Remember the two young children who died in Samoa in early July 2018, shortly after getting an MMR vaccine?
In addition to the tragic deaths of those two children, it led to the suspension of all vaccinations in the country.
The Tragedy in Samoa Was Not Caused by the MMR Vaccine
Fortunately, that suspension was eventually reversed, but they did continue to hold MMR vaccinations.
How long did they suspend MMR vaccinations?
They actually don’t restart until April 15.
And while the trial for the two nurses involved in the tragedy is delayed until June, the Director General of Health, Leausa Take Naseri, has said that their deaths were a mistake caused by human error.
the HPV vaccine is too new – even though Gardasil was first approved in 2006 and the first phase 1 and phase 2 trials began in 1997!
they don’t think it is necessary – even though about 4,200 women die of cervical cancer each year (that’s just in the United States), even in this age of routine pap tests
it might lead their kids to have early sex or unprotected sex – even though studies show it won’t
Michele Bachmann once said it caused mental retardation – even though she had no evidence to support her claim
the HPV vaccine is too controversial – any “controversy” about Gardasil and Cervarix is made up by anti-vaccine folks
HPV vaccines can cause POTS, ASIA, primary ovarian failure, venous blood clots, behavior problems, or multiple sclerosis, etc. – even though over and over, studies have found HPV vaccines to be safe and to not cause any of the other serious side effects or vaccine induced diseases you read about on the Internet that scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids
it doesn’t provide life-long protection – even though the protection has been found to be long-lasting, as long as we have been giving the vaccine so far
it is banned in Japan and France – even though HPV vaccines aren’t banned anywhere and are actually on the immunization schedule in at least 64 countries
Katie Couric once did a scary segment on HPV vaccines – well, she did but later apologized… after being called out for pushing anti-vaccine misinformation
an HPV vaccine researcher says it’s dangerous – no, the HPV vaccine researcher, Diane Harper, actually says it is a safe vaccine
HPV vaccines are just for girls – even though there are around 11,000 cases of HPV induced cancer in men each year, including anal cancer and cancers of the mouth/throat and penis
their kids are too young and can get it later, when they are older – even though protection is likely better when they get the vaccine when they are younger, and you don’t want to wait too long, when you increase the chance that they will have had sex and will already be exposed to HPV
Vaccines don’t affect infant mortality rates as much as you would expect, because there are many other things that kill infants besides vaccine-preventable diseases. Things like birth defects, prematurity, injuries and complications during pregnancy.
“It may come as no surprise to many that the Japanese Government banned a number of vaccines that are currently mandatory in the United States and has strict regulations in place for other Big Pharma drugs and vaccines in general.”
Jay Greenberg on Anti-Vaccine Japan Has World’s Lowest Child Death Rate, Highest Life Expectancy
Japan is not anti-vaccine. Although their immunization schedule is certainly a lot more complicated than ours, they give many of the same vaccines as every other developed country.
“Following a record number of children developing adverse reactions, including meningitis, loss of limbs, and even sudden death, the Japanese government banned the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine from its vaccination program, despite facing serious opposition from Big Pharma.”
Was the MMR vaccine banned in Japan?
The MMR vaccine was introduced in Japan in 1989, and four years later, the government withdrew its recommendation for the vaccine.
Why? Reports of aseptic meningitis. This was likely due to the Urabe strain of the mumps component in their MMR vaccine, which was not used in the United States.
“The data up to now have revealed low rates of aseptic meningitis and no cases of virologically proven meningitis following the use of Jeryl–Lynn and RIT 4385 strains.”
WHO on Safety of mumps vaccine strains
They didn’t ban the vaccine or vaccination though.
They returned to giving children separate measles, rubella, and mumps (optional) vaccines. Tragically, because many kids didn’t get vaccinated against mumps, the rate of aseptic meningitis from people who actually got mumps was 25 times higher than the rate from the MMR vaccine!
“Due directly to these gaps in ‘herd’ immunization resulting from politicized transitions in vaccination policy by the government, there were outbreaks of rubella with 17,050 cases reported between the years of 2012 and 2014, and 45 cases of congenital rubella syndrome reported to the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases from week 1, 2012 to week 40, 2014.”
Yusuke Tanaka on History repeats itself in Japan: Failure to learn from rubella epidemic leads to failure to provide the HPV vaccine
That’s no surprise to those who remember what happened in 1975, when routine pertussis vaccinations were halted in Japan following the deaths of two children. That eventually lead to epidemic cases of whooping cough in the country and at least 41 deaths in children (in 1979) before the vaccine was restarted.
Unfortunately, once they moved to DTaP vaccines, they started to see an increase in allergic reactions after kids got their MMR vaccine. Why? Their version of the DTaP vaccine contained poorly hydrolyzed bovine gelatin, which likely sensitized infants, who then developed an allergic reaction after getting an MMR vaccine with gelatin. While gelatin was removed from their DTaP vaccines, these extra side effects likely scared some folks in Japan.
Japan’s Vaccine Problem
Japan has more vaccine-preventable diseases than many other industrial countries.
Is it because Japan is anti-vaccine?
Of course not.
By impulsively halting and withdrawing vaccines, the Japanese government has done a good job of scaring folks though. They have also been very slow to introduce new vaccines, although they are catching up, as hepatitis, B, rotavirus, Hib, pneumococcal, meningococcal, HPV, and the chicken pox vaccine are all now available in Japan.
Have there been any benefits?
They might have lower infant mortality rates, but that has nothing to do with vaccines.
There is no correlation between the number of vaccines that a country gives and their infant mortality rate.
With higher rates of vaccine-preventable disease and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, especially right after they impulsively halt a vaccine, Japan’s vaccine history simply demonstrates that vaccines work and that they are still very necessary.
One thing is true though. Japan’s infant mortality rate has been dropping, but then so has the infant mortality rate in almost all other countries, including the United States, which is at record low levels.
It certainly isn’t true that Japan’s infant mortality rate started to drop following a ban on mandatory vaccinations. How do we know that? Like many other countries, Japan has never had mandatory vaccinations. And not surprisingly, their infant mortality rate has continued to drop as they have added more vaccines and improved their immunization rates.
Have you heard the “news” that Sweden banned mandatory vaccination in their country?
Is that true?
Did Sweden Ban Mandatory Vaccination?
Like most other anti-vaccine myths, this one isn’t true.
Sweden did not ban mandatory vaccination.
“…vaccination coverage is still high and stable, that the diseases covered by the programs are under control…”
Riksdag Social Committee report 2016/17: SoU7
In March 2017, the Riksdag, or Swedish parliament, did vote against a proposal that called for mandatory vaccination. This came as other countries in Europe are seeing lower rates of immunization, rising rates of vaccine-preventable disease, and calls for vaccine mandates. In fact, France and Italy recently implemented vaccine mandates.
“The general vaccination program has a good coverage, and most children are protected against measles and polio, for example. There are, however, skepticism about vaccinations, both the vaccinations included in the basic program and others. In our view, however, it is of societal interest that the vaccination program is implemented in its entirety, and many of the myths and incorrect data circulating about the vaccination program need to be treated and pinned. We therefore consider that the government should provide the appropriate authority with the task of designing an information campaign on the benefits and necessity of the childhood vaccination program.”
Riksdag Social Committee report 2016/17: SoU7
Although the Swedish parliament voted against a motion that would have started a mandatory vaccination plan, there was nothing to ban. Sweden has never had a mandatory vaccination.
It is also clear that they see the problem that anti-vax groups are causing in their country and are working to combat them.
That will hopefully keep them from needing a mandatory vaccination program.
What to Know About the Myth of Sweden Banning Mandatory Vaccination
Sweden, with good immunization levels and low rates of vaccine-preventable disease, did not ban mandatory vaccination.
More on the Myth of Sweden Banning Mandatory Vaccination
Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, with symptoms typically starting when you are between 20 to 40 years old.
“MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable. No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time. One person might experience only one or two of the possible symptoms while another person experiences many more.”
National Multiple Sclerosis Society on MS Symptoms
From fatigue, weakness, and problems walking to vision problems, including the onset of blurred vision, MS can have many different symptoms.
What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?
Some people may be surprised that doctors have known about Multiple Sclerosis since the 1870s. They recognized people with the symptoms of MS even earlier.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know what causes it.
Can Vaccines Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
Without a known cause, it is easy to understand why some folks blame vaccines.
We see the same thing with many other conditions.
Remember though, just because you don’t know what causes something doesn’t mean that you can’t eliminate things that don’t cause it.
“Concern about hepatitis B vaccination arose from France in the mid 1990s. Following a mass hepatitis B vaccination program in France there were reports of MS developing in some patients a few weeks after receiving the vaccine. In 1998, the French government stopped the school-based hepatitis B component of the vaccination program while they investigated a possible relationship between hepatitis B vaccine and demyelinating disease. When studies of the French vaccine recipients were completed they showed that there was not a significant increase in the number of vaccinated people who developed MS as compared with those who had never received hepatitis B vaccine.”
Hepatitis B and multiple sclerosis FactSheet
And more than a few studies have shown that vaccines do not cause Multiple Sclerosis.
It has also been shown that vaccines don’t increase the risk of relapses for people who already have MS.
“…vaccines are able to prevent some infections in MS patients known to accelerate the progression of the disease and increase the risk of relapses.”
Mailand et al on Vaccines and multiple sclerosis: a systemic review
And yes, since new infections may trigger MS relapses, vaccines have an added benefit for MS patients.
And that’s why it is recommended that patients with MS follow the standard Centers for Disease Control immunization schedule. They may need to avoid getting live vaccines while taking specific MS medications though, as some of these can suppress their immune system.
“In the last few years a number of MS-focused vaccines have shown promising results in early phase clinical trials, and with each success the technology is closer than ever to offering a viable treatment option.”
Dr. Karen Lee on MS vaccines: Thinking outside the box for new treatments
While everyone hopefully now understands that any talk about MS being associated with vaccines is just another myth or scare tactic of the anti-vaccine movement, vaccines may one day really be associated with MS – therapeutic vaccines are in development that can treat people with Multiple Sclerosis!
What to Know About Vaccines and Multiple Sclerosis
Although it is still not known what does cause Multiple Sclerosis, we do know that it is not vaccines, which may actually reduce the risk of relapses for folks who already have MS.
The Gardasil vaccine seems to provoke a lot of controversy and still more misinformation, even as compared to typical anti-vaccine rhetoric.
Maybe since it is a newer vaccine or because it is for an STD, but for whatever reason, some folks can’t get over the fact that study after study has proven that the HPV vaccines are safe and effective.
Did Utah Ban the HPV Vaccine?
So if it is so safe and effective, then why did Utah ban the use of Gardasil?
There is a very small sliver of truth to the story though.
“Citing low demand, high costs — and questioning the benefits, Utah’s Southwest Public Department of Health does not stock or recommend Gardasil, the vaccine against HPV, the cancer-causing human papilloma virus.”
The Salt Lake Tribune
In most states, a decision like that by the Department of Health would be a big deal, because it would likely have to come from the state health department.
Not so much in Utah, where their 13 local health departments are independent of the Utah Department of Health. And they are each governed by local boards of health using a decentralized organizational model.
So the decision to ‘ban Gardasil’ wasn’t made by “Utah,” where the Department of Health has actually been recommending the vaccine since 2006.
It wasn’t even made by the Board of Health for the Southwest Public Department of Health.
The decision was made by one person – the agency’s director, Dr. David Blodgett.
Where Else Has Gardasil Not Been Banned
Even then, Gardasil wasn’t actually banned in the Beaver, Iron, Garfield, Kane and Washington counties of southern Utah that are served by the Southwest Public Department of Health where he is the director. The vaccine just wasn’t available at health department clinics in the area.
You could still get the vaccine at a doctor’s office or clinic, including free HPV vaccines from clinics that participate in the Vaccines for Children program.
So again, Gardasil wasn’t banned in Utah or even this part of southern Utah.
And do you know where else you can still get an HPV vaccine?
Gardasil is still available in Japan, India, France, Spain, and all of the countries where anti-vaccine folks say it was also banned.
Even in Japan, where governmental authorities did withdraw support for the vaccine while the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare in Japan further investigated safety and efficacy claims, an Expert Council on Promotion of Vaccination consisting of 17 Japanese academic societies recommends “renewed proactive support for the widespread use of the HPV vaccine.”