Tag: contamination

What is Corvelva?

Have you heard of Corvelva?

People are dying of measles in Italy and groups like Corvela are pushing anti-vaccine propaganda to further scare folks away from vaccinating and protecting their bambini.
People are dying of measles in Italy and groups like Corvela are pushing anti-vaccine propaganda to further scare folks away from vaccinating and protecting their bambini.

Probably not, but they are getting some attention in the anti-vaccine world because they think that they have uncovered a Vaccingate!

What is Corvelva?

Specifically, they analyzed the Infranix Hexa vaccine, and instead of finding DTaP-IPV-HepB/Hib antigens, they think that they found “65 signs of chemical contaminants of which only 35% is known” and “7 chemical toxins.”

Should you be worried?

“Coming back to the two basic principles that have been our topic on this analysis path, we reaffirm what we have said in the recent interview on the scientific journal Nature: we are inquiring the vaccines efficacy and safety and we can’t quite understand how it is possible to claim that this vaccine is even able to generate the 6 protective antibodies – reason why it is designed for – and furthermore to understand how this cluster made of 6 neurotoxic antigens bound together can be claimed as not toxic for newborns.”

Corvelva on Vaccingate: Initial results on Infanrix Hexa chemical composition

Although they might not understand it, Infranix Hexa has been proven to be safe and has been proven to work. You can read study after study in well respected peer reviewed journals that say so.

The Corvela Vaccingate “study” wasn’t published in a well respected peer reviewed journal. It wasn’t even published in one of the typical bottom-feeder, pay-to-publish journals that anti-vaccine researchers frequently use.

What Corvela did was more like a very poorly done science fair project by a kid who got too much help from his anti-vaccine parents.

Using the Surface Activated Chemical Ionization-Electrospray-NIST Bayesian model database search (SANIST) platform is pretty cool, to be sure. But why are we supposed to believe that their method would actually deconstruct the Infanrix Hexa vaccine? Because that’s why they were trying to do – separate out all of the combined vaccine ingredients so that they could be detected by SANIST. The combined vaccine ingredients, including one of which is an emulsifier that keeps the ingredients from separating, in a 6-in-1 combination vaccine.

So what’s more likely? That the unnamed ‘scientists’ at Corvela, which is basically an anti-vaccine website in Italy, did the experiment wrong or that the Infanrix Hexa vaccine, which is used in countries all over the world, doesn’t contain any of the antigens that it is supposed to contain?

A previous study on vaccines that they also have posted to their website and to an open peer review site was not approved, getting a lot of criticism.

Have you figured out what Corvela stands for yet?

It’s Italian for covfefe.

More on Corvelva

Who Is Judy Mikovits?

Dr. Judy Mikovits has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, doing her thesis on Negative Regulation of HIV Expression in Monocytes.

She had several papers published with Dr. Frank Ruscetti, with whom she continues to work.

Instead of research, it seems that they now do:

  • Advocacy for vaccine injury legal cases worldwide. 
  • Research and documentation on medical exemptions for vaccinations.

What happened?

Who Is Judy Mikovits?

After working at the National Cancer Institute, it seems that Judy Mikovits became research director of the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI).

A paper by Mikovits and Ruscetti was retracted because no one else could replicate the work.

She was eventually fired after a paper she was lead author on, which found xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in patients with CFS, was retracted and the institute accused her of stealing notebooks and manipulating data.

“But the leader of the team that authored the 2009 paper, researcher Judy Mikovits, apparently presented the same figure — carrying different labels and supporting a different point — in a talk given at a conference on Sept. 23 in Ottawa.”

Manipulation alleged in paper linking virus, chronic fatigue syndrome

An even larger study found no evidence of XMRV infections in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, even as she had claimed the virus could cause CFS, Parkinson’s disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

The source of XMRV in her patients?

“Well-controlled experiments showed that detection of XMRV was due to contaminated samples and was not a marker of or a causal factor in prostate cancer or CFS.”

Johnson et al on Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-Related Virus (XMRV) and the Safety of the Blood Supply

The virus was in a contaminated cell line in which she and others were doing research. The virus wasn’t in the actual patients themselves.

Judy Mikovits on Vaccines

Before her paper was retracted and she was fired from her lab, Judy Mikovits did actually do research on viruses and she is a scientist. She didn’t do research on vaccines though.

Judy Mikovits is still finding retroviruses wherever she looks for them...
Judy Mikovits is still finding retroviruses wherever she looks for them…

That seems to be something she talks about a lot now though:

  • at anti-vaccine rallies
  • at anti-vaccine conferences
  • in anti-vaccine videos

Her claim to fame seems to be talking about contaminated vaccines and bashing Gardasil. And deep state conspiracy theories about why she was arrested and lost her job.

To be clear, a rotavirus vaccine was found to be contaminated with DNA of porcine circovirus type 1.  While that might sound a little scary, it is important to keep in mind that the PCV1 virus doesn’t actually cause disease in people and these weren’t even “biologically active virus particles.”

PCV1 isn’t a retrovirus though and Judy Mikovits wasn’t even the researcher who discovered the contamination, which has since been resolved. 

“These findings do not indicate the presence of either ALV or EAV infection in MMR vaccine recipients and provide support for current immunization policies.”

Hussain et al on Lack of Evidence of Endogenous Avian Leukosis Virus and Endogenous Avian Retrovirus Transmission to Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine Recipients

Studies have looked at retrovirus contamination of vaccines, but they were  done over 17 years ago. And not by Mikovits. Studies that confirmed that vaccines are safe.

None of this has kept Judy Mikovits from scaring people about vaccines, especially the HPV vaccine.

“Cervical cancer is not a public health threat. It’s not an infectious disease. Why is it in the Department of Public Health? Why are we mandating every child over 9 years old, and I heard soon to be pregnant women, to get this vaccine? It makes no sense.”

Judy Mikovits

It is really hard to understand how someone who worked at the National Cancer Institute could make these statements. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women.

There is, of course, no mandate for 9-year-olds to get the HPV vaccine. In the United States, HPV vaccination is recommended, beginning at age 11 to 12 years. The HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women and while several vaccines are recommended, no vaccines are actually mandated in pregnancy.

“It was never developed to prevent cancer. It was developed and approved to prevent warts. Warts are not a public health threat. It’s beyond… When scientists like myself, and I work in cancer and AIDS hear this, we are just…”

Judy Mikovits

Gardasil and Cervarix were developed to prevent HPV infections, which cause cervical cancer. HPV can also cause genital warts.

“I think we need to ban… Japan and India have, all HPV vaccinations now, until the appropriate studies are done, until the patients are tested…”

Judy Mikovits

Neither Japan nor India have banned HPV vaccinations.

Why should we? The HPV vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary.

And why would anyone listen to Judy Mikovits? 

More on Judy Mikovits

Vaccination Tragedies are Rare

Vaccines work to prevent at least 2 to 3 million deaths each year worldwide.

Tragically, either because of errors or contamination, vaccines can sometimes actually cause people to get sick.

This can happen when health workers:

  • use a reconstituted vaccine after six hours – live vaccines can quickly become contaminated if they are kept and used for too long a time
  • mixup diluents – in addition to using the wrong diluent vaccination tragedies can occur when a dangerous medication is used instead of a vaccine’s standard diluent
  • improperly handle vaccines – breaking the cold chain
  • a vaccine is given to someone with a true medical contraindication

Fortunately, these situations are rare.

History of Vaccination Tragedies

With billions of doses of vaccines being given each year, it is likely not surprising that we see some problems. But when many of those vaccines are being given to kids, even one mishap, especially if it leads to life-threatening complications, is too many.

That’s why many safe guards have been put in place in the manufacturer and distribution of modern vaccines, so that we don’t see these types of vaccine tragedies:

  • the Cutter Incident, when, in 1955, at least 56 people developed polio and 5 children died after being vaccinated with inactivated polio vaccine that was poorly manufactured by Cutter Laboratories and still contained live polio virus
  • hepatitis-contaminated yellow fever vaccines – some lots of yellow fever vaccines used in the military in 1942 were unintentionally contaminated with the hepatitis B virus
  • the Lubeck Disaster – 75 children died and others got tuberculosis in 1929 Germany after there was a mixup between the BCG vaccine and the strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes tuberculosis. The BCG vaccine was supposed to be made with a weakened strain of Mycobacterium bovis bacteria instead.
  • the Bundaberg incident – 12 children died in Australia in 1928 after being given contaminated diphtheria vaccine from a multidose vial without preservative
  • tetanus contaminated smallpox vaccine in the 1890s and early 20th century

Although vaccines are much safer now, some rare incidents still occur.

Fifteen infants died and 75 children got sick in Syria in 2014 after they received a neuromuscular blocking agent, atracurium, instead of the measles vaccine they were supposed to get. How? The measles vaccine that was being used is mixed with a diluent, but instead of using the proper diluent, the health worker unintentionally used a bottle of atracurium instead.

In 2015, at least two kids died and 29 got sick in Chiapas, Mexico, among 52 children who were vaccinated. The children were reportedly given a BCG vaccine, the rotavirus vaccine, and/or a hepatitis B vaccine that day. However, the only vaccine that all of the sick children received in common was the hepatitis B vaccine. Since 130,000 doses from the same batch of vaccines had been given in the area, it was not thought to be a manufacturing problem or widespread issue. It was instead bacterial contamination of hepatitis B vaccine vials at that one clinic.

Fifteen children died in 2017 in a village in South Sudan after a poorly trained team that wasn’t adhering to WHO immunization safety standards used the same syringe to reconstitute measles vaccines over a four day period. They also didn’t keep the vaccine vials refrigerated.

“A single reconstitution syringe was used for multiple vaccine vials for the entire four days of the campaign instead of being discarded after single use. The reuse of the reconstitution syringe causes it to become contaminated which in turn contaminates the measles vaccine vials and infects the vaccinated children.”

Statement regarding findings of joint investigation of 15 deaths of children in Nachodokopele village, Kapoeta East County in South Sudan

As you can imagine, the conditions that led to these tragedies aren’t present when most kids get vaccinated.

Even in developing countries, most children get vaccinated by people adhering to WHO immunization safety standards. Why did they happened then? Both Syria and South Sudan have been rocked by war for years, leading to a breakdown in the ability to provide routine health care, even as basic as getting kids vaccinated. And Comunidad La Pimienta, Simojovel, Chiapas is a very poor part of southern Mexico.

These kinds of tragedies aren’t going to happen at your pediatrician’s office, as they don’t even have drugs like atracurium.

What Happened in Samoa?

Two toddlers died after being vaccinated at Safotu Hospital in Samoa.
Two toddlers died after being vaccinated at Safotu Hospital in Samoa.

In Samoa, four years after the deaths of the children in Syria, we are once again hearing about reports of deaths after kids were vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.

Two children in Samoa, both one-year-olds, died within minutes  of being vaccinated on the same day in the same hospital on the island of Savai’i.

Not surprisingly, as health officials investigate the cause, use of the MMR vaccine had been suspended in Samoa.

So what happened?

“Until the investigations have been completed and reported on we cannot say what did happen.

However, given the batch of vaccine involved had been in use in that country since August last year, and given the same batch of vaccine has been used in South American countries and the Caribbean island nations without incident, it seems unlikely that there was anything wrong with the vaccine.

The reports from the parents of the children affected on Friday indicate the reactions occurred within minutes after vaccination. This would preclude a response to the vaccine viruses as this takes at least a week. While anaphylaxis occurs within minutes and can be fatal when not treated the odds of seeing this twice in a day at the same place, given a chance of 1 in a million doses, is literally astronomical.”

Dr. Helen Petousis Harrison on What happened in Samoa?

Since it happened so quickly, it sounds like it could have been a mix-up with the diluent, as happened in Syria. A five dose vial of MMR is used in Samoa, which means that unlike premixed vaccines, it does have to be mixed with a diluent.

What about contamination? It is known that vaccine vials can be contaminated with Staphylococcus bacteria if they are mishandled. Although Staphylococcus bacteria can directly cause infections, they can also release a toxin that can cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Considering how quickly these children got died though (within minutes), it isn’t likely that the vaccines became contaminated with Staphylococcus toxins. There have been reports of TSS following vaccination in the past, usually with vaccines that don’t use preservatives, but symptoms typically develop over four to 24 hours.

“This particular vaccine batch lot arrived to Samoa in August 2017 and has been in use since then. The same vaccine batch lot used in Samoa is also in use in a number of South American and Caribbean countries (Belize, Ecuador, St. Vincent, Trinidad Tobago, Chile, Aruba, Dutch Antilles, St. Kitts & Nevis and Cuba) with no reports of adverse events from those countries.”

Government of Samoa – Ministry of Health Press Statement

Could this be related to what happened to two other children in Samoa who had died after getting their MMR vaccines?

Almost certainly not. Those children, siblings, died years earlier, one in 2015 and the other in 2017. Neither died immediately after being vaccinated and there are reports that they may have had some kind of an immunodeficiency syndrome that contributed to their deaths.

“A number of media outlets are already covering these tragic events, speculating on the cause of death before the investigation is completed, and the stories have been picked up by the anti-vaccination movement.”

Government of Samoa – Ministry of Health Press Statement

That some folks would use these rare tragedies to scare parents from vaccinating and protecting their kids is shameful. But that’s the modern anti-vaccine movement

What to Know About Vaccination Tragedies

Kids shouldn’t get sick or die after getting vaccinated. Fortunately, they rarely do, except in extreme circumstances that can make it more likely for errors to occur.

More on Vaccination Tragedies

Which Vaccines Contain Heavy Metals?

Are you worried about heavy metals in vaccines?

Which Vaccines Contain Heavy Metals?

Multi-dose vials of flu vaccine clearly still contain the preservative thimerosal.
Multi-dose vials of flu vaccine clearly still contain the preservative thimerosal.

Believe it or not, your kids aren’t going to be exposed to any heavy metals when they get their routine vaccines.

The closest that they might come would be getting a flu vaccine with thimerosal, as mercury is indeed a heavy metal and thimerosal breaks down to ethylmercury. But then, the great majority of flu vaccines are now thimerosal-free, so they probably won’t.

Even if they did, it is important to note that thimerosal was removed from vaccines as a precaution, not because it was toxic.

What about aluminum?

It is no secret that many vaccines contain aluminum.

“Aluminum is a heavy metal with known neurotoxic effects on human and animal nervous systems. It can be found in the following childhood vaccines – DTaP, Pediarix (DTaP-Hepatitis B-Polio combination), Pentacel (DTaP-HIB-Polio combination), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae B (HIB), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and Pneumococcal vaccines.”

NVIC on  Aluminum and Vaccine Ingredients: What Do We Know? What Don’t We Know?

Do you know what we know about aluminum?

It isn’t a heavy metal.

Heavy metals include copper, gold, iron, lead, mercury, platinum, plutonium, silver, tin, and zinc.

Aluminum is classified as a light metal. Other light metals are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

I guess that it makes aluminum sound scarier if you say it is a heavy metal though…

It also make it sound scary if you imply that the aluminum salts in vaccines are neurotoxic. They aren’t.

But what about the idea that vaccines are contaminated with heavy metals?

“Metals including toxic lead contaminate virtually all aluminum adjuvants, a widely-used ingredient of human and animal vaccines, according to a recent study published in the leading journal of the vaccine industry.”

CMSRI on Lead, Iron, Chromium and Other Metals Routinely Contaminate Vaccine Adjuvants, Industry Study Reports

While that was the CMSRI takeaway from the study, Influence of elemental impurities in aluminum hydroxide adjuvant on the stability of inactivated Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, IXIARO, if you actually read it, you find that they found that “all aluminum hydroxide lots examined in this study met” safety guidelines from European agencies (Ph. Eur. 2.4.8) and the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP 231).

And many folks think that a study ‘finding’ contamination by a few Italian scientists, New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination, actually found “that vaccines are incredibly pure.”

Vaccines are safe and necessary.

Don’t let folks scare you from vaccinating and protecting your kids by making you think they contain heavy metals or anything other “toxin.”

What to Know About Heavy Metals in Vaccines

Vaccines do not contain any toxic heavy metals.

More on Heavy Metals in Vaccines