I am SO DAMNED SICK of all the hype about the ‘outbreak’ of measles at Disneyland. So far, nationwide, there are something like
171 ETA 87 cases connected to Disneyland. 171, 87, people. And how many have died? NONE.
When my children were small, my mother, a former nurse and special education teacher, asked me not to continue with the current vaccination schedule because she had concerns about a possible MMR/autism connection. Now, keep in mind, this was in the early 80’s, LONG BEFORE DR. WAKEFIELD. My oldest son did have a change in behavior after receiving his first MMR. It concerned her enough that she made the request.
She also had concerns based on Japanese research, if I remember correctly, about other problems like ADD/ADHD and vaccine induced encephalopathy. So I did as she asked. My children *were* fully vaccinated. Just not according to the CDC schedule. And not until they were ready to start school. The key, I believe is that in the 80’s, and early 90’s, the vaccine schedule was approximately HALF the number it is today, and doctors were much more proactive about NOT giving vaccines to children who were sick. Today? Not so much.
Let’s talk about measles for a minute, shall we? My oldest son is the product of a high school romance, and is actually a half brother to my other two children. Because I was a single mother for the first part of my oldest son’s life, I had to work to support us. The day care he went to was in the home of an older German woman, who also watched 4-5 other children. One of these children got measles when Dear Eldest Son (DES) was 12 or 13 months old (14 mo?). DES got it shortly thereafter. And so did I. Now, DES was too young to receive the MMR yet; it was given at either 15 or 18 months of age then (I can’t remember for sure which). I, however, had been fully vaccinated as a child and *should* have been immune. Yes, well. So, at the age of 19, I spent a week with my child in a darkened house, both of us feverish, rashy, and suffering from headaches and light sensitivity. And then we got better.
This is the normal course of measles, by the way, in a basically healthy population with good sanitation. Between 2000 and 2005, I believe there were less than 10 deaths from measles. There have been ZERO deaths since 2005 from measles. It’s not exactly a terrifying horrible disease that kills millions in the US every year. And you should know that the side effects *of* the measles vaccine are the SAME as the measles: encephalopathy, pneumonia, febrile seizures, death. Adverse effects per the package insert. Oh, and you can get measles *from* the vaccine. This is because it is a live virus vaccine. 12 month old with lab confirmed measles, vaccinated Jan 2015. The difference is that vaccine induced immunity wears off. That’s why I got it even though I had been vaccinated. And that’s why DES got it even though he was breastfed, because my waning vaccine induced immunity couldn’t protect him. We both are PERMANENTLY immune now, though, because we have actually had measles. My titers reflect this.
Contrast my story with this: Doctor fed up with measles outbreak takes controversial stance. Oh, yes, those children with measles are such a threat. It’s such a deadly disease that ZERO people have died in the past near-decade. Terrible risk, isn’t it Dr. Goodman?
Well, here’s the thing. The strain of virus in the vaccine is no longer the wild type strain of measles. This is well documented and can be easily (though expensively) checked when measles is confirmed in lab testing. So people who are vaccinated, AND up to date on their vaccines, can still get and transmit measles, thanks to genetic drift away from the vaccine strain that causes a less than robust immune response. The body doesn’t quite recognize measles because it’s not quite the same, but sort of the same, so the immune system can’t decide if it should respond with the antibodies it has already made against the vaccine strain or if it’s something else entirely. Here is a study that documents the differing immune type responses (in cell cultures) between the two. Notice the statement that the vaccine strain doesn’t induce the strong immune response that the wild type does. That’s key to this discussion. Now I should say that my original major was microbiology and immunology, but I do not pretend to be any sort of an immunology specialist or expert, and this is what I get from the studies I have read. A less than robust immune response is why people are not immune and get subclinical or atypical disease.
So you get measles, you feel crappy (sometimes) but you don’t look like you have measles. The good thing is that after you *get* measles, you will actually be immune. Here are some studies that document measles infection in vaccinated populations: Subclinical measles in Greenland, Measles and subclinical measles in Africa, just for a very small sample. Google “subclinical measles in vaccinated people” for many many more examples. In fact, the CDC admits this in the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) for August 24, 2013: “Thirteen (8%) of the patients had been vaccinated, of whom three had received 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. “ You can read the rest of the report here.
It’s not that uncommon for outbreaks to occur, and the hype over how dangerous it is is dreadfully overstated. For instance, this Wikipedia article quotes the CDC as stating in the 20 years after the measles vaccine was introduced, it prevented an “estimated 5200 deaths”….that’s 260 per year. Now I’m not trying to denigrate 260 people dying every year from measles, it’s still tragic, but hardly on the same level as, say, heart disease in which the CDC estimates 600,000 deaths every year – 1 in 4 deaths EVERY YEAR from something mainly lifestyle related.
My personal suspicion is that, since the CDC makes $36.22 per 10 pack of vaccines it sells to licensed vaccine providers (that’s your local doctor), it has a pretty profound vested interest in making sure the population is forced into receiving the MMR. This is especially true since the two main virologists who worked at Merck, the ONLY licensed M/M/R vaccine producers in the US, are being allowed to proceed with their lawsuit against Merck for fraudulently inflating the effectiveness of the mumps portion of the vaccine.
So, in conclusion, I think the CDC is as corrupt as any private pharmaceutical company, and just as financially reliant on vaccine sales for their existence. And because I think this, I believe they are deliberately chumming up hysteria and mongering fear about a relatively harmless childhood disease in order to protect a part of their revenue stream. Vaccinate, don’t vaccinate, it’s up to you. I’m just not that worried about a measles outbreak in my community. Vitamins A and D, decent nutrition, lots of fluids, sunglasses, and common sense should be all we need to recover without sequelae. And that’s it.
And now back to the regularly scheduled knitting and studying frenzy that is my life until my final exam on February 18.