Nobody likes being poked with a needle and having unknown substances shot into their bodies but there exists in Canada today a seemingly unfounded fear of, and backlash against vaccines; an outcry which was barely present twenty years ago. Where has this growing apprehension come from when Canadians have for generations been inoculated, immunized and vaccinated against a host of potentially life-threatening diseases? Why are there now more documents, reports and papers written Against vaccination than For, when sixty years ago Canadians were thankful to have government funded immunization programmes?
After all this time the question of whether or not to implement wide-spread vaccination of the public in Canada is an embarrassing one to ask, as it reveals an underlying but slowly surfacing issue of public distrust in our current social infrastructure; from science to media, big business and government. Although not the cause of this slow social unravelling, the argument For and Against vaccination, especially forced vaccination of children in Canada is a difficult one to address because it is influenced by bad science, commercial media, big business and government.
Although I belong to that distrustful undercurrent which is slowly eroding the fabric of society, it behoves me to look closely at an old fear, one forgotten for several generations but one that most likely drives many public health policies of today. In Canada, better than twenty percent of the population were born before there was a vaccine for polio and a small percent were born while diphtheria, tetanus and even the ‘flu’ still threatened thousands each year; United States and Europe often times being hardest hit. In the United Kingdom, diphtheria struck at all levels of society, killing the second daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Alice and in 1921, soon to be President, F. D. Roosevelt was crippled with polio. Between 1918 and 1919 the ‘flu’ killed fifty-thousand Canadians and upwards of 50-million people around the globe; more than the life lost during WW1.
Those Canadians born after 1960 have never had to fear the slow withering of diphtheria, the crippling of tetanus or the suffocation of polio, for want of a vaccination against them. This ‘mass forgetting’ of just how horrible it is to live with these silent killers, by a population both increasingly dependant upon and at the same time distrustful of pharmacopeia and government, could lead to the resurgence of these easily contracted and naturally occurring diseases; to which there are no know cures. Medical science do know where the particular bacteria originate and for the most part know how humans contract the subsequent illnesses, how to stop these infections and diseases once they take hold is still beyond our grasp. For these (and many other instances around the world), prevention is the only defence.
Given the option, why would one not want to receive protection, often free of charge, from disease? To a growing number of people, there are a host of reasons and a swelling body of evidence gives credence to their objections, only a few of which I can examine here in no particular order:
1. There is a chance, often quite a large chance, of contracting the very illness against which you are being immunized. Vaccines can contain either an inert version of the virus/pathogen or they can contain an active version; both cause your immune system to recognize and fight the real virus but the active version of a vaccine is cheaper to produce and stands the highest chance of infecting you. Although this fact has been known since the first vaccines were tested, many governments were/are supplying the inert version to the military and their infrastructure while distributing the less expensive version to the public. Often the failure of a government or NGO organized public vaccination program is due to high numbers of vaccine related infection, which reduces the effectiveness of ‘herd’ inoculation.
2. Immune system targets are but a tiny portion of the many compounds contained in that syringe or oral drop, some of which are only now being recognized as harmful to life by the US government. Of note is Thimerosal, (from a 2013 CDC article) “a mercury-containing antibacterial compound, used in multi-dose vial preparations of IIV to reduce the likelihood of bacterial growth. While accumulating evidence shows no increased risks from exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines, the U.S. Public Health Service and other organizations have recommended that efforts be made to eliminate or reduce the thimerosal content in vaccines as part of a strategy to reduce mercury exposures from all sources.”
3. Some of the compounds in that vaccine mixture cause allergic reactions, seizures and inflict Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) on between 4 and 7 people per 100,000 vaccinated; GBS is normally contracted by the general population at a rate of 0.72 to 2 cases for every 100,000 persons (this statistic is significant a little later). Results of a study that examined health-care data from Ontario, Canada, during 1992–2004 demonstrated a small but statistically significant temporal association between receiving influenza vaccination and subsequent hospital admission for GBS (relative incidence: 1.45; 95% CI = 1.05–1.99). However, no increase in cases of GBS at the population level was reported after introduction of a mass public influenza vaccination program in Ontario beginning in 2000.
4. No discussion about the side effects of vaccines is complete without covering a suspected link between mercury and autism. Searches of Center for Disease Control (CDC) and medical society documents describing the link between Thimerosal and the on-set of autism all say that although they suspect a link, the increase in rates of autism in North America cannot be related to the vaccines because Thimerosal has been removed from vaccines since 2001. Yet Thimerosal remains in vaccines today, as evidenced by this CDC document from 2013. It is apparent that much study has gone into the mercury/autism link since the late 1990’s but autism groups around the country are retracting their assertions about the link because the CDC says it recognizes the dangers of mercury…which they haven’t.
5. World Health Organization (WHO) director Margaret Chan, who was the most vociferous proponent of mass vaccinations as the world faced the H1N1 flu virus of 2008/2009, did not bother to vaccinate herself against it until the end of 2009, well after the flu had peaked and only when media got hold of this fact. This bit of very public hypocrisy has stirred thousands of people around the world to question what motivates the WHO when they declare a pandemic, but it did not get her fired and she is back at the helm for another term.
When the WHO (or the Center for Disease Control) warns of a ‘Pandemic’, they mean that an infectious and possibly deadly disease will or is already spreading across a wide swath of a particular population. When people hear the word ‘pandemic’ it conjures up images of ‘the plague’ or the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918/1919 which infected up to 40% of the worlds population and killed 50-million. Fortunately the outbreak of high-mortality diseases in developed countries rapidly diminished after 1958 and since that time the WHO/CDC have downgraded the meaning of ‘pandemic’ to include disease outbreaks causing no more serious harm to our population than does the regularly expected ‘flu season’.
So what makes a ‘pandemic’ worth a WHO alarm these days? To put things into context it is prudent to know the number of people in the developed world who die each year from pneumonia and other complications brought about by contracting a conventional flu or cold. According to the Center for Disease Control, an average of 20,000 deaths each year in the U.S. are attributed to symptoms brought about by contracting the more common strains of flu; about 5.7 deaths per hundred thousand people. Our Canadian Lung Association states an average 6,000 Canadians die each year from the flu, or about 18.75 deaths per hundred thousand people. These are interesting numbers when compared to the average 5.5 people per hundred thousand who, upon receiving a vaccine contracted Guillain-Barré Syndrome or the countless others who become inflicted with allergic reactions, seizures and neurological/physiological disorders. So prevalent are adverse side effects from vaccines that the Center for Disease Control has set up a hot-line for just such incidences at the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Yet even the WHO have trouble reporting the actual number of annual flu deaths and this is becoming a problem for countries that spend hundreds of millions of dollars on additional vaccines during a WHO ‘pandemic’ alert. A study of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, carried out at the George Washington University in Washington, DC., found that the flu deaths during that flu season were no more than normal, despite the WHO warnings that it was about to kill millions around the world. This CBC article about the study states:
“Another key finding of the study was that some parts of the world were hit far harder than others, with 20 times more deaths in the Americas than in Europe. While early reports out of Mexico — where the virus was first spotted — raised alarm that the outbreak might be very severe, some parts of the world saw such mild activity that people questioned the decision to declare the outbreak a pandemic. France ended up sending back most of the pandemic vaccine it ordered because few people agreed to be vaccinated. And some politicians at the Council of Europe were heavily critical of the WHO’s actions, accusing the agency of setting off a false alarm.”
North America and many other country groups annually purchase enough vaccine to cover between 10% and 15% of their population. Center for Disease Control show their cost per dose (often two doses per person are required) at $15 or more. 12.5% of 350MM Americans equals 4.375MM people who receive an average 1.25 doses, for an annual expenditure on vaccines of at least $820MM. When the WHO issues a pandemic alert the purchasing departments of many countries go into overdrive and buy up to 2.5 times the normal number of doses, which drives the U.S. expenditure on vaccines to well over $2 Billion. Once again, Canadian, some Asian, South American and European countries follow the same practices which can drive the global vaccine sales to more than $20 Billon per year.
As you can imagine, given the money involved there are hundreds of laboratories around the world producing and packaging vaccines for a variety of diseases, many without direct government oversight of quality control. At times it would seem that it is good business practice to release a modified flu strain every couple of years.
More than fifty years have elapsed since Canada has had to endure a host of crippling diseases and those victims, most often hidden away from society (and the media), have long since passed away; ensuring that patients families, old medical documents and draconian rules surrounding vaccination are the only testimony to the wide spread fear of not having vaccines. In Canada the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick have mandatory vaccination (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella) policies in place for school children and a vigorous public campaign promoting vaccinations in general. One has only to look at the devastation Polio and other disease caused in those provinces before 1956 to understand why these policies are in place. So imposing are the provincial governments that they fail to tell you that according to the Canadian Constitution an individual cannot be vaccinated (or undergo any other medical procedure) without their consent and that government forms are readily available in these provinces allowing a person to opt-out of vaccinations; you just have to ask.
No matter which concern(s) drives you to question the efficacy of vaccination it is apparent that asking questions too loudly may attract unwanted attention. Trust between the public and their governing bodies’ needs to exist or those governing bodies must be replaced by agencies approved by the public. Our problem today is that these governing bodies around the world are generally un-elected by the population and so have become permanent, often unassailable infrastructure. In Canada it matters not whether Liberals or Conservatives run the show because individual provinces write their own directives which range from laissez-faire to almost martial in their approach to vaccinations. Yet in all provinces of Canada and states of the U.S., doctors adhere to their governing medical association or body, which in turn follows institutions like the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) when responding to a call to vaccinate. Voicing your fears over the side effects of a vaccine to your doctor means that you don’t trust him or her and therefore you don’t trust the government body telling them what to do. It is becoming apparent that showing any kind of dissatisfaction with or distrust of the government can get you labelled as either mentally ill or a terrorist.
Fifteen years ago my own children were vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella and they do not appear to have suffered any long term harm and indeed I am thankful that none of them have contracted the diseases to which they have been immunized. I am lucky, luckier than many around the world who cannot access vaccines and fall ill and those who receive a vaccination and contract even worse symptoms than the original disease inflicts. As the level of distrust between public and professional/government agencies increases and a growing percentage of the population reject vaccinations altogether, we will reach a ‘tipping point’ where the ‘herd’ immunization principal no longer applies and we leave our society vulnerable to common but long forgotten killers. Life is full of choices and you must make them using both your heart and your brain because there are powerful forces in our lives that would control your actions by influencing your emotions rather than allowing you an educated choice by showing you facts.
Update May 26, 2014: The United States CIA has been busted for running (fake?) vaccination programs as a way to infiltrate other countries. Please see this news link.
Update August 03, 2014: Mercury still in vaccines but cancer virus has been removed…maybe.
Update September 21, 2014: 15 Children die from vaccine
Remember that the price of security must not be the loss of freedom.