Adapted from the VRAN Newsletter Editorial, Fall 2000 Issue.
Parents brace yourselves!! Another vaccine is about to be added to the infant and young child schedule a vaccine that is being heralded with unprecedented fanfare in a high profile media and advertising campaign to be the miracle drug that will prevent ear infections, pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis in children under the age of two. Licensed in the U.S. and recently in Canada, the new heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), is being touted as safe and highly effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease and is poised for inclusion into the infant vaccine schedule. Dr. Victor Marchessault, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, is quoted as saying that “This is a vaccine you have to recommend”. The current NACI statement provides recommendations for the use of the new PCV7 vaccine marketed by Wyeth-Ayerst under the trade name Prevnar.
Michael Horwin critiques the inadequate science behind this product, its low margin of efficacy, absence of long term safety data, and the incestuous ties and conflicts of interest that prevail in vaccine marketing strategies and licensing procedures – another example of the current climate of profit driven health care, absent of checks and balances, where public health and safety is forfeited for corporate interests. The message from both Michael Horwin and Dr. Erdem Cantekin is, consumer beware!!!
PREVNAR: A Critical Review of a New Childhood Vaccine
© Michael Horwin, MA, September 19, 2000
Independent statistical analysis of this new vaccine has uncovered a quagmire of very disturbing information. Dr. Erdem Cantekin presented his analysis at the recent National Vaccine Information Center Conference. “The alleged benefits are greatly exaggerated and the risks are significant.” In examining the raw data and study methodology, Dr. Cantekin found that the vaccine is not effective for ear infections, or pneumonia and the data on meningitis prevention are inconclusive. Furthermore the FDA did not approve Prevnar for pneumonia or for otitis media. Dr. Cantekin asks “why does the American Academy of Pediatrics want our children to be immunized using Prevnar? Why are all those experts excited? I am afraid the answer is not in the scientific domain.”
The vaccine trial had no placebo group, rather it had a control group of children who were given an experimental menigococcus C vaccine. Prevnar administered children had 4 times more seizures and they had 4 times more gastritis than the control group. Significantly, more children who received Prevnar developed asthma.
Says Dr. Cantekin – “The big push for Prevnar marketing comes from it s alleged benefits in otitis media although the FDA had clearly not approved it for this use.” Consider these facts about ear infections About 60 percent of the cases are viral, less than 40 percent are bacterial, and perhaps 25 percent of ear infections are due to pneumococcus bacteria. Otitis media is a self-limiting disease and 90 percent of cases resolve within a few days, without treatment. With 7 million cases of ear infections occurring each year in the U.S. it has grown into a big business. For two decades the experts have treated ear infections with aggressive interventions, such as long duration antibiotic therapy with designer drugs, antibiotic prophylaxis, followed by aggressive surgery which “fuels our 5 billion dollar a year otitis medico-economics.”
Pneumococcus is a common respiratory bacteria with more than 90 serotypes and causes various diseases. How it transmutes itself into a pathogen is not known, nor is the carriage rate and the serotype distribution in various population groups known. Of great concern explained Dr. Cantekin is that “the role of pneumococcus in the microecological balance is yet to be determined&.and that vaccination of all newborns with 7 pneumococcal serotypes and possible eradication of those serotypes (assumed to be the common pathogenic types) is an uninformed experiment at best.”
The seven strains of pneumococcal bacteria this vaccine purports to ward off, are some of the antibiotic resistant strains that now account for the majority of bacterial infections in young children, an example of how the indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics has put pressure on pathogenic microbes to mutate and develop into highly aggressive bacterial strains impervious to antibiotic therapies. Says vaccine activist Dawn Richardson – “This situation begs for the question to be answered – that can’t the indiscriminate widespread use of vaccines put the same kind of pressure on these bugs to mutate? We are already seeing evidence of this as there are already 8 different genotypes of wild strain measles identified.”
Continuing with this line of thinking, Dr. Cantekin is worried about will happen to the other 80 serotypes when selective pressure is put on these few. “Pneumococcus is an aggressive organism that caused approximately 90,000 deaths last year because of antibiotic resistant pneumococcal pneumonia in older people. It is a deadly bacteria that killed many people before the invention of antibiotics in the 1940 s&&& we also need to know the environmental pressure due to Prevnar because it is not going to be a vaccination program where a given pathogen like small pox will be eradicated. It is going to be more like antibiotic use. Prevnar by changing serotype natural balance will exert selective pressure on microbial ecology.” (More from Dr. Cantekin)
Dawn Richardson founder of PROVE (Parents For Open Vaccine Education), shared these thoughts, “One study that has not been done that I’m sure we all have a good hypothesis as to what the results are – who are the majority of children who are getting severe invasive infections with the pnuemococcal bacteria? Our experience is showing that it is the kids who are massively vaccinated and medicated with antibiotics. It is the poor children whose immune systems are being systematically destroyed by the medical profession but they do have a nice marketing gimmick going to create a constant widespread demand for their products and services.”
In 1996 New Zealand researcher Hilary Butler wrote a fascinating paper entitled “The Perilous Haemophilus, or is it..Pneumonia” (1) where she reported a disturbing trend following the widespread use of the combined haemophilus Influenza B conjugate vaccine and DPTP vaccine. Within a year of the introduction of this new combo, a dramatic and unexpected increase in hospital admissions of young children was observed. And although Hib disease had “fallen to rock bottom”, doctors were noticing that “the proportion of very young children admitted is getting higher and that generally, children seem to be sicker when they arrive.” This despite the public having been told that the new vaccine would ease the work load of paediatric staff, they were now seeing more, and sicker children than ever before.
Her attention was first drawn to this new trend when the New Zealand media began reporting the dramatic increase in hospitalization of young children presenting with severe cases of pneumonia, asthma, meningococcal diseases, fevers and bronchiolitis. On searching the medical literature, she found that the rise in pneumococcal disease had already been associated with the Hib vaccine.
Butler s search kept turning up associations between increases in pneumonia and meningitis, not only in the wake of the Hib vaccine but other vaccines as well. She refers to the “first Swedish study of the Japanese acellular pertussis vaccine which was abruptly stopped because a larger number of serious infections and deaths were occurring in the vaccinated group than the unvaccinated. The raw data repeatedly came up with PNEUMONIA and MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS.”
Then the June, 1992 issue of Newsletter from the Journal of Pediatric Infectious Disease stated “The Perilous Pneumococcus. We have great concern for the increasing prevalence of relatively or absolutely penicillin resistant pneumococci coupled with the increased relative frequency of peneumococcal diseases as a result of universal Haemophilus vaccination.”
Hilary Butler and Dr. J. Anthony Morris wrote a letter to the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal newsletter and pointed out that a solution to one problem can give rise to another, perhaps more difficult problem. They expressed concern that the increase of pneumococcal disease as a result of universal Hib vaccination could result in greater difficulty in treating antibiotic resistant pneumococcal organisms.
“This apparent one step forward one step backward situation is reminiscent of similar problems that accompanied early use in the 1960 s of inactivated adenovirus vaccines to prevent respiratory diseases caused by adenovirus types 3, 4,and 7. The vaccines were highly effective in preventing disease caused by these types, but not effective in preventing respiratory diseases caused by the other 40 or more adenoviruses that moved in to replace types 3, 4 and 7. Soon after this situation was recognized, use of adenovirus vaccines , was abandoned, except for use in military personnel.”
Then a Finnish study reported in the Lancet, 11 March, 1995, Volume 345, p.661 titled “Increase in Bacteraemic Pneumococcal Infections in Children” reported that “following the disappearance of invasive Hib disease in children bacteraemic pneumococcal infections have increased. A similar, although less striking increase has been reported in Philadelphia.” They also speculated that while Hib vaccinations have reduced the carriage of the Hib organism, that “pneumococci may have found a new niche in colonizing children.”
In her concluding remarks Hilary Butler forwards the idea that the “introduction of the vaccine (Hib conjugate) is the prime suspect for the increased number of sick children, either by suppressing the immune system allowing carriage of pneumococcal bacteria to become clinical disease, or by providing a new niche for the bacteria to increase its loading dose in children, resulting in disease. Either way, the result is undesirable.”
Have we traded Hib disease for pneumococcal disease (which is far less treatable), and which now has taken up a predominant place in an increasing disease cycle? With over 90 pneumococcal organisms hovering, numbers of which are already intractable and antibiotic resistant, what new environmental pressure will be exerted on the microbial world when this new pneumococcal vaccine is unleashed into the community? What new and deadly organisms will evolve in retaliation to this reckless tampering with microbial ecology?
The haemophilus influenza B (Hib)vaccine has also been linked to increased rates of juvenile onset diabetes by Dr. Barthelow Classen who calculates it causes a 25% rise in the rate of diabetes. The incidence of diabetes in young children has been steadily rising since the mid 1960 s. It is a disease that shortens life expectancy, is the largest cause of blindness in the U.S. and the largest cause of non-traumatic amputations. The economic toll of diabetes is in the tens of billions of dollars.
In her search of the medical literature to find answers as to why her son developed life threatening anaphylaxis to every day foods, Rita Hoffman lays it squarely on Hib vaccine. About a decade ago, a sudden increase in children suffering from life threatening food allergies was first noticed and started precisely when Hib vaccine was first added to the early infancy shots. Hib, along with additional boosters of MMR has increased the number of doses of vaccines given to children from 23 prior to 1987 to 30.
We start with healthy babies who are then bombarded with an arsenal of vaccines without any credence given to the natural ecology of the infant s immune system, or the time frame that is needed for it to unfold, strengthen and mature, or the natural non invasive, non-violent ways we have within our means to support this process. It is crucial that parents be enabled to evaluate the impact of vaccines on their children s health and future. It is not just a matter of suppressing this or that disease. It is a matter of understanding the much larger picture of microbial ecology and grasping the concept that when one organism, or group of organisms is thrown off kilter by powerful biological weapons like vaccines, that the fallout can create untold havoc – a cascade of events that in the long run will exert a far greater toll on health than the original disease it was meant to prevent.
Every mother has within her means the ability to protect her baby from Hib disease, ear infections, allergies, pneumonia, meningitis, and gastrointestinal illnesses a protection that reduces the risk of her baby contracting these diseases by 10 to 15 fold. By breastfeeding she enables her child to develop true and lasting health while providing the most critical foundation on which a strong neuro/immune system can form. When we reclaim our trust in nature, and embrace the big picture of health from the physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual perspective, we become empowered to move beyond fear of disease that holds us captive to the vaccine paradigm – and move into harmony as co-creators with the greater evolutionary imperative.
- Hilary Butler — The Perilous Haemophilus, or is it… Pneumonia. Full text accessible at the Immunisation Awareness website.
- The Immunisation Awareness Society of New Zealand