO, mercury is considered to be one of the ten most dangerous chemicals. According to the WHO, mercury is especially dangerous for intrauterine fetal development and infants in early stages of life. Mercury is dangerous in elemental form (metal), as well as in inorganic (mercury chloride) and in organic (methylmercury) compounds.
However, there is one organic compound of mercury, which is so safe, that infants and pregnant women can be safely injected with it. This compound is called ethylmercury.
Since the 1990s, the number of people with ASD has increased by several orders of magnitude. The cause of autism is still unknown, and the only thing that is certain – vaccines do not cause autism. But is it really so?
First cases of autoimmune diseases were described at the beginning of the 20th century, when Sergei Metalnikov discovered that injecting guinea pigs with sperm caused the production of antibodies, which immobilize the sperm. Nonetheless, the existence of autoimmune diseases was disputed up until the 1960s. To date, over 100 types of autoimmune diseases have been described. Their cause is unknown.