Wasserman: A pediatrician’s case for mandatory vaccinations

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Dr. R. “Mort” Wasserman, an attending pediatrician at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

I am a UVM College of Medicine faculty general pediatrician, over age 60, with a degree in public health. Although I am primarily a researcher now, in my years of active practice I cared for many children whose parents were reluctant or refused to immunize them and am sensitive to parents’ concerns about immunizations. I regularly engaged those parents in discussions on the issue and some changed their minds. I appreciate the chance to change others’ minds.

Knowledge can be gained from personal experience and/or from examining the data. As far as experience goes, my vaccine-related experiences began with a kindergarten classmate dying of polio. Two other ex-schoolmates suffered lifelong disability from that disease. Also in the experience department, I have provided care to children who died of pertussis (whooping cough) and bacterial meningitis and to others who survived meningitis but have severe lifelong disabilities. Pertussis, bacterial meningitis, and many other vaccine-preventable diseases are much less frequent or quite rare because of vaccines.

Most Vermont parents who are concerned about vaccines lack personal experience with these diseases. They have not stayed up, night after night, with a child coughing from pertussis or sat next to the hospital bed of a child with bacterial pneumonia. They take the absence of vaccine-preventable disease for granted. A few are also angry about the greedy pharmaceutical companies. They value personal choice. I also am no fan of the pharmaceutical companies and I also value personal choice.

I have provided care to children who died of pertussis (whooping cough) and bacterial meningitis and to others who survived meningitis but have severe lifelong disabilities. Pertussis, bacterial meningitis, and many other vaccine-preventable diseases are much less frequent or quite rare because of vaccines.

However, I also have a public health perspective driven not only by personal experience, but by data. The laws about vaccines are directed at protecting the public’s health, and the data are quite clear. Children get very sick from, hospitalized because of, and (sadly) occasionally die from vaccine-preventable diseases. The impressions of every Vermont pediatrician over the age of 50 who has seen multiple child deaths and permanently disabilities resulting from these diseases are supported by substantial research. As to vaccine complications, the data also are very clear. Children very rarely get sick from, hospitalized because of, or die because they received a vaccine. The supposed autism-measles vaccine connection has now been thoroughly discredited by multiple groups.

Are vaccines completely effective? No. Is vaccine policy based only partly on science, and partly on convenience of administration? Yes. But do vaccines drive up Vermont health care costs? Absolutely not – every cost-benefit analysis shows substantial cost savings. Do Vermont doctors profit mightily from administering vaccines? No. They typically obtain vaccines from the Vermont Department of Health and charge only a modest administration fee.

This public policy debate is about the protection of our children. When parents don’t immunize their children, they place other people’s children at risk, including: (1) children too young to be immunized against some of the diseases in question (generally infants younger than 6 months of age); (2) those whose immunization series has begun but who have had too few doses to establish immunity or who have not had the needed booster doses; (3) those who have been completely immunized but for whom the immunization series does not afford complete protection (varies from vaccine to vaccine, but approximately 10 percent for most vaccines); and, of course (4) those whose parents have chosen not to have them immunized. That risk persists because insufficient immunization levels in the general population fail to confer the “herd immunity” that prevents the overall spread of disease.

In Vermont, many thousands of children are being placed at risk of serious illness so that adults can make a personal choice. As a pediatrician and a child advocate who wishes to prevent needless suffering, I have no choice but to stand up for Vermont’s children and to support laws mandating vaccines for children attending school and child care.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Mort.

    I had pertussis when I was 13 and the thought of the same happening to either of my children makes my heart pound.

  2. “Are vaccines completely effective? No. Is vaccine policy based only partly on science, and partly on convenience of administration? Yes. But do vaccines drive up Vermont health care costs? Absolutely not – every cost-benefit analysis shows substantial cost savings. Do Vermont doctors profit mightily from administering vaccines? No.”

    An important paragraph. Thank you for that. While I am not a supporter of mandatory vaccination (or mandatory anything else, really) I am also not a supporter of dishonest and hysterical “debates” and you did a great job summarizing the messy facts of the matter concisely.

    My own distrust of pharma multinationals is, I hope, worlds removed from “vaccination as NWO population control,” and it’s a shame the conversation gets polarized to those extremes so quickly.

  3. Pat Jones :

    “Do Vermont doctors profit mightily from administering vaccines? No.”

    This is to bad. The vaccine administration business is estimated to bring in over $50 billion dollars this year. This is from a report on CVS pharmacy published in Forbes magazine. Pediatricians serve one purpose and one purpose only, sell vaccines. All 71 doses. No negotiating. I won’t let my children get within 10 feet of a pediatrician. All they care about is their paycheck. What has Dr. Wasserstein done to help one single family devastated by vaccine injury? I’m sure he abandons them just like every other pediatrician does.

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      What an absurd statement, that pediatricians only work to “sell vaccines”. Way to insult an entire profession that works very hard to keep kids healthy.

      Kudos to Dr. Wasserman for articulating the continued need for vaccination so well.

    • For a living, I work with pediatricians on practice management issues.

      The statement that, “Pediatricians serve one purpose and one purpose only, sell vaccines…” is absurd and offensive and clearly not based in any objective reality or facts. I have personally reviewed the costs and revenue from the vaccines administered in 100s of practices around the country and it’s generally a break even endeavor for most pediatricians. In fact, for many, it’s a significant financial LOSS. They provide the vaccines because they believe in the science.

    • Boris Ogon :

      “The vaccine administration business is estimated to bring in over $50 billion dollars this year.”

      This, of course, is the happy (and commonplace) antivax conflation of revenue with profit.

  4. David O'Leary :

    To Pat Jones: You ask, What has Dr. Wasserstein done to help one single family devastated by vaccine injury?

    He used several up-close experiences both as a child and adult to inform his decision to become a healer of children and a researcher of childhood diseases. He also put himself out there to give his expert opinion on why vaccination have worked in the past and will continue to work.

    Secondly, you say that pediatricians only care about their paycheck? If all they cared about was their paycheck, they would not pick one of the lowest paid specialties in medicine. I appreciate your feeling about the pharm. companies, but the insistence that our children’s doctors are somehow part of a corporate conspiracy detracts from the larger public health issues.

  5. I’m puzzled how you come up with such a misty mirage on reality, Dr Wasserman. You have three years on me, however, your assessment doesn’t match with ground zero.

    Surely, you READ the medical literature? I have a suggestion for you. Revise every article on whooping cough, by your USA expert James D Cherry, including his 2012 NEJM “resurgence” article, and then come back and commit to some decent dialogue. Anyone reading Cherry’s articles talking about how the whooping cough vaccines creates original antigenic sin, and CL Weigart’s articles pre-dating those, which obliquely expand on that explaining explain WHY the vaccine doesn’t work in adults,… would lead any sane adult to ask the question, “Which planet do paediatricians live on?” and “Then why on earth are we using this vaccine?” and “Why won’t the medical profession tell the public what is in their own medical literature?”

    They might have some others like, “Did the old and current vaccines create the current rampant situation with regard to whooping cough?” and “If so, what can be done?”

    I am one of those parents whose unvaccinated children picked up measles, rubella, whooping cough and mumps from vaccinated children – who got it anyway.

    In the country I live in, it’s the “joke” amongst non-vaccinating parents that while the vaccinating parents go around mopping their foreheads, saying, “If I hadn’t vaccinated my hospitalized whooping child, they would have died!!!” (the paediatrician said so!) Yet those of us whose unvaccinated children only have mild whooping cough and never land in hospital, look at those mothers and ask, “Whose pulling the wool over whose eyes?”

    We mothers who DO nurse our unvaccinated children through measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough and chickenpox, know they aren’t nearly as serious as paediatricians keep on saying telling parents of healthy children, and our children even wonder what the fuss is all about.

    Your default argument is …what about all these children we have on high doses of steroids, immune suppressants and other drugs which MAKE children susceptible to infections – don’t you have any consideration for them?

    Absolutely. Our children now have solid immunity to whooping cough for 30 years (as per the latest medical study on natural immunity), and unlike vaccinated people who not only cannot clear the bacteria from the system efficiently, but also spread the disease to immunocompromised children because they assume that vaccinated people can’t spread the disease…., our children will in the future, be able to clear bordetella fast, and won’t spread it to anyone, for at least another 20 years.

    • Suzanne Michels :

      Bravo.

      My unvaccinated 5th child (my first 4 were fully vaccinated) is my healthiest child. She is 5 years old and has never had an ear infection, croup, or a stomach virus. My other children suffered from chronic ear infections, chronic croup, etc. When my 5th child catches a cold, she basically has a little clear nasal drainage…and keeps on playing. Last month, when the flu hit our household, my 5th child ran a fever for one day..and then she felt better. Everyone else who caught it (including me) was sick for 3 days, with a 4th day for recovery.

      Children are bombarded with immunizations before their immune systems are fully developed. My 5th child, who did not receive these immunizations, has the stronger, most robust immune system of our entire family. (She has been exposed to chicken pox 3 times and still hasn’t caught it!)

      I understand that pediatricians who believe in immunizations truly do have children’s best interests at heart, there is SO MUCH misinformation that they believe without questioning that it renders their arguments largely useless.

      Good comment!

  6. Laura Condon :

    I wish I could believe Dr. Wasserman’s claim to be willing to listen to parents and others who have concerns about vaccines but his condescending tone leads me to believe otherwise. Still I suspect he is a bright enough man and I hope he will read and consider my comments.

    My concern about vaccines was raised some 33 years ago when I began work with vaccine injured children and their families. Oh yes, there are vaccine injured children out there…thousands and thousands and thousands of them. Dr. Wasserman’s denial and claim that they are rare, neither makes them non-existent nor rare. The doctor makes no mention of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program but surely he is aware of these and surely he is aware that VICP has paid out over $2 Billion in compensation to thousands of vaccine injured children, including those with vaccine induced autism. Even in little Vermont you have three individuals who died last year the result of their vaccines, including Kaylynne Matten who was a delightful and healthy 7 year-old just prior to her flu shot from which she succumbed four days later.

    I’m not far behind Dr. Wasserman in age and I remember many of these childhood illnesses well. I was sick with most of them. My mother cared for me as a mother would for a sick child. I recovered and I retain life-long immunity as a result. My body has no need for risky injections again and again over my lifetime in an effort to maintain immunity. This immunity was important as I became a mother myself, allowing me to pass maternal immunity to my babies. But like many mothers I was talked into vaccinating my own children. Fortunately my children did get chicken pox and have that permanent, natural immunity but I regret that I deprived them of natural immunity against measles, mumps and rubella and pertussis for my daughter. As a result, she will have no natural immunity to pass to her children. And as we are seeing, younger and younger babies are now susceptible to illness that a generation ago were protected by maternal immunity. We must take a critical look at how reducing naturally occurring childhood illness through vaccination now puts the next generation at even greater risk.

    Dr. Wasserman mentions childhood friends who suffered from polio but he fails to tell us if they acquired polio naturally or were sickened by the vaccine. Back when the doctor was young the vaccine was a live-polio vaccine with a well-established risk of actually causing polio. In fact around the world where the live-polio vaccine is used it still causes polio. It causes polio to the extent that now the CDC must refer to different strains of polio…the wild-type polio and the vaccine derived polio. The mutation of the disease because of the vaccine causes a great deal of illness and suffering especially in impoverished countries. In addition, the polio vaccine was contaminated by a monkey virus in 1960. You see, monkey kidney cells were used in the production of the vaccine. SV40 is a monkey virus that became part of the polio vaccine and infected untold numbers of children. SV40 does not appear to cause the monkeys much grief but it causes cancer in humans. While our government halted production for a while, none of the contaminated vaccines were pulled from shelves…they were given to innocent children.

    We all recognize that any doctor will see those most sickened by these childhood illness. That doesn’t negate the fact that the vast majority of children will not be critically ill, will be cared for at home never seeing the doctor, will recover just fine, and will have permanent immunity as a result. Surely the doctor recognizes that decisions about vaccines cannot be made based on the few very sick that he sees show up at the hospital. Were that the case, there would also be a distorted view of the risks associated with swimming pools, bicycles, swing sets or anything else that would cause one to show up in an emergency room.

    It is troubling that the doctor seems to recall no experience of caring for vaccine injured children. He’s a pediatrician. We all know that he has received phone calls from worried mothers with just vaccinated babies who are suffering from uncontrolled fevers, high-pitched screaming, projectile vomiting and seizures. We all know that some of the babies he has treated have died from SIDS and he has watched some of his own patient’s health and development regress with each subsequent vaccination. We all know that he has seen children with ear infections, allergies, peanut allergies, autoimmune disorders and developmental delays all the result of vaccination.

    How do I know what I know? I am a researcher, an un-biased researcher. I have access to the same information that Dr. Wasserman should access. I pull facts from the CDC, the FDA, HHS, and vaccine manufacturers. And I also listen to parents of the vaccine injured. Listening to those parents, those closest to and most observant of those who are being vaccinated, is a critical aspect of medical science assisting us in determining the actual results of mass, mandatory vaccination practices. Were Dr. Wasserman to listen he too would hear of the great concerns, the illness, the injury, the deaths and the chronic health issues that have now become so prevalent in this new, fully-vaccinated generation. He too would be able to question if any short-term gain from reducing mild childhood illnesses has produced a chronically ill generation now precariously dependent on artificial vaccine immunity.

    It is especially troubling that Dr. Wasserman lays unjustified guilt and blame at the feet of good, educated parents who would, after much research and likely against the demands of an aggressive pediatrician and with the requirements of a notarized exemption decide that it was in the best interest of their child’s health to forgo a vaccine, some vaccines or all vaccines. It is most likely that such parents are knowledgeable about health and recognize that their child has an immune system designed to develop and protect them their whole life long and do all they can to foster that immune system development providing them with nutritious foods, regular exercise and outdoor play, water for hydration, sufficient rest and proper hygiene. Surely as a physician, Dr. Wasserman must recognize the disease process. Simple microbes such as viruses and bacteria are programmed to search out a compromised host. A healthy person is just too darn difficult to infect. These healthy unvaccinated children are a threat to no one. It is insulting and offensive to suggest otherwise.

    As we have all come to see, vaccines are a medical intervention wrought with risk and failures. Some may still chose to inject. But there are valid and scientific reasons of not doing so for good health. To deny informed consent of any risky medical intervention is unethical and immoral. The legislators and people of Vermont can rest in good conscience ensuring that freely given informed consent remains properly the law in this state.

    • Laura Condon :

      Interesting that Mr. Todd (last name witheld) has posted an awful lot of commentary here for someone who has no affiliation with any credible organization.

      Yes indeed I am a NH State Director of Advocacy for NVIC. This national non-profit has existed since 1982 and is a clearinghouse of valuable information and resources on diseases, vaccines and legal rights. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is dedicated to the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to defending the informed consent ethic in medicine. I hope all readers will visit the website http://www.nvic.org in their search for facts and truth to help them make the best medical decisions for themselves and their children.

      The public should know that the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a voluntary system of reporting adverse reactions of all types to vaccination but its failure is a national disgrace. This system was created as a warning system of sickness and injuries from vaccines that were either not reported or not evident during the approval process. It is essential that the public be protected from bad vaccines. But the system is flawed. It is a voluntary reporting system and there is no penalty imposed on doctors who dismiss parent’s reports and concerns and fail to report adverse reactions. As a result it is estimated that only about 10% of actual adverse reactions to vaccination are even reported. How can the public be protected from vaccine caused illness, disability and death if we aren’t even properly collecting the data?

      The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out over $2.5 billion to compensate the vaccine injured. It is a national disgrace that only 3,321 have been compensated. Thousands have had their cases dismissed because they didn’t fit the neat little profile of pre-determined reactions to certain vaccines. And thousands more were dealing with doctors who dismissed their concerns about vaccine reactions and injury and were unaware of their rights to compensation until the short statute of limitations had passed and they were then barred from filing a claim. Maybe you are one of those parents or know someone who is.

      Just this week 14 year-old Tyler Finn of New Jersey died following his flu vaccine. He was infected with Influenza B, then pneumonia and another virus. Like Kaylynne Matten and many others out there, they were sickened from their flu vaccine. Were you? Just what does the flu vaccine do to so many that the vaccine results in illness? Is it weakening or damaging the immune system? Is the harm permanent? Is the harm cumulative? We can see from these two cases that these unfortunate children were weakened to such an extent that they both died. But when these are not reported as vaccine-related deaths, there is no investigation and the injections continue to be foisted on an unsuspecting public.

      Most rabid vaccine pushers look at all vaccines and childhood diseases as if they were the same. They most definitely are not. Some diseases are more serious than others. Some illnesses, like chicken pox are largely just a mild childhood nuisance. Some are caused by bacteria; some are caused by viruses, both simple microbes that easily mutate. These vaccine pushers never met a vaccine they didn’t like and they can’t fathom that at some point a child’s little developing body is overwhelmed by these injections. We see over and over again that where there is overuse of vaccines that new problems develop. Chicken pox for instance is a case in point of an unnecessary vaccine that is now the cause of a vaccine derived strain of chicken pox different from wild-type chicken pox, now the cause of shingles in children and the cause of the growing epidemic of shingles affecting the adult population. But like addicts, these vaccine pushers can’t get enough. Now there is a second dose of chicken pox vaccine required…will there be more, year in and year out in an effort to provide long-term artificial immunity? And the shingles epidemic? There’s a new risky, ineffective vaccine for that epidemic caused by the first vaccine. We are probably all aware of that vicious pharmaceutical cycle of adding drugs to fix the problems caused by the prior drugs. These are some of the huge failings of mandatory mass, indiscriminate vaccination programs.

      Many vaccine pushers claim that vaccination is far safer than the risk of infection. We all know that blanket comment is as silly as it is irresponsible. No two illnesses present the same amount of risk. No two vaccines present the same amount of risk. If we are not properly accounting for the vaccine injuries, how can anyone properly calculate the risk?

      Again, I wish to remind readers that much valuable information can be obtained from the National Vaccine Information Center. http://www.nvic.org. Good health to you!

      • Kathryn Kinzel :

        I have seen cases of children who have died of chickenpox. Yes, it’s rare, but it happens more frequently than some of the alleged adverse reactions of the chickenpox vaccine. And we have had shingles ever since there has been chickenpox, and even if the current vaccine only decreases your changes of getting shingles by 50%, that’s something I would consider (since the vaccine also decreases the severity of shingles). Have you seen how people suffer from shingles? Wouldn’t you do whatever you could to keep that from happening to you?

        The National Vaccine Information Center is an organization designed to look like an official organization supported by science, when in reality they distort scientific findings to scare parents, and once parents are in this frightened, distrusting state of mind, these organizations pander THEIR information and convince parents that they are safer with them. I know you must believe in their cause greatly, Laura, but I believe in my cause of promoting public health, and the tactics used by organizations decrying the science behind vaccines drive me nuts.

        Science doesn’t use scare tactics. I don’t think that science SHOULD use scare tactics, but it’s difficult to use hard scientific evidence against hysterical organizations that don’t trust the government. Scientific data appears cold and heartless next to anecdotes, but I will take the data every time.

        Also, just because an organism is a virus doesn’t mean that it will mutate into something completely new and different every couple of months. Many viruses are pretty stable, because they have adapted to our bodies over time. The most common bacterial mutation is one that allows for antibiotic drug resistance because, again, they have adapted to our bodies.

        Regarding the flu vaccine – I have done a lot of work around the flu this year. The article about Tyler Finn does not specify when he got his flu vaccine – it could have been back in October when I got mine – and he died from an Influenza B strain, of which there are two strains circulating and only one is in the vaccine. He very well could have gotten the other. Therefore, it is impossible to say that the flu vaccine caused his death by either infecting him (not possible) or causing his body to be weakened – it borders on slanderous, actually.

        Are vaccines 100% effective? No. Are they 100% safe? No. No medical intervention is 100% safe – not the advil you take for a headache, nor the ginseng root you take to improve your health. Everything carries some minute risk, and nearly always the benefit outweighs the risk. Vaccines on the whole are extremely safe – millions of doses are given every year, and the number of adverse events relative to the number of doses given are small.

    • Suzanne Michels :

      Thank you for this EXCELLENT post!

  7. Joe Schwartz :

    Dr Wasserman,
    The scientific studies on the outcomes of childhood diseases are not older than you, so I wonder why you aren’t calling for mandatory employment and mandatory good diets since these factors impact the outcomes of these diseases more than vaccination status.

    Of course, it is well documented in peer reviewed literature that dietary training for medical doctors is woefully inadequate, so that might explain why you overlooked these key pieces of data.

    It’s amazing that people in public health want to take away the basic right to choose to forgo an unnecessary medical intervention which has a documented risk to the individual and far from stellar efficacy.

  8. Any cursory review of the vaccination rates, exemption availability, infection rates and overall health outcomes in the United States quickly disproves the false allegation that exemptions harm health. The AAP conducts itself as if vaccination were a magic bullet, where the states with the highest vaccination rates have the best infant mortality rates and lowest infectious disease rates. This is absolutely false. Here are 2 slides comparing the Top 15 best states for Infant Mortality with the Top 15 states for Most Vaccinated for 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/85704894/U…cination-Rates

    Connecticut, the #1 most vaccinated state ranked 20th for infant mortality.

    Florida, the #3 most vaccinated state ranked 29th for infant mortality.

    North Carolina, the #6 most vaccinated state ranked 46th in infant mortality.

    Tennessee, the #8 most vaccinated state ranked 45th in infant mortality.

    Mississippi, the #10 most vaccinated state ranked at the very bottom 50th place with the worst infant mortality rate in the country.

    6 of the Top 15 most vaccinated states ranked in the bottom (worst) 7 states for infant mortality, including bottom 50th place Mississippi.

    Conversely, when looking at the states with the Top 15 Best Infant mortality we find that over half, 8 of the 15 offer non-medical exemptions.

    8 of the states with the Top 15 Best Infant mortality ranked 30 and below in most vaccinated.

    In 2011 Vermont had the #2 best (lowest) Infant mortality rate, the #2 best (lowest) infectious disease rate, but was #22 in Most Vaccinated.

    In 2012 Vermont “improved” to #11 most vaccinated, and dropped to #10 in infant mortality. Is this the direction the state wants to be going?

    During the promotion of the Vaccine Bills in 2012 there was a parade of misinformation.
    The overriding theme was that the Philosophical Exemption is hurting vaccination rates.
    This was/is false as evidenced by the VT DOH’s own report for 2011/2012 documenting a significant rise in vaccination rates, and a decrease in PE use. This report closed December 31, 2011, and it is almost certain that at some point during the legislative session VT DOH personnel knew that their representations were false, yet they continued to press forward. Legislators were requesting this exact data during hearings and DOH staff stated they were unable to produce it.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/114630984/2011-2012-VT-Vax-StatsMU3-Copy .
    Now we have Till claiming that the Pertussis outbreak is due to low vaccination, when the rates are higher this year than last year. Even VT DOH Commissioner Chen knows how ridiculous it would be to try to use this illogic to justify the legislation.

    Parents are simply responding sensibly to an ever expanding schedule which includes mandates for infections that are not dangerous, Chicken Pox, or which are near non-existent in VT, Hep B.
    The Chicken Pox vaccine is magnitudes more dangerous than the natural infection as documented in the slides here.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/120430481/CDC-MMRV-Vaccine-Data-Safety-Link-Slides
    Only 13 countries recommend it universally (few other countries have mandates at all) Natural infection complication rates requiring hospitalization are 1 to 2 per 100k, compared to 40 to 80 vaccine provoked febrile seizures, and 2200 to 4000 outpatient high fever consults. Hep B is astonishingly rare and would require illegal activity to contract it at school http://www.scribd.com/doc/120430481/CDC-MMRV-Vaccine-Data-Safety-Link-Slides

  9. Ben Eastwood :

    It is interesting that Tod withheld that there are no states where the diseases we vaccinate for are major causes of infant mortality. Most of the diseases we vaccinate for have low mortality rates even if they occur in unvaccinated children. Perhaps in developing countries where there is little medical care available and poor sanitation and hygiene these diseases are a bigger problem, but in the US children are FAR more likely to die in an automobile related incident than they are from any disease. Cars cause far more health problems, from injuries to respiratory problems from pollution, to accidents than the diseases we vaccinate for do.

  10. Eileen Foster :

    Dr. Wasserman stated, “When parents don’t immunize their children, they place other people’s children at risk…” While Dr. Wasserman did not draw a relationship between the recent pertussis outbreaks and exemptors, I think it is important to the discussion to share the CDC’s position on this topic.

    The causal relationship between exemptors and pertussis outbreaks were addressed at a CDC Telebriefing in July 2012. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, answered a question in regard to whether exemptors were the source of the Pertussis outbreaks.
    She responded: “Yes, thank you for that question. We think there are many things going on. Pertussis is a cyclical disease and the vaccines are not perfect. So even with increasing vaccination coverage, we expect to still have cycles. We think there are some unusual epidemiologic features that have caused us to launch a more detailed investigation in Washington State. Waning of immunity or a weakening of the time or waning of protection over time may be part of the story that we’re seeing. On the other hand, we know that people who are not vaccinated have about an eight times higher risk of disease than people who are vaccinated. We know there are places around the country where there are large numbers of people who aren’t vaccinated. ****However, we don’t think those exemptors are driving this current wave. We think it is a bad thing that people aren’t getting vaccinated or exempting, but we cannot blame this wave on that phenomenon.*** Next question.”

    One theory for the increase of Whooping Cough among the Vaccinated is that the disease is mutating and rendering the vaccine less effective.

    Source: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/t0719_pertussis_epidemic.html

  11. David Rhodes :

    A very interesting debate from both sides of the argument! If (the many!) wish to vaccinate, then that is their choice … though I do believe that their children will suffer … later if not sooner.

    I began my own investigations following the removal of mercury amalgams, which I received 50-odd years ago as a child. I had been repeatedly told the fillings were perfectly safe, yet a few years ago I became very sick and run down for NO apparent reason … my symptoms TOTALLY disappearing after safe removal and a period of heavy metal detox.

    That began my research in earnest and became interested in the Andrew Wakefield case. According to media reports he is a liar, cheat and accepted bribes. Yet when I listened to HIM … I realised that is simply NOT true. So the plot thickened …

    In all sincerity (and I wish with all my heart this might not be true) in spite of the fact that there are many decent, honest and caring doctors out there … there is a real heart of darkness within the drug industry which uses it’s vast resources to exerts tremendous pressure and influence in so many areas.

    And as time goes on, more and more people are awakening up to that fact.

    Vaccination is a huge and unnecessary scam … It’s purpose is to create sickness for profit!

    There is no money to be made from healthy people, is there?

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      So science can show that Andrew Wakefield is a fraud, motivated by the profit of scaring concerned parents, but YOU listen to him and CLEARLY, the science is wrong because YOU believe him!

      This is why we have the scientific method – anecdotal evidence appears strong because a person is telling the story, but one person could see things from a skewed perspective. Just because I watch a balloon rise into the sky doesn’t mean I can then discredit the theory of gravity.

  12. Why have Todd’s comments been removed?

    • Dear Chip,
      It turns out that Todd was using a pseudonym for all of his posts. I contacted him and he is unwilling to use his real name.
      VTDigger requires that all commenters use their first and last names. This helps us keep the debate civil and transparent. We have never allowed avatars on the site. When they turn up, as Todd did, sometimes it takes us a while to figure out that they’re faking it, but eventually the ruse becomes apparent. In the spirit of fairness and transparency in which we endeavor to operate, we believe it’s important for commenters to reveal who they are.
      Anne Galloway
      Editor of VTDigger.org
      Executive director of Vermont Journalism Trust

      • Chip Hart :

        Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the situation you are in and encourage you to maintain your standards.

        What options do you have for someone who is afraid of retribution outside the context of this WWW site? I’ve been _very_ reluctant to post on this particular subject due to some serious harassment I have received in the past. I realize you may not have a solution, just wondering what your position is. I’ve run into 3 people locally who thanked me for my mild comments above (who knew this was so popular?) but don’t DARE add to the discussion for fear of the impact on their professional lives.

        Also, does this mean anyone’s name and ID can be questioned? I hadn’t thought of it previously, but I see a few names on here of dubious legitimacy, particularly from some of the less civil comments (unless you consider being accused of “ly[ing], cheat[ing], and steal[ing]” to be civil).

        Thanks, still, for the clarification.

        • Hi Chip,
          We try to keep a handle on the anonymous commenters, though it isn’t always easy to tell. Yes, anyone’s name and ID can be questioned. It’s not so different from old-fashioned letters to the editor in which writers are asked to give their town of residence.
          Anne

      • Boris Ogon :

        So, content itself is of less concern than a demonstrably futile etiquette policy?

  13. Kathryn Kinzel :

    I’m not paid by pharma, nor are many of the pro-vaccine movement.

  14. There is a new iPhone App called Vaccination Scheduler that is helping lots of parents by sending them reminders for every recommended vaccination appointment based on your child’s birth date. It also lets you track and record all of your children’s vaccination history and information.

    Based on the latest vaccination information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention it come pre-installed with all the information parents need.

    Featured by Apple as the #1 New App in Medical Category and endorsed by medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and used by thousands of mothers around the world.

    You can learn more and download the app here:
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/vaccination-scheduler/id563213898?mt=8

  15. Rebecca Shumsky :

    If anonymous comments don’t support your mission, how about commenters with fake names? Like Guillane Fox? You removed all of Todd W’s SCIENCE yet leave her vitriol. And she appears nowhere on the Internet except here on Vtdigger, making uncivil comments.

  16. Chip Hart :

    I’m now concerned that comments that support one side of this debate have been removed while comments on the other side of the debate, from commenters with dubious identification and/or near-libelous and uncivil contribution, remain.

    I can’t return to this site any more, not that it cares. I wonder if Dr. Wasserman knew of its bias when he wrote his piece.

  17. Vaccines are pharmaceutical products delivered by syringe that have a wide range of potentially debilitating side effects. They are not seat belts.

    Certainly Dr. Wasserman in his many years of experience knows that there is nothing that should be more honored than the health choice of an individual or a parent.

    Regardless of their purported benefits, vaccines are inherently unsafe and the only person who can say yes or no is the individual or parent – not the doctor, and not the state.

    Read the fine print inside manufacturer package inserts and read the peer reviewed science before signing. Take time to ensure you are making a truly informed decision. The choice is yours.

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