"British News, March 06, 2002 Anti-vaccine town struck by measles epidemic Homoeopaths who reject MMR are blamed for German outbreak"
Aribert, I logged onto your URL about the outbreak of measles in certain areas in Germany. Those so-called homeopathic doctors pollute small areas of the USA also but they use some form of religion for their excuse to not vaccinate. I lost a cousin because the father refused to allow his daughter to get a vaccination. A beautiful young girl needlessly died before she could grow up. I call that close to being murder. John Logreco
R. David Otten
Gentlemen, first, I was the biologicals product manager for a pharmaceutical company from the late '60s through the mid-'70s. I helped set up, manage and run, in conjunction with the CDC, mass immunization campaigns against Measles [Rubeola] and German Measles [Rubella]. At that time there were four companies supplying the vaccines used in these campaigns -- actually only three, as we manufactured the vaccine for one of the other three companies, as well as our own. We were in the business because the NIH had asked us to enter it to provide competition and additional sources for the vaccine. Note that I said "NIH" [National Institutes of Health]. Vaccines are licensed by NIH. FDA has nothing to do with them. Measles vaccine was developed by John Enders and Sam Katz. It was an important vaccine, as measles was often a severe disease, and could and did lead to encephalitis, or an attack on the lining of the patient's brain, which could and did cause mental retardation or death fairly often. A vaccine is a foreign protein, and any foreign protein, when introduced into the human body, can cause a reaction. That's what allergies are. The trick with a vaccine is to attenuate it, or reduce its potency, to the point where the introduction of the actual disease-causing virus into the body will generate the antibodies to protect the host [person] against the disease, without actually causing the symptoms to appear. The ideal is a vaccine that protects the person for life, and causes no symptoms when introduced. There are two kinds of antiviral vaccines: "killed" and "live." Killed vaccines introduce a dead virus, which does produce antibodies, but they are usually not life-long. A live vaccine introduces a limited number of live viruses into the body, usually affording life-long protection, but also tending to cause more vaccine reactions, usually a very mild case of the disease against which one is vaccinating. Often, the recipient isn't even aware they have any of the symptoms. This is also one of the reasons a vaccine sometimes needs a booster, or is administered as a series over a period of time. These vaccines are usually of the killed type. Okay, so what about reactions, serious and otherwise? With live measles vaccine, the estimate, as the result of a lot of studies, was that there might be one death per 100,000, plus some cases of non-fatal encephalitis, plus a number of kids that would exhibit symptoms, sometimes severe, of the disease. Our first mass immunization campaign was held in Oklahoma, where about 125,000 kids were vaccinated over a two-day period. There were no deaths, and no cases of encephalitis. A number of children did indeed exhibit varying degrees of symptoms, some enough to keep them out of school for a couple of days. However, all of these reactions were much less than would have occured if the kids had the actual disease, which they probably would have had eventually, as measles was still epidemic. Over the next few years several million children were vaccinated in mass immunization campaigns, and yes, there were indeed a few deaths and a few cases of encephalits, again at a much lower rate than if the child had the actual disease. And there were, of course, lawsuits. A word about this subject. Every parent or guardian was given a phamplet outlining the possibilities for reactions, and the reasons for the vaccine. The parent or guardian then had to sign a release, indicating they had read and understood the phamplet. However, in court, one cannot prove the parent or guardian read the phamplet, nor that they understood the thing if they did read it. As a result, two of the four companies bailed out by the time we got around to the rubella vaccine. Ultimately, a cap has been put on vaccine-related awards, and the government now handles the insurance for vaccine manufacturers. This is also one of the reasons a 15 dose vial of DPT vaccine, which used to sell to the physician for $7.95 to $15.00 is now $75.00. Also, there are different reasons for different vaccines. DPT [diptheria-pertussis-tetanus] are not epidemic, but until these vaccines were invented, wiped out a large number of children. That is why DPT has been a standard vaccine for many, many years. Rubella was the next disease against which there were mass immunization campaigns. With this disease, the reason was different. Rubella does not often cause the host or patient any major problems, and in fact, is often so mild as to not even be diagnosed. However, in a pregnant female, it almost always causes birth defects. In this case, the reason for wanting to be rid of the disease was to prevent a major cause of birth defects, not to prevent untoward effects on the patient. One argument given against the vaccine was that it would probably be better to allow girls to simply get the disease as children and then be protected for life. However, rubella-caused birth defects were so numerous that this argument did not hold water. Another vaccine that was developed at about the same time was mumps vaccine. This one causes impotency in males, when they get the disease as adults. In other words, if you get the mumps while a child, you're protected. However, mumps also caused a certain level of encephalitis and other stuff similar to measles, but not nearly as often. As a result, mumps vaccine did not make it to the mass immunization campaigns, but did become a part of the DPT package routinely given children by pediatricians. Finally, while many diseases have been virtually eliminated in the US, this is not true of the rest of the world. Any of them can be contracted while visiting other countries or imported back into the US when one returns to the US. Diptheria and tetanus are not transmitted from person to person as airborne viruses, but require an external contact with something else. This is also true of, for example, yellow fever, which is transmitted by mosquitos, and for which there is a vaccine, which is killed and therefore requires boosters. So what is the point of this diatribe? Vaccines are safe and effective, but being foreign proteins they can and do cause occasional reactions and even death. It's okay if the one death per 100,000 happens, as long as it doesn't happen to you or to your child. This is a case of situation ethics in practice. The greater good for the greater number of people. And it's also the reason so few manufacturers are willing to remain in the vaccine producing business. I was vaccinated, my kids were vaccinated and my grandkids were and are vaccinated. And by the way, vaccines are even better and safer these days than even just 25 years ago. R. David Otten, Pres. - SIGNATURE Software Systems, Inc. 6125 Yarborough LN, Lakeland FL 33813-4173 Tel: Voice/Fax 863-646-0759 (office)
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