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Evidence exonerates vaccines: writer


  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am

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Regarding Denise van Domselaar’s letter, “Vaccines cause more harm than measles: writer,” in the Gazette, Saturday, May 3.

Dear Denise,

I have taken the liberty of breaking down your letter into six main points. Unfortunately, I am not sure you understand how many cans of worms you have opened. As such, to make a rebuttal to each of them requires a lengthy response. Here are the arguments that you have presented:

1. Measles is not dangerous

2. Measles vaccine is more dangerous than measles

a. Autism is linked to the MMR vaccine

3. Immunity from vaccinations is not as good as immunity to real measles

4. Measles virus can mutate so that vaccination is not effective

a. Current super bugs are proof of this

5. Eating real food, going outside etc. will give one a real immune system

6. Vaccines are untested; we will be forced to get them

7. “Big Pharma” does little for our health

Measles is, in fact, a dangerous condition. Thirty per cent of those infected develop at least one complication. These include pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea and encephalitis. Pneumonia is a common complication, occurring in one out of 20 cases, and can also be deadly in children.

Encephalitis occurs in one out of 1,000 cases. The condition can cause permanent deafness and severe permanent cognitive impairment. Survival of the virus, and its complications, is not the end of it. It can cause a nasty condition known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, which causes fatal degeneration of the central nervous system many years after the infection has passed.

You’ve implicated that the measles vaccine is more dangerous than the illness, and that it is implicated in autism. The MMR vaccine is most definitely not linked to development of this condition. This idea has been perpetuated in our society, and it must be stopped. Andrew Wakefield, the author of the study that made this link, was found to have created fraudulent data to change the results.

I am unsure whether or not you know it, but you have called into question the ability of a vaccine to elicit an anamnestic immune response. There are surely some vaccinations where this fails to occur, but the current two-dose MMR vaccination regiment does not tend to be one. You have said that vaccination does not provide as good an immune response as the virus itself. Vaccinations do provide the necessary immunity to prevent infection with viruses, and can help us eradicate them altogether.

Another piece of misinformation you have hinted at is that we may now be in an age of “super viruses” which cannot be stopped by vaccination. This is simply untrue. Antibiotics have created a selective pressure, allowing bacteria with features to survive them to proliferate. Vaccines work very differently. While some viruses mutate and make a vaccine against them ineffective, measles is not one of them.

Again, please take the time to go to a library and do a scholarly search to research this for yourself. The likely reason we are seeing outbreaks of measles is that many parents now choose not to vaccinate. Measles spreads through airborne transmission and thus very high rates of vaccination are required. We are likely falling below these necessitated rates now.

Your statement that says going outside and eating real food will give us an immune system functioning “at par” is a neat one. It has nothing to do with measles, however. No matter how much dirt and bugs one eats, and no matter how many colds one has gotten from friends, you will not become measles resistant. For that, you will need to be vaccinated. Do you realize that by encouraging others to resist vaccine, you are risking their lives?

Finally, I would like to address your idea that vaccines are “largely untested” and “unproven”, that they cause more harm than the measles virus, and that “Big Pharma” does little to ensure our health. I would encourage you to visit the FDA website and look at the approval process a vaccine must go through before it comes to market. It is stringent, costly, time consuming and requires a large test population.

The idea that vaccines are more harmful than the virus is also not based in fact. The neurotoxin I assume you are speaking of is thiomersal. It has been present in a few vaccines and in extremely low concentrations. The World Health Organization has concluded that it does not cause toxicity from concentrations used in vaccines.

As for “Big Pharma” not doing much for our health, consider this: Merck has made the MMR vaccine available at such a low price that it would cost AHS anywhere from $4 to $11, depending on its source, to give a child two doses of the vaccine. It will cost you more to pay for parking at a hospital as you check you or your child into an isolation ward to be treated for the virus.

If I concede that measles is not a major issue when we are talking about viruses, then I still do not lose my argument. What its return means is that more parents are saying no to vaccination.

Dan Durham, St. Albert


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