“The case-fatality ratio of meningococcal disease is 10% to 15%, even with appropriate antibiotic therapy. The case-fatality ratio of meningococcemia is up to 40%. As many as 20% of survivors have permanent sequelae, such as hearing loss, neurologic damage, or loss of a limb.”
Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (PinkBook)
Of course, that doesn’t stop anti-vaccine folks from spreading misinformation about these vaccines to try and scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
Is the Meningococcal Vaccine More Dangerous Than Meningococcal Disease?
And there are different types of meningococcal vaccines, including those that protect against Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, W, Y and Men B.
So routine vaccinations likely prevent up to 500 meningitis deaths each year, just in the United States, including many deaths from Hib meningitis, pneumococcal meningitis, and meningococcal disease.
“During 2005-2011, an estimated 800-1,200 cases of meningococcal disease occurred annually in the United States, representing an incidence of 0.3 cases per 100,000 population.”
Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (PinkBook)
What about the idea that 1 in 100 people will have a serious reaction to the vaccine?
“The most frequently reported adverse events for MenACWY-D include fever (16.8%), headache (16.0%) injection site erythema (14.6%), and dizziness (13.4%). Syncope was reported in 10.0% of reports involving MenACWY-D. Of all reported MenACWY-D events, 6.6% were coded as serious (i.e., resulted in death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization, prolongation of hospitalization, or permanent disability). Serious events included headache, fever, vomiting, and nausea. A total of 24 deaths (0.3%) were reported.”
Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (PinkBook)
The serious events listed above were from the clinical trials for the vaccine and didn’t differ between the vaccine and placebo.
Although meningococcal vaccines can have frequent mild side effects, they very rarely have serious side effects.
Here is another meningococcal study in which a few of the participants died – one in a car accident and the other a drug overdose.
Unfortunately, vaccines can’t protect you from everything…
Did you see the video of the retired hospital worker, an emergency room technician, at the ACIP meeting earlier this year?
Although brief, and emotional, she hit a lot of anti-vaccine talking points and managed to somehow talk about adult autistics walking around the mall with diapers and helmets at least four times.
Retired Hospital Worker’s Flu Shot Speech at the ACIP Meeting
Praised by anti-vaccine folks for being “explosive” and a “bombshell,” all the speech really does is reveal how easily influenced some folks are by the modern anti-vaccine movement.
“I don’t come here with any degree.”
The only true and one of the most important things she says comes at the beginning. Although it certainly isn’t a requirement to have a degree to speak your mind, in a room full of scientists and doctors who study health policy and vaccines as their life’s work, she was there to tell them that they were wrong.
“No one believes in the flu shots. My colleagues. I didn’t. Because the efficacy – and I won’t give you data, you created the data. 10% one year. 18% another year. 40% at best. And the FluMist you gave to our children from 2 to 8 years for almost 4 years – it never worked. 3%. Oh well.”
In most years, the flu vaccine is at about 40 to 50% effective at preventing the flu, but has other benefits, including preventing a severe case of the flu, getting hospitalized, and keeping you from dying with the flu!
The idea that “no one believes in flu shots” is silly. It is certainly possible that no one this speaker knows believes in flu shots, as many anti-vaccine folks exist in an echo chamber and only hear and read negative things about vaccines.
Her statements about flu vaccine efficacy are also way off, especially about FluMist, as there was only evidence that it didn’t work well against H1N1 flu strains for a few years.
“And then came your mandates. And then came your recommendations. So you know what, for four years before I retired I put a mask on. 12 hour shifts. It wasn’t easy to breath. But that’s how much I didn’t believe in your efficacy.”
Neither the CDC or ACIP mandate that hospital workers get a yearly flu shot.
It is recommended and it is the ethical thing to do, so that we protect our most vulnerable patients, including those who can’t be vaccinated, but the CDC doesn’t issue mandates.
“But the truth. The public’s truth. My observation – which is the first step in scientific theory – they didn’t believe in your shot.”
Making an observation is actually the first step in the scientific method. But you don’t stop there. Why don’t they believe in flu vaccines? Are they scared about all of the anti-vaccine propaganda that they see and read on the Internet or even from anti-vaccine friends or coworkers?
“This year I retired. I’m grateful for that, because my soul was sick about what I saw go on. That flu shot was crazy. First it was 10%. How can you do data? Which 10 got the shot out of a 100?”
How do they know which 10 got the shot?
Believe it or not, when they tell us about flu vaccine effectiveness, they are not basing that number on each and every person who got a flu vaccine. They do a study, enroll patients, see if they get flu, see if they had a flu vaccine, compare them to other patients, etc. It’s actually very easy to tell which ones got the shot…
“I’m looking around, some of you are my age. And if I’m mistaken, I apologize. But I’m in a generation where I got 7 shots. 26 years later, my daughter got 10. Her son got, maybe 60. My new grandson is expected to get maybe 72, and I just watched you add more.”
Our now vaccinated kids don’t die from Hib meningitis, Hib epiglotittis, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, chicken pox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, etc., and they don’t get congenital rubella syndrome!
And for the record, her new grandson won’t need 72 shots or more.
They didn’t add any more at that ACIP meeting she gave her speech at either.
“Robert Kennedy, Jr – do you know what he says? His family started Special Olympics – there were no autistic kids. He says, where are the 40 year olds wearing diapers with helmets on at the mall if you misdiagnosed them. If you missed them, because you say it’s not vaccines, where were the special ed classes for people in my generation – there weren’t any. Because they didn’t exist.”
Special education classes didn’t exist back then, because we didn’t start getting things like that until passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975. Before that, many states actually had laws excluding special needs children from school!
So there weren’t any special ed classes because they weren’t available, not because they weren’t needed.
And as the first school for autistic children, the Sybil Elgar School, was established in 1965, it should be obvious that her comments about autistic adults are not only wrong, they are offensive.
“I don’t care what you say that the autism and vaccines don’t exist – it does. I watched a perfectly healthy beautiful 2-year-old get those shots and become a severe autistic child. And guess what, he will be 40 and walking around the mall with a diaper on and helmet.”
Continuing to push the idea that vaccines are associated with autism and being locked into a deficit model of thinking about autism, so that when you look at your child, all you see is an adult with a “diaper on and helmet,” instead of beautiful autistic 2-year-old.
Ironically, she ended her speech with this quote by William Wilberforce.
“Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”
After a 4-month-old died of bacterial meningitis, anti-vaccine folks pushed the idea that it was a vaccine injury instead of an infection.
And they push their views that everything is a vaccine injury on everyone, even though most folks understand that vaccines are not associated with SIDS, shaken baby syndrome, autism, and most other things.
Sure, everyone and everything in anti-vaccine world is the very best, except if they are, then why are they trying so hard to convince you of that… So maybe you will agree with some of their more far-out claims, suggestions, and conspiracy theories?
Do you think it is okay to put infants who are too young to be vaccinated at risk for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases because you don’t like the choices you have been given between getting your kids vaccinated and protected or keeping them out of school?
What about the parents of the kid who is being treated for cancer who gets exposed to chicken pox because someone else made the choice to not vaccinate their kid? Do you think that’s fair?
The modern anti-vaccine movement is only about choice when it is about their choices and doesn’t seem to care about the risks their unvaccinated kids pose to others.
Believe it or not, the modern anti-vaccine movement also equates getting vaccinated with rape…
Don’t believe me?
Do you agree?
What else do most folks in the modern anti-vaccine movement believe?
They believe that:
vaccines don’t work, but are somehow still able to cause shedding for long periods of time
a previously healthy, unvaccinated 23-month-old boy developed chicken pox and died three weeks later after developing sepsis, possible viral meningoencephalitis, bacterial endocarditis, and heart failure. (1996)
a previously healthy, unvaccinated 21-month old developed chicken pox and died four days later because of hemorrhagic complications (1997)
an unvaccinated 5-year-old boy with asthma was treated with one dose of prednisone at home for an asthma attack while recovering from chicken pox and died the next day (1997)
a healthy, unvaccinated 6-year-old boy developed chicken pox, was hospitalized three days later, and died the next day (1998)
an 8-year-old being treated for leukemia developed chicken pox and died two weeks later (1998)
an unvaccinated 9-year-old girl was exposed to an unvaccinated children with chicken pox in after-school child care and school, developed chicken pox and died three days later with secondary cellulitis and sepsis. (2002)
a previously healthy, unvaccinated 11-year-old girl developed septic shock and died soon after being admitted to a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. (2002)
an unvaccinated 12-year-old boy was exposed to an unvaccinated classmate with chickenpox, developed chicken pox two weeks later, was admitted to the hospital after three days because of trouble breathing, and died on his second hospital day after suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest. (2003)
an unvaccinated 10-year-old girl developed chicken pox, with worsening 10 days later, including ataxia and mental status changes. After being hospitalized for three days, she began to have seizures and was declared brain dead the next day. (2004)
an unvaccinated 14-month-old girl developed chicken pox and worsened over the next three to five days. She eventually developed septic shock, was treated in an ER, and died within one hour of being transferred to a children’s hospital for further care. (2004)
a previously healthy, unvaccinated 15-year-old developed chicken pox, was admitted to the hospital three days later in septic shock, and died three weeks later. (2009)
a partially vaccinated 4-year-old girl who was being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was exposed to a cousin with chicken pox and later developed multi-organ failure and died (2012)
Chicken pox has always been a deadly disease.
“In the prevaccine era, approximately 11,000 persons with varicella required hospitalization each year. Hospitalization rates were approximately 2 to 3 per 1,000 cases among healthy children and 8 per 1,000 cases among adults. Death occurred in approximately 1 in 60,000 cases. From 1990 through 1996, an average of 103 deaths from varicella were reported each year. Most deaths occur in immunocompetent children and adults”
Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Although chicken pox is definitely riskier if you are older and have pre-existing medical problems, as you can see from these kids who died, many were otherwise healthy and many were very young.
almost 80% of all compensated awards by the NVICP come as a “result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury.”
the NVICP settlements are funded by an excise tax on vaccines
the NVICP cases are published by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, so all information is disclosed to the public and no safety concerns are hidden
So what does the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) really prove?
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.
As most folks know, neither the DPT nor OPV vaccines are used in the United States.
That they are still used in other countries likely raises some questions for those folks that get them.
Why Are the DPT and OPV Vaccines Still Used in Some Countries?
As I am sure you have guessed, there is no conspiracy about the continued use of these vaccines in other parts of the world. We aren’t getting rid of old stocks of vaccines or using cheaper vaccines in poorer parts of the world.
So what’s the reason?
To understand why they are still used in other countries, it helps to understand why they aren’t used here.
Remember that the DPT vaccine, which protects folks against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, came under attack in the 1970s and 80s as some folks blamed the vaccine for causing vaccine injuries, including seizures and encephalopathy. It didn’t, but we still got a new vaccine, DTaP, which doesn’t seem to work as well.
“Although concerns about possible adverse events following their administration have led to the adoption of acellular pertussis vaccines in some countries, whole-cell pertussis vaccines are still widely produced and used globally in both developed and developing countries. Whole-cell pertussis vaccines that comply with WHO requirements, administered according to an optimal schedule have a long and successful record in the control of whooping cough. Furthermore, the excellent efficacy of some currently available whole-cell pertussis vaccine has also been shown, not only in recent clinical trials, but also on the basis of the resurgence of disease where vaccination has been interrupted or when coverage has markedly decreased. Therefore, WHO continues to recommend whole-cell pertussis vaccines for use in national immunization programmes.”
WHO on Recommendations for whole-cell pertussis vaccine
The WHO now recommends that if countries do switch to DTaP, the acellular pertussis vaccine, they should be prepared to add additional periodic booster doses and immunizations during pregnancy, which may still “may not be sufficient to prevent resurgence of pertussis.”
The OPV vaccine, on the other hand, was replaced because it can rarely cause vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) and circulating vaccine-derived polio virus (cVDPV). Of course, it does it at much lower rates than wild polio virus, so until polio is well controlled, the benefit of using OPV outweighs the risk. In addition to being less expensive and easier to use, OPV has the benefit over IPV of providing better herd immunity.
At some point, as we did in the United States in 2000, countries make a switch to the IPV vaccine.
In 2016, remaining countries that use OPV switched from trivalent OPV to bivalent OPV, because wild polio virus type 2 was eradicated in 1999. Once the remaining two types are eradicated, we can stop using the OPV vaccine altogether.
Until then, countries either use:
OPV plus one dose of IPV
sequential IPV-OPV schedules – high vaccine coverage and low risk of wild polio importation
IPV only schedules – sustained high vaccine coverage and very low risk of wild polio importation
So there is no conspiracy. These vaccines are safe and they work.