Kids and parents who don’t follow national guidelines for vaccination are becoming increasingly stigmatised. Parents on both sides of the vaccination divide believe they’re doing the best for their kids. In California, some vaccinations are required for a child to attend school while in Australia the ‘No jab, No pay’ rule means parents don’t get benefits if their kids are not fully vaccinated.
Any proper recognition by governments of a link between vaccines and injury opens governments, and consequently vaccine manufacturers, to liability. Vaccine manufacturers hide behind government guidelines, protecting them from liability. This is clearly shown in the US Centers for Disease Control cover-up exposed in the documentary Vaxxed shown last night in London.
Obscuring any evidence of a link is the primary driver for such vigorous challenges against those in authoritative positions who suggest vaccines may be risky. The UK General Medical Council (GMC) finding of professional misconduct against Dr Andrew Wakefield after he and his 12 co-authors highlighted the possible association between the MMR vaccine and gastro-intestinal diseases remains one of the most prominent cases.
Lack of informed choice happens because of a huge imbalance in the information made available to consenting parents around the time that vaccinations are offered. By looking at a small part of this huge and complicated area, notably infection by the measles virus and the MMR vaccine, we provide below an example of how parents are pushed down the vaccination route, without being given adequate alternative options to help them best protect their children.
However, there was a distinct hiccup in the mid-2000s owing to concerns about MMR’s safety linked to publicity around Wakefield et al’s Lancet paper suggesting a possible link between MMR vaccination and bowel disease associated with autism.
In the UK, parents looking for evidence of effectiveness of the MMR vaccine, or those who ask this question of their doctors, are invariably drawn to the key figure that can be found on Paediatric Care Online (or one similar), excerpted below.
This figure appears to show measles rates oscillating, somewhat steadily around 500,000 cases per annum prior to 1968, when the measles vaccine was introduced. Then suddenly, apparently when the single vaccine was introduced, measles infection rates started to plummet and they were reduced further when the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988. Then when the second MMR dose was introduced in 1996, as if delivering the final blow, measles infection was almost completely eradicated in England and Wales.
It’s a persuasive story. But we think it’s misleading to associate the vaccines so completely with the decline in measles infection rates. If you look at long-term trends, say going back to the start of the 20th century, measles (infection and associated mortality) was already in steep decline.
This data shows why the vaccine expert, Professor George Dick wrote in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 1980, “measles appeared to be becoming a trivial disease in a civil society. There is something to be said for allowing a mild “wild” measles virus to give natural life-long protection to a community and to offer vaccine selectively to those who are most vulnerable or who have escaped natural infection in the early years of childhood.”
And we shouldn’t of course ignore the all-important rise in autism, as shown in the following figure from the Age of Autism, that suggests that the rise cannot just be associated with improved diagnosis given the comparison with other conditions.
At ANH-Intl, we have long campaigned for informed vaccine choice. We are not anti-vaccine per se, but we believe those who choose to vaccinate should be given the necessary information to equip them with making decisions that are in the best interest of their children’s health.
Given the rapidly accumulating data on the effects of vaccines, antibiotics, birthing method as well as dietary and lifestyle patterns on immunity, it is perverse, in our view, that more comprehensive and relevant information is not given to parents who have concerns over the safety of vaccines.
While in most parts of the world, including in Europe, parents may choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate their children, no government or health authority yet provides information on enhancing a child’s immunity in the event that they should choose not to vaccinate.
More and more science points to the fact that children who are more exposed to microorganisms at a young age are less likely to mount an effective immune response following vaccination (i.e. ‘hygiene/microbiota hypothesis’), making vaccination less effective than in children who have been less exposed (e.g. born by caesarean section, those on repeat antibiotic prescriptions, or those who spend time predominantly indoors).
Additionally, health authorities, owing to their intimate tie-in with the vaccine and pharmaceutical industry – do not provide alternative strategies for vaccines that reduce the impact on the most precious and sensitive members of our society.
Below, you will find some recommendations, with links to some of the relevant science, for those who might choose not to vaccinate, or who wish to engage with a lighter or delayed vaccination schedule for their children.
Making informed choices on vaccination: Natural immunity and judicious vaccination strategies
Rutayisire E, et al. The mode of delivery affects the diversity and colonization pattern of the gut microbiota during the first year of infants' life: a systematic review. BMC Gastroenterol. 2016; 16(1): 86.
Bezirtzoglou E, Tsiotsias A, Welling GW. Microbiota profile in feces of breast- and formula-fed newborns by using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Anaerobe. 2011; 17(6): 478-82.