Recently Health Canada approved two rotavirus vaccines for the prevention of diarrhea in young children. The liquid vaccines are given orally in a series of doses beginning at two months of age. Both vaccines contain genetically engineered live attenuated human rotavirus strains or hybrid human-bovine reassortment rotavirus strains.
Symptoms of rotavirus include watery diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Signs of dehydration in a baby include dry skin, low urine output, sunken eyes, and no tears when the baby cries, dry mouth, a faster heart rate and listlessness. Most young children have had a bout with rotavirus by the time they are five.
Rotashield, the first rotavirus vaccine was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 1999 after it was linked with an increased risk of intussusception, a condition in which the bowel twists or slides into itself, causing a potentially life-threatening intestinal blockage. The Canadian Pediatric Society denies such a risk with the new rotavirus vaccines now available in Canada.
Earlier this year however, the U.S. public was informed that the two new infant diarrhea vaccines are contaminated with pig virus DNA. The two pharmaceutical giants given the green light to launch their diarrhea vaccines in Canada are Merck Frosst, maker of Rotateq (has 5 viral components) and GlaxoSmithKline maker of Rotarix. Health Canada is not concerned. It has glossed over the fact that both vaccines are contaminated with pig virus DNA.
The National Vaccine Information Center’s (NVIC) Barbara Loe Fisher reported that independent lab testing found the contamination. “The surprising discovery was made after the independent lab used new technology to evaluate the purity of eight live virus vaccines for polio, rubella, measles, yellow fever, human herpes 3 (varicella or chicken pox), rotavirus (Rotarix and RotaTeq) and MMR. In addition to pig viral DNA found in Rotarix vaccine, low levels of DNA fragments from avian (bird) leukosis virus (a retrovirus) was found in measles vaccine and DNA fragments of a virus similar to simian (monkey) retrovirus was found in RotaTeq vaccine.”
“There’s a difference between the two vaccines: Rotarix contains parts of a pig virus that does not make pigs sick while Merck’s RotaTeq contains parts of a pig virus that kills baby pigs. How many mothers know that, when Merck’s diarrhea vaccine is squirted into the mouths of their two month old babies, they are swallowing parts of a pig virus that suppresses the immune systems of baby pigs so badly, they waste away and suffer respiratory, kidney, reproductive and brain damage before dying?” asks Barb Fisher.
Rotavirus Vaccines Use Monkey, Cow, Pig Materials for Production
GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix is a genetically engineered vaccine created by isolating human rotavirus strain and uses African Green monkey kidney cells to produce the original viral seed stock from which all Rotarix vaccine has been made. “In the FDA licensing process, Rotarix had to meet certain FDA standards, that included demonstrating the vaccine was not contaminated with, for example TSE (Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathy or “mad cow” disease, a brain wasting disease) or with cow viruses because bovine (cow) serum was used to prepare the original viral seed stock. Porcine trypsin, an enzyme in the pancreatic juice of a pig, was also used to make the viral seed stock”, informed an NVIC press release.
Merck’s RotaTeq is a genetically engineered vaccine containing five human-cow reassortment strains of rotavirus that were created at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP), where strains of rotavirus that give cows diarrhea were combined with strains of rotavirus that cause diarrhea in humans. “The reassortment viruses were transported to Merck, where master seeds were produced using African Green Monkey kidney cell cultures. Fetal bovine (cow) serum and porcine trypsin was used to make the “seed” stock. There are small amounts of bovine serum and cell culture media (monkey viral DNA) that remain in RotaTeq vaccine”, said the NVIC report.
“And how many mainstream media outlets are not covering this important story, a story that broke on March 22, 2010, when the FDA recommended temporary suspension of Rotarix vaccine because of contamination with parts of a non-lethal pig virus, only to withdraw the recommendation after a meeting on May 7th, when it was revealed that RotaTeq vaccine is contaminated with DNA from a pig virus that is lethal?” asks Fisher.
DNA Can Infect Human Cells
“Why should we care about vaccines being contaminated with foreign DNA from deadly animal viruses? Because it is a well known fact that DNA from animal viruses can infect human cells and change human DNA to cause disease in humans”, said Barbara Fisher.
Dangerous to Assume Safety
NVIC joined with holistic health pioneer Dr. Joseph Mercola in calling for Merck to recall its live rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq which is contaminated with porcine circovirus2 (PCV2) and to clean it up. “No company marketing a product found to be contaminated should be given a free pass,” said Dr. Joseph Mercola. “It is always dangerous to assume safety. Vaccines contaminated with viral DNA that could evolve and infect humans cannot, and should not be assumed to be safe,” said Dr. Mercola. “Responsible corporations voluntarily recall contaminated foods and drugs that could possibly compromise safety”, stressed Fisher.
An article by health reporter Sharon Kirkey on rotavirus vaccines was picked up by media outlets across Canada. The inclusion of misleading statements by Dr. Robin Walker, vice-chair of the Board of the Canadian Institute of Child Health, once again underscores the laissez-faire attitude of mainstream journalists toward vaccine risk issues.
Walker said most concerns about vaccines are not founded on evidence. “Serious ill effects from vaccine are absolutely incredibly rare and the rotavirus vaccine has gone through the same kind of testing as other vaccines. Responding to VRAN’s statement of concern that yet another vaccine is being added to the already crowded infant schedule, he said, “Yes, kids get a lot of immunizations, but there’s now excellent science to show that it doesn’t really matter how many immunizations you give,” Walker said.
Dr. Walker’s “excellent science” derives from a theory promulgated by rotavirus vaccine developer Dr. Paul Offit who says a baby can withstand 100,000 vaccines without risk or side effect. Offit has earned untold millions as the developer and patent holder of the first rotavirus vaccine that caused life threatening intussusception, later withdrawn from the market. He is also the developer of the current new Rotateq vaccine produced by Merck. His other hat is media mouth piece for the U.S. vaccine establishment.
National Autism Association president, Wendy Fournier said, “Offit has zero credibility in matters of vaccine safety,” “Not only does he advance the absurd suggestion that children could safely get 100,000 vaccines at a time, he opposes any studies of the comparative health of unvaccinated children that could shed light on the extent and nature of vaccine-caused injuries, leading to their prevention……“ his financial conflicts of interest disqualify him as a credible source for vaccine safety commentary as well.”
“Quoted doctor didn’t tell the whole story about vaccines”, says Professor Christopher Shaw, neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia and colleague Lucija Tomljenovic in an October 7, 2010 rebuttal to the Vancouver Sun version of Sharon Kirkey’s article:
“This front-page article about rotavirus vaccination quoted Dr. Robin Walker on vaccine safety. His comments are summarized by his statement that, ‘There’s no evidence whatsoever that giving immunizations together, or giving more immunizations, is in the slightest bit harmful’.”
“What is disturbing” say Shaw and Tomljenovic, “is that even a cursory survey of the scientific literature shows quite the opposite conclusion, particularly for children. It may be that Walker is unaware of this literature or has chosen to ignore those published peer-reviewed articles that don’t agree with his opinion. Regardless, reporter Sharon Kirkey does readers a disservice by failing to note that the available evidence concerning vaccine safety, testing and outcome is far more complex.”
Media willingness to give credence to unproven statements advanced by medical people who spout flawed assurances of vaccine safety does a disservice to society as a whole. The unprecedented decline in the overall health of today’s highly vaccinated children deserves more than mindless obeisance to the medical establishment.
Seizure Rates double When Four Live Virus Vaccines Given Together
A recent study looked at the rates of seizures in children vaccinated with 4 live virus vaccines at the same time. It was found that toddlers who got a vaccine that combines the measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox vaccine are at twice the usual risk for fevers that lead to convulsions. According to the study, the risk for a febrile seizure after any measles vaccination is less than 1 seizure per 1000 vaccinations but among children who received the vaccine which combines 4 live viruses , there is 1 additional seizure for every 2,300 vaccinated.
Adequate research has never been done to demonstrate the safety of giving multiple vaccines to young babies. With the addition of the rotavirus vaccine to the routine infant schedule, Canadian babies can receive up to 42 doses of 14 vaccines by 18 months of age.
Breastfeeding protects against acute gastroenteritis due to rotavirus in infants
Breastfed babies have a much lower risk for various infections, including diarrhea or gastrointestinal infections. Some of the compounds in human milk that protect infants from gastrointestinal diseases include SigA (secretory IgA- an important immunoglobulin), lactoferrin (a whey protein) and lysozyme (an enzyme).
Lysozyme and lactoferrin work together to destroy invading viruses and bacteria. While lactoferrin takes away nutrients from viruses and bacteria, lysozyme enzymes attack their cell walls. The immunoglobulin SigA coats the lining of the intestines and stomach to prevent any remaining viral/bacterial cells from attaching onto the cell walls of the baby’s gut.
The more of these substances infants receive, the lower their risk of having a gastrointestinal infection. This protective effect of breast milk appears to last up to two months after weaning. Formula does not contain any of these substances.
The Lancet (Apr/1998) reported a study from Mexico City in which stool samples of 200 infants were monitored for presence of rotavirus.
“Milk samples from breast-feeding mothers were analyzed weekly until 4 weeks post partum, then monthly. Those samples taken just before the infant had rotavirus infection were assayed for a collection of substances, including lactadherin, which was found to have the highest antirotavirus activity. Importantly, the protective effect of lactadherin was independent of products of the secretory immune system.”
“Lactadherin, a human-milk glycoconjugate, has been found to protect babies from the symptoms of rotavirus infection, the commonest cause of diarrhea in infants and young children.”
Another study from the Institute for Hygiene and Environment, Hamburg, Germany in July 2010, assessed whether breastfeeding protects against acute gastroenteritis (AGE) due to rotavirus infection in children age 0-12 months. The study found that being breastfed in the period of disease inception reduced the risk of AGE due to rotavirus. In the first six months of life the protective effect was stronger than in older children. The study adds to the evidence of a protective concurrent effect of breastfeeding to diminish rotavirus-related infection in infants, particularly in children 6 months and younger.
Breast Not Best? Study Suggests Rotavirus Vaccines Work Better With Formula.
Rotavirus vaccines are heavily promoted in third world nations where lack of clean water and proper healthcare often leads to infection, diarrhea and even death. An abstract from The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal suggests that mothers should not breastfeed during the time of administration of rotavirus vaccines (RotaTeq and Rotarix) in order to increase vaccine efficacy. How would women, who do not have access to clean water, make safe infant formula which requires clean water?
The study set out to determine whether breastmilk inhibits the effectiveness of live virus oral rotavirus vaccines. Breast milk samples were collected and analyzed from mothers in India, South Korea, Vietnam and the United States who were breast-feeding infants 4 to 29 weeks of age.
The researchers found that “Breast milk from Indian women had the highest IgA and neutralizing titers against all 3 vaccine strains. Lower but comparable median IgA and neutralizing titers were detected in breast milk from Korean and Vietnamese women, and the lowest titers were seen in American women.”
“Live oral rotavirus vaccines have been less immunogenic and efficacious among children in poor developing countries compared with middle income and industrialized countries for reasons that are not yet completely understood. We assessed whether the neutralizing activity of breast milk could lower the titer of vaccine virus. Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.”
Ironically, rather than applaud the fact that the highly active immunological properties of human milk mitigate the ability of rotavirus to cause acute gastrointestinal infections in babies, the researchers are fixated on a negative perspective in which breastfeeding prevents the vaccine from eliciting a good antibody response. Instead they want to develop strategies to delay breastfeeding at the time of vaccination so that the anti-infective properties of breastmilk don’t interfere with the vaccine.
Notes & References:
- NVIC Press Release – June 1, 2010, Vaccine Safety Critics Call For RotaTeq Vaccine Recall & Clean-Up
- Quoted doctor didn’t tell the whole story about vaccines Re: Pediatricians want kids to get rotavirus vaccine, Oct. 4 – Vancouver Sun – October 7, 2010
- NY Times Combination Vaccine & Seizure Risk, June 28, 2010
- Peel Health on Protective Effects of Breastfeeding
- More Evidence That Breastfeeding Protects Babies; The Lancet,Volume 351, Number 9110, 18 April 1998
- Breastfeeding protects against acute gastroenteritis due to rotavirus in infants. Pubmed 2010: Institute for Hygiene and Environment, Hamburg, Germany.
- Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Infectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May 3. [Epub ahead of print]