Pertussis epidemic, vaccination debate in Vermont makes national news

immunization
“What’s the matter with Vermont?” was the provocative headline in Slate.com late last week. It suggested that Vermont, that lovely Blue but, to some, eccentric state, was up to some of its liberal tricks or behaving irrationally. But the topic, with the subhead “Anti-vaccine activists derailed a bill that could have blunted the whooping cough epidemic,” leveled a serious accusation: that the pertussis epidemic afflicting Vermont over the last few years could have been mitigated had more children been vaccinated for whooping cough and had the philosophical exemption been disallowed, as legislation introduced last year intended.

In her article Helena Rho, a former assistant professor of pediatrics who has taught at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, characterized Vermont — which had the second-highest rate of pertussis cases in the nation during 2012: 100.2 per 100,000 persons — as a state where parents’ resistance to vaccinating their children has contributed greatly to putting more people at risk for the disease. What’s more, the article states that “[i]n parts of Vermont, the vaccination rate is only 60 percent.”

But National Immunization Survey reports for children 19 to 35 months and 13 to 17 years old showed Vermont with rising percentages of infants and toddlers getting all four recommended doses of the diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine — up from 83.2 percent in 2009 to 88.2 percent in 2011. (This compares to 84.6 percent nationally.) Among adolescents getting the Tdap booster, the rise has been from 87 percent to 90.1 percent. In addition, the Vermont Health Department reports that 93 percent of children entering public school kindergarten are up to date on the DTaP — one more shot is given between age 4 and 6 for a total of five — and 91 percent of children entering seventh grade are up to date. (Private school rates are lower: 83 percent in young children and 86 percent for children entering seventh grade.)

In terms of the rates of immunization, there appears to be nothing “the matter with Vermont.” Vermont Department of Health immunization program director Christine Finley, noting the rise in immunization rates for most vaccines over the last three years, points to a different issue — something the Slate article refers to almost in passing — the evidence that the effectiveness of the acellular vaccine for pertussis now in use declines quite rapidly. The CDC reported last May that measures of Tdap effectiveness within a few years of getting the shots ranged from 66 percent to 78 percent, less than had been expected in pre-licensure trials.

The acellular vaccine was developed in the late 1990s in response to what some saw as too many severe side-effects of the whole-cell vaccine, the DTP, that had been in use since the 1940s and which had reduced annual cases from more than 250,000 at one time to a few thousand a year. Since the 1980s epidemiologists have seen increases, but within a few years of the introduction of the acellular vaccine, these increases were even more apparent and by the mid-2000s epidemics were in full swing, leading to the current spate of research into the causes of waning immunity and into effective methods for once-again controlling whooping cough.

There has been some success in reducing cases. Studies such as one done in Washington state after whooping cough cases increased 1,300 percent from early 2011 to mid-2012 showed that once the Tdap booster was given, adolescent infection rates dropped off. And pertussis is known to increase suddenly, as it did in California a few years ago, and as it has done since 2010 in Vermont, and then diminish. It does, however, still threaten infants especially. Most deaths from pertussis are in infants. All countries vaccinate against pertussis.

The recommended schedule is now five vaccinations by school age — four for infants and toddlers and one in the 4-to-6-year-old age span. However, in September 2011, facing reports of increasing numbers of children who were not getting the full five doses, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended the Tdap booster be given at age 7 to 10 rather than 11 or 12, if a child has not had the full five DTaP series by that time. (At the same time, they recommended a Tdap shot for those 65 and older who have contact with infants, since those too young to be vaccinated are most at risk for infection, complications and death. Most of the 4,298 infants reported with pertussis in 2010 required hospitalization.)

The immunology community is straightforward in acknowledging that there is currently, as CDC researcher Dr. Thomas A. Clark and co-authors wrote in a May 2012 paper for Trends in Microbiology, an “incomplete understanding of the immune response to infection and to vaccination.” While some vaccines are much more effective than the pertussis vaccine — and, history shows, some diseases can be wiped out — even getting whooping cough does not confer lifelong immunity, which is why adult immunization is now recommended. But the researchers see limitations to the current pertussis vaccine series, even if regular boosters are administered. What has not changed in the scientists’ understanding of how to fight the disease: herd immunity is the key.

Kate RobinsonKate Robinson

Comments

  1. Cedar Hannan :

    I’m not normally one to throw anecdotal evidence into a debate, especially one as impassioned as this, but here goes.

    Last month I was at my local health clinic for a routine visit. I made a remark about all the signs around the office instructing patients with a cough to see the receptionist for a mask. My doctor informed me that this was due to all of the pertussis cases that the clinic had been treating lately. I jokingly commented that the vaccine must not be working. Doc looked at me very seriously and said “the vaccine is NOT working”. My doctor said that so far this winter the clinic had treated nearly 100 cases of pertussis and that in ALL of the cases this doctor had treated (I’m not sure what fraction of the total this is, but since there are only 4 M.D.’s at this clinic, it was probably significant) EVERY SINGLE patient had been vaccinated within the past THREE years.

    Based on this it would seem that there really are serious problems with the vaccine and that those choosing not to immunize can’t be blamed for this outbreak.

    • So, this local health clinic of 4MDs treated 1/6 of the cases of pertussis for the entire state?

      The reduced effectiveness of the vaccine makes a stronger case for vaccination, imo, than against it.

    • Eric Bradford :

      “EVERY SINGLE patient had been vaccinated within the past THREE years.”

      As I read it, any child age eight or younger that has not had dtap within the past TWO years has gone too long per the CDC schedule. See http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/default.htm#vacc

      The issue that the Slate article raises – and that this one does not address – is why Vermont’s per capita infection rate is among the highest. Effectiveness of the vaccine is not a variable in this analysis; every state gets the same vaccine.

  2. I gotta hand it to the CDC – they’re good at what they do. Now, if only what they did was guard the public health.

    I was recently sent a still from a 1969 episode of the Brady Bunch, in which the kids all got the measles. They spent the episode joking about it. No one was up tight; no one was concerned; the World Health Organization wasn’t at their door. They just had the measles. The picture I was sent is of the blackboard Mrs. Brady kept in the house, to keep track of which diseases her kids had had. It lists measles, chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough, scarlet fever and poison oak. Understand, there was no air of emergency or urgency – it was simply a history of which kids had which disease, so they’d know what might be expected next. There was no fear.

    The vaccine industry has pulled one of the biggest, boldest con jobs in history, fomenting fear of disease. You minimize disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not by injecting excitotoxins, neurotoxins, stray DNA from various animal species and human fetuses into the muscles, to be absorbed in the blood stream, a route of introduction the infectious disease immune system, located in the gut and respiratory tract, simply does not expect – which is why chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders lie in the wake of vaccination.

    On top of that, to really expect to eradicate disease is futile and unwise. You can’t eliminate risk from life, but the risk of damage from vaccines far outweighs the risk of damage from disease.

    • Laura Condon :

      No comment needed, Shawn…just standing and applauding.

      • Jennifer Power :

        I’m standing next to Laura. Thank you Shawn. Again.

        • Wendy Luebbert :

          Also applauding

    • Louis Sullivan :

      Except these diseases do kill people, and often times the people most at risk from them are the ones who receive the least protection from vaccines: the elderly, the young, and those with compromised immune systems. This makes the need for everyone to step up and contribute to herd immunity all the more pressing. Perhaps the Brady Bunch handled this issue lightly because it is a TV show, meant to make people happy, not depressed? Your comments on how immunity works show you do not understand how vaccines operate at all.

    • Nikki Lee :

      Fabulous post, Shawn!!

      I took my youngest daughter to get chicken pox when she was nearly 4; a friend had 4 kids that all had chicken pox. My daughter got a nice case and now doesn’t have to deal with the outbreak of shingles that so many who are vaccinated are.

      There is risk in everything; there is risk in childhood diseases, particularly if children are poorly nourished, as formula-fed kids are, who lack any immune system boosting. There is risk in vaccinations too. Not easy to be a parent. I prefer not to put aluminum and mercury and peanut oil derivatives into my baby’s body. I prefer to breastfeed her for years and eat organic, locally grown food. I chose my risks.

      • Anne Imhoff :

        “My daughter got a nice case and now doesn’t have to deal with the outbreak of shingles that so many who are vaccinated are.”

        I’m afraid you are incorrect. Once you have chicken pox, the toxin remains in your body and you are subject to shingles later in life.

        In my youth, in the 1940s, I had chicken pox, measles, etc., and was vaccinated for diphtheria and small pox. Other vaccines were not developed at the time. I was exposed to polio, but never got it (fortunately). BUT in my late 50s, I had a terrible case of shingles. Since then, shingles vaccine has been developed and I’ve certainly been vaccinated as I don’t want to have to go through another case of shingles; plus vaccinated for whooping cough and polio when those vaccines became available.

        Live style and eating habits of parents certainly help to have healthy, and relatively disease free, children, but that is no assurance children will remain immune to all and every illness.

    • Jill Oberheide :

      Thank you, Shawn! Saves a lot of people a lot of time replying…. My grandchildren, all 7 ( soon to be 8) of them are 2nd generation vaccine-free kids, as my own 5 were never vaccinated. Thankfully we live in a country where we still have that right. Here’s hoping we’ll always have it.

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      There was no fear in the 60s because these diseases were not preventable in any way, it was just something that kids had to go through as a part of growing up.

      Some of these diseases led to serious complications, though. So I am pretty sure in the back of Mrs. Brady’s mind, she was hoping that her kids got through their illnesses without anything bad happening to them, which, as Louis mentioned, is kindof hard to show in a program that is supposed to be upbeat and happy.

      Vaccines are the victim of their own success – we now have a generation of parents that have no idea what these diseases look like, no comparison to which to base their decision to vaccinate. Measles doesn’t seem that scary, because there have not been very many cases of measles. On the other side of things are people like yourself who make false claims that vaccines are damaging the immune system, of which there is absolutely zero evidence. When given the choice, any parent is going to protect their child from what appears to be the most present danger, which, unfortunately, is frequently the talking points of the anti-vaccine community.

      • Carl Werth :

        Right on, Kathryn. If I am going to stand up and applaud any post here – it’s yours.

  3. “What’s the Matter With Vermont” portrays Vermont’s advocates for vaccine informed consent as people who spread misinformation about vaccines. The author even attempts to lay blame on vaccine choice advocates for the national and cyclical whooping cough outbreak and goes so far as to try to convince us that one Vermont lawmaker is annoyed that we Vermont peeps have a voice (called democracy) in deciding our fate.

    Can you think of anything wrong with having a voice in your own democracy? A voice in the preservation of your inalienable human rights to consent and parental choice in medicine?

    In many respects, Rho’s Slate article is not about what is wrong, but what is clearly right about Vermont. Firstly, most Vermonters can see though a ruse, and believe in that old saying, “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” Secondly, frugality tells us that if the pertussis vaccine is not working as planned, more underperforming product is not going to fix the problem.

    The main focus of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice has never been on Dr. Andrew Wakefield, but on informed (parental) consent and the critical need to balance the benefits of vaccination with their documented risks and lack of legal liability. (If you have not ever heard of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, he is a world expert on gastroenterology from London’s Royal Free Hospital who pioneered early work on a phenomenon now known as “leaky gut” syndrome. His work has been widely confirmed in the literature. http://thinktwice.com/wakefield.htm).

    A second article (coincidentally also printed on 2/21/13) came from neighboring New Hampshire’s Nashua Telegraph and was titled “Anti-vaccine stupidity in Vermont.” No further comment is really required here, except for that author David Brooks seems to have forgotten to fact check by looking at Vermont’s publicly-available and impressive vaccination rate statistics before taking pen to paper. You see, in 2012, data from 13,439 Vermont students showed that 92.8% of Vermont kindergartners were already fully up to date with their vaccines – even with a philosophical exemption available in the state. This means that until this unprecedented attack on our fundamental rights began, Vermont’s voluntary program was working even slightly better than NH’s more choice-limited policy.

    For the record, vaccination rates in the US today are higher than they have ever been. Take a look at this chart from CDC of vaccine coverage over time. http://www.vaxchoicevt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/coverage.pdf

    What was coverage for polio vaccine when you or your kids were young? As you can see, even with rates in the 65% range that awful disease seemed to stay under control. Why do we keep upping the ante? The goal used to be 80%, then it was 90% and now goals are at 95%. What is the rational here? Is our ultimate goal to be 100%?

    It is worth noting that European countries show similar trends to Vermont’s success with a more voluntary vaccination policy approaches, compared to efforts to force vaccination. My advice? Back off the pressure.

    See:

    1. “Mandatory vaccination may be considered as a way of improving compliance to vaccination programmes. However, compliance with many programmes in Europe is high, using only recommendations.” – from “Europe finds success with artificial immunity campaigns that are voluntary not mandatory.”

    2. Italian example: Moving “From compulsory to voluntary immunisation.”

    3. “…allowance of exemptions to compulsory vaccination may limit public backlash.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16458770

    I, for one, am intensely proud and think we should all protect our “citizen legislature.” Democracy and liberty are indeed alive and well in our Green Mountain State.

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      A couple comments I have in response to your post:

      -I support democracy. Fully. However, what I do not support are the growing number of people who are trying to take advantage of parents by deliberately lying to them. Mercola, Wakefield, to a lesser extent Sears – these are all people who are trying to make a profit from the fears of parents. I cannot think of an adjective that properly describes how awful this practice is.

      -I agree that the pertussis vaccine is not great. We need a new one. But some protection is better than no protection, so we should keep using the vaccine we have now until something better comes along.

      -Kindergarten rates for Vermont are good. I’m concerned about the infants, though. I’m concerned about the three year old in daycare that is not up to date on vaccination. And this was a big issue last year, when the legislature was debating this issue – some people were using kindergarten numbers, others were using numbers of 30 month olds. They are different. Both are true. I want to see the kindergarten numbers in younger children.

      -Goals for vaccination coverage vary by disease. Measles needs to have at least 95% coverage because it is so infectious. Other diseases, like polio, do not need to be quite so high in order to provide a group immunity. Ideally, we want everyone to be vaccinated, but that’s not going to happen, so instead, we aim for as high as possible.

      -Europe is having a bit of a problem right now in terms of vaccination rates and outbreaks of disease, so they are probably not the example we want to be using as a model.

      • If you are truly concerned about folks profiting from the fear of parents, you should seriously consider reviewing the available literature and comparing it to the messages crafted by the very powerful, well funded vaccine industry and parroted by the cogs in their wheels.

        • Kathryn Kinzel :

          I routinely do. What I find usually matches up with the reports I receive from the CDC, which is a good, free source of information.

          • Glad to hear you are exploring the literature, Kathryn.

            If so, you will no doubt have read the March 1, 2013 CDC MMWR report describing concern over a vaccinated person who “shed” live virus and caused an infection in one human who then passed it on to another.

            What do you make of this news, and what do you think the implications and unintended consequences may be?

            http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6208a2.htm?s_cid=mm6208a2_e

          • Kathryn Kinzel :

            I love the MMWR. And that case was certainly an interesting one, however: this describes the spread of vaccinia virus, which is used as a smallpox vaccine. The smallpox vaccine is an older vaccine, and very few people routinely get vaccinated against smallpox. Because of the way the vaccine is designed, it is known that spread of the live virus is possible, so people who get the vaccine should be given extra education on this known phenomenon. Notably, any contraindications for the vaccine also apply to close contacts – from the CDC immunization website:
            “Because the vaccinia virus used in smallpox vaccine can be spread to others from the vaccine site of an immunized person, the contraindications below apply to both potential vaccinees and their household contacts (“household contacts” include persons with prolonged intimate contact with the potential vaccinee, including the potential for direct contact with the vaccination site, e.g., sexual contacts).”

            And that’s exactly what happened here – someone got the smallpox vaccine and then disregarded that warning and had sex with a couple of people.

            Also, just to point out – this warning only exists with the smallpox vaccine – other live vaccines that are given to children do not have the same potential to spread.

      • Nor does the CDC focus on and rely on the studies that find have merit or are scientifically sound. The CDC cherry picks what supports them and ignores the rest; and that is clearly a proven fact. If that were true the CDC would have funded some vaccine aluminum adjuvant studies long ago; based on several damning studies in existence. To claim to that Kathryn, then you are obviously not aware of what studies exist, and most all of them are as well found in Pubmed. There are many existing studies that support Wakefield’s findings, and some as well that nearly duplicate that study with the same and more findings.

        Callous Disregard Research
        http://www.callous-disregard.com/research.htm

        Dr Andrew Wakefield – MMR Vaccine – Truth and Reality
        http://www.vacfacts.info/dr-andrew-wakefield—mmr-vaccine—truth-and-reality.html

        Studies on aluminum adjuvants
        http://www.vacfacts.info/the-vaccine-damage—science.html

        Data and studies on aluminum adjuvants, currently aluminum adjuvants still hold an FDA status of GRAS, and no safety studies have been done.
        http://www.vacfacts.info/aluminum-vaccine-adjuvants.html

        • Kathryn Kinzel :

          How about you post the articles you find on PubMed, instead of linking through a website designed to mislead the public?

  4. It is time that the CDC started paying attention to ALL valid and existing scientific studies, instead of ignoring whatever doesn’t fit their cheery picking needs. They have the power and the authority to do that you quite obviously so; but it certainly does NOT serve the public good. How had would it be for them to collect at least a data base of relevant science, from pubmed alone?

    WHAT are they getting paid to do at the CDC? Is it a full time job to ignore the obvious, deny the facts, and defended against the obvious harm failure of vaccines? Is keeping the pubic mislead and even the medical profession mislead, the only public service they are destined to provide the country? Here below is one example of what the real science looks like, while they were intentionally downplaying and denying the actual ineffectiveness of the pertussis vaccine. Do the parents and the public not deserve to know how failed that vaccine has become? Instead they just keep pumping children full of these toxic and potentially contaminated vaccines, for little to no benefit.

    How often is PCR testing done on those in these claimed to outbreaks. Should the CDC not be monitoring closely exactly what strain or strains of pathogen they have existing? Where is that data?

    Acellular pertussis vaccination enhances B. parapertussis colonization

    An acellular whooping cough vaccine actually enhances the colonization of Bordetella parapertussis in mice; pointing towards a rise in B. parapertussis incidence resulting from acellular vaccination, which may have contributed to the observed increase in whooping cough over the last decade.

    http://www.cidd.psu.edu/research/synopses/acellular-vaccine-enhancement-b.-parapertussi

    Here is some more information titled,

    Post Vaccination – Vaccine Targeted Strain – Viral and Bacterial Pathogen – Shedding
    http://www.vacfacts.info/post-vaccination-vaccine-targeted-strain—viral-and-bacterial—shedding.html

    If vaccinated children actually cause shedding, that would blow it out of the water the claim that vaccinated children are at risk from unvaccinated, would it not?

    Lets look at the pertussis outbreak in Israel. Conclusion excerpt states: (Vaccinated children may be asymptomatic reservoirs for infection). Would that be important to know?

    Pertussis infection in fully vaccinated children in day-care centers, Israel.

    Abstract

    We tested 46 fully vaccinated children in two day-care centers in Israel who were exposed to a fatal case of pertussis infection. Only two of five children who tested positive for Bordetella pertussis met the World Health Organization’s case definition for pertussis. Vaccinated children may be asymptomatic reservoirs for infection.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627963/

    17 Examples of Admitted Vaccine Failure
    http://vactruth.com/2013/02/23/17-examples-of-vaccine-failure/

    The False Theory of Vaccine Derived – Herd Immunity
    http://www.vacfacts.info/the-false-theory-of-vaccine-derived—herd-immunity.html

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Just because you are able to publish a paper doesn’t mean that you have great data – Andrew Wakefield proved that one pretty well. So the CDC actually does review all the scientific literature and relies on those that are scientifically sound when making policy decisions.

      I read through the two papers that you listed, and I have a few problems with both.

      With the first, regarding the infection in mice – I would use these data to start an actual study in humans. The immune system of a C57BL/6 mouse is not going to be the same as a human, and with the amount of fluid they were pushing into the lungs of the mice, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some additional problems created during infection. (Also, humans do not tend to snort bacterial suspensions, so it’s not a great comparison for transmission either)

      With the second, the authors are desperately trying to prove something that they cannot definitively prove – that the children in the daycare that had no clinical signs of pertussis actually had pertussis. They point to a positive PCR, which by itself is not definitive, especially without clinical signs, and IgM positive samples – but these kids were recently vaccinated, and serology in recently vaccinated people is not clinically valid.

      Now, I will be one of the first to admit that the current pertussis vaccine is not great. We are in desperate need of a new vaccine. HOWEVER, the vaccine isn’t 0% effective, it still has some ability to work, so until we are able to make a better vaccine, it makes sense for people to continue to get this vaccine and to get booster shots.

      • Appreciate you sharing some expert opinions, KK, especially your analysis of the papers being proffered here.

    • Jill Oberheide :

      WOW!!! Thank you SO much!

  5. Kate Robinson :

    Vermont’s rate is high right now, as the article states, because whooping
    cough incidence rises and falls independently of vaccination rates and no
    one knows why, though research is underway.

    Vermont is one of the three states showing the highest levels of pertussis
    in the country these last few years, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota.
    California had epidemic levels in 2010-11.

    The CDC tracks the fluctuations
    (http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/images/pertussis-graph-2012-lg.jpg)separately
    from mortality and morbidity data as the ‘migration’ of pertussis is
    independent of vaccination rates. However, they recommend the Tdap booster
    for older people, especially those who could come in contact with infants
    since those under six months cannot be vaccinated and they recommend a
    careful schedule of DTaP and then Tdap for children and young people because
    it takes into consideration the known decline in effectiveness of pertussis
    acellular vaccines and at this point vaccination is the best protective
    strategy known.

    • Katharine Hikel, MD :

      Kate is right on about the natural rise and fall of disease – as we saw with Reye syndrome, which ebbed in societies where aspirin was not commonly used; meanwhile, in the USA, we took a perfectly good medication (aspirin – thought to cause Reye syndrome) out of use and replaced it with another (acetomenaphen aka Tylenol) – which recently was named the drug most responsible for liver toxicity due to overuse.

      And! She’s right about the decline in effectiveness of vaccines, as we’ve seen in outbreaks of measles in young adult populations who were vaccinated in childhood – with some degree of worse outcome & risk. So basically we were testing the booster program (and still are) – how long, over a lifetime, must booster vaccines continue to be truly preventive AND cost-effective?

      Isn’t epidemiology fun!

      The wild form of measles will confer lifelong immunity; in healthy populations, it’s not as worrisome as in children who are malnourished, have concomitant health problems, etc.

      Neither the wild form of pertussis, nor the vaccine, confer lifelong immunity; so a vaccination program requires multiple boosters – but for how long? That is the crapshoot.

      As Kate points out, perhaps the news of a persistent spike in incidence is a good reason for vaccination.

      Chickenpox (varicella) indeed confers lifelong immunity – but the virus can go dormant and revive later as terrible, horrible shingles – for which there is also a vaccine for people at risk (i.e. those over 60 who’ve had chickenpox).

      And please note that smallpox is no longer on the vaccination list (as it was for many of us back in the 1960s).

      Polio is another disease we rarely see here; there seems to be argument about whether that is the result of vaccination, a natural decline in the disease, or both.

      So. A generalized, statistically-driven program, where all children are inoculated for MMR, DPT, varicella, flu, polio, and now HPV (which is in large part a marketing scheme for Merck to get itself out of the great financial hole it got into with the Vioxx rush-to–market push), from birth, seems to many parents like overkill. It’s perfectly reasonable – and in many cases, preferable – to pick and choose an a-la- carte vaccination scheme that suits the individual child, family, exposure risks, concurrent health problems, age, etc.

      And it seems a glaring fallacy that not vaccinating one’s child puts everyone at risk. Hello! Not vaccinating a child puts only the unvaccinated at risk. – Except, of course, for those vaccinated with those vaccines that are declining in effectiveness – in which case it would still be nice to know who gets more pertussis: the unvaccinated, or the vaccinated; and which subgroups among those populations?

      The CDC data Kate cites are a good argument for considering vaccination, eg for pertussis, in elders who are at risk.

      Of course, the truth is that if you’re a reasonably healthy person, whooping cough usually won’t kill you; you get into a steamy shower, then bundle up and go out to breathe the cold night air; and if that doesn’t help (as the disease can go on for weeks) get some erythromycin. It’s not fun, especially for a littke kid; and one bout is often enough to convince people of the handiness of the vaccine.

      Still, the brave and hardy unvaccinated are a perfectly reasonable control population, one would think, for actually tracking the ebb and flow of disease.

      I’ve long argued (and seen from a small anecdotal sample of old-school hippies) that well-cared-for unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated, children seem to do OK . So instead of a one-size-fits-all multi-product scheme, an individual approach – which might require something other than the 7-minute visit with a random provider in your group – like maybe an actual INTERVIEW and EXAM and REVIEW OF SYSTEMS and RISK ASSESSMENT – a RELATIONSHIP maybe?? – might be a better approach than the current McMedicine one, which is to spend most of the 10-minute visit on the computer making sure everyone is up to date on their vaccines. The chief beneficiary of the current scheme is Big Pharma.

      So along with taking the time to actually question patients about their habits, histories, aims and preferences, practitioners might do well to question some of the corporate revenue-and-profit motives associated with blanket vaccination programs; and also, to keep track of long-term outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

  6. Mark Moore :

    There may be a bad word or two in this –

    • Penn & Teller video. Warning: The “F” word gets some play here.

  7. Judith Persin, :

    Well, I have been studying vaccines for the last couple years and I shall have to stand on the side of Jennifer Stella. She has done her homework! She knows exactly what she is talking about! A person cannot just read “one-sided” medical literature and know the real facts. Senator Mullin from Rutland started this whole “can of worms” about vaccines last year. Follow the money! He has a terrible conflict of interest, folks. He is the state chairman of the organization ALEC which represents the large pharmaceutical companies. And he gets contributions from them to get legislation passed on their behalf! Isn’t that lovely! Isn’t that really thinking of your babies and children! Now there is why we are fighting to keep our vaccine exemptions in Vermont! It is not to protect your children. In fact vaccines damage your children! Big companies like Merck and Pfizer do not give a “diddly” about your children! In fact when your children are made sick by their vaccines(for which they have no liability), they get even richer! The whole thing is quackery! The vaccines do not work except for making the vaccine makers more wealthy. People are catching on to the truth here in Vermont. That is a real problem for the vaccine companies as they could lose some money…sigh…Also they would lose some life-long consumers for their dangerous drugs. If you think these huge corporations are looking out for you and your childre, and you believe their scare tactics and lies, do you know what you become? The victim! Yes,the victim! And when you think vaccines should be mandated in this country, then you forget where we as a country came from, and you are contributing to taking away our liberties and freedoms! Only the fearful will believe the lies! We have a right to choose and we must work to keep it. Do we the people make the decisions, or do we become the prey of the huge manipulative companies and some legislators who are more interested in their own profits than the well being of the people they were elected to serve. Do think hard about this. Judy

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Hi Judy,

      Medical literature is not one sided. It may appear that way because published papers are presenting a result that came from scientific testing.

      I support vaccination, and I do not work for the pharmaceutical companies. I do not get any money whatsoever from them, and I still think it’s a good idea. I see how sick some children get from a completely preventable disease and then I really think that vaccination is a good idea.

      The whole reason why there are some interesting legal hoops for people who think that they were injured by vaccines is because if everyone who thought that maybe some effect or illness *might* have been caused by a vaccine (and there are many that are not, and some that are), and they were free to sue the companies that make the vaccine, these companies would cease to make vaccine, because it is not that profitable. It is much, MUCH more profitable to make a drug like Viagra, or Lipitor, than to make a vaccine. And because the overall health of the public is at stake, the government decided to protect the vaccine manufacturers and set up a different process for claiming vaccine injury.

      Please stop vilifying people like Senator Mullen and myself. We are here to protect the health and safety of all.

      • Lisa Mackenzie :

        Vaccination rates have steadily risen in the US since the introduction of vaccines. If we compare today’s rates for the vaccines required in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 20s we see a steady rise in vaccination rates since the start of universal vaccination programs.

        When a new vaccine is introduced and the vaccination rates for the new vaccine (like chicken pox in Vermont) are stirred into the aggregate rate, yes of course the aggregate rate goes down, but the rates for the vaccines that have been in use for decades has risen while at the same time the aggregate goes down.

        Same when a fifth, sixth or even seventh booster is added.

        The data that is often introduced is based on aggregate numbers for vaccines that are not even required for school entry in Vermont. This too paints a false picture of the success of universal vaccination in Vermont.

        It’s really a matter of perspective.

        When the vaccines for Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, HPV and Influenza vaccines become required in Vermont for childcare and school entry as they are on track to do, we will again see the aggregate number fall again, just as it did after the introduction of the varicella vaccine because the number of vaccines have increased, not because fewer people are getting the.

        We did not have a health crisis in childhood illnesses last year (when in fact Vermont’s vax rates went up and exemption rates went down) nor was there a crisis in these earlier years of universal vaccination and the only crisis we have now is based on a distortion of the data.

        Now we are being told that adult vaccination rates are low. Well the whole concept of routinely vaccinating adults is BRAND NEW.

        CDC US history of vaccination rates:
        http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/coverage.pdf

        Go to the Vermont Department of Health website and click through to get the school nurse data for Vermont’s vaccination rates for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012

  8. Judith Persin, :

    Dear Readers and Vermonters who want to make your own informed choices about your child’s healthcare:

    For over 30 years Vermonters got along just fine with their religious, medical, and philosophical exemption. So what changed? Well scare tactics started flying around about a big pertussis epidemic! What was really behind trying to frighten people? Check out this link and you will find out for yourself.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Kevin_Mullin

    The whole thing was a big trick played upon decent, intelligent Vermonters! It was NOT about your child! It was not about keeping children well! It was about power and money and taking over state governments for profit, and for taking your fights away! Wake up folks and make your voices heard before it is too late! If you lose the right to chose about vaccinating your child, what will be next on the agenda? Judy

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      “For over 30 years Vermonters got along just fine with their religious, medical, and philosophical exemption. So what changed?”

      More people in the country started using the philosophical exemption based on their belief in bad science. Vaccination rates decreased, and rates of illness increased.

      “It was about power and money and taking over state governments for profit” – you know as well as I do, Judy, that this is a ridiculous statement, especially with the citizen legislature that Vermont has.

      “If you lose the right to chose about vaccinating your child, what will be next on the agenda” – first, you will not be able to find any legal “right” to support this and second, no right is absolute. You have the right to decide how to medically treat your child, until it endangers your child or others in the community. And then the state is able to step in – something that I see as a positive for the health of all.

      • Thomas McLeod :

        While we’re on the topic of “no right is absolute,” let’s not fail to mention the right of pharma to profit from the ever increasing vaccine schedules while ducking legal liability for their dangerous and scientifically unproven products. Aren’t these the very same free-riding corporations who have paid $11 billion for fraud over the past decade? Yes, that’s “billion” with a “b”. Come now, didn’t you know that in each of the past three years vaccine manufacturers have paid more to “settle” claims of criminal fraud than the entire budget of the Vermont state government? No? Well, you seem to be misinformed, because they have. And, oh, ever wonder about what happens to unsuspecting parents who follow all of the recommendations and whose children become vaccine injured or die? Actually, it’s quite ugly what happens. They become outcasts; the government, medical community and pharma go into damage control mode and label the grieving parents liars, cheats or delusional. The Department of Justice immediately mobilizes to shield pharma and the vaccine program from bad publicity, while the child suffering from a vaccine injury typically waits years just for an insurance company to cover treatment. So when you say no right is absolute, you are correct, except it seems when it comes to vaccine manufacturers, whose rights seem to be way more absolute then ours.

        • Kathryn Kinzel :

          Pharma really doesn’t profit too much from vaccines. The vaccine schedule is increasing because we are learning how to prevent more diseases, not because a CEO somewhere wants to make more money.

          Now – questionable things have been done by the pharmaceutical companies for their other drugs, the drugs that they want to make a lot of money on and try to get as many people to take as possible. I’m not going to defend those practices.

          Here’s why you can sue pharma for other drugs and not vaccines – if all the people in the country that thought they had an adverse event to a vaccine decided to sue, the pharma companies would stop making vaccines, because they really don’t make that much money off of them and they would decide that it was better for their bottom line to not produce vaccines. Which leads us with a major public health problem, just because enough hysterical people decided they wanted some money. So the government stepped in and made a different system to report potential vaccine injury, and created a fund to pay the people that demanded money. That way the companies could still create vaccine for everyone, and the people that actually suffered harm would be compensated.

          I write actual harm because there are a lot of people who claim injury where there is no scientific evidence that the vaccine was related to whatever injury they are claiming came from the vaccine. Vaccines are not 100% safe, but they are not nearly as dangerous as some will lead you to believe.

  9. Vaccines are not 100% safe. Vaccines are, however, quite profitable. The meningococcal vaccine, for example, enjoys an 85% gross margin. And in 2011, the Federal Government awarded 6 pharmaceutical corporations over 5.7 BILLION of our tax dollars in contracts for children’s vaccines alone. That’s not chicken feed.

    Vaccines are not 100% safe. That is why vaccines must be accompanied by proper warnings. That is also why we must ALL defend our right to consent or refuse a vaccination. I might argue that vaccine informed consent is even more important than for any other medical procedure because vaccines are designed to modulate the immune systems of otherwise healthy babies.

    Search vaccine cases here to see what sorts of vaccine damages are being compensated: http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/search_vaccine

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      The tax dollars went to the companies so that it would be possible to provide vaccinations for low income families free of charge (so that a lack of health insurance wouldn’t keep families from preventative medical care).

  10. Judith Persin, :

    Kathryn, You seem to get really irked with we who have done our homework on vaccines. The truth seems to scare you! Are you working for a large pharmaceutical company or someone else who has to benefit from this? You definitely have “an agenda” to be so persistent in your attempt to make the rest of us look stupid while you yourself absolutely refuse to check out the abundance of education and “factual” materials exposing the ineffectiveness and the horrible dangers of vaccines. If you care about children and about democracy as you say, why are you wanting to mandate vaccines, taking away parents’ rights to choose what is best and safe for their children? Why do you NOT care about children who have been permanently destroyed by the vaccines? You try to say they don’t exist. That does not make it so! I know a whole family that is in poverty because of vaccine damage to a child. The mother has had to give up her career to take care of the child who will never be normal. You say vaccine companies don’t make money on vaccines. Who do you think you are kidding? You insult our intelligence! You are losing all credibility. Did you even check out the links I sent exposing the beginnings of the whole vaccine issue here in Vermont? It is quite obvious, Kathryn, that you do not wish to learn the truth but just to keep “pounding” your agenda. We get your message. you want to tell all the rest of us what we must do because that is what YOU want. You don’t give a dilly about facts
    and you don’t believe that parents have a right to decide about their child’s health. You have no credibility. Either deal with truth and facts; or you are just wasting your time.

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Hi Judy,

      I do not work for a pharmaceutical company. I work in infectious disease prevention at a local health department, so I am approaching this issue from a public health standpoint. I am also a trained biologist, so I am also approaching this issue from a scientific standpoint.

      My “agenda” is to try to quell some of the misinformation that is floating around on the internet about vaccines. There is a lot of it. Parents that are looking to get more information about vaccines for their children can easily be led to a website that is designed to scare them into thinking that vaccines are dangerous and the best course of action is to not vaccinate. The problem is, these websites can’t back up their claims scientifically. But that doesn’t matter to the everyday parent, who just wants what is best for their child – they will have the gut reaction of “DANGER DANGER” and that will be enough.

      As a scientist, of course I care about facts. But I care about GOOD facts, the ones that are grounded in science. As I have commented above, I am open to reading any and all papers that come out about vaccination. Some of them are not good. Some of them are good. It takes practice to figure out which are better than others. That’s why a number of people at the CDC and at universities around the country have their jobs – they research the latest studies, read all the papers, and determine courses of action based on those papers.

      Adverse reactions to vaccines do happen, I am not denying that – I am saying that they are rare. Some of them are 1 in a million rare. I am also not denying that vaccines are not 100% safe, because no medical intervention is 100% safe. You could develop liver failure from taking a Tylenol for a headache, but since the odds of that happening are very small, the benefit of ending the headache outweighs the risk of liver failure. The same is true for vaccines – the benefit of not getting that particular disease outweighs the risk of adverse events.

      From a public health standpoint, vaccines also protect others, not just your child. They protect grandparents and other older adults, people undergoing treatment for cancer or with other underlying immumnosuppression, and others that are not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons. These are all people that deserve to be protected against these diseases too. By vaccinating all those that are able to be vaccinated, we are protecting these people by proxy through herd immunity. However, this is not a strong argument for the individual parent, who is only concerned for their child and not for strangers they have never met. So the public health field is at a bit of a loss, because this is one of our best pieces of evidence to be vaccinated, and it does not resonate well to the general public.

      The public health standpoint is also why is appears that the government is coddling pharmaceutical companies – ok, yes, these companies make some money off of vaccines. But they do not make the same profit margin as with drugs like Viagra and Lipitor. Those drugs make billions of dollars every year. Vaccines do not have that margin – some of the elective vaccines, like HPV and influenza, make more money, but economically, a pharmaceutical company would want to invest in more Lipitors than more vaccines. It has led to vaccine shortages around the world, because a number of companies decided it wasn’t worth it anymore to make vaccines. So our government changed the way one sues for vaccine injury to make sure that pharmaceutical companies continue to produce vaccine for everyone, and buys portions of the vaccine lots to give to those who need it for low or no cost.

      This is where I stand. I aim to promote and protect the health of all people. Personally, I would never want any child of mine to go through any of the vaccine-preventable diseases (and nor do I for that matter – I am fully up-to-date on all my adult vaccines).

  11. Judith Persin, :

    http://thinktwice.com/

    For anyone wanting to learn all about vaccines, this is an excellent place to begin.

  12. Judith Persin, :

    In 2009 Merck released a 72-page document showing they paid doctors at least $18,810,495.52 –close to $19 million—in the third and fourth quarters of that year for medical doctors to speak favorably about their pills and vaccines. Additionally, Pro Repulica’s “Dollar for Docs” project shows at least $761.3 million had been paid to doctors across the United States.
    Why do pharmaceutical companies “bribe” doctors? The apparent reason can be summarized in one word: authority.
    Because a doctor has an M.D. attached to his or her name and wears a white coat, 65% of the people will follow their orders without asking questions. Pharma wants their products to be on the tip of every doctor’s tongue to recommend Pharma’s particular “solution” for all of your or your family’s problems.

    Because doctors are on Pharma’s payroll parents should be extremely concerned about U.S. government agencies, i.e., Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, who apparently are doing business with pharmaceutical companies that engage in apparent criminal activities, e.g., violating FCPA.

    A Pharma Company Admits to $2 Million in Bribes to Government and Health Officials.

    Pharmaceutical corporations use their money to buy influence with doctors and politicians.

    Do you have a free “Get Out of Jail” card? Apparently Big Pharma does, let me explain.
    Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported Pfizer using its influential money to bribe foreign governments and their health officials. The apparent goal was to use Pfizer’s money to create unfair economic advantages in the market to peddle their pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
    Pfizer, fortunately, was caught doing their shady backroom deals in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Russia, which violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). [2]
    The DOJ report stated, “Corrupt pay-offs to foreign officials in order to secure lucrative contracts creates an inherently uneven marketplace and puts honest companies at a disadvantage,” said Assistant Director McJunkin. “Those that attempt to make these illegal backroom deals to influence contract procurement can expect to be investigated by the FBI and appropriately held responsible for their actions.” [1]
    In this case, it seems the influence-buying pharmaceutical companies get away with being fined only $45 million in fines, which amounts to a financial slap on the wrist! Money seems to be their free “Get Out of Jail” card.
    You should know this is not an isolated incident; it’s the tip of the proverbial influence-buying iceberg.

    Bribery from Big Pharma in the United States, however, takes on a more subtle form or ‘style’.
    Here is the apparently brutal truth: “bribery” takes place in the United States in the legal form of speaking fees, plus your doctor may be on Big Pharma’s payroll. Should we consider Congressional lobbying money too?

    Do the CDC and FDA transact business with companies found guilty and fined for breaking the law? Given Big Pharma’s involvement with vaccines and drugs, that is a very relevant question.
    Here is what we know that needs to be evaluated in light of the above information about doctors’ Big Pharma payouts.
    The CDC recommends at least 3 pneumococcal vaccines for each child before 6 months of age.
    Pfizer has contract #200-2012-50135 with the CDC
    The contract is worth $8,386,013.00, to manufacture the Prevnar 13 (a pneumococcal vaccine) [8]
    The vaccine is priced at $102.03 a vaccine.

    See the CDC’s vaccine price list here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm

    See Pfizer’s contract with the CDC here: http://www.hhs.gov/open/recordsandreports/prevention/solicitations/pediatric_vaccines_071912.pdf

    See the Department of Justice press release about Pfizer here: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/August/12-crm-980.html

    http://vactruth.com/2012/08/28/pharma-admits-to-bribes/?utm_source=The+Vaccine+Truth+Newsletter&utm_campaign=aee4e74c03-06_21_2012_toddler&utm_medium=emailI

    Now, do we really want to trust what the CDC says about vaccines for your child? Follow the money, I repeat. Just follow the money, folks!!!!

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Most of the problems that pharmaceutical companies have are related to other drugs, not vaccines. Because those drugs make more money, there is more to gain from potentially illegal activity. I am not condoning this activity.

      And as I have mentioned before, the CDC has contracts with some of the pharmaceutical companies so that they are able to provide free or low cost vaccines to other health departments around the country. Public health is for all people, not just those that can afford it.

  13. James Minnich :

    Vaccines are not about Science—-It is about Politics!

    Should we call medicine an exact science? If medicine is always an exact science, I ask you, what happened to bloodletting and lobotomies? An “exact science” proven to be very harmful and gone by the wayside! The same may someday be said of vaccines and chemotherapy! Things seem to be called “science” when there is a lot of money waiting to be made from the procedure. And one will always notice, that when that is the case, the bad outcomes or damages caused are played down or “swept under the carpet”. People who know about injuries or have experienced them directly are made to look like crazy paranoid fools who have “gone off the deep end”. These are the tactics of big MONEY!

    People who promote dangerous treatments tend to cause fear and panic to get people to go along with them. They will try to make you feel guilty, or treat you as a bad parent or a threat to society. By doing so, they force many to follow their agenda while they themselves line their own pocketbooks. It is not about real science! It is always about power and money! They will invent stories that sound logical, but when broken down and examined point by point, are absolutely ludicrous. One such ridiculous story is the theory of “herd immunity”!

    Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are often chastised and stereotyped for putting their own kids at risk. But what is even stranger than this assault on individual freedom and informed choice, is that these concerned parents are attacked for putting vaccinated children at risk.

    These attacks are based on the theory of “herd immunity.” This hypothesis was plucked out of an old college textbook. It states that the more people are immune to an infectious agent, the less likely an immune-compromised individual is to come in contact with it. In other words herd immunity serves as a human shield – a type of immunity – for “at-risk” individuals. But remember, it’s only a hypothesis.

    When outbreaks arise among children, health officials are quick to state that it’s due to a breakdown in ‘herd immunity.‘ Doctors parrot it too, without even looking at the research. They say it’s happening more often nationwide as states make it easier for parents to opt out of vaccinations.

    Like argumentative apes, pro-vaccine parents and their physicians start pounding their chest in favor of such statements. They use them to attack anti-vaccine parents, accusing them of “putting vaccinated kids at risk due to a breakdown in herd immunity.”

    This is fuzzy logic. And it’s borderline stupid.

    After all, if vaccines truly worked, then why would vaccinated kids be at risk?

    …Plus, the spread of infection isn’t limited to coming into contact with another person! You can get sick without ever seeing another individual.

    Herd immunity is nothing more than a silly catch-phrase used to scare and bully parents into vaccinating their kids.

    The above remarks are by Shane Ellison, a chemist.

    http://thepeopleschemist.com/reasons-dont-vaccinate-children-vaccine-supporters-shouldnt-give/

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Like all science, medicine is based on best practices. We have made lots of scientific progress since the 1700s, like figuring out germ theory and learning more about human anatomy. Vaccination has been around for a long time too, and the practice has improved over time, just like the rest of medicine.

      Science will rationally tell us the benefits of vaccinating – the anti-vaccine movement tends to use fear tactics and panic. According to your own opinion, the anti-vaccine movement must be promoting a dangerous practice, and I agree with that statement.

      And regarding herd immunity – it’s not a hypothesis. We can use several mathematical models to show how it works, and I have seen herd immunity work with my own two eyes and mountains of data. I like how you decide to completely disregard a scientific idea based purely on the idea that it is a hypothesis – after all, gravity is just a theory.

  14. Judith Persin, :

    The Heart of the Matter

    What is the real issue about vaccines in Vermont? Is it really a health issue at stake? Or is it politics? Just look who is behind this and who started it? Find out where the desire to mandate vaccines and to take away exemptions began. Start there, and then follow the money path! It started with state Senator Mullin from Rutland! Now why, I ask, after 30+ years, did there need to be a change?

    Is Senator Mullin supporting the wishes and rights of parents who elected him? Or is there another agenda he is serving? You can trace the campaign monies he received from big pharma! It turns out that he is the state chairman for A L E C which serves the monetary interests of pharmaceutical companies by influencing the legislation of state bills favorable to those companies. Are you following the money here?

    Big Pharma has found a way to make legislation for you! “Screw the people of Vermont! Mandate they take our vaccines whether they want them or not!” Big Pharma is in the business of making money and doing whatever it takes to make more, more, more! Do you think pharmaceutical companies, or the people of Vermont through our elected legislators, should be making these important decisions, folks?

    And mandating! What are we talking about here? Mandating shots for children? Healthcare workers? Teachers? Taking away the free choices of parents to decide about the health of their children! Are we living in communist Russia or China? Now we have some doctors and healthcare people onboard going along with the mandating! Are you still following the money and how this all ties together? What a conflict of interest!

    People of Vermont: I hope you are as smart as I think you are! You have grown up in a country where you have been free to exercise liberties that many in other parts of the world have not enjoyed. You have been able to raise your child as you saw best and to make important decisions for that child concerning his health and well being. You always felt blessed that you did not live under communism or Nazism where the state claimed ownership of your child and decided his care. But NOW all that we have enjoyed is threatened! And you are made to look like you are paranoid if you do not humbly go along with it!

    I think everyone should have the right to make his or her own healthcare choices. If some healthcare worker wants to get a vaccine every other day, I insist that she has a right to do so. But when she wants to take away my right to decide that I don’t want the vaccines—-I say, “STOP”! Many have died to give us (the people) the freedoms that we have enjoyed in this country. Are we now going to hand the reins over to giant corporations? Are we going to be brainwashed by terms like “for the good of all” and “good science” and “herd immunity”. It is nonsense!

    This is all about politics and it is all about money! And it is about losing your freedoms and turning government “by the people” over to government by corporations to USE the people! Be strong! Be wise! Protect your children! They are worth fighting for!

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Well, we already have requirements for school entry. Various hospitals are requiring that their doctors and nurses be vaccinated for the flu, or else wear masks the entire season. Both of these potential mandates are for protecting the public health and welfare, and before you start comparing these policies to communist Russia, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with Jacobson v Massachusetts, where the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the idea that when the safety of the general public may be at risk, individual liberties are not absolute.

  15. Eileen Foster :

    Responding to Judith Persin’s question, “People of Vermont: I hope you are as smart as I think you are!”

    I do believe that when the People of Vermont are faced with the prospect of removing rights from themselves and their neighbors, they are willing and able to take the time to consider an issue carefully.

    I wonder if this is due to the fact Vermonters truly (and, correctly) consider the impact removing rights will have on their children and grandchildren.

    As we see the rights of Parents to determine medical choice for their children being restricted in other States, these words from President Calvin Coolidge resonate with me:

    “If ever the spirit of liberty should vanish from the rest of the Union, it could be restored by the generous share held by the people in this brave little State of Vermont.”

    I think that might be what’s “wrong” with Vermont.

  16. Judith Persin, :

    Encore, Eileen!

    “Most of us” know that just because a government (influenced by big lobbyists of the huge pharmaceutical companies) sets a precedent, it is not necessarily in the best interest of our children. Citizens have always had to be constantly vigilant of what is taking place in the legislative bodies and the courts of this country. For instance, our government decided to permit the patenting of life forms like Monsanto’s seeds and allowed foods from them to be secretly thrust into the food supply without you or I being told. So our own government officials thought it was fine for us all to be used as guinea pigs while we unknowingly eat GMOs! Most Americans still do not know they are guinea pigs, while at the same time we are becoming the sickest group of people on the planet! The American Academy of Environmental Medicine warned doctors in 2009 to tell their patients NOT to eat GMOs! So who with an ounce of sense in his or her head is going to say you can trust the government? Only someone who is going to benefit personally in some way with the agenda or someone who is simply naive! Historical research records hundred of instances where our government experimented on its own citizens without their knowledge! Are you going to trust these vaccines while the government now has allowed big pharma to be free of all liability? And NOW the deadly vaccines contain these genetically modified components which have not been properly tested(the pharma companies doing their own fraudulent testing for their own benefit and profit). I feel sorry for people who refuse to look at the truth of the matter. Studies show that getting a flu shot five years in a row ups your chances of getting Alzheimers tremendously. And just take a peek at what is in the cerval cancer vaccine that (remember Rick Perry) Texas was going to mandate all young girls get. It has killed and permanently injured thousands of girls—but it is still advertised in your daily newspaper like it is safe!

    Look what is in Gardisil! The cervical cancer vaccine! These are only some of the ingredients.

    Mercury, ammonium sulfate, beta-propiolactone, genetically modified yeast, animal, bacterial, and viral DNA, latex rubber, monosodium glutamate, aluminum, formaldehyde, micro-organisms, polysorbate 80, tri(n)butylphosphate, glutaraldehyde, gelatin, gentamicin sulfate & polymyxin B, neomycin sulfate, phenol/phenoxyethanol, human and animal cells, sodium borate, aka roach killer. No wonder thousands of girls have been permanently injured by this series of three vaccines! What a cocktail!

    Are you going to run out and get it for your young daughter? And what is Polysorbate 80? Research and see that it destroys the reproductive organs!

    We in Vermont need to stand up for truth and do whatever it takes to protect our children!

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      You say you feel sorry for people that refuse to look at the truth, but when I try to find evidence of your claims, I actually find the exact opposite.

      Flu vaccines have been linked to 1) less Alzheimer’s disease and 2) less death overall

      http://www.cmaj.ca/content/165/11/1495.full?eaf

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?orig_db=PubMed&cmd=Search&defaultField=Title+Word&term=JAMA%5BJour%5D+AND+2004%5Bpdat%5D+AND+Stricker+B%5Bauthor%5D+AND+influenza

      I then decided to look up some of the ingredients in the Gardasil vaccine because I know you are wrong about the animal and human cells – that is what they use during culture of the vaccine, it is not actually in the final product.

      Here is what is actually in the vaccine that is given to people:
      “The ingredients are proteins of HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate
      sulfate, yeast protein, sodium chloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate, and water for injection.”

      You need the proteins to HPV – it’s a vaccine, for crying out loud, that’s how vaccines work.
      Aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate is an additive that helps the immune system react to the vaccine. These additives are called adjuvants. They are safe, because the amount actually present in the vaccine is microscopic (yes, this might be dangerous in extremely high levels, like eating a pound of this stuff, but so is water is high amounts).
      Yeast protein – this is probably a stabilizer, and there are lots of warnings on the packaging for people who are allergic to yeast.
      Sodium chloride – you know this as table salt. Again, it’s in very small amounts
      L-histidine – this is an essential amino acid.
      Polysorbate 80 – Because I spent a lot of time in a lab, I know this as Tween. It helps keep proteins from sticking together. The actual amount of Tween in the vaccine is ridiculously small – in the lab, where I was free to use as much as I wanted, I only would use it in amounts of 0.05%. And that’s a lot for Tween, so it is in even smaller amounts for the vaccine, probably barely noticeable.
      Sodium borate – again, in small amounts, this acts as a buffer to stabilize the solution. Concentrated borax is a different substance altogether.

      There is no mercury in Gardasil. There is no mercury in a lot of vaccines, even though the mercury compound that was used was safe and not linked to any health problems whatsoever. And most of the other ingredients that you felt compelled to list are products that are used during the culture process – you list a few antibiotics, some solutions used during cell culture, and my favorite, “micro-organisms”. Yes, because we are making vaccines, we often have to use bacteria and viruses at some point in the process.

      Source: http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/g/gardasil/gardasil_ppi.pdf
      And Merck has to disclose all the ingredients, it’s kindof the law and they need to be able to identify each ingredient in case someone has an allergy.

      These vaccines are the first vaccines to stop a form of cancer that is devastating to young women. Of course I would give my daughter this vaccine. I was lucky enough to get it myself.

      • Rebeca Lee :

        “Ridiculously small”is not a very scientific statement. I believe actual scientists use numbers. And does the Gardasil vaccine have mercury in it or not? For sure the Internet is packed with testimonials from young women with neurological damage they sincerely believe came from getting this vaccine.

  17. Judith Persin, :

    I had to chuckle, Kathryn, when I looked at the site where you got your info on Alzheimer’s in relation to vaccines. You refuse to admit how much money is made from these toxic cocktails; and you also refuse to admit how often the pharmaceutical companies have been caught in committing fraud. So you think we should all trust them just because YOU work for the health department? You also refuse to address the truth about ALEC and Senator Mullin and how this whole thing started in VT. You also insist that “herd immunity is a real proven fact when it is a complete farce.

    I do grant that you are right about mercury not being in Gardasil. But will you admit that there is enough aluminum in it to make up for any lack of mercury? And that is just one injection of a series of three! Add to that the junk like MSG (a known neurotoxin) and the other lovely components! How much aluminum do you want injected into your arm in one dose? Is there anything you think that would not be safe going into a child’s arm, I ask? “For crying out loud” as you said, “that is how vaccines work”!
    Yes, that is how they work alright. They are full of toxins. If vaccines were so wonderful, why would they ever need to be forced upon people (Nazi-style)? Maybe you enjoy being a guinea pig? Maybe some of us don’t! And remember there is mercury in those flu vaccines!

    But it would be good for you to comment on the info presented on this site below. It is always good to have contrasting perspectives. Vermonters can make their own decisions.

    http://truthaboutgardasil.org/about-2/

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      Is there something wrong with the Canadian Medical Association? I would think that they would be a good source for peer-reviewed studies.

      I am not refusing to admit that sometimes pharmaceutical companies do unethical and illegal activities in order to promote their products – it does happen, and I do not approve. And I looked at the link that you provided concerning Senator Mullen and the ALEC, and the only thing I came away with was that Senator Mullen is a member of ALEC. That doesn’t mean that he’s automatically brainwashed into doing whatever some corporation wants. I don’t see any proof that Senator Mullen is acting without the best interests of Vermont in mind.

      I insist that herd immunity is a proven fact because it IS a proven fact. I have personally seen it in action, and a number of mathematical models have backed it up.
      http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/pages/communityimmunity.aspx

      Our bodies are also very good at getting rid of small amounts of harmful materials – for example, formaldehyde is a natural byproduct of metabolism. So our bodies are able to deal with the tiny amounts of material that are in vaccines pretty easily. The total amount of aluminium given in vaccines is very small, and completely tolerated by the body.
      http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf

      Also many flu vaccines do not contain mercury – not that it matters, the mercury used in vaccines is also easily dealt with by the body.

      And regarding the Gardasil website you linked to – yes, there is some good information on this site, like how the vaccine only protects against 4 out of 100 serotypes of HPV, that routing cancer screenings need to continue, that it’s possible to clear an infection of HPV naturally. Those are all true. What is glossed over is the severity of cancer caused by HPV – those are the cancers that are not easily picked up in a pap smear and when discovered are often very advanced. So for Gardasil, you have a choice – essentially bring your risk of invasive cervical cancer to around 0, or take a chance and perhaps end up with cancer later. I would prefer to not have cancer, so I got the vaccine.

      Also, with a vaccine like Gardasil which primarily protects against cancer, I think it’s ok to have the choice to vaccinate or not. You are not going to be hurting anyone else if you do not get the Gardasil vaccine. That is not true for other childhood vaccinations, and that is why I push for routine vaccinations against serious infectious diseases.

  18. Judith Persin, :

    You can push all you want Kathryn! But many us are going to push right back at you! That is because you are absolutely, positively wrong about the safety of vaccines today. I notice that you did not address all the suffering and all the families who have lost their (once healthy) beautiful daughters to the wonderful “scientific” Gardasil injections! It is amazing how you pick and choose what you wish to see. Did you miss THAT on the Gardasil sight?

    I would love to debate you in person!

    TRUTH will always prevail in the end! Maybe you will read the whole article below????

    Judith Persin, Registered Nurse

    Do check out http://naturalsociety.com/exposing-vaccination-for-immunity-fraud/?utm_source=Natural+Society&utm_campaign=e75428a11a-Email+126%3A+4%2F1%2F2013&utm_medium=email

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      I did not comment on the Gardasil adverse reactions because a number of the highly publicized “reactions” were later found to be fabricated. I just took a look at what has been reported to VAERS over the last year regarding the Gardasil vaccine, and many of them have no association – they got the vaccine and then a year later got sick with something else, or were not sure if they had even been vaccinated but they heard something on the news and they want to report their illness too. There are a few allergic reactions, a few more “typical” reactions (like swelling at injection site, overall malaise for a day or two) which result from most vaccines – those are probably linked to the vaccine, but are also on the whole not as serious.

      CDC FAQ: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/HPV/hpv_faqs.html

      Paper using VAERS data to assess safety – no adverse reactions were found to be linked to vaccination with Gardasil: http://bit.ly/ZdoR6t

      • Jason Wells :

        Kathryn, I find it very odd that you spend so much time trying to influence the view of this issue up here in Vermont from Boston Ma. (although you keep repeating your local). I really do wonder what your real motivations are.

        • Kathryn Kinzel :

          I have never said that I was local. Try reading my comments again.

          I grew up in Vermont, have a lot of family in Vermont, have an intense sense of pride about Vermont, and if I had the chance, I would love to raise a family in Vermont. So when a subject comes up that is a personal passion of mine, and has the ability to affect the health of the state I love, I feel compelled to weigh in.

  19. Judith Persin, :

    Kathryn, if you loved Vermont so much why did you leave? I think the rest of us are lucky you did! We don’t need Nazi thinking here in Vermont!

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      I left to pursue an educational opportunity. And I would appreciate if you stopped referring to my position as “Nazi thinking”.

  20. Judith Persin, :

    For anyone still in doubt about vaccinating your child, do check this site out first. PLEASE

    This Group of Revolutionary Mothers Is Helping Save Children from Dangerous Vaccines

    http://vactruth.com/2013/04/13/thinking-moms-revolution/?utm_source=The+Vaccine+Truth+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2274886616-04_13_2013_revolution&utm_medium=email

    If you haven’t read the new book by the Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), buy it now.

    Think About It — What Happened to These Children?
    Think about it. There’s that word again. Think.
    It’s simple. They were injured by the toxins in the vaccines.
    Every single drug that is currently on the market or has ever been on the market can have side effects. How can this not also be true for vaccines? You can’t tell me that what is safe for one kid is safe for all kids. Everyone can’t take the same medicines. There are allergies, sensitivities, already-compromised immune systems to consider. How is it possible for vaccines, which are injected into our children’s bodies, to not have any serious side effects? Think about what’s in vaccines. Mercury, a known toxin. Along with aborted fetal cells (which means DNA), cow and monkey cells, yeast, sorbitol, gelatin, sodium chloride, egg protein, antibiotics like neomycin and gentamicin, etc., etc., etc.
    Here are a few problems these children suffered:
    • “the most miserable baby, always crying and throwing temper tantrums”
    • “ear infections, random skin rashes, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting”
    • “withdrew into his own world”
    • “lost most of his forty words, stopped making eye contact, stopped playing and laughing, … developed a fascination with spinning objects, lost interest in the world around him”
    • “constant fevers, … yeast and bacterial infections”
    • “would run endlessly back and forth in a line”
    • “her beautiful babble descended into silence and morphed into a low guttural hum”
    • “at the doctor’s constantly for colds, coughs, or sores”
    • “a fever of 102, sometimes 104”
    • “stopped babbling, stopped saying mama and dada, lost all eye contact, and stopped smiling”
    • “wouldn’t respond to his name at all”
    • “would scream loudly and throw himself on the floor, slamming his head so hard that he bruised it”
    • “just spinning the wheels on the toy cars he used to play with”
    • “body was covered from head to toe, front to back, in a rash, and he was crying inconsolably”
    • “He was slow to talk, very late to walk, ended up losing what little speech he had, and struggled to make cognitive, social, and emotional gains.”
    • “morphed from a fat, happy baby to a detached and hyperactive preschooler”
    • “He started walking on his toes, flapping his hands, shaking his head from side to side, looking at things out of the corner of his eyes, spinning nonstop … and not talking.”
    • “He was sinking into his own world.”
    • “She had auditory and visual processing disorders, causing her to cry out in agony over certain noises and lights. She slept badly. She was hyperactive and frequently mouthed and licked things.”
    • “bit everyone in sight”
    • “He was easily overwhelmed and couldn’t handle chaos well. Transitioning from place to place might or might not bring a complete meltdown.”
    • “He wouldn’t do the same preschool ‘work’ that his peers were doing. There was little interaction with other children. He didn’t answer questions appropriately or look you in the eye.”
    • “He cried all day long and projectile-vomited every ounce of formula we gave him.”
    • “He stopped gaining weight, and he stopped growing at the rate he should have been. … He had very small appetite.”
    • “would walk around repeating pages out of the book”
    • “He would transition for a few seconds into maniacal laughter, but then, seamlessly and without a breath, he would go back to crying, as if in pain.”
    • “I had to sit on him to brush his teeth, to cut his nails, and to get him into his car seat.”

    I think these kids sound sick. Very sick.

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      There is a very basic and fundamental concept in science: correlation does not equal causation. Just because two things appear related does not mean that one causes the other.

      Case in point: sales of organic food are correlated with the rise in autism. http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2013/02/organic-food-causes-autism.html

      Now, this is an extreme example, because I think most people would realize that there is no causation here. That is why in other situations, where causation is not clear, large epidemiological studies are done to examine the correlation and see if there is any merit to causation. And in all vaccine studies, there has not even been a strong correlation.

  21. Judith Persin :

    Kathryn, Can we conclude then that the cause of your irrational thinking and narrow-mindedness is that you have gotten far too many vaccines yourself? Or, on the other hand is it just another case of “Follow the Money” and you are part of the money trail? Had you been around when blood-letting was a common practice, we know which side you would have been on, all the while declaring how scientific it was? And if you don’t want your behavior referred to as Nazi-like then why are you working so hard to control the families of Vermont when you don’t even live here! As far as vaccines causing damage to children, Kathryn, that has already been proven! Causation is very clear! So, again, you are not following the truth but supporting some interest that you feel benefits you personally. Any one in Vermont (who avoids vaccines) has the brains to see right through it! Do you think the people of Vermont are stupid?
    Perhaps you get so irritated because Vermonters don’t fall for your little “scientific talks”?

    • Kathryn Kinzel :

      I am in no way monetarily benefiting from vaccines. In fact, I probably would have better job security if more people didn’t get vaccinated and instead got sick with the diseases that vaccines prevent. However, I would prefer that people stay healthy, which is one reason why I promote vaccination.

      The scientific method ended blood-letting too, so saying that I would be on the side of science would be an accurate statement. Unless you are referring to the time of the ancient Greeks, and when the scientific method was only just starting to be formed. Then, there are no real “sides” to take.

      We may have to agree to disagree, Judith. As I have mentioned before, I care about Vermont because I have friends and family in Vermont and I want them to be happy. I keep giving my “scientific talks” because I believe that people should make informed decisions, and when science can back something up, I feel that should be mentioned and given the appropriate weight. When other people spout lies and misbeliefs, I feel compelled to correct with evidence, not stories.

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