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Frontiers in Neurology Journal 05 February 2015
Aluminum oxyhydroxide (alum) is a crystalline compound widely used as an immunological adjuvant of vaccines. Concerns linked to the use of alum particles emerged following recognition of their causative role in the so-called macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) lesion detected in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue/syndrome. MMF revealed an unexpectedly long-lasting biopersistence of alum within immune cells in presumably susceptible individuals, stressing the previous fundamental misconception of its biodisposition. We previously showed that poorly biodegradable aluminum-coated particles injected into muscle are promptly phagocytosed in muscle and the draining lymph nodes, and can disseminate within phagocytic cells throughout the body and slowly accumulate in brain. This strongly suggests that long-term adjuvant biopersistence within phagocytic cells is a prerequisite for slow brain translocation and delayed neurotoxicity. The understanding of basic mechanisms of particle biopersistence and brain translocation represents a major health challenge, since it could help to define susceptibility factors to develop chronic neurotoxic damage. Biopersistence of alum may be linked to its lysosome-destabilizing effect, which is likely due to direct crystal-induced rupture of phagolysosomal membranes. Macrophages that continuously perceive foreign particles in their cytosol will likely reiterate, with variable interindividual efficiency, a dedicated form of autophagy (xenophagy) until they dispose of alien materials. Successful compartmentalization of particles within double membrane autophagosomes and subsequent fusion with repaired and re-acidified lysosomes will expose alum to lysosomal acidic pH, the sole factor that can solubilize alum particles. Brain translocation of alum particles is linked to a Trojan horse mechanism previously described for infectious particles (HIV, HCV), that obeys to CCL2, signaling the major inflammatory monocyte chemoattractant.
Billions of humans have been vaccinated and marked regression or eradication of several severe infectious diseases was observed. Nowadays, the potential applications of vaccines extend far beyond prevention of infectious diseases, and vaccination is considered to be a most promising weapon against a variety of different conditions. Vaccine safety has been regarded as excellent at the level of the population (1), but adverse effects have also been reported (2).
Concerns about the use of aluminum adjuvants have emerged following (i) recognition of their role at the origin of the so-called macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) lesion in 2001 (3, 4), which revealed fundamental misconception of their adjuvant effect and pointed out their unexpectedly long-lasting biopersistence (4); and (ii) demonstration of their apparent capacity to migrate in lymphoid organs and then disseminate throughout the body within monocyte-lineage cells and progressively accumulate in the brain (5).
The present paper will review these emerging characteristics of alum adjuvant particles that raise concerns about innocuity of this widely used compound.
Alum Adjuvants are Lysosome-Destabilizing Particulate Compounds
Adjuvants have been used in vaccines for their ability to enhance the adaptive immune response to a co-administered antigen. Particulate aluminum salts (known as alum) have been the main approved adjuvants for use in human vaccines for more than 80 years (6). They are currently used in vaccines against tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, haemophilus influenzae B, pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, and anthrax. They mainly include aluminum oxyhydroxide, a crystalline compound, aluminum hydroxyphosphate, and amorphous aluminum phosphate. Alum is able to absorb vaccine antigens on its surface. The strongest adsorption phenomenon results from ligand exchange, which involves the replacement of a surface hydroxyl on the adjuvant by a terminal phosphate group of the antigen (7).
Alum induces strong innate immune responses at the site of injection, as assessed by an influx of neutrophils, monocyte/macrophages, eosinophils, and MHC-II + antigen presenting cells, mainly dendritic cells (DCs) (8). Muscle-resident macrophages mainly located in fascias are among the first cells to sense disturbance in muscle homeostasis (9). They alert the immune system through local production of chemokines, and recruit other myeloid cells, like neutrophils, and inflammatory monocytes that differentiate into inflammatory DCs (9). Specialized for antigen uptake, monocyte-derived inflammatory DCs have an immature phenotype in the muscle. However, they migrate to the lymph node T-cell paracortex upon contact with tissue debris or foreign material, and arrive there as mature cells expressing costimulatory molecules (10). Inflammatory DCs may be crucial for the alum adjuvant activity as assessed by selective depletion studies (11), but eosinophils also appear to play an important role (12).
Alum has been long believed to ensure a long-lasting immune response through formation of a depot slowly releasing the antigen under the influence of the interstitial fluid (13, 14). The view that the injected adjuvant remains extra-cellular has been challenged by muscle biopsy findings in immunized patients (4). In contrast to ancient belief, alum particles are avidly taken up by phagocytic cells (15). The strong binding of antigen to alum particles increases antigen uptake by DCs, reduces antigen degradation, and sustains antigen presentation in vitro (16). Macrophage survival may also be promoted by alum particle uptake (17). Alum injection induces in vivo the formation of persistent alum-induced granuloma at site of previous immunization (4, 18, 19). However, good immunization does not require local alum persistence, since no decrease of antigenspecific T- and B-cell responses were observed in case of removal of the injection site as early as 2 h after injection (20).
In spite of their long usage, the literature has pointed out that the adjuvanticity mechanisms of aluminum salts remain basically unknown despite most active investigation in the field in recent years (21, 22). Alum is deficient at initiating cell-mediated immunity and skews the immune response toward a T-helper type 2 (Th2) response associated with strong production of IL-4 and the IgG1 antibody subtype (23). Concerning the mechanisms of alum adjuvanticity, several explanations have been proposed, most of them being subsequently challenged (24). Notably, the NLRP3 inflammasome was shown to be strongly activated by alum (25, 26), but this finally appeared unessential to the adjuvant effect (27, 28). It remains true, however, that aluminum hydroxide and other crystals such as silica, urate sodium, and asbestos, strongly induce NLRP3 activation, IL1b release, and activation of the downstream inflammatory cascade. More recently, alternate models for alum-mediated immunity have been proposed on the basis of the link of alum adjuvant effects and the release of non-cytokine biomolecules, including uric acid (29), double-stranded DNA (30), and prostaglandin E2 (31). The specificity of crystal-induced signaling pathways has been proposed to explain why aluminum hydroxide particles exhibit a much more irritating effect than soluble aluminum (32). Consistently, alum crystals bind to and aggress the plasma membrane lipid bilayer (33), destabilizes lysosomes that degrade endocytosed, phagocytosed, or autophagocytosed materials (34, 35), and play important role in immunity. Highly controlled antigen processing functions of DCs use lysosomal proteases and pH changes optimal for the generation of peptides, rather than complete protein degradation (36). It is known that limitation of lysosomal proteolysis of antigenic proteins increases antigen presentation and immunogenicity (37), and that the stability of peptide:MHCII complexes allowing their accumulation on the DC surface is enhanced by lysosome activity inhibition (38). Alum adjuvant mechanisms may thus involve alum-induced blockade of lysosomes. Alum lysosomal destabilization remains still uncertain, but the physical rupture of the membrane may be directly caused by the crystalline structure of alum itself (39).
MMF is a Biomarker Assessing Long-Term Alum Biopersistence in a Given Individual
In 1998, several French myopathologists described MMF as an emerging condition of unknown cause characterized by a pathognomonic lesion in muscle biopsy mixing large macrophages with submicron to micron-sized agglomerates of nanocrystals in their cytoplasm and lymphocytic infiltrates (3), distinct from other histiocytic diseases and always detected in the deltoid muscle of adults (40). Cytoplasmic inclusions were constantly found, surrounded or not by altered lysosomal membranes, and contained aluminum (4). Their crystalline structure was characteristic of aluminum hydroxide, and no exposure to aluminum other than that conferred by a prior immunization (100%) could be detected (4). It is now clear that the rapid emergence of MMF in France reflected the combination of (i) the replacement of the subcutaneous (s.c.) by the intramuscular (i.m.) route for vaccine injections in the early 1990s; (ii) the large-scale campaign of primo-vaccination of French adults against hepatitis B in the mid 1990s; and (iii) the preferential choice of the deltoid muscle for routine muscle biopsy in France, contrasting with the preferential use of the biceps brachialis and quadriceps muscles in other countries. Alumcontaining vaccines may also induce skin pseudo-lymphoma in humans (41), and fibrosarcoma in cats (42).
Macrophagic myofasciitis has been reproduced experimentally by i.m. vaccination in mice, rats, and monkeys (4, 18, 19). The experimental lesion invariably shrinks over time (19), and, in monkeys, it begins to disappear completely from the muscle between 6 and 12 months after a DTP injection corresponding to 14- to 21-fold the human DTP-equivalent dose of alum (18).
Because of the unethical character of muscle biopsy in asymptomatic individuals, whether or not longstanding MMF may be commonly present in a hidden form in healthy individuals could not be directly determined. This seems very unlikely, however, as shown in a recent review of 130 consecutive deltoid muscle biopsies performed for diagnostic purposes in myalgic patients previously immunized with alum-containing vaccines. This study revealed that most alum receivers do not have long-lasting MMF. This could be reliably assessed whereas age, sex ratio, number of alum-adjuvanted injections, and delays elapsed from the last injection to deltoid muscle biopsy were similar in the MMF and non-MMF groups (43). This refutes non-documented belief that every vaccinee may have long-standing MMF lesions when biopsy is performed in the deltoid muscle (44). In addition, MMF and non-MMF patients had clinical differences as developed below.
In light of experimental models, it is important to check the individual vaccine record in each patient to assess the “unusually persistent” character of MMF. In a recent evaluation of 583 patients collected from 1994 to 2012 (45), the median time elapsed between the last alum administration and the biopsy was 65 months. Compared to our previous reports, this time had gradually increased from 36 months in 2001, i.e., shortly after the peak of French adult immunization, to 53 months in 2003 (46). An average number of 5.3 alum-containing shots had been administered during the 10 years prior to biopsy detecting MMF, mainly corresponding to vaccinations against hepatitis B (89.7%), tetanus (42.2%), and hepatitis A (8.8%). In practice, we consider that the MMF is unusually persistent when time elapsed from last immunization to the MMF detection exceeds 18 months. It is important to consider this point in young children who receive multiple vaccine injections in the first year of life, thus increasing the risk of coincidental association between a constitutive muscle disease and MMF detected in the quadriceps muscle used for pediatric immunizations. If the risk of such coincidental associations also potentially exists in adults, it is low in practice. For example, adult patients combining MMF and hereditary muscle disease is extremely rare, despite the intense immunization program of patients with muscular dystrophy.
Animal studies indicate that alum-induced granulomatous lesions considerably vary in size according to the genetic background (19), and the initial hypothesis made by WHO that MMF may reflect some individual inability to clear out alum from the body remains valid (47). In summary, the long-lasting MMF lesion should be considered as a biomarker assessing unusually longterm biopersistence of alum in affected individuals.
Patients with MMF at Biopsy Suffer Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Macrophagic myofasciitis is typically detected in patients with diffuse myalgias and chronic fatigue, as shown in both the French series (46) and the recently published series of 16 patients (48).
In both series, most patients are women (70–80%) with a mean age of 45 years at the time of the biopsy, that typically complain of myalgias, with or without arthralgia, and disabling chronic fatigue. The onset of these symptoms is typically delayed from the immunization.
Strong statistical association between myalgias and MMF was detected by general survey in different French neuromuscular centers (myalgias in 90% of patients with MMF vs. 44% without MMF, p < 0.0001) (4). Onset of myalgia may follow exercise. They usually begin in the lower limbs, and not at the site of previous immunization from 0.5 to 84 months in the French patients and 3 to 192 months in Portuguese patients. They gradually extend toward the top of the body, affect the paravertebral muscles, and become diffuse (46). Myopathic electromyogram and elevation of creatine kinase (CK) are, respectively, observed in less than half of patients. Comparison of myalgic vaccinees with and without MMF at deltoid muscle biopsy showed significant differences: patients with MMF rarely had fibromyalgia (the required 11 tender points of the ACR 1990 criteria for fibromyalgia present in 16.6 vs. 55.5%, p < 0.04), and more often had delayed evoked potentials suggestive of CNS demyelination (38.5 vs. 5.7%, p < 0.01) (43), which does not support coincidental association.
Chronic fatigue is another important symptom (48, 49). A case–control study conducted under the aegis of the French regulatory agency AFSSAPS yielded chronic fatigue as both significantly more frequent and more severe in patients with MMF compared to those without MMF in the deltoid muscle
(http://ansm.sante.fr/var/ansm_site/storage/original/application/ 030593fa4e393af7cec8ff7092832215.pdf (http://ansm.sante.fr/var/ansm_site/storage/original/application/030593-
Cognitive alterations further assess CNS involvement that are disabling though often not detected by routine examination. Patients complain of memory loss, foggy brain, and mood changes. Cognitive tests almost constantly show alterations suggestive of organic cortico-subcortical impairment, impacting visual memory, working memory, and dichotic listening (50). These deficits usually remain stable with time (51).
Taken together, chronic muscle pain, chronic fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction are consistent with the so-called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and about 50% of MMF patients meet international criteria for ME/CFS (48, 49). ME/CFS is a severe, complex, acquired illness classified as a neurological disorder in the WHO International Classification of Diseases since 1969 (ICD 10 G93.3), distinct from fibromyalgia and psychasthenia, which are classified as musculoskeletal (M79.7) and psychiatric (F48.8) disorders, respectively. International studies have estimated the prevalence of ME/CFS between 0.4 and 2.6% of the population, with a total annual cost burden to society of approximately $18.7–$24.0 billion in the USA (52). Symptoms of ME/CSF are closely similar to the post-infective chronic fatigue syndrome (53). The underlying cause of ME/CSF is currently unknown, but the illness is thought to be triggered by an abnormal immune response to an infectious or toxic agent, that results in chronic immune activation (54). Notably, ME/CFS patients have increased risk of developing diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and marginal zone B-cell lymphoma (55). Such a public health burden deserves continued efforts to investigate possible causes and to understand the pathological mechanisms of CFS.
Phagocytes Transport Alum Particles to the Lymphoid Organs and then to the Brain
The conceptual link between long-term persistence of alum particles within macrophages at the site of previous immunization, and the occurrence of adverse systemic events, in particular neurological ones, has long remained an unsolved question.
Aluminum has long been identified as a neurotoxic metal, affecting memory, cognition and psychomotor control, altering neurotransmission and synaptic activity, damaging the blood–brain barrier (BBB), exerting pro-oxidant effects, activating microglia and neuroinflammation, depressing the cerebral glucose metabolism and mitochondrial functions, interfering with transcriptional activity, and promoting beta-amyloid and neurofilament aggregation (56). In addition, alum particles impact the immune system through their adjuvant effect and by many other means. They adsorb vaccine antigens on their surface, which protect them from proteolysis thus forming a persistently immunogenic pseudo-pathogen (57). Alum particles may also bind undesirable residual products inherent to vaccine production procedures, as shown for HPV DNA sequences (58) or yeast proteins (59) that may be potentially hazardous (60). Finally, alum particles can directly induce allergy (61, 62) as other metals (63).
Concerns about long-term biopersistence of alum largely depend on the ability of alum particles to reach and exert toxicity in remote organs. This ability has been suggested by several studies (64–67). The reference study on aluminum hydroxide biodisposition used isotopic Al-enriched alum injected in the rabbit muscle: Al was weakly eliminated in the urine (6% on day 28) and was detected in lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and brain (13). Whether Al was still in particulate form or in soluble form was not explored. The fate of particulate material was explored in mice by our team. We successively performed i.m. injections of alum-containing vaccine, fluorescent latex beads, and fluorescent nanohybrids coated with precipitated alum (5). These materials were quickly captured by macrophages, a large proportion of which cleaved the injected muscle, mainly within immune cells, reaching the draining lymph nodes. Particle-laden cells then escaped the lymphatic system to reach the blood circulation, presumably via the thoracic duct. In so-doing, they were able to reach distant organs such as the spleen and liver and, much slowly, the brain. Recombinant chemokine injection and the use of genetically modified mice showed that systemic biodistribution of particles crucially depends on the monocyte chemoattractant MCP-1/CCL2. Into the brain, particles were mainly found in microglial cells. In accordance with good overall tolerance of alum, brain penetration was extremely low in normal conditions. However, brain translocation was significantly increased in case of altered BBB or after systemic and/or cerebral increase of the MCP-1/CCL2 signaling (5). Expression of this chemokine is subjected to significant interindividual variations related to age, genetic, and environmental factors. We have identified selective increase of circulating MCP-1/CCL2 in CFS/ME patients with MMF (45). The imbalance between the huge number of vaccinated individuals and the relatively low number of MMF cases suggests crucial involvement of individual susceptibility factors in intolerance to alum. Genetically driven MCP-1/CCL2 production might represent one of these factors (5).
Thus alum and other poorly biodegradable materials taken up at the periphery by phagocytes circulate in the lymphatic and blood circulation and can enter the brain using a Trojan horse mechanism similar to that used by infectious particles (68, 69). Previous experiments have shown that alum administration can cause CNS dysfunction and damage (70–72), casting doubts on the exact level of alum safety (73).
The Concept of ASIA
Many CNS diseases likely result from gene–environment interactions. Some of them, such as idiopathic ME/SFC (74) and multiple sclerosis (MS) (75), have been previously associated with aluminum overload. An increased risk of developing MS in the long-term after alum-containing vaccine administration has been also reported (76, 77), and remains the subject of fierce debate.
Notably, about 10% of our MMF patients had concurrent MS-like disease (78), an additional 5–10% had another autoimmune disease, such as thyroiditis and diffuse inflammatory myopathies, and the remaining patients occasionally had low titers of various autoantibodies (46).
Yehuda Shoenfeld had delineated the “autoimmune (autoinflammatory) syndrome induced by adjuvants” (ASIA)(79), acknowledging that various combinations of (i) specific autoimmune diseases identified by well-established criteria, (ii) lessspecific symptoms, such as myalgia, arthralgia, chronic fatigue, and cognitive impairment (the combination of which defines ME/CFS); and (iii) the appearance of circulating autoantibodies, can occur after exposure to a variety of chemical or natural products with immunological adjuvant properties. Discussion of the ASIA is very useful since it may alert physicians, when they encounter the above-mentioned symptoms, to check for prior vaccinations, and may help them to put a name on such conditions.
Symptoms associated with MMF are strikingly similar to those described as the Gulf war syndrome (GWS), a condition strongly associated with the administration of multiple vaccinations to soldiers (80, 81), especially the anthrax vaccine that contains alum, capable of inducing MMF (82), and possibly squalene (83). On these grounds, we proposed to delineate a vaccine adjuvant syndrome (84). Yehuda Shoenfeld reasoned similarly but added to GWS and MMF, his own experience on siliconosis, a disease complex observed in patients with leaky breast silicone implants attributed to deleterious adjuvanticity of silicone particles (85, 86). In so-doing, he enlarged the causal relationship to any compound with adjuvant properties. ASIA major and minor diagnostic criteria still need international validation but the ASIA concept already caught the attention of the international human and veterinary medical community, pointing out a need in the field (87, 88).
A Lot Must be Done to Understand How, in Certain Individuals, Alum-Containing Vaccines may Become Insidiously Unsafe
Alum has been used for decades to levels considered as an acceptable compromise between its role of adjuvant and its toxic effects by the industry and the regulatory agencies. However, the MMF story revealed several gaps in the knowledge on alum particles, including their exact mechanisms of action, their fate after injection, their systemic dissemination, and their safety on the long-term. Efforts have been done in the last years to develop novel adjuvants, but attempts to seriously examine safety concerns raised by the bio-persistent character and brain accumulation of alum particles have not been made.
The main questions that should be addressed concerning alum safety problems are listed in Table 1. It is important to look for genetic susceptibility factors that could explain why a given individual will appear intolerant to alum-containing vaccines whereas the vast majority of individuals vaccinated with the same vaccines remain healthy. Some patients with MMF are of the HLA-DRB1*01group, which is associated with an increased risk to develop autoimmune diseases (89). Genetic factors influencing alum biodistribution were also investigated. In keeping with experimental evidence that the CCL2/MCP-1 chemokine signaling governs brain translocation of phagocytosed particles (5), and that CCL2/MCP-1 serum levels are selectively increased in patients with MMF (45), genotyping of 252 symptomatic MMF patients and 516 healthy controls for 4 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) localized in the CCL2 gene showed that the AG haplotype of the SNP rs3760396C(-927G > C) was associated with a slightly increased risk for disease (5). Interestingly, the rs 3760396 C allele is associated with a higher level of expression of CCL2 in vitro as assessed by transfection (90). These preliminary results deserve further investigations. Another axis of research consists in attempts to detect if subtle genetically determined defects in the cell machinery used to clear out particles, namely autophagy (91), could contribute to the long-standing biopersistence of alum particles, as previously reported to explain intracellular persistence of intestinal pathogens in Crohn’s disease (92). Cells coping with microbes use a dedicated form of autophagy termed “xenophagy” as a host defense mechanism to engulf and degrade intracellular pathogens. The same holds true for inert particles subjected to phagocytosis/endocytosis (93). As mentioned above, crystal particles are likely toxic to membranes, which may destabilize phagosomes and lysosomes, trigger inflammasome assembly, and impede the autophagy pathways (32–35, 39). However, crystal particles instead of killing macrophages promote their survival (17). Thus, macrophages will continuously perceive as foreign particles in their cytosol, just like senescent organelles or bacteria, and will likely reiterate the autophagic process until they dispose of alien materials. The process includes compartmentalization of particles within double membrane autophagosomes and subsequent fusion with repaired and reacidified lysosomes, exposing antigen-bound alum particles to lysosomal acidic pH, the sole factor that can solubilize alum crystal and acid hydrolases that will degrade the antigen. The process involves a conserved pathway in which particles decorated by ubiquitinated proteins, recruit the adaptor protein p62/SQSTM1 (sequestosome 1), which targets the whole to the autophagosome through binding to the autophagosomal membrane protein LC3/Atg8 (94, 95). Autophagosomes formation also involves other Atg molecules, such as the high molecular weight complex (Atg12–Atg5–Atg16L), Atg7, and many others, and is regulated by IRGM (immunity-related GTPase family-M1). The autophagosome external membrane eventually fuses with lysosomes. Genes of all molecules of the autophagy pathway are subjected to variations that are currently screened in patients with MMF.
Table 1. Main unsolved questions linked to alum adjuvants toxic effects.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
This work has benefited from research funding from patients associations: E3M (Entraide aux Malades de Myofasciite à Macrophages) “Neurodélivrance des particules injectées par voie intra musculaire et sécurité des adjuvants aluminiques,” Association Française contre les Myopathies (AFM) “Etude des mécanismes de la myofasciite à macrophages,” and Dwoskin Foundation (Nano in brain); from Région Ile-de-France through a program PICRI (Partenariat Institutions-Citoyens pour la Recherche et l’Innovation) “Recherche de polymorphismes dans les gènes codant pour des facteurs inflammatoires (chimiokines) dans la myofasciite à macrophages” and from ANSM, procédure hors appel d’offre “Biopersistence and neuromigration of aluminic adjuvants of vaccines: genetic risk factors and experimental neurotoxicity.”
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Keywords: alum, vaccine adjuvants, macrophagic myofasciitis, neurotoxicity, genetics, monocytes, CCL2, MCP1
Citation: Gherardi RK, Eidi H, Crépeaux G, Authier FJ and Cadusseau J (2015) Biopersistence and brain translocation of aluminum adjuvants of vaccines. Front. Neurol. 6:4.
Received: 27 August 2014; Paper pending published: 07 October 2014;
Accepted: 08 January 2015; Published online: 05 February 2015.
Lucija Tomljenovic (http://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/85490), University of British Columbia, Canada
Samir Kumar-Singh (http://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/12698), Antwerp University, Belgium
Mark P. Burns (http://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/9613), Georgetown University Medical Center, USA
Lucija Tomljenovic (http://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/85490), University of British Columbia, Canada
Copyright: © 2015 Gherardi, Eidi, Crépeaux, Authier and Cadusseau. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
(CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or
licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is
permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Romain Kroum Gherardi, Faculté de Médecine and Faculté des Sciences et Technologie, INSERM U955 Team 10, Université Paris Est-Créteil, 8 rue du
Général Sarrail, Créteil 9410, France e-mail: email@example.com
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By Janine Roberts
Medical Veritas 5 (2008) 1897–1905 doi: 10.1588/medver.2008.05.00197 1897
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.fearoftheinvisibe.com
In 1998 and 1999 scientists representing the World Health Organization (WHO) met with the senior vaccine regulatory scientists of the USA and UK at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington D.C. to discuss the safety of the manufacturing methods employed to produce vaccines. No journalists were present but official transcripts were kept. What they record is that all the many experts that spoke expressed grave concern over the safety of the manufacturing process currently employed to make the licensed vaccines, such as MMR, flu, yellow fever, and polio. It was reported by leading experts that the vaccines could not be purified, were “primitive,” made on “crude materials,” and the manufacturers could not meet lowered government standards. WHO specialists reported the widespread and continuing presence in the MMR vaccine of chicken leukosis virus. Others spoke about the presence of foamy virus, many other viruses, toxins, foreign proteins, enzymes and possibly prions and oncogenes. It was reported that the polio vaccine had sometimes contained more monkey viruses than polioviruses. Grave concerns were expressed about the level of foreign residual DNA and RNA contaminating the vaccines. It was feared that this could be causing cancers and autoimmune diseases. It seemed possible to this writer that, given its mutagenic properties, this DNA contamination might relate to the incidence of autism and other serious disorders occurring in the vulnerable after vaccination. Experimental evidence also suggests that there could be a link of autism to environmental toxins such as acrylamide.
This narrative by Janine Roberts has been extracted from Chapter 7 of her book entitled “Fear of the Invisible”, Impact Investigative Media Productions, 2008; ISBN 978-0-9559177-2-1.
Keywords: vaccines, impurities, autism, MMR, influenza, smallpox, poliovirus, rubella, measles, mumps, yellow fever, ALV, substrates, cell lines, cell cultures, residual DNA, acrylamide
A year after I met with the top government regulatory scientists at the NIH Emergency Workshop on SV40 in 1997, they met again in Washington for another workshop on vaccine safety. At this there were representatives of all the major US government health organizations and of the vaccine manufacturers. A third similar meeting would be held a year later in 1999.
The main issue at the November 1998 meeting was whether or not it would be safe for manufacturers to produce the viruses needed for vaccines from cancer cells. Pharmaceutical companies were seeking government approval for this, on the basis that cancerous cells, as “immortal” and permanent, would be cheaper to use than cells they had to regularly replace by, for example, buying more monkeys.
These workshops looked at the issue broadly, by comparing the safety of the different ways available for making our vaccines. As everyone present was a scientist, the discussions were much more open and frank than they are when journalists are present.
They started with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR). One of the first speakers on this was Dr. Arifa Khan from the federal Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) and what she had to report was very disturbing .
“Today I would like to present an update on the reverse transcriptase [RT] activity that is present in chicken cell derived vaccines.” My attention was immediately grabbed. I knew that the mumps and measles viruses used for the MMR vaccine are grown in fertilized chicken eggs, as are also the viruses for the Flu and Yellow Fever vaccines. (The rubella virus for MMR is produced differently—in artificially grown cells taken originally from an aborted human fetus.)
Dr. Khan was reporting the result of a just concluded twoyear investigation into the safety of MMR led by the World Health Organization. She explained this was initiated in 1996 after the discovery in MMR of RT; an enzyme whose presence they believed could indicate that retroviruses had contaminated the vaccine. This had greatly alarmed them as some retroviruses are thought to cause cancers – and AIDS.
WHO had then quietly, without telling the public, without withdrawing the vaccine, organized MMR safety studies at various laboratories to see “whether this RT activity was associated with a retroviral particle, and even more importantly, whether this retrovirus particle could infect and replicate in human cells.”
What they then discovered confirmed their worse fears. Dr. Khan continued: “The RT activity is found to be associated with retroviral particles of two distinct avian endogenous retroviral families designated as EAV and ALV.” Now ALV stands for Avian Leukosis Virus. It is associated with a leukemia cancer found in wild birds, so definitely was not wanted in the vaccines. EAV was less dangerous, at least for birds as it is natural for them to have it.
Khan added that they had also found another possible danger; “There was a theoretical possibility that the virus [ALV] could … infect the [human] cell” thus integrating its genetic code “into the human DNA” to cause cancer. The only reassurance she could give was that her team had watched vaccine cultures for a full “48 hours”, and, in that time period, no merger of viral and human DNA had been observed. I thought this much too short a period to guarantee safety. Cancers develop over years.
Dr. Khan then warned, “there is a possibility that there could also be potential pseudotypes (merging between) … the measles vaccine virus and the retroviral sequences”—meaning there was a risk that bird viruses might combine with the measles virus in the vaccine to create dangerous new mutant viruses, They had not seen it, but it could happen.
She acknowledged much longer term safety studies were needed than 48 hours, but said long-term studies of measles vaccine cultures were very difficult: “because the measles vaccine virus itself lyses [kills] the culture in about three to four days.” This had prevented them from studying the longer-term consequences of this contamination of the MMR vaccine .
So far, she added, they had only managed to analyze a small part of the retrovirus contamination in the vaccines. “Our ongoing studies are directed towards doing similar analysis of other retroviral genetic codes found in the vaccine preparations.” It was suspected that other retroviruses might also be present. She also noted that “about 20 years ago similar RT activity was reported” in the vaccine. Apparently nothing had been done about it at that time and the public were never told.
She concluded by explaining what the World Health Organization (WHO) had decided to do about this chicken leucosis virus (ALV) contamination. It would take the risk of quietly allowing MMR to continue to be contaminated. It would permit vaccine manufacturers to continue to use retrovirus contaminated eggs, because “you cannot get ALV free flocks in places where you are making yellow fever vaccine.”
Dr. Andrew Lewis, head of the DNA Virus Laboratory in the Division of Viral Products, then warned. “All the egg-based vaccines are contaminated,” including “influenza, yellow fever and smallpox vaccines, as well as the vaccine for horses against encephalomyelitis virus” for “these fertilized chicken eggs are susceptible to a wide variety of viruses.”
This was an eye opener for me. Before I started on this investigation, if I thought about it, I would have presumed our vaccines were made of selected viruses in sterile fluid to which a small amount of preservative chemicals has been added. I think this is what most parents presume.
It was thus a shock to discover from this top-level scientific workshop that the viruses in our current vaccines are not in a sterile fluid as I had presumed, but in a soup of unknown bits and pieces, a veritable witches’ brew of DNA fragments, added chemicals, proteins and, even possibly prions and oncogenes, all of which would easily pass through the filters used, to be injected into our children.
Our vaccines, I thus learnt, are not filtered clean but are suspensions from the manufacturers’ “incubation tanks” in which the viruses are produced from “substrates” of mashed bird embryo, minced monkey kidneys or cloned human cells. These suspensions are filtered before use but only to remove particles larger than viruses. The point of the vaccine is that it contains viruses, thus these must not be filtered out. This means there remains in the vaccine everything of the same size or smaller, including what the manufacturers call “degradation products”— parts of decayed viruses or cells.
I also learnt that the only official checks made for contaminants in vaccines are for a few known pathogens, thus ignoring a vast host of unknown, unstudied, small particles and chemicals. These eminent doctors reported at these vaccine safety meetings that it is simply impossible to remove these from our common vaccines—and this would of course also apply to vaccines for pets, farm animals and birds.
I went to the published reports of the MMR manufacturers and found these confirmed what the scientists at this workshop had reported. A manufacturer stated in 2000 that it made the MMR vaccine with “harvested virus fluids.” It stated frankly that their “Measles vaccine bulk is an unpurified product whose potency was measured through a biological assay for the active substance rather than through evaluation of integrity of physical form. Degradation products are neither identified nor quantified.” In other words, it left the latter in the measles vaccine along with all contaminants that lay there quietly, or worked slowly. The pharmaceutical company admitted checking the measles vaccine only for obviously active contaminants. It did not measure how much the vaccine was polluted with genetic code fragments, other viruses, or with parts of bacterial, animal, bird or human cells .
I looked also to see how the checks on known pathogens in vaccines are done. The main method involves PCR—and detects incredibly small DNA fragments. These cannot be identified unless they are found to be identical to a fragment that has been proved unique to a pathogen, something that is complex and difficult to do. That is why the scientists checking the avian leucosis virus contamination of the MMR vaccine had admitted that, in several years of work, they only managed to check a small part of this contamination.
In any case, PCR is utterly unable to prove a vaccine pure. A recent report stated: “A negative PCR signal could be obtained when the total batch [of 10 liters] still contained 106 undetected viral particles.” 
Another common method of testing for the presence of a particular pathogen, whether a toxin, virus or bacteria, is to use an antibody test such as the HIV blood tests (ELISA and Western Blot). Such tests only work if the antibody searched for in a blood sample, cell culture, or vaccine substrate, is already proved to mark only a molecule unique to this pathogen for destruction.
But can any molecule be proved unique to a specific pathogen? Proving this is virtually impossible to carry out with complete accuracy. There is always the chance that the molecule targeted can be found in more than one thing—including many yet unidentified viruses. In other words, there is always some degree of uncertainty with these tests. As far as I can discover after a rigorous search, the accuracy of even the HIV test has never been so verified.
A major problem is that we have so far only identified a very small part of the microbial world—and therefore we just cannot verify a particular molecule is only from one type of virus. If antibodies are detected, then all that can be said with certainty is that these antibodies fit to molecules that were at some point present in the patient.
David Relman wrote in The Atlantic: “Much of the microbial world is still as mysterious as an alien planet…It has been estimated that only 0.4 percent of all extant bacterial species have been identified…. Even the germs that inhabit our bodies, the so-called ‘human commensal flora,’ such as the swarming populations of organisms that live in the spaces between our teeth, are largely unknown.” 
But despite all these possible sources of error, virologists have found ways that they hope will minimize error. A way has been discovered to separate out particles found in cell cultures according to their densities—thus distinguishing particles such as retroviruses that are defined as of specific density. A sample of fluid thought to possibly contain viruses is put into a thick sugar suspension and then spun extremely fast for many hours in a centrifuge, often at 5000 to 12000g – gravity forces humans could not live under . This makes the particles band according to their density. But great care needs to be taken. This is reportedly not a good way to try to find HIV—for it is said to be extremely fragile and to easily disintegrate. In general, high speed centrifuging and freeze-drying may considerably damage results prior to microscope imaging .
The micrograph below is said to be of purified polioviruses, but the extraordinarily regular shapes of these particles made the molecular biologist and virologist Dr. Steven Lanka wonder they might have been shaped out of soft fragments by filtration meshes and hours of rapid centrifugation. (Contrast the micrographs of viruses later in this book.) Lanka concluded: “The ‘isolated’ polio viruses are artificial particles, generated by suction of an indifferent mass through a very fine filter into a vacuum.” (If he is right —then where is the evidence for the isolation of the poliovirus? I clearly would have to seek this elsewhere.)
The next stage involves the use of the electron microscope. The appropriate density band for the type of virus sought is micro-graphed. This hopefully reveals some particles that look like viruses—but does not prove that they are. Next they must be tested in a cell culture to see if the cells exposed to these same particles will fall ill.
If they do, what are observed are cell deaths, mutations or distortions. The normal diagnostic symptoms of the disease under study are not usually seen. This is a serious difficulty as if a causal link between the particle and this disease is being sought.
We also cannot assume that these cells, living artificial lives in laboratory vessels, in conditions that often bring about mutations, are producing the same viruses as those they are exposed to in the culture. The new viruses may contain variations in genetic codes. They may be entirely natural and harmless particles, as cells also produce these. It’s thus very difficult to tell if the illness in the cell culture is the same as in the original patients. But, if cells die in the lab, it is often simply assumed that the correct viruses are present. (For more on this, see chapters 19-20 of “Fear of the Invisible”)
The genetic codes of viruses produced by the exposed cells are also very rarely checked to see if they are identical to the added particles—for they may share many code sequences simply because the same cells can make many types of viruses out of near identical materials—and because cells often vary the viruses they produce to some extent.
If it is finally judged that these tests have been successful in growing the right viruses, a sample of the virus-rich fluid from the cell culture is taken, and this may then be used as a ‘vaccine seed’ that is added to monkey or other cells in an incubator, with ‘growth’ chemicals, to make them produce more of the viruses wanted for vaccines.
The latest information I could find on the retroviral contamination of the MMR vaccine was in a 2001 scientific paper from the CDC. This reported that 100 MMR recipients were tested to see if they were contaminated by either of the two types of retroviruses identified by Dr. Khan and others. The conclusion was dramatic. “The finding of RT activity in all measles vaccine lots from different manufacturers tested suggests that this occurrence is not sporadic and that vaccine recipients may be universally exposed to these [chicken] retroviral particles.”
They then concluded: “Despite these reassuring data, the presence of avian retroviral particles in chick embryo fibroblast-derived vaccines [like MMR] raises questions about the suitability of primary chicken cell substrates for vaccine production.” They recommended considering stopping production in fertilized eggs, and growing the vaccine viruses instead on “RT-negative cells from different species, such as on immortalized [cancerous] or diploid [laboratory grown] mammalian cells.” I was amazed to learn this, for, to the best of my knowledge, nothing has been done since this report was made to render MMR safer. The measles vaccine is still produced from contaminated chicken embryos.
A year later, on September 7, 1999, another Workshop was convened in Washington DC to consider these issues . Representatives from all the largest public health institutions in the West were at this, including the World Health Organization whose representative co-chaired it. The UK government’s vaccine safety bodies had a top-level representative in Dr. Philip Minor. Apparently no press were present– but the importance of the meeting meant that it was taped, as was the earlier conference, to ensure an accurate record.
Dr. Bill Egan, the Acting Director of the Office of Vaccines at the Center for Biologics opened the meeting with this statement:
“I think we need to remind ourselves that viruses can propagate only in live cells, and this of course holds true for whole viral vaccines… They can only be produced in cells [substrates]… We have only to think back to the finding of SV40 in poliovirus vaccines to realize the extent of the risk that any cell substrate may pose, there is still great need for concern… we have been given the task of identifying these concerns…”
The scientists present then told that our vaccines are widely contaminated by viral and DNA genetic code fragments, many viruses and proteins. They openly worried that among these could also be dangerous prions or oncogenes.
They reported that they had found monkey viruses in still more vaccines. Dr. Andrew Lewis of the FDA gravely added that “humans were immunized with adenovirus vaccines that contained adenovirus-SV40 hybrid viruses.” In other words, a brand-new monkey-human mutant virus was created in this vaccine. Dr. Ben Berkhout exclaimed at hearing this: “That’s the one I would like to focus on today, Is [there a danger of] the potential reversion of an attenuated vaccine strain to a virus variant that can replicate fast and can potentially cause AIDS?”
This was a startling and horrifying question. Could our most common childhood vaccines be so affected by contaminating DNA that they will give our children AIDS? Were such mutation events in vaccines rare? Apparently not. Another doctor stated. “Recombination among a variety of viruses and cells co-infected in tissue culture is not uncommon. This is an issue that certainly will need further consideration.” In other words, vaccine incubators can create mutated viruses.
The next speaker described the “foreign cellular DNA” they had found contaminating our childhood vaccines. Dr. Andrew Lewis of the CDER and FDA worried that this might well include “viral oncogenes”—in other words, contaminants that might cause cancer.
Another scientist, Dr. Adimora, asked how would the public react if they knew of these dangers? “The general public has a variety of concerns about vaccines but, to my knowledge, the cell substrates in which the vaccines are grown have not been one of their major concerns to date.” But, “it could conceivably be different in future.”
Dr. Lewis corrected him slightly, saying the public on one occasion had worried about substrates: “There was a tremendous concern associated with the polio vaccine developed in rhesus monkey kidney cells associated with the SV40 infection. Two years ago we were one of the sponsors of a meeting that were dealing with the follow up to those concerns.” This was the NIH meeting that had first introduced me to these issues.
Dr. Rebecca Sheets of the CBER, the US laboratory responsible for monitoring vaccine safety, worryingly noted that as government officers they had no control whatsoever over how vaccines are made! Under current legislation they could only give “recommendations” to the manufacturers. Nevertheless, they were highly concerned about the “cell substrates in which the vaccine viruses are grown … They can be the source of adventitious agents, the source of tumorigenic potential, and the source of residual cellular DNA which can have both infectivity or tumorigenic potential.”
She continued: “If the use of cancer cells for the growth of vaccine viruses were authorised,” then they would be concerned about “the potential for exposure to adventitious oncogenic viruses. The screening methods for these viruses are difficult or relatively insensitive, and that there may exist currently unknown or occult agents that have never before been detected despite use of current technology.” (I was later to learn that the particle identified as HIV was first grown in such a cancer culture.)
All ways of making vaccines have their dangers. Dr. Hayflick, a well-reputed scientist involved for many years with vaccines, described how the ‘Primary Culture’ method of taking cells from ‘sacrificed animals’ or bird embryos ran into problems when “it became apparent that these cells contained many unwanted viruses, some of which were lethal to humans.” He noted: “Latent viruses were such a problem with primary monkey kidney cells that a worldwide moratorium on the licensing of all polio virus vaccines was called in 1967 because of death and illnesses that occurred in monkey kidney workers and vaccine manufacturing facilities.” The contaminating virus blamed was the deadly Ebola. This was most serious, but again I could find no record of the public having been informed about this suspension or the Ebola.
The top UK government expert present at this conference, Dr. Phil Minor of the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, added that the polio vaccine had originally been so polluted that its doses contained as much monkey virus as poliovirus! I had no idea that so much monkey virus was in this vaccine given to hundreds of millions of children. Then there was another shock for me. I had been assured two years earlier at the SV40 Workshop that the polio vaccine was no longer contaminated with SV40—and consequently I had so assured the UK public in our resulting Channel 4 television documentary. Now I learnt I had been misled and consequently had seriously misinformed the public. Scientists reported to this meeting that “SV40 sequences” remained in the poliovirus seed used for the current polio vaccines.
As for the rubella, measles and other vaccines produced in ‘Cell Line substrates’, in cells taken from the wild but now grown in laboratories, these cell cultures host “the broadest virus spectrum of any cell population known.” It was also explained that these cultures in which are produced our children’s vaccines, were safety tested, controversially and alarmingly, on “terminally ill cancer human patients” and on “prisoners.”
Dr. Hayflick told how, when laboratory-grown cell lines were first introduced, they were erroneously thought of as immortal. He said they had now proved them mortal, overturned a dogma that had existed from the turn of the century. This was that cells living in laboratory cultures could live and replicate indefinitely. It was wrongly presumed that “if they do die, you simply do not have the proper culture conditions.” But, we now know that healthy cells can only divide and reproduce around 50 times. It seems to be a natural limitation.
For me this shed light on why at first the early AIDS researcher. Dr. Robert Gallo, the scientist now famous for his theory on how HIV causes AIDS, was so upset when he failed to keep alive his cell lines of CD4 white blood cells. He then had guessed this must be because an AIDS related virus was killing them. But – what if these cells were dying naturally —as we now know they would have been? If so, then this is important—for their deaths were the only evidence he produced for deciding that the viruses in his cultures were deadly to white blood cells and thus the cause of AIDS, as we will see!
A year later Gallo had tried to grow HIV on white blood cells that were previously deliberately made cancerous (‘transformed’) by exposure to radiation or toxins, thinking this would immortalize them—and thus prevent his virus from killing them. It is a method known as the ‘Continuous Cell Line’—and it was the next item on the agenda of this workshop. Dr. Hanna Golding, an expert with the CBER, explained she was really worried about being asked to approve of the use of cancer cells in making vaccines: “The issue that we are really concerned about is the unknown. We are dealing with 13 new cell substrates that are transformed. We don’t know their history. We don’t know what’s the etiology.” In other words, we don’t know from where they come or what they do.
The meeting was told: “The main disadvantage of the continuous cell line is that many [cells] express [produce] endogenous viruses, and there has always been this concern over tumorigenic potential, should we say, associated with cellular DNA.” They were saying that all of these had made their way into vaccines given to children. I felt this was getting more and more horrific.
Cancer cells can be extremely aggressive, moving around laboratories, contaminating culture after culture. Dr. Hayflick told of how the eminent Dr. Maurice Hilleman, the scientist I had earlier interviewed about the MMR vaccine, had used what he thought was an ‘intestine-based cell line’ to make an adenovirus vaccine, only to discover later to his horror that his cell line had been invaded and taken over by the aggressive cervical cancer virus known as HeLa.
I also learnt that DNA fragments contaminating vaccine lots might be from dead cells but nevertheless remained extremely active and dangerous. Dr. Golding feared these contaminating DNA codes might combine together in the vaccine lots – creating a mutant viral strain that could easily get in the individual doses of vaccine.
The removal of this contaminating DNA has proved so impossible that the US government in 1986 told the vaccine manufactures that some of it could stay. It recommended a weight limit for contaminating DNA of 100 picograms per dose. But the manufacturers could not meet this safety recommendation, as was explained at this Workshop. Their failure had led the government to relax its standards, applying the 100 picograms limit solely to the product of continuous [cancer] cell lines, and allowing one hundred times as much contaminating DNA (10 nanograms) in vaccine doses produced on other types of substrate, such as the MMR vaccines. But the meeting was told that vaccine manufacturers had now admitted that they could meet even this lower standard of “purity”—and, since these limits were only ‘recommendations’, the government was not able to enforce them. Thus high levels of hazardous DNA pollution remain in many vaccines. When I read this, I wondered about the cases of brain damage and autism now increasingly reported after the administration of these DNA polluted vaccines?
This failure was also a great concern to this meeting. Many of the doctors present worried that such a great amount of DNA fragments might cause viral mutations in the vaccines. “Naked” DNA (with no protein coat) is known to be highly reactive. Dr. Phil Krause calculated, “If there are 10 nanograms of residual DNA per dose, which is the current WHO recommendation, and if two doses were recommended per child, as is the case with MMR vaccine, and the infectivity of viral DNA in the vaccine were comparable to that of purified polyoma virus DNA, we can calculate the theoretical infectivity risk. … For a vaccine that is universally administered to the 4 million children born in the US every year, this would represent about 500 infections per year, clearly an unacceptable rate.”
This shocked me. If he was right, and it seemed he was (none of the experts present questioned his calculations), this surely meant the current MMR vaccine is potentially very dangerous. Krause also had only added up the risk from the one vaccine. What when to it is added all the contaminating DNA in the many other vaccines?
I did not realize initially what it meant for the stricter safety recommendations being only applied to vaccines made on continuous cell lines. It meant that all the common vaccines might be very DNA polluted. This realization only came after I learnt from an expert at the workshop that: “Unpurified viral vaccines (like MMR) … contain residual DNA in quantities greater than 10 nanograms.”
Dr. Krause also stated: “Of course, in the context of DNA vaccines, we are talking about injecting even larger quantities of DNA into people.” He was speaking here about the new DNA vaccines being developed as “safer” than our current vaccines.
Another important safety issue was raised. “What would this contaminating DNA do when it was injected into humans in vaccines? Could it change our own DNA? Could it cause cancers—or autoimmune diseases?” “When you consider that almost every one of these vaccines is injected right into the tissue that is the preferred site for DNA gene therapy … I think you couldn’t do much more to get the DNA expressed [to get contaminating DNA taken up by human cells] than to inject it into a muscle in the way it’s being done.” Another speaker lamely admitted: “I chaired the committee that licensed the chickenpox vaccine, and it [residual DNA] was actually an issue that we considered at that time. We looked among recipients of the vaccine for evidence of an autoimmune response associated with the DNA included in that vaccine.” He then added: “Actually, we didn’t look, we asked the company to look and they did not find one.”
Dr Walid Heneine of the CDC asked: ‘No one has mentioned how much DNA we now have in the licensed vaccines. I mean, how much are we being exposed to? Do we have any idea how much is in the viral vaccines, like yellow fever, measles, mumps vaccines? Do the regulators have an idea from the manufacturers, how much DNA there is?’
Dr. Loewer replied: “I have no idea. Nobody that I know has mentioned it.” Dr. Becky Sheets from CBER confirmed the suspicions of many when she responded. “I think that the vast majority of licensed vaccines, U.S. licensed vaccines, have not been tested for residual DNA. The few that have been tested are the ones that have been licensed in the last few years, including varicella and Hepatitis A.”
She then added: “I wanted to respond to an earlier question regarding how purified are live viral vaccines [like MMR] – [the answer is] minimally purified.”
These presentations made some of the experts most uneasy. Dr. Desrosiers stated: “I don’t worry so much about the agents that one can test for. I worry about the agents that you can’t test for, that you don’t know about.” Dr. Greenberg agreed, He said he was: “worried also about the agents that aren’t known.” He continued: “There are still countless thousands of undiscovered viruses, proteins, and similar particles. We have only identified a very small part of the microbial world – and we can only test for those we have identified. Thus the vaccine cultures could contain many unknown particles.” Another doctor said: “As time goes on, of course, new viruses are discovered and new problems arise. The foamy virus has been [recently] identified as one that we should be really sure is absent from these vaccines.”
The Chairman of the Workshop then asked Dr. Maxine Linial: “Maxine, does anybody know if vaccines have been checked for foamy virus contamination?”
She replied: “As far as I know, no.”
“You mean nobody has looked or as far as you know?”
She responded; “I don’t know. There are very few reagents. I mean, there are reagents for the so-called human or chimp foamy virus, but as far as 1 know, there are no good antibody reagents.” In other words, they could not tell if the vaccines contained foamy viruses. (“Reagents” are antibodies to known virus particles.)
The experts voiced other concerns. “And I’ll be honest and say that I’m surprised that primary African green monkey kidney cells continue to be used, and I’m a little bit disappointed that FDA and whoever is involved had not had a more serious effort to move away from primary African green monkey kidneys. We all know that there are a number of neurodegenerative conditions and other conditions where viral causes have been suspected for years and no viral agent identified. Maybe they’re caused by viruses, but maybe they’re not.”
Another doctor said: “We need to consider again some of the issues of residual DNA. Is it oncogenic? We had a lot of experience with chicken leucosis viruses in chick embryo cells beginning back in 1960. And the thing about them is they are not easy to detect because they don’t produce any pathogenic effect.”
An unnamed participant added: “I have to express some bewilderment [at this talk of dangerous contamination], simply because, as I mentioned last night, the vero cell, which under many conditions is neoplastic [tumor-causing], has been licensed for the production of IPV and OPV [the common polio vaccines] in the United States, Thailand, Belgium and France.” The current polio vaccines thus run the risk of having oncogenes in them. Again this was news to me. I had no idea that the polio vaccine might be grown on such cells.
Dr. Rosenberg added unreassuringly: “When one uses neoplastic cells as substrates for vaccine development, one can inadvertently get virus to virus, or virus to cellular particle, interactions that could have unknown biological consequences.”
Dr. Tom Broker said we had to be concerned about ‘papilloma virus infections’ in the vaccine … “One of the more remarkable facts of this family of diseases is that since 1980 more people have died of HPV disease than have died of AIDS.”
Dr. Phil Minor, from the UK National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, told of another disaster. “Hepatitis B was transmitted by yellow fever vaccine back in the 1940s. The hepatitis B actually came from the stabilizers of the albumin that was actually put in there to keep it stable.”
He continued: “For many years, rabies vaccines were produced in mouse brain or sheep brain. They have quite serious consequences, but not necessarily associated with adventitial agents. You can get encephalitis as a result of immune responses to the non-invasive protein.” “Influenza is an actuated vaccine. Again, it’s not made on SPF eggs, that is, specified pathogen-free eggs. They are avian leukosis virus free, but they are not free of all the other pathogens that you would choose to exclude from the measles vaccine production system.”
Dr. Minor, the UK’s top vaccine safety officer, then added: “So even today then you have to bear in mind that a large amount of vaccine that’s made is made on really quite crude materials, from an adventitious agent point of view. It’s not a trivial usage. In fact, when considering what vaccines are actually made on these days, they are quite primitive in some respects.”
These warnings were coming from a senior doctor working for the UK government who would ask me at a later meeting not to pass on vaccine information that would alarm parents.
He went on to discuss SV40 and the polio vaccine. “It’s a very common polyoma virus of old world monkeys, and particularly rhesus macaques. The difficulty with this was that, when the rhesus macaque monkeys are sacrificed and a primary monkey kidney culture made from him or her, as the case may be, a silent infection is set up. So there is evidence of infection [found] just by looking at the cultures. In fact, these cultures can throw out as much SV40 as they do polio [virus].’ ‘The problem was that the cell cultures didn’t show any sign of having defects, when they were actually infected with SV40.”
It seemed that SV40, and its accompanying proteins and genetic codes, would never have got into so many humans if they had not contaminated the vaccine—and that they were only dangerous when moved into a species for which their presence was not natural—such as into humans and into Cynomolgus monkeys.
Dr. Minor continued: “Wild caught monkeys were being used extensively in vaccine production. Up to a half of the cultures would have been thrown away because of adventitious agent contamination, mainly foamy virus, but certainly other things as well.”
But, they could not be certain what viruses were present. They could be mistaking SV40 for other viruses. Why? He explained because antibody tests are used to test for its presence —and such tests are not all that accurate. Antibodies don’t only react to a specific viral protein. They may ‘cross-react’ against other things. “What you could also argue is that you are not picking up SV40 specific antibodies at all, and they could be other human polyomas [viruses] like the BK or the JC, and it’s cross-reacting antibodies that we’re picking up. I think that is still a thing that needs to be resolved.” ‘
The point about this long story which I have just been telling you about SV40 is that SV40 was a problem between 1955 and 1962, and it’s now 1999, and we still don’t really know what was going on. So if you actually make a mistake, it’s really quite serious. It may keep you occupied for the rest of your working life. ‘
Then Dr. Minor made a still more alarming admission: ‘Now the regulatory authorities in the room will be well aware of a large number of other examples of this type which don’t actually get published. I think that’s not so good. I think this stuff really should be out there in the public literature.
Another UK expert then took the stand. It was Dr. Robertson from NIBSC and, as he explained, “for those of you who don’t know, NIBSC is CBER’s cousin from across the pond in the U.K.” In other words, it was the top UK vaccine safety monitoring body. He started off on a reassuring note: “There is no evidence for any increase in the incidence of childhood cancers since the onset of measles, mumps vaccination.” But he then said: “But, I think, as a scientific community, unless we do something at least for the future, we might be in a very difficult situation to defend certain issues. If I confronted some of the violent ideologically pure Greens in our country, [telling them what we have been discussing here]: I’m sure they would say: “Shut it down because this is unsafe, totally unsafe.”
It was thus that I learnt that our vaccines are a veritable soup, made up not just of viruses that should or should not be there, but also thousands of bits of viruses and of cells, DNA and RNA genetic codes, proteins, enzymes, chemicals and perhaps oncogenes and prions. The vaccine was monitored for the presence of only a very few of these particles and vaccine lots are thrown away only if these are found.
In other words, the vaccines we give our children are liquids filled with a host of unknown particles, most of which came from the cells of non-humans: from chickens, monkeys, or even from cancer cells. Truly we do not know what we are doing or what are the long-term consequences. All that is known for sure is that vaccines are a very cheap form of public medicine often provided by governments to assure the public that they really do care for the safety of our children.
I have not mentioned one final addition to the vaccines – the preserving and antibiotic chemicals added to the doses. The manufacturer of a MMR vaccine noted: “The finished product contains the following excipients: sucrose, hydrolyzed gelatin (porcine), sorbitol, monosodium glutamate, sodium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium phosphate and Medium 199 with Hanks’ Salts, Minimum Essential Medium Eagle (MEM), neomycin, phenol red, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.”  What these chemicals might do was not discussed at these workshops.
On top of this I knew from government records that vaccines sometimes contain the pork-derived trypsin used to break up monkey cells and other flesh in the vaccine cultures. Also, in the latest version of the Salk vaccine there is a surprisingly large amount of formaldehyde left behind after it has done its work of ‘poisoning the viruses’ (despite biology teaching us that viruses are not living particles). These workshops omitted all these issues from their consideration.
Today the Salk vaccine is back in use under the brand name IPOL, supposedly in a safer format – and the Sabin is out of use in the West as it is now blamed for causing some polio cases. But IPOL officially “contains maximum 0.02% of formaldehyde per dose.”  This is 200 parts a million, yet a major Harvard University study on the CDC website reports: “Formaldehyde is a reactive chemical that has been recognized as a human carcinogen. At levels above 0.1 parts per million, the exposure causes a burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; and skin rashes.” 
This utterly shocked me, coming after learning from these reports that our top government scientists know our children are vaccinated with ‘primitive’ cocktails of viruses mixed among DNA fragments, chemicals and cellular debris, all potentially highly dangerous—along with many unidentified particles.
Furthermore the transcript of another scientific meeting, this one held at the Institute of Medicine in June 2000, comprised of scientists from the CDC, FDA and vaccine industry, reveals it was called because a CDC scientist, Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, found a statistically significant relationship between mercury in vaccines and several neurological conditions, including possibly autism, which today is seriously affecting very many of our children .
The official US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety of exposure standard for mercury is 0.1 microgram per kilogram of body weight per day, or 7 micrograms for a 70- kilogram adult. Yet, “fully vaccinated children receive as much as 237.5 micrograms of mercury from vaccines in doses of up to 25 micrograms each.” According to 2003 research, “thimerosal [mercury] in a single vaccine greatly exceeds the EPA adult standard.” 
Mercury is now being reduced or eliminated from vaccines, and yet, undeniably most of our children seem to have survived multiple doses with these vaccines, including those containing mercury, with no evident damage. How can this be?
My horror at discovering how little is known about the contents of our vaccines, is counterbalanced by my growing admiration for our marvelous immune system. Apparently after vaccination, if we are in a good state of health, it normally is quite capable of neutralizing much of this debris, removing or reducing its great danger.
But this did not explain why top scientists, who believe with every iota of their being in the great danger presented by viruses, who see these as the great enemy, have exposed our children to such dangers, without ever informing their parents of these dangers?
In 2002 further research has found major childhood vaccines contaminated with retroviruses. “The RT-positive vaccines include measles, mumps, and yellow fever vaccines produced by several manufacturers in Europe and the United States. RT activity was detected in the vaccines despite strict manufacturing practices requiring that chick embryos and embryo fibroblasts be derived from closed, specific-pathogen-free chicken flocks. Such chickens are screened for known pathogens.” 
The authors also stated: “Endogenous retroviral particles are not addressed by current manufacturing guidelines because these particles had not been associated with chick cell-derived vaccines.” But this is not so. Their paper admits. “The presence of Avian Leukosis virus (ALV) in chick-cell-derived vaccines is not a new phenomenon; many instances of ALV contamination in yellow fever and measles vaccines have been documented.”  As far as I am concerned, the “current manufacturing guidelines” should have been adjusted to take account of this.
The research paper continued: “The finding of RT activity in all measles vaccine lots from different manufacturers tested suggests that this occurrence is not sporadic and that vaccine recipients may be universally exposed to these retroviral particles.”
So far, however, they had not detected these chicken retroviruses in the children vaccinated. But their results were inconclusive, they admitted. “Confirmation of our molecular results by EAV-specific serologic testing may however be necessary. The lack of evidence of transmission of EAV [Endogenous Avian Virus] to vaccinees is likely due to the presence of defective particles. No infectious EAVs have yet been isolated, nor has a full-length intact EAV provirus been identified. However, our understanding of the EAV family is limited.” (They were using PCR—a tool with shortcomings in identifying viruses as described earlier.)
Their final conclusion: “Despite these reassuring data, the presence of avian retroviral particles in chick embryo fibroblast-derived vaccines raises questions about the suitability of primary chicken cell substrates for vaccine production…”
They suggest the measles and other egg-grown vaccines should be grown instead on “immortalized or diploid mammalian cells” but added a caveat: “Since the cell substrate is critical to the attenuation of live vaccine viruses, any change in the cell substrate could have unpredictable effects on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and should be approached cautiously.”
It thus seems that the reason why so far little has been done to remove the chicken virus contamination from the MMR and other vaccines—is that there is no known safer way to vaccinate, despite many decades of research, despite governments spending millions of dollars to try to find a safe way to make vaccines. Toxins will accumulate in the body—so what longterm cumulative damage is being caused through the great numbers of vaccines given today?
Measles, mumps and other vaccines continue to be produced on contaminated fertilized bird eggs. WHO, and the national health authorities have quietly, but officially, permitted childhood vaccines to contain “a low level” of viral contamination— simply because they cannot remove it economically.
WHO currently approves as acceptable a level of contamination of 106 to 107 possible viral particles per millilitre for the substrates on which are grown our vaccines. They publicly say this only presents a “theoretical safety concern” but clearly they still are very concerned, as they stated when no journalists were present in these conferences, Vaccines have become very big business since more and more doses per child are stipulated and purchased every year. The estimated revenue from childhood vaccines in the US is now over 2.4 billion dollars a year . But is the contamination in the vaccines damaging the children?
Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder
Today there are reports from parents and doctors of increasing numbers of children falling ill after vaccination and developing Autism or Attention Deficit Disorder. It is reported that this may be due to damage to their cells’ mitochondria from toxins accumulating from vaccines.  Three-quarters of the autistic children tested in one study had damaged mitochondria.
A now discredited CDC report claimed to prove that vaccines could not possibly cause autism. Both the US and UK governments cited this in defense of their vaccine programs. But the CDC has since been forced to admit to Congress that this report was flawed and inaccurate. It turned out that the first time they processed their statistics for this report, these revealed a significant risk that vaccines had caused these illnesses—but then the authors removed a quarter of the susceptible cases and this move, with other unjustified recalculations, reversed the results.
This was unearthed only after ‘in 2005, a group of Senators and Representatives headed by Sen. Joe Lieberman wrote to the NIEHS (an agency of the National Institutes of Health) saying that many parents no longer trusted the CDC to conduct independent minded studies of its own vaccine program. Lieberman et al asked NIEHS to review the CDC’s work on the vaccine database and report back with critiques and suggestions.’ The NIEHS had come back with a report that was severely critical of the CDC.
In 2007 it was accepted by a US court, and by government experts, that vaccination had played a significant role in making autistic the nine-year-old child Hannah Poling. This major test case opened the door for compensation for many in a fast growing autism epidemic. The US government at first tried to play down the significance of this judgment by saying Hannah’s disease was mostly due to a small DNA mutation in her mitochondria—but her mother has the same and has never fallen ill. Hannah also did not fall ill after vaccination until June 20th 2000 when she had 9 vaccines on the same day. It was also accepted by the government that the fits she suffered were a result of these vaccinations, although it took 6 years of illness before they began. It seems the damage done by vaccination can take years to unfold.
On February 21, 2008 the US government made a second concession. In court documents it agreed that Hannah’s ‘autistic’ brain disease was ‘caused’ by vaccine-induced fever and overstimulation of her immune system. She may have had slight damage to her mitochondria from environmental toxins but she had no symptoms of illness—prior to these 9 vaccines .
This finding reminded me of what I had read in the above transcripts. These recorded that many senior doctors were seriously concerned about the amount of contaminating DNA fragment found in the vaccines. It was asked: “What would this contaminating DNA do when it was injected into humans in vaccines? Could it change our own DNA? Could it cause cancers—or autoimmune diseases?” Dr. Rebecca Sheets of CBER, the US laboratory responsible for monitoring vaccine safety, had reported that this DNA contamination could have both “infectivity and tumorigenic potential.”
Were these DNA fragments capable of damaging the brains of children, perhaps helping to cause autism? Nothing was said that might alleviate such worries. On the contrary, the specialists had said that this DNA might cause mutations in humans.
Could environmental toxins play a role? They will accumulate alongside vaccine toxins. One of the most common brain abnormalities found in autism is a loss of some of the Purkinje neurons found in the brain. Research shows these neurons are affected by acrylamide, a chemical widely put into our drinking water to help “purify” it . According to Genetics professor Joe Cummins, studies also show that heat and light can turn polyacrylamide, used in commercial herbicides, into acrylamide —and that acrylamide is also found in some fast or junk foods . Children are particularly susceptible to toxins as illustrated by the link of pesticides to childhood polio and to similar diseases in other species, although these toxins could also be contributing to the mental disorders of old age.
However, from all that I have read, it is likely to be the cumulative effect of vaccination that finally overwhelms the children who come down with autism or similar disorders for many parents report their child’s illness began within hours or days of a vaccination. From the above transcripts, vaccines are full of many chemicals, toxins and biological particles from different species. These are directly injected into the child’s blood and muscles, bypassing most of their immune system. This is a hazard that children are particularly exposed to and both autism and attention deficit disorder begin in early childhood.
Some have treated autistic children with some success by having their blood detoxified and providing regular oxygenbreathing sessions—thus removing some toxic contaminants and assisting the damaged mitochondria—but even this has not led, as far as I know, to a full recovery .
I should mention here a consequence of having too many vaccine jabs in the same arm muscle. This can cause paralysis in that arm, a disorder known clinically as ‘provocation polio’. This is not linked particularly to the polio vaccine – indicating again no link to this virus. Instead, it is surely clear evidence of the damage that can be done by the accumulation of vaccine toxins?
Then of course there are the cases of epilepsy in children following MMR that started me on this investigation, particularly the now teen-aged brain-damaged son of the courageous John and Jackie Fletcher.
Nevertheless, doctors responsible for public health continue to reassure us on television that our vaccines are proved totally safe and effective, while behind closed doors, and in court, it is now clear that these same experts are saying something else entirely. In private they acknowledge our current vaccines are based on primitive science and have many worrying risk factors. Even the replacement vaccines on the horizon, spun to us as safer, are not proving safe in the laboratory. Up until now, parental concerns have mostly been about the additives put in the vaccines—such as mercury and aluminum salts – but this evidence suggests that the very nature of the vaccine manufacturing process provides the major dangers.
I still had other questions about the usefulness of vaccines. What if other viruses were identified as poorly as was the poliovirus? Could the vaccines made with these be as useless as the polio vaccine? I hoped not. Finally, do our children really need vaccines, when they have for centuries gained life-long immunity to most diseases from natural exposure coupled with good nutrition?
But at this point in my inquiry, before I could find answers to these questions, a major debate occurred at the eminent and ancient Royal Society in London on just how HIV had spread. This was the subject that had enticed me deeper into this investigation. I had to be present.
Our common vaccines are produced in incubators containing monkey, chicken or human cells.
The vaccines we inject are filtered from fluids in these incubators.
As certain viruses are wanted in the vaccines, no particles of the same size or smaller can be filtered out.
There thus remain in the common vaccines numerous other viruses, foreign proteins, residual
segments of DNA and RNA, toxins, enzymes and possibly prions and oncogenes. It has proved
impossible to remove these contaminants. This is well known to the regulatory authorities,
greatly concerns many of their experts, but these very serious concerns are not communicated
to the public.
References  Available online at http://www.fda.gov/Cber/advisory/vrbp/vrbpmain.htm  See how measles virus is isolated in chapter 20. The cells used are first immortalized, given Epson Barre Syndrome and exposed to toxins. These factors also might be the cause of the cell deaths.  http://www.emea.eu.int/humandocs/PDFs/EPAR/mmrvaxpro/060406er6. pdf.  Virus Clearance Strategies for Biopharmaceutical Safety http://www.pall. com/applicat/bio_pharm/pdf/Bp5560.pdf.  The Atlantic February 1999  Higher speeds of 30,000 to over 100,000g are used to separate out the internal parts of cells, for these break apart at such speeds. Presumably much damage is also done at such speeds. Available online at http://www. .beckmancoulter.com/localization/subinfo/germany/pdf/rotor_3english.pdf  Pembrey R, et al. Cell surface analysis techniques: what do cell preparation protocols do to cell surface properties? Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 1999 July; 65(7):2877–94. Available online at http://aem. asm.org/cgi/content/full/65/7/2877  See Stefan Lanka in an English translation on http://www.neue-medizin. com/lanka2.htm  Lanka cited above.  Reported by Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock. See chapter 20 below.  Available online at http://www.fda.gov/cber/minutes/0907evolv.txt  Op. Cit.  http://www.vaccineshoppe.com/US_PDF/860-10_4305_4308.pdf IPOL produced Aventis Pasteur SA  http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_Formaldehyde_Exposure_Boosts_ALS _Risk_16632.htm  Available online at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/7395411/de adly_immunity. Research documents available online at http://www.autis mhelpforyou.com/Simpsonwood_And_Puerto%20%20Rico.htm  Davis, Eric. Health Hazards of Mercury. Available online at http://www. westonaprice.org/envtoxins/mercury, citing Geier MR, Geier DA.Thimerosal in childhood vaccines, neurodevelopment disorders, and heart disease in the United States. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2003;8(1):6–11.  Research from a Harvard School of Public Health team, led by Dr Marc Weisskopf on links between ALS and 12 types of chemicals. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no1/hussain.htm  Hussain AI, Shanmugam V, Switzer WM, Tsang SX, Fadly A, Thea D, Helfand R, Bellini WJ, Folks TM, Heneine W. Lack of evidence of endogenous avian leukosis virus and endogenous avian retrovirus transmission to Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine recipients. The title of the paper is barely commensurate with its contents.  Pediatric Preventive Care Cost, Estimated US Average, 2005, by Patient Age, Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care (RE9939) and Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule, US, 2005. Based on 4 million births a year.  Kirby D. The CDC has lost control of the autism argument. Huffington Post, April 4th 2008. Available online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com /david-kirby/cdc-has-lost-control-of-t_b_95081.html. Also April 27th 2008 posting.  Shoffner J, Hyams LC, Langley GN. AAN :- Oxidative Phosphorylation (OXPHOS) Defects in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders [IN1- 1.004]. Atlanta, GA. This reported that 75% of the assessed children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders had mitochondrial disorder (MtD) and so were always at risk of autism caused by one or more vaccines.  Available online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/thevaccineautism-court-_b_88558.html  Kirby D. Available online at http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion /2008/03/19/autismed_0320.html  Available online at http://www.springerlink.com/content/u7h47v564m 8k32 83/ http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw000/contaminants/dw_contamfs/ acrylami.html  Available online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide#cite_note-8  Report about the child Zac in MetroWest Daily News Jun 14, 2008
By Dr. Gary G. Kohls Global Research, April 30, 2015
“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.
“In young children, a highly significant correlation exists between the number of pediatric aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines administered and the rate of autism spectrum disorders.” – C. A. Shaw, MD, Vaccine safety researcher
“…no adequate studies have been conducted to assess the safety of simultaneous administration of different vaccines to young children.” Nor has there been “ any toxicological evaluation about concomitant administration of aluminum with other known toxic compounds which are routine constituents of commercial vaccine preparations, e.g., formaldehyde, formalin, mercury, phenoxyethanol, phenol, sodium borate, polysorbate 80, glutaraldehyde.” – L. Tomljenovic and C.A. Shaw, Vaccine safety researchers
In the last few decades since the “mysterious” autism epidemic began in the late 1980s, the giant pharmaceutical companies, free from the constraints of medico-legal liability, began pumping out more and more highly profitable vaccines, and their lobbyists in D.C., their well-paid spokespersons and the industry-co-opted “regulatory agencies” (like WHO, the CDC, the FDA and NIH) rejoiced.
Then, in 1996, the Big Pharma corporate machine and lobbyists got the US Congress to do its bidding and legalize direct-to-consumer advertising for its products, which up to then was illegal. And Big Pharma has also been bribing most US Congresspersons with lavish campaign donations and totally dominated the mainstream media debates that come up from time to time concerning drug and vaccine injuries, intoxication, sickness and death.. Up until now they have also succeeded in silencing the thousands of anguished parents of vaccine-injured children who are just trying to tell their tragic stories.
At least partly because of the dire financial consequences that these industries may have to face if the stories were to be widely told, these parents and their advocates have been essentially black-balled by every media outlet that takes advertising dollars from Big Pharma. The black-listing is probably welcome to everybody associated with Big Pharma’s industries, like Wall Street executives, Big Media executives and others in the investor classes that may have pharmaceutical stocks in their portfolios (or are simply on friendly terms with medical or pharmaceutical establishment types that don’t want to destabilize the gravy train).
Tens of thousands of angry and increasingly vocal “Mama Bear” mothers, are no longer willing to accept the excuse from their clinics that “the neurological catastrophe that your child suffered after the shots was just a coincidence”. And they are demanding an audience, some compassion, some help and some compensation for their losses.
These usually disrespected parents are sometimes fired from their clinics when they try to protect their afflicted child from further vaccine injury. There is no doubt in their minds that, after their child got his standard “well-child” inoculations, that previously healthy baby or toddler died of SIDS or regressed into autism (or had other developmental delays) or started having seizures or developed autoimmune disorders such as allergies or asthma or arthritis or so-called ADHD.
(It must be mentioned that the various combinations of inoculations have never been proven to be safe or even effective in unbiased, independent, well-designed, long-term studies. With no legal liability since 1986, the vaccine industry has very little incentive to make that effort.)
But these parents are persistent and they are continuing to speak out despite being routinely shouted down by the ubiquitous pro-vaccine spokespersons that are invited to appear on radio and TV shows whenever vaccine issues are discussed in the media. Pro-vaccine spokespersons are everywhere (like the multimillionaire academic pediatrician Dr Paul Offit, who developed an anti-diarrhea rotavirus vaccine (Rotateq), and then sold – for tens of millions of dollars – the patents and marketing rights to the giant vaccine manufacturer Merck & Co.
Offit has a lot of prestige to lose if the raw truth about America’s over-vaccination program came out. (Dr Offit, by the way, is the “vaccine expert” who says that all vaccines are perfectly safe and once reportedly said that infants can theoretically tolerate 10,000 of them at once: (See “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System?” Pediatrics. 2002 Jan;109(1):124-9.)
Many of the parents whose children are victims of vaccine-injuries have enough common sense to see through the absurdity of Offit’s statement. They know how to find pertinent information on PubMed that their physicians may not be aware of concerning the toxicity of vaccines and vaccine adjuvants, and they are connecting the dots and de-mystifying the causes behind the epidemic of chronic, autoimmune disorders that are occurring in fully vaccinated American children. Those chronic illnesses do not happen in unvaccinated or minimally-vaccinated children like in Amish communities or in the patients of Home First Clinic in Chicago. (For more on that see ”Make an Informed Vaccine Decision”, page 12, where author Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH, who started the Home First Clinic [and did not force vaccinations on his 35,000 pediatric patients] discovered that, among his un-vaccinated or minimally-vaccinated patients, there were essentially zero patients with autism, asthma, allergies or diabetes.)
Knowledgeable parents of vaccine-age children correctly fear the rapidly increasing numbers of mandated vaccines all of which have many toxic ingredients in them that are being injected into the bodies of their immune-deficient infants. And the vaccine doses do not vary no matter what is the infant’s age, weight, developmental status, immune status, mitochondrial status, nutritional status, or whether or not the child is currently sick.
Because of the large amount of new basic science studies that have been done on the subject of the neurotoxic vaccine adjuvant aluminum and the recent studies about the mitochondrial toxicity of vaccine ingredients, I submit the abstracts and portions of articles below from a variety of peer-reviewed medical journals.
Aluminum, as is mercury, is a known potent mitochondrial toxin, and every cell in the body, especially the brain cells of infants, is highly susceptible to permanent damage from those two heavy metals, especially when they are used in combination and especially when they are injected – as was the case during the 1990s when the autism epidemic was escalating from rare (1/10,000 to “normal” (1/150).
The first article in annex (Excerpts) below is from the journal Lupus and the second is from Current Medicinal Chemistry. Neither journal takes pharmaceutical company advertising.
Mechanisms of Aluminum Adjuvant Toxicity and Autoimmunity in Pediatric Populations
Lupus. 2012 Feb;21(2):223-30. doi: 10.1177/0961203311430221.
Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA.
Immune challenges during early development, including those vaccine-induced, can lead to permanent detrimental alterations of the brain and immune function. Experimental evidence also shows that simultaneous administration of as little as two to three immune adjuvants can overcome genetic resistance to autoimmunity.
In some developed countries, by the time children are 4 to 6 years old, they will have received a total of 126 antigenic compounds along with high amounts of aluminum (Al) adjuvants through routine vaccinations.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, safety assessments for vaccines have often not included appropriate toxicity studies because vaccines have not been viewed as inherently toxic.
Taken together, these observations raise plausible concerns about the overall safety of current childhood vaccination programs. When assessing adjuvant toxicity in children, several key points ought to be considered:
(1) Infants and children should not be viewed as “small adults” with regard to toxicological risk as their unique physiology makes them much more vulnerable to toxic insults;
(2) In adult humans (and animals) aluminum vaccine adjuvants have been linked to a variety of serious autoimmune and inflammatory conditions (i.e., ASIA = Autoimmune [auto-inflammatory] Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants), yet children are regularly exposed to much higher amounts of Al from vaccines than adults;
(3) It is often assumed that peripheral immune responses do not affect brain function. However, it is now clearly established that there is a bidirectional neuro-immune cross-talk that plays crucial roles in immune-regulation as well as brain function. In turn, perturbations of the neuro-immune axis have been demonstrated in many autoimmune diseases encompassed in “ASIA” and are thought to be driven by a hyperactive immune response; and
(4) The same components of the neuro-immune axis that play key roles in brain development and immune function are heavily targeted by Al adjuvants.
In summary, research evidence shows that increasing concerns about current vaccination practices may indeed be warranted.
Because children may be most at risk of vaccine-induced complications, a rigorous evaluation of the vaccine-related adverse health impacts in the pediatric population is urgently needed.
Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are they Safe?
Curr Med Chem. 2011;18(17):2630-7
L. Tomljenovic, and C.A. Shaw (article accepted for publication May 12, 2011)
Neural Dynamics Research Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the Departments of Ophthalmology, Visual Sciences and Experimental Medicine, and the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, 828 W. 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8, Canada
Full journal article available at: http://www.meerwetenoverfreek.nl/images/stories/Tomljenovic_Shaw-CMC-published.pdf
Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted.
Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences.
In our opinion, the possibility that vaccine benefits may have been overrated and the risk of potential adverse effects underestimated, has not been rigorously evaluated in the medical and scientific community. We hope that the present paper will provide a framework for a much needed and long overdue assessment of this highly contentious medical issue.
Aluminum is the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant and until recently the only one licensed for use in the U.S. In its absence, antigenic components of most vaccines (with the exception of live attenuated vaccines), fail to launch an adequate immune response. Paradoxically, despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants their precise mechanism of action remains poorly understood.
Furthermore, a growing number of studies have linked the use of aluminum adjuvants to serious autoimmune outcomes in humans. That concerns about aluminum adjuvant safety are indeed warranted is evident from the summary conclusions of the Aluminum in Vaccines workshop held in Puerto Rico in 2000 [Eickhoff, T.C.; Myers, M. Workshop summary. Aluminum in vaccines. Vaccine. 2002, 20 Suppl 3, S1-4.]. The written consensus amongst the participants of the workshop was listed under the rubric of “pervasive uncertainty”, a term used to denote what remained unknown regarding potential aluminum toxicity from adjuvants.
The specific areas of concern were: “1) toxicology and pharmacokinetics, specifically the processing of aluminum by infants and children, 2) mechanisms by which aluminum adjuvants interact with the immune system and 3) the necessity of adjuvants in booster doses.” In the concluding paragraphs of the summary, the report nevertheless claimed that “the use of salts of aluminum as adjuvants in vaccines has proven to be safe and effective” . In light of the items of “pervasive uncertainty”, this statement remains questionable.
Given that multiple aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines are often given to very young children (i.e., 2 to 6 months of age), in a single day at individual vaccination sessions, concerns for potential impacts of total adjuvant-derived aluminum body burden may be significant. These issues warrant serious consideration since, to the best of our knowledge, no adequate studies have been conducted to assess the safety of simultaneous administration of different vaccines to young children.
Another issue of concern is the lack of any toxicological evaluation about concomitant administration of aluminum with other known toxic compounds which are routine constituents of commercial vaccine preparations, e.g., formaldehyde, formalin, mercury, phenoxyethanol, phenol, sodium borate, polysorbate 80, glutaraldehyde.
In spite of all this, aluminum adjuvants are generally regarded as safe, and some researchers have even recommended that no further research efforts should be spent on this topic despite “a lack of good-quality evidence”.
In the following paper we aim to provide an overview of what is currently known about aluminum adjuvants, their modes of action and mechanisms of potential toxicity. We first present well-established evidence that implicates aluminum in a variety of neurological disorders. We then elaborate on the unresolved controversy about aluminum adjuvant safety.
Aluminum Toxicity in Animals and Humans
Aluminum is a well demonstrated toxin in biological systems whose more specific impacts on the nervous system have been widely documented. As early as 1911, Dr. William Gies had summarized data from 7 years-worth of experimental testing in humans and animals on the effects of oral consumption of aluminum salts, then used primarily in baking powders, food preservation, and dye manufacturing. The outcome of these studies led Gies to conclude that: “the use in food of aluminum or any other aluminum compound is a dangerous practice.”
Gies’ concerns have since been borne out by experimental studies showing that oral exposure to aluminum that is at levels “typically” consumed in an average “Western diet” over an extended period of time, produce strikingly similar outcomes in rodents to those induced by intracerebral injection of aluminum salts with the exception of seizures and fatalities.
Animals intoxicated with dietary aluminum routinely show impaired performance in learning and memory tasks, impaired concentration, and behavioural changes including confusion and repetitive behaviours. Consistent with these observations, according to the most recent and elaborate toxicological report for aluminum prepared by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): “There is a rather extensive database on the oral toxicity of aluminum in animals. These studies clearly identify the nervous system as the most sensitive target of aluminum toxicity.”
In humans, aluminum toxicity has been solidly linked to dialysis-associated encephalopathy syndrome, also known as dialysis dementia. This syndrome occurs in patients with renal failure subjected to chronic dialysis treatment and is caused by accumulation of intravenously administered aluminum from the dialysis fluid (which is derived from aluminum-treated tap water). Dialysis dementia is associated with abnormally high levels of plasma and brain aluminum and is generally fatal within 3 to 7 months following the sudden overt manifestation of clinical symptoms in patients who had been on dialysis treatment for 3 to 7 years (unless treated with chelating agent such as desferrioxamine (DFO) or reverse osmosis to remove aluminum salts from the water used to prepare the dialysis fluid). Symptoms appear suddenly and worsen either during or immediately after a dialysis session. The first symptom to appear is a speech abnormality, then tremors, impaired psychomotor control, memory losses, impaired concentration, behavioural changes, epileptic seizures, coma and death.
Although frequent ingestion of aluminum-containing medicines was also thought to be a contributing factor in dialysis dementia it should be noted that there were no incidences of this syndrome prior to introduction of aluminum salts in water supplies [21, 27]. Furthermore, symptomatic patients rapidly improved when efforts were made to remove aluminum from the dialysis fluid, despite the fact they still ingested large amounts of aluminum-containing phosphate binding gels.
In addition to dialysis dementia, a host of neurodegenerative complications and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) [Perl, D.P.; Moalem, S. [Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, a personal perspective after 25 years. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006, 9(3 Suppl), 291-300.], multiple sclerosis, Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), autism, and epilepsy may also be related to aluminum exposure. While it is likely that these diseases are of multifactorial etiologies, aluminum certainly has the potential to serve as a toxic co-factor.
Aluminum in various forms can be toxic to the nervous system. The widespread presence in the human environment may underlie a number of CNS disorders. The continued use of aluminum adjuvants in various vaccines for children as well as the general public may be of significant concern.
In particular, aluminum presented in this form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. The widely accepted notion of aluminum adjuvant safety does not appear to be firmly established in the scientific literature and, as such, this absence may have led to erroneous conclusions regarding the significance of these compounds in the etiologies of many common neurological disorders. Furthermore, the continued use of aluminum-containing placebos in vaccine clinical trials may have led to an underestimation of the true rate of adverse outcomes associated with aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines.
In our opinion, a comprehensive evaluation of the overall impact of aluminum on human health is overdue. Such an evaluation should include studies designed to determine the short and long-term impacts of dietary aluminum as well as the potential impacts in different age groups of exposure to adjuvant aluminum alone and in combination with other potentially toxic vaccine constituents (e.g., formaldehyde, formalin, mercury, phenoxyethanol, phenol, sodium borate, polysorbate 80, glutaraldehyde).
For the latter, until vaccine safety can be comprehensively demonstrated by controlled independent long-term studies that examine the impact on the nervous system in detail, many of those already vaccinated as well as those currently receiving injections may be at risk for health complications that exceed the potential benefits that vaccine prophylaxis may provide.
The issue of aluminum-adjuvanted vaccine safety is especially pertinent in light of the legislation which might mandate vaccination regimes for civilian populations (e.g., the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005). Whether the risk of protection from a dreaded disease outweighs the risk of toxicity from its presumed prophylactic agent is a question that demands far more rigorous scrutiny than has been provided to date.
REFERENCES (and full article) available at:http://www.meerwetenoverfreek.nl/images/stories/Tomljenovic_Shaw-CMC-published.pdf
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN. Prior to his retirement, he practiced holistic (non-drug) mental health care. He writes a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine (www.readerduluth.com). His columns often deal with issues of mental health, drug/vaccine toxicity and the epidemic of malnutrition.
April 1, 2015 APRIL FOOLS SATIRE © The Refusers April 1, 2015
Merck has announced the recall of its controversial measles vaccine, following a whistleblower’s claim that study results linking it to autism were covered up.
Problems with the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine include:
- 12% of all vaccine deaths and injuries attributed to measles vaccines, of the $3 billion paid out by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program since 1988. Only four conditions are compensated by VICP:
- Brain damage Package insert lists types of brain damage as possible adverse reactions: “encephalitis; encephalopathy; measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE), and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE).” (These are types of brain swelling and damage.)
- Anaphylactic shock (life-threatening allergic reaction)
- Excessive bruising and bleeding (Thromcytopenic purpura)
- Infecting immunodeficient persons (Measles Viral Infection through shedding of live viruses).
- Aborted fetus cell lines (WI-38, from lung cells of an aborted female baby at approximately twelve weeks of pregnancy used as growth medium.)
“I basically have stopped lying,“ declares CDC scientist whistleblower William Thompson, who admitted he covered up “statistically significant” data linking the M-M-R vaccine to autism.
“Today Merck too wants to come clean,” says Charles Hopewell, spokesman for the pharmaceutical giant. “Merck wishes to make amends for its transgressions by being completely transparent from now on.”
Further, Hopewell states, “Merck apologizes for its part in the PR hype inciting the current measles hysteria, and the resulting rage against unvaccinated individuals. We acknowledge that Merck’s nationwide pressure on state governments to mandate vaccines amounts to nothing less than forced cannibalism and Russian roulette with vaccine injuries, even death.”
We recognize that Merck’s many other vaccines are also problematic for various reasons, and will address this issue at a future date.”
This piece is our annual April Fool’s article. Some of the details herein are true, however, and the article could be suggestive of what Merck might face in the near future, should the company fail to take corrective action.
What’s NACCHO got to do with Oregon’s vaccine exemption fight?
WRITTEN ON BY NoOnSB442 Parents, not Profits
It sounds like a bad acronym from an Austin Powers movie. What if we told you that the answer to the question asked in the title of this article was “everything”?
NACCHO is The National Association of County and City Health Officials. If you briefly perused their website, you might be confused into thinking that they were a federal agency of sorts. First off, there’s the name. Many people associate “National Association” with something sort of official. The next thing that might throw you off is the way NACCHO describes themselves:
NACCHO’s members are the 2700 local health departments across the United States. NACCHO’s vision is health, equity, and security for all people in their communities through public health policies and services. NACCHO’s mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.
For the uninitiated, reading NACCHO’s self-description might cause you to reach the following conclusions:
- NACCHO is a federal organization
- Its members are all the local health departments
- Somehow, this is a way for all the local health departments to all be connected together, probably there is a rule somewhere that says they should all coordinate themselves on a national basis (and there isn’t, the health of citizens is a state-level job, according to the U.S. Constitution)
As you’re probably getting used to by now with these articles, NACCHO could not be farther from any of that in reality, so let’s look at the details:
- NACCHO’s “membership” revenue numbers don’t add up at all
Referring to the conclusions one might draw from the above, it appears that NACCHO is a collective of local health departments. According to NACCHO, there are “over 2700″ of them and most people would probably presume these local health departments pay a membership fee to be a part of NACCHO, which they do.
NACCHO has a membership form for local health departments, you can see it right here. If you look at the form, you’ll see that local health departments (NACCHO’s claim is that they are just a group of local health departments) can join NACCHO, and that their annual membership fees is pro-rated based on how large a population they serve. The most an annual membership could cost any health department would be $4,150 per year, as you can see right here:
Just for fun, we ran the math. 2,700 local health departments. To be conservative, let’s say EVERY health department had 3 million or more people in it (which would be impossible because with more than 2,700 health departments as NACCHO members that would mean the U.S. had 8.1 billion people) but let’s just see how much money NACCHO could pull in annually from membership dues if that were true:
Membership Fee of $4,150 x 2,700 local health departments= $11,200,000
Here’s the problem. NACCHO breaks out their revenue from membership dues on their 990 form. Are you ready for this? Here’s what NACCHO actually made in membership revenues in 2013:
If you are saying, at this point, “so what”? You’re right. We haven’t proven anything. In fact, the only thing you know about NACCHO so far is that:
- They claim to be a collective of 2,700 local health departments. (In fact, it’s fair to say this is the primary way they define themselves.)
- From their members they receive just over a half million dollars a year in membership dues, according to their 2013 990 form filed with the IRS.
Here’s the problem NACCHO makes $25 MILLION a year in revenues:
$25 million a year? That means membership dues—which NACCHO implies defines who they are—are responsible for approximately 2% of their annual revenues.
2. NACCHO makes all their money from government and private grants
With membership dues of roughly $500,000 and revenues of $25 million, the story on NACCHO is $24.5 million short of an explanation. Luckily, their 990 has to break out sources of revenue one step further, which is how we learn the following:
NACCHO is making the majority of their annual revenue from two sources: government grants ($19.3 million) and other grants ($3.6 million).
Government grants? What kind of government grants? Who, aside from a local health department, wants to contribute to an organization that represents local health departments? Remember, NACCHO’s mission is very clear:
NACCHO’s mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments
a. Government grants
Unfortunately, NACCHO’s Form 990 doesn’t break out exactly where their Government grants come from, but this document gives you a pretty good idea:
NACCHO spells out who their partners (funders) are on their website righthere. CDC is listed. So is the Immunization Action Coalition. And, a myriad of other “private nonprofts” that focus on public health.
Can we draw any conclusions from this information? Sure we can:
NACCHO gets most of their money from government grants. CDC appears to be a primary funding source.
What does any of this have to do with Oregon? As the readers of this series know, Oregon is currently experiencing an intense fight over Senate Bill 442, a bill sponsored by State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward that would remove both philosophical and religious exemptions from Oregon, effectively making vaccinations in Oregon mandatory for a parent who wants to send their child to any kind of school.
NACCHO and the Oregon Legislature
This article was spurred by repeated reports from members of the Oregon Legislature that they were being heavily lobbied by a group called NACCHO about Senate Bill 442. In general, NACCHO was characterized as a primary advocate of Senate Bill 442. This would make sense, since in July 2011 NACCHO issued a very clear policy statement that the time had come for states to eliminate personal belief exemptions:
the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) urges that personal belief exemptions be removed from state immunization laws and regulations.
NACCHO acknowledges that there are states that may not be in a position to eliminate personal belief exemptions immediately. States that easily permit personal belief exemptions to immunizations have significantly higher rates of exemption than states that have more complex procedures. These states should begin a process to limit the availability of personal belief exemptions to the greatest degree possible. An initial step might be to review the process of applying for and receiving exemptions: the more educational and demanding the process, the lower will be the rate of exemptions. There should be more involved in the application process than simply signing a form.
This isn’t the first policy statement from NACCHO. A quick compilation of statements shows where the nonprofit group who get all their money from government grants is focused:
Do NACCHO’s policies share a common theme? Clearly:
- Mandatory vaccines
- National registries of vaccination status
- More vaccines
- All vaccines
Cradle to Grave
But, perhaps NACCHO’s future goals should be of most concern to Oregonians. In July 2013, NACCHO’s Board approved this new policy statement, titled “An Immunization Program for all Stages of Life”:
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) urges the federal government to support the creation of a comprehensive national immunization program that addresses all stages of life (cradle to grave) with the intention of achieving the Healthy People 2020 immunization goals and standards. Such a program will help protect our nation’s population from vaccine-preventable diseases by increasing rates of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization coverage.
Cradle to grave?
Yes, that’s what NACCHO said. They go on to write:
A function of many state and local health departments is to collect vaccination data and maintain immunization registries. These registries are often used to help ensure children and adolescents have up-to-date immunizations. Low levels of vaccine coverage among adults underscores the need to expand these systems to include adults and for providers to develop systems to minimize missed opportunities.
Immunization registries for adults?
Oregonians, it’s time to wake up. Let’s put SB442 in proper context: its just another step in the plan of comprehensive mandatory immunizations for everyone, including ADULTS.
“Cradle to grave,” as NACCHO says.
Is it really that hard to imagine what their policy statement for adult vaccinations will say in a few years?
If you support SB442, you also need to support getting up to date on your adult vaccines—the CDC recommends 72 vaccinations between the ages of 19 and 65. Are you going to get your 72 shots?
Is NACCHO breaking the law?
We’re not attorneys, but we are very troubled by this document which we found on NACCHO’s website that deals with prohibitions of lobbying on the part of organizations that receive grants from the CDC, like NACCHO. The language is pretty unambiguous:
Except in certain cases of state and local government communication, as part of their normal and recognized executive-legislative relationships, as discussed above, grantees [like NACCHO] are restricted from using federal funds to attempt to influence deliberations or actions by Federal, state, or local legislative or executive branches. This includes communications to a legislator or executive official that refer to and reflect a view on specific measure (legislative or executive).
We’re just parents. We haven’t sat in the room during the meetings between our elected representatives here in Oregon and NACCHO, but we’d sure ask our elected representatives to take a close look at these prohibitions and compare those to NACCHO’s efforts on behalf of SB442.
So, what have we learned?
- According to Oregon legislative members, NACCHO is heavily lobbying in support of SB442, which appears to violate CDC grantor rules, but we’re not lawyers.
- NACCHO is not a member-funded organization as their self-characterization implies (less than 2% of revenues from membership dues). NACCHO is an independent nonprofit entity that relies almost exclusively on government grants to operate. CDC is certainly one of the granting organization and given the scale of interaction and partnership between CDC and NACCHO, it’s likely CDC is one of the largest grantors. If true, NACCHO may be better described as a “captive nonprofit” which others might call a “front group”
- In July 2011, NACCHO issued a policy statement encouraging states to eliminate personal belief exemptions. If that wasn’t a possibility, NACCHO at least encouraged states to make exemptions harder to get by making the process more cumbersome.
- In June 2013, 24 months later, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 132, which made personal belief exemptions harder to get. Their approach perfectly matched the recommendations of NACCHO from July 2011.
- Now, two session later, with Senate Bill 442, there is a movement to eliminate all non-medical vaccinations, and NACCHO is heavily involved.
- The long-term plan for NACCHO is adult immunization—“cradle to grave” as they say. Anyone who doesn’t believe a push for mandatory adult vaccinations is likely somewhere in the near future is not paying attention.
If you support Senate Bill 442, you are supporting a path to mandatory adult vaccinations, plain and simple, and the hand of the CDC in all of this is very hard to miss.
Who’s behind Oregon Senate Bill 442? We think the answer is fairly obvious.
This article was written by several well-meaning Oregonians who are big fans of medical freedom and informed consent. We have nothing to gain or lose financially from the passage of this bill. We have proudly joined a movement of a few thousand Oregonains fighting this legislation, the organizing website can be found here: www.NoOnSB442.com
- Overall, 35% of adults responding say parents should be allowed to opt out of vaccinating their kids for religious reasons, while 26% think it’s OK to refuse vaccines on personal or philosophical grounds.
WebMD Feb. 13, 2015 — More than 1 in 4 adults think it’s OK not to vaccinate kids for religious or personal reasons, a new survey from WebMD shows.
“The WebMD Survey on Measles Vaccinations” found that percentage is even higher among parents with young children. The survey found 40% of those with children under age 12 agree that it’s OK not to vaccinate for personal or philosophical reasons. These parents are also less likely to agree that vaccines are safe or to think of unvaccinated kids as a threat to others.
“The current measles outbreak has shown us how quickly a disease can spread. Measles and other diseases such as pertussis and meningitis can have devastating outcomes; vaccinating children is the best protection available to prevent these serious illnesses and to stop the spread,” says Hansa Bhargava, MD, a pediatrician and medical editor at WebMD.
“While it seems that parents want to respect the choice not to vaccinate a child, there are consequences to these decisions, and we’re seeing that the cost to kids is high,” she says.
The findings come as a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland has continued to spread across the U.S., igniting a debate about the rights of parents to refuse vaccines for nonmedical reasons.
Public health officials say laws that make it too easy for parents to opt out have weakened the nation’s collective protection against preventable infections, like pertussis and measles. As a result, those diseases, which were once thought to be vanquished in this country, are making a comeback.
In some states that have been hard hit by the return of these infections, like California, Oregon, and Washington, legislators have already taken steps to make it tougher for parents to turn down the shots, requiring proof that parents have received education about vaccines before they can opt out.
And last week, California State Sen. Richard Pan, who is also a pediatrician, proposed a bill he co-wrote that would end vaccine exemptions for personal beliefs altogether. Pan said he’d consider the idea of an exemption that would let parents refuse the shots for religious reasons.
The survey findings suggest that the California bill and similar efforts could meet significant resistance.
Among the notable findings from the survey:
- Overall, 35% of adults responding say parents should be allowed to opt out of vaccinating their kids for religious reasons, while 26% think it’s OK to refuse vaccines on personal or philosophical grounds.
- Among parents of children younger than 12 years of age, 43% think it’s OK to opt out of vaccines for religious reasons, while 40% agree that parents should be allowed not to vaccinate based on personal beliefs.
- Only 69% of parents with younger children say unvaccinated kids pose a health threat to others, compared to 81% of parents with children over the age of 18.
- Nearly 25% of parents with young children feel it’s unreasonable to keep unvaccinated kids out of school, compared to 16% of parents with grown children, and 14% of childless adults.
- Among all those who responded to the survey, 42% agree that all FDA-approved vaccines are safe, while 43% feel most are safe.
- Eighty-three percent of parents with grade school-aged children say they’re following the vaccination schedule recommended by their doctor, while 14% say they’re getting their kids vaccinated on their own schedule. According to the CDC, 1 in 12, or about 8% of children in the U.S. don’t get the first dose of the MMR vaccine on time.
The WebMD Survey on the Measles Vaccinations was completed by 1,197 randomly served WebMD site visitors (58% desktop, 42% mobile) from January 30 – February 12, 2015. The sample represents the WebMD.com online population with a margin of error of ± 2.8% at a 95% confidence level.
Pub Med New England Journal of Medicine March 26, 1987
An outbreak of measles occurred among adolescents in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the spring of 1985, even though vaccination requirements for school attendance had been thoroughly enforced. Serum samples from 1806 students at two secondary schools were obtained eight days after the onset of the first case. Only 4.1 percent of these students (74 of 1806) lacked detectable antibody to measles according to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and more than 99 percent had records of vaccination with live measles vaccine. Stratified analysis showed that the number of doses of vaccine received was the most important predictor of antibody response. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals of seronegative rates were 0 to 3.3 percent for students who had received two prior doses of vaccine, as compared with 3.6 to 6.8 percent for students who had received only a single dose. After the survey, none of the 1732 seropositive students contracted measles. Fourteen of 74 seronegative students, all of whom had been vaccinated, contracted measles. In addition, three seronegative students seroconverted without experiencing any symptoms. We conclude that outbreaks of measles can occur in secondary schools, even when more than 99 percent of the students have been vaccinated and more than 95 percent are immune.
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Washington Post Feb 9, 2015
As media attention to the measles outbreak in California continues to grow and prominent politicians weigh in with conflicting messages on requiring vaccines, health policy scholars and political scientists warn of the dangerous consequences that politicization can have on public support for vaccination. And they do so for good reason.
This is not the first time that a vaccine has been politicized in media in recent years. In a new article, we examine two recent health-related controversies: the 2009 dust-up over mammography screening guidelines and the 2006-2007 debate over whether to require girls to get the HPV vaccine. The key lesson regarding vaccines is this: the more the news media devoted attention to the political controversy, the less the public supported vaccination.
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Neither mammography nor the HPV vaccine started out as controversial. But once the news media highlighted political sources or partisan conflict about these issues, future news coverage continued to reflect this politicization — even as news coverage of these issues tapered off. This fits with journalistic norms of covering conflict and controversy.
For example, after the controversy about the HPV vaccine, states moved on to less controversial measures – like educating the public or providing insurance coverage of the vaccine. But media coverage still mentioned the earlier political firestorm. In short, once the issue gained a political valence, news coverage continued to emphasize the controversy.
In fact, these controversies routinely reappear in media coverage about other issues entirely. Media coverage of the measles vaccine controversy referred back to the 2011 argument between Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann over Perry’s decision to mandate the HPV vaccine in Texas.
Continuing coverage of the controversy surrounding vaccines may have unfortunate consequences. In our study, we found that politicized media coverage was associated with lower support for requiring the HPV vaccine.
This was evident in the relationship between the attitudes of survey respondents and the media coverage in their states. It was also evident in an experiment we included in this survey. People were exposed to brief news excerpts discussing the debate over requiring the HPV vaccine. Some people saw excerpts highlighting conflict among politicians, some saw excerpts highlighting conflict among doctors, and some saw excerpts that mentioned both types of conflict.
For those people who were less likely to have previously encountered news stories about the HPV vaccine controversy, reading about political conflict decreased support for vaccines in general. It also decreased trust in doctors. This suggests a very troubling implication: media coverage of the controversy about the measles vaccine could actually affect the general public beyond the very small “anti-vax” community.
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But our research also suggests a way for news coverage to avoid this. We found that news coverage that did not emphasize conflict was associated with increased support for both the HPV vaccine and immunization programs generally. This shows how news media could bolster support for needed vaccinations: steer clear of the political controversy.
At this moment, there are signs that the controversy about the measles vaccine could die down. Rand Paul and Chris Christie have backed off their controversial statements about vaccine requirements. More and more, commentators bemoan the politicization of vaccines. And public attention to issues is often short-lived, which means citizens could easily forget political cues about vaccines, presuming that politicians stop stoking the controversy.
However, our research suggests that it is journalists who may not forget. They may continue to remind the public of this controversy for years to come, as they have done for mammography recommendations and the HPV vaccine.
Of course, perhaps coverage of the measles vaccine will prove different. Nevertheless, politicians and journalists should realize that politicizing vaccines — and reporting on the resulting conflict — can weaken the public’s support for vaccination.
Erika Franklin Fowler is an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University. Sarah Gollust is an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Their article about vaccines is part of a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The issue is devoted to research about the politics of science.
Sacramento Bee Feb 7 ,2015
As debate simmers nationwide about whether parents should be forced to vaccinate their children, Elk Grove residents have made their choice: Only 80 of the suburb’s 4,500 kindergartners opted out of vaccinations last year, state data show.
Despite those precautions, whooping cough ripped through Elk Grove’s classrooms and cul-de-sacs in 2014. Infection rates within the large Sacramento suburb were three to five times higher than rates elsewhere in the county, local health records show.
The paradox – high infection rates amid high immunization rates – underscores a disturbing truth about the current whooping cough vaccine: It is wearing off after just a few years, and many Californians who thought they were protected instead are catching the disease.
“Children who were vaccinated did not receive the protection desired,” said Kate McAuley, program coordinator of communicable disease and immunization at the Sacramento County Public Health Department. “We had many high-school-aged children who had pertussis. They had received vaccines. The vaccine is lasting two to three years.”
Several of California’s leading infectious disease specialists expressed similar concerns. “This newer version of the vaccine probably has a shorter period of protection. I think that is a scientifically proven point,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
Also called pertussis, whooping cough can be marked by fatigue, vomiting and a distinctive “whoop” sound made by sufferers trying to get a breath after a severe coughing fit. It’s especially dangerous to infants; four babies died from pertussis in California last year.
Whooping cough was a menace in California until the 1940s, when a vaccine was developed. That earlier version was remarkably effective, lowering the number of whooping cough cases in California from thousands a year to dozens.
The early vaccine contained whole, dead pertussis bacteria. It worked well, but in a very small percentage of children caused extreme reactions, including high fever and seizures. Concerned about potential side effects, many parents refused to let their children get inoculated.
In response, vaccine makers in the late 1990s introduced shots that contained only pieces of pertussis bacteria. The new regimen called for five doses by age 6, and a booster shot by 12. The serious adverse reactions dropped significantly – but at a price.
With the new shots, “You get protection in the first year; every year after that, the protection rate drops 10 percent or so,” Blumberg said.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the limitations: Researchers found that the new vaccine provides solid protection in the first year but that the effectiveness steadily declines over five years, often leaving children vulnerable before they get their booster shot. Adults are also vulnerable if several years have passed since the booster inoculation.
The state requires schoolchildren to be vaccinated against pertussis, as well as measles, mumps and several other diseases, before they start kindergarten. Thousands of parents file “personal belief” exemptions each year and leave their children unvaccinated.
As with the measles outbreak sweeping California, parents of unvaccinated children have taken most of the public blame for recent whooping cough epidemics. But the connection between who gets shots and who gets sick isn’t as strong with pertussis as it is with diseases such as measles.
“It’s an outlier,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization practices committee.
A map of Sacramento County illustrates the unlikely pattern: About 440 Sacramento County residents had either confirmed or probable cases of whooping cough last year, and roughly half of those with confirmed cases lived in or around Elk Grove. The suburb of North Highland, on the other hand, had among the highest rates of parents opting out of vaccinating their children but reported fewer than five pertussis cases last year.
Statewide, a record-high 11,000 Californians caught whooping cough in 2014. About 4,500 of them lived in counties where fewer than 2 percent of kindergartners opted out of vaccines last year.
“It’s not correct to only pin (the pertussis outbreak) on the people who are unvaccinated,” Sawyer said. “The effectiveness of the vaccine is a huge part of this. People who are immunized do still get pertussis.”
Even so, McAuley, Blumberg and other doctors said it was critical that parents vaccinate their children against pertussis, noting that the vaccine still reduces the chances of infection.
A 2013 study in the journal Pediatrics found a significant correlation between low vaccination rates in California and high rates of pertussis. Unvaccinated children and adults, the experts noted, are still more likely to catch the disease and put others at risk.
“People shouldn’t avoid this vaccine for any reason,” Sawyer said.
Mill Valley parent Joan Bullen became aware of the vaccine’s limitations in December 2013 when her high-school-age daughter, Emma, caught pertussis years after vaccination. Bullen was frustrated and surprised.
“We were aware that kids were getting it, but we thought we didn’t have to worry,” she said. “The cough was just hellish for weeks and weeks and weeks. She couldn’t sleep at night.”
Emma eventually recovered, even as whooping cough swept through her school. “There were so many kids who had it and didn’t know they had it,” Bullen said.
The same type of story played out repeatedly in Elk Grove, county public records show.
In the 95758 ZIP code surrounding the Laguna community of Elk Grove, residents caught pertussis last year at a rate three times as high as residents elsewhere in Sacramento County. Parents of just six of the 430 kindergartners in that ZIP code filed personal-belief exemptions this school year, opting not to vaccinate their children. And just seven of the 500 seventh-graders opted out of the booster shot.
“We were surprised by the increase in cases last year,” Elk Grove Unified spokeswoman Xanthi Pinkerton said in an emailed statement. “We do have a high percentage of students who have been immunized.”
The district responded by disseminating common-sense advice, encouraging children to practice good hygiene.
Dr. Scott Cannon practices family medicine at a Sutter Health clinic in the Laguna community. A strong advocate of vaccinations, he recently has treated “a handful” of whooping cough patients. Most were adults who had been vaccinated against the disease, but years had passed since their last shot.
Dr. John Belko, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Kaiser Elk Grove Promenade medical office, said about a third of the pertussis cases treated in his practice in 2014 involved unvaccinated patients, a third involved patients who didn’t get the full regimen of shots, and a third were patients whose vaccine had worn off.
“I think we did a better job of testing and identifying” pertussis cases than clinics elsewhere, he said, offering another explanation why so many cases were reported in Elk Grove.
A few labs are working on pertussis vaccines that provide longer-lasting protection, but it could be years before those efforts produce results, several experts said.
In response, doctors have begun encouraging adults to get a pertussis booster if it has been more than a decade since their last shot. Physicians also now urge adults who spend time around infants to get a booster, since the disease can be devastating to babies.
Doctors also try to manage the disease through quick diagnosis and community outreach when an outbreak hits. Their efforts are hampered by the fact that some whooping cough cases are mild and patients don’t seek help. Even with a record high number of pertussis cases reported last year, thousands more likely went unreported, several health experts said.
Call The Bee’s Phillip Reese, (916) 321-1137.