Sure, it is possible she just has a problem with the government telling her what to do.
But that became a less likely reason as she kept tweeting…
That vaccines can cause peanut allergies is a common anti-vax talking point. They think that it has something to do with peanut oil adjuvants, even though these peanut oil adjuvants were never actually used in any routine vaccines.
It eventually came out though.
Jenna Jameson is questioning vaccines because she feels that her child nearly died after her vaccines – from a febrile seizure.
And of course, it is bullying to try and explain that febrile seizures are not a life-threatening reaction.
So what’s the problem?
It’s not Jenna Jameson questioning vaccines or even whether or not she vaccinates her kids.
It’s her using her celebrity status to scare other parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
While that easily dwarfs the number of deaths in many other countries, where there have been thousands of deaths, Samoa has been getting some extra attention because some of the blame rests with anti-vax influence on the island nation.
Jim Meehan Supporting a Farmer Helps Explain the Deaths in Samoa
It is even more amazing that many of these folks have been doubling down on their anti-vax activism even as measles deaths have continued to climb.
It seems that Edwin Tamasese, a farmer in Samoa who is also described as a holistic healer, is being advised on how to treat kids with measles by James Meehan, an ophthalmologist in Oklahoma who now practices integrative and functional medicine.
How do either have the training or background to help sick kids in a measles epidemic?
That they don’t is easy to see from Meehan’s letter of support…
Wait, why would anyone vaccinate a child who was already infected with measles?
Probably because it is a part of routine measles postexposure prophylaxis guidelines. In fact, giving a dose of MMR within a few days of exposure to someone with measles can reduce their risk of getting sick with measles or of developing complications of measles.
Of course, you wouldn’t actually give the MMR vaccine to someone who was already sick with measles though. Instead of simply being infected with measles, that would be someone with measles disease.
There are no indications for antibiotics to treat uncomplicated viral diseases, unfortunately, secondary bacterial diseases can occur and do need to be treated.
“These results document that MV infection can suppress both innate and adaptive immune responses and lead to increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.”
Slifka et al on Measles virus infection results in suppression of both innate and adaptive immune responses to secondary bacterial infection
In fact, it is these secondary bacterial super-infections, including pneumonia and mastoiditis, that can make measles so deadly.
“Mortality from measles is predominantly caused by complicating bacterial infections.”
Factsheet about measles
It is a big reason that kids with measles, a viral infection, likely need to be treated with antibiotics.
Kids with measles typically have a high fever and are very irritable.
While we have been moving towards an approach of letting fevers run their course these days, in case fever does have some beneficial effects, there are also studies that have shown that in critically ill patients, fever is associated with increased mortality.
Unlike some other infections, the genotype doesn’t help you figure out whether or not the vaccine will work against it. Measles is a monotypic virus. The MMR vaccine protects against all measles strains.
“The outbreaks in Samoa and Tonga are caused by the D8 strain (genotype) of measles virus.”
Measles Outbreak in the Pacific – Situation Report No 2, 26 November 2019
An no, for the millionth time, 38% of the measles cases in the Disneyland outbreak were not caused by the vaccine strain!
Those folks with the vaccine strain were the ones who were recently vaccinated and had a “febrile rash illness,” a common side effect of the vaccine.
They did not have measles!
While vaccinating someone who is truly immunosuppressed with a live vaccine is contraindicated, it seems like Meehan thinks that most of the folks on Samoa are immunosuppressed and shouldn’t be vaccinated!
There is a state of emergency in Samoa that has closed schools, banned public gatherings, and mandated vaccines, as they attempt to get their measles epidemic under control. They are also getting help from UNICEF, the New Zealand Red Cross, UK’s Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT), the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT), and the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team (NZMAT).
More help is coming from the CDC and the EUCPM.
They do not need folks like Tamasese and Meehan interfering with these efforts because they think they can do it better, even as they scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids – the one thing that will end the epidemic.
It should be noted that as much as anti-vax folks are crowing about Tamasese and Meehan’s efforts to get kids vitamin A, their protocol severely under doses kids!
Anyway, mega doses of vitamin A are most helpful in reducing mortality in hospitalized kids with measles. It is also important to keep in mind that vitamin A only reduces mortality – it doesn’t eliminate it. Vitamin A is not a cure for measles.
And the mega doses of vitamin C they are giving aren’t going to help prevent complications. They are just giving the kids diarrhea, which is not a good thing if they might already be malnourished!
What’s the biggest takeaway from the Samoa epidemic?
Why do some folks think that the Gardasil vaccine is being pushed to help Merck pay for their Vioxx lawsuits?
The usual suspects…
Is Gardasil Helping Merck Pay for Vioxx Lawsuits?
Could it be true?
“Three years after withdrawing its pain medication Vioxx from the market, Merck has agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits by people who claim they or their family members suffered injury or died after taking the drug, according to two lawyers with direct knowledge of the matter.”
Merck Agrees to Settle Vioxx Suits for $4.85 Billion
Merck settled most of those lawsuits in 2007.
“But for Merck, which has already spent more than $1.2 billion on Vioxx-related legal fees, the settlement will put to rest any fears that Vioxx lawsuits might bankrupt the company, or even have a significant financial impact. While eye-popping, the settlement payment represents less than one year’s profits for the company, the third-largest American drug maker.”
Merck Agrees to Settle Vioxx Suits for $4.85 Billion
All together, Merck has paid more than $8.5 billion to settle litigation and pay fines and legal costs.
“Merck’s recovery is proceeding as planned. The stock is up from $44 when we wrote about it to just shy of $55 on Oct. 22, a gain of nearly 25%. The latest push came from strong third-quarter earnings aided by robust sales of Gardasil, new diabetes pill Januvia, and asthma drug Singulair. The company’s cost-cutting program also helped.”
Update: Merck recovers from Vioxx
And they long ago recovered from the lawsuits, with their stock price now at about $87, reaching multi-year highs.
“Our performance in 2007 shows that the customer-focused, more efficient business model we began implementing more than two years ago is working,” said Richard T. Clark, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong portfolio of products, a robust pipeline of potential new therapies and a leadership team focused daily on improving operational performance. This positions us to build on our record of delivering essential breakthrough medicines and vaccines like JANUVIA, ISENTRESS and GARDASIL to the global marketplace.”
It certainly didn’t hurt, but Merck’s biggest seller is now the “blockbuster” cancer drug Keytruda.
Back in 2007, it was Singulair, which is now generic.
Gardasil makes up a smaller percentage of Merck’s total sales.
Anyway, profits from Gardasil have been rising in recent years because of sales in China and Europe, not mandates in the United States.
Keytruda – $3.07 billion in the last quarter
Gardasil / Gardasil 9 – $1.32 billion
Januvia / Janumet – $1.31 billion
Proquad/M-M-R II/ Varivax – $623 million
Bridion – $280 million
Isentress / Isentress HD – $250 million
Nuvaring – $241 million
Pneumovax 23 – $237 million
Simponi – $203 million
Implanon / Nexplanon – $199 million
But did Merck really have a “HPV: Help Pay for Vioxx” plan?
Did their recovery require Gardasil becoming mandatory around the world?
Kennedy’s Help Pay for Vioxx Bombshell is a Dud
With just a little research, it is easy to review Merck’s plan after Vioxx.
“I tell the (Merck) organization if you want Vioxx off the front page, if you want it out of the news, we have to put Gardasil on the front page and have to put Januvia on the front page,” Richard Clark, Merck’s CEO said at the Reuters Summit in New York on Wednesday.
It included closing five manufacturing plants and 3 research laboratories and laying off 11 percent of its work force. And introducing new drugs and vaccines, including Januvia, Isentress, Keytruda, and yes, Gardasil.
But since there are currently mandates for Gardasil in just two states, Rhode Island and Virginia, and the District of Columbia, it is pretty obvious that their recovery didn’t hinge on vaccine mandates.
Still, since Gardasil is approved and recommended for children when they are 11 to 12 years old, it shouldn’t be surprising that Merck did lobby state legislatures to make it mandatory, like other vaccines that are needed to attend school.
And as much as folks like Bobby Kennedy wish there was a new scandal, it is very easy to see that Merck is doing well because they have a vaccine that prevents cancer, a drug that treats cancer, and other important products.
“One activist who frequently criticizes pharmaceutical companies, Vera Hassner Sharav, and a co-author suggested that the H.P.V. vaccine stood for a campaign to “Help Pay for Vioxx” losses. “
Furor on Rush to Require Cervical Cancer Vaccine
What’s really surprising is that Bobby Kennedy‘s bombshell “Help Pay for Vioxx” idea isn’t even new.
“A fourth factor that soured many policymakers on mandates was consternation over the involvement of the vaccine’s manufacturer, Merck, in the policy process. Merck undertook a multifaceted marketing campaign to promote the passage of mandate legislation. Representatives of the company met with legislators and hired political consultants to promote the vaccine. Merck also provided unrestricted funds to Women in Government, a national organization of female legislators. Many of the bills to require HPV vaccination were introduced by Women in Government members.
Although Merck’s lobbying was a key catalyst in the initial push for mandates, many stakeholders came to view the company’s efforts as a liability. As media coverage called attention to the company’s aggressive tactics, suspicion grew that policy decisions were not being based on the product’s merits, and people who were otherwise supportive pulled back. The belief that mandate bills were an effort to make money for the company overshadowed whatever principled arguments might exist for them.”
Colgrove et al on HPV Vaccination Mandates — Lawmaking amid Political and Scientific Controversy
An article in the New York Times talked about it way back in 2007…
It sure does sound scarier to say that you discovered all of this during a lawsuit instead of a simple Google search though. But that’s how propaganda works.
Fortunately, many parents aren’t buying it anymore.
“Coverage estimates for HPV vaccination are low despite evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. This large pool of unvaccinated adolescents in the United States means that considerable public health benefits are not being realized; many vaccine-preventable cancers caused by HPV will occur… Mandating HPV vaccination for school entry is a move that will protect the public’s health by preventing HPV-related morbidity and mortality.”
Barraza et al on Human Papillomavirus and Mandatory Immunization Laws
They know that HPV vaccines are safe, with few risks, and more and more are vaccinating their kids, although even more kids would get vaccinated and protected if Gardasil was finally mandated like other vaccines.
“During June 2006–March 2014, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received a total of 25,176 adverse event reports after HPV vaccination in the United States. Among these, HPV4 was cited in 99% of reports (22,867 and 2,196 reports among females and males, respectively); 92.4% of the HPV4 reports were classified as nonserious. Since October 2009, when HPV4 was licensed for males, the most commonly reported symptoms among males were similar to those among females, including injection site reactions, dizziness, syncope, nausea, and headache. Overall, reporting of adverse events to VAERS is consistent with prelicensure clinical trial data and consistent with the 2009 published summary of the first 2.5 years of postlicensure reporting to VAERS.”
Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents, 2007–2013, and Postlicensure Vaccine Safety Monitoring, 2006–2014 — United States
Anyway, the overwhelming majority of the HPV vaccine reports to VAERS haven’t been serious.
And those that are classified as serious weren’t to the point of being severe or anything…
“Among the 7.9% of HPV4-related VAERS reports classified as serious, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, syncope, and generalized weakness were the most frequently reported symptoms.”
Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescent Girls, 2007–2012, and Postlicensure Vaccine Safety Monitoring, 2006–2013 — United States