Tag: quotes

US Presidents and Vaccines

You would think that getting kids vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases would be a non-partisan issue, but it unfortunately isn’t always the case.

donald-trump

Even before Donald Trump brought up false claims that vaccines cause autism, we have seen what can happen when funding for vaccines dropped. Federal support for vaccines dropped while Reagan was in office and we quickly saw outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including many deaths.

Fortunately, most American Presidents have strongly supported vaccines.

There is no longer any reason why American children should suffer from polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, or tetanus. … I am asking the American people to join in a nationwide vaccination program to stamp out these four diseases.

JFK in 1962

  • George Washington – had smallpox and later mandated that every soldier in the Continental Army had to be inoculated against smallpox
  • John Adams – was innoculated against smallpox (before Jenner‘s vaccine was available), as were his wife and children
  • Thomas Jefferson – conducted his own smallpox vaccine trials
  • James Madison – signed the Vaccine Act of 1813 – An Act to encourage Vaccination.
  • James K Polk – died of cholera, a now vaccine-preventable disease, three months after his term ended
  • Zachary Taylor – died of cholera while still in office
  • Abraham Lincoln – developed smallpox while he was in office
  • Franklin D Roosevelt – had polio and founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was later renamed the March of Dimes, and helped fund Jonas Salk‘s research on the first polio vaccine
  • Harry S Truman – had diphtheria as a child, which may have left him with vision problems, and was vaccinated against smallpox
  • Dwight D Eisenhower – signed the Polio Vaccination Assistance Act in 1955, which gave $30 million in federal grants to states to cover the costs of planning and conducting polio vaccination programs, including purchasing polio vaccine
  • John F Kennedy – signed the Vaccination Assistance Act in 1962 (Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act), which started as a three year program to help get kids vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, but it has been continuously reauthorized ever since
  • Lyndon B Johnson – established a legacy of US leadership in global immunization by funding the CDC Smallpox Eradication program in 1965 (smallpox wasn’t eradicated until 1980)
  • Richard Nixon – observed that scientists who helped develop the polio vaccine with Jonas Salk “deserve far greater respect and support by the people whom they serve than they now receive.”
  • Gerald Ford – instituted a swine flu vaccination program for an outbreak that never appeared
  • Jimmy Carter – his National Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1977 reached its goal of immunizing 90% of children
  • Ronald Reagan – signed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, which created VAERS and the NVICP, while federal support for vaccine programs reached a low point in his years in office, as rates of children living in poverty and without health insurance increased
  • George HW Bush – his immunization action plan in 1991 once again raised immunization rates following three years of measles outbreaks
  • Bill Clinton – his Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1993 which included signing the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Act, provided free vaccines to many children
  • George W Bush – announced a major smallpox vaccination program in 2002, but very few healthcare workers actually volunteered to get vaccinated
  • Barack Obama – declared the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak a national emergency, Obamacare requires health insurance plans to pay for vaccines without co-pays, made the Ebola outbreak a national security priority, and helped keep funding for Zika vaccine research going

What can we expect our next President to do about vaccines and vaccination rates?

For More Information on US Presidents and Vaccines:

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Vaccines and Seizures

A newborn baby getting an EEG.
A newborn baby getting an EEG.

Can vaccines cause seizures?

Unfortunately, they sometimes can.

Vaccines and Febrile Seizures

The CDC reports that “There is a small increased risk for febrile seizures after MMR and MMRV vaccines.”

We also know that:

  • there is a small increased risk for febrile seizures when the influenza vaccine is given at the same time as either the Prevnar13 vaccine or the DTaP vaccine, although “the risk of febrile seizure with any combination of these vaccines is small and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) does not recommend getting any of these vaccines on separate days.”
  • there is a small increased risk for febrile seizures if the combined MMR and chicken pox vaccine (ProQuad) is given to infants between the ages of 12 to 23 months vs their getting the shots separately.

But remember that febrile seizures, while scary for parents and other caregivers, are rarely dangerous.

It is also important to note that while febrile seizures are common, they are not commonly triggered by vaccines. A 2016 report in Pediatrics, “Vaccines and Febrile Seizures: Quantifying the Risk,” states that “The risk is 1 febrile seizure per pediatric practice every 5 to 10 years.”

Not surprisingly though, vaccines can likely prevent many febrile seizures, as chicken pox, flu, Hib, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal infections and other vaccine-preventable diseases often cause fever and can trigger febrile seizures themselves.

Also, a study recently found that children who got sick with pertussis could be at increased risk for developing epilepsy, or recurrent seizures. That’s just another good reason to get vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines and Other Types of Seizures

While vaccines can sometimes trigger febrile seizures, they do not typically cause other types of seizures.

It was once thought that seizures were a common side effect of the DPT vaccine, but many studies have found that to not be true and seizures following DPT was even removed as a table injury from the NVICP. In fact, many of these children were instead found to have Dravet syndrome, which put them at increased risk for febrile seizures.

Long-term non-febrile seizures are still listed as side effects for the DTaP and MMR vaccine, but they “are so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine.”

A 2010 study in Pediatrics, “Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood,” did not find any “increased risk for seizures after
DTaP vaccination among children who were aged 6 weeks to 23 months.”

Do report any reaction to VAERS if you think it was caused by a vaccine though.

Seizures After Getting Vaccines

If vaccines don’t usually cause seizures, then how do you explain a healthy infant developing seizures a few days, weeks, or months after getting his vaccines?

We’re always looking for reasons why something happened. The example I use is from my wife, who is a pediatrician. She was about to vaccinate a four-month-old baby, and while she was drawing the vaccine from the syringe, the baby had a seizure — and went onto have a permanent seizure disorder. Now, my wife hadn’t given the vaccine yet. But if she had given that vaccine five minutes earlier, there would have been no amount of statistical data in the world that would have convinced that mother that the vaccine hadn’t caused the baby’s seizure. You can do studies that show no increased risk with vaccines and seizure disorders, but that mother might still say “well, that’s true for the population but it’s not true for my child.”

Temporal associations are powerful, and they’re hard to defeat with statistics or studies.

Paul Offit, MD interview for The Thinking Persons Guide to Autism

There are many seizure disorders that begin in infancy.

Some even start in the newborn period, before a baby is a month old.

They are not triggered by vaccines though.

They include:

  • Infantile Spasms (first described in 1841) – typically begin when infants are about 4 months old, just when they get their second set of vaccines, which weren’t available when Dr. West described his own son’s repeated spasms
  • Benign Familial Neonatal Seizures – often genetic, seizures may begin on a baby’s third day of life
  • Benign Neonatal Convulsions – begin on the fifth day of life – the “fifth day fits,” and the seizures stop in about a month

If your child got her first hepatitis B vaccine when she was five days old and began having seizures, would you accept a diagnosis of Benign Neonatal Convulsions or would you blame the shot?

Would you remember the saying about correlation and causation?

For More Information on Vaccines and Seizures:

Paul Offit

Paul Offit, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, completing his training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

If people choose not to get vaccinated it’s because they’re not scared of the disease, and they have false concerns about what the vaccine can do.

Paul Offit, MD

His abbreviated resume is 34 pages long…

Paul Offit's books will help you do real research about vaccines.
Paul Offit’s books will help you do real research about vaccines.

In addition to being the co-inventor of RotaTeq, one of two rotavirus vaccines in use today, Dr. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center and a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Even more importantly, whether it was his appearances on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report and other places in the media, his free vaccine course, or the 150 papers he has published in medical and scientific journals, Dr. Offit has been a leading force in educating pediatricians and parents about the importance and safety of vaccines

His books and articles are essential reading, especially for health care providers and parents who might be thinking about skipping or delaying one or more vaccines. They include:

  • Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
  • Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All
  • Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine
  • Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine
  • Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases
  • The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis

Not surprisingly, he is a frequent target of anti-vaccine groups.

It also shouldn’t be surprising that all of their attacks are very easily debunked.

For More Information on Paul Offit:

Who is Tom Frieden?

CDC Director Tom Frieden in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic.
CDC Director Tom Frieden in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic.

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH has had a long career in public health, working as Commissioner of the New York City Health Department and most recently as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr Frieden went to Oberlin College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and did his residency in internal medicine at Yale University.

The field of public health aims to improve the health of as many people as possible as rapidly as possible.

A responsive government can maintain that people are responsible for their own health while also taking public health action that changes default choices to make it easier for people to stay healthy.

Dr. Frieden on The Future of Public Health

During his career, he:

  • worked to reduce rates of cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis by 80 percent in New York City
  • assisted the national tuberculosis control program in India
  • directed efforts to reduce smoking, including teen smoking, in New York City
  • led the response to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic in the US
  • has pushed for more funding to help control and treat Zika, which he says will likely “become endemic in this hemisphere”

Perhaps most importantly, and despite some criticism, Dr. Frieden led the CDC during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. An epidemic that spread to the US and other countries and for which the “CDC has undertaken the most intensive outbreak response in the agency’s history.”

Recently, he has also highlighted “two shortcomings of our health system,” that the upward trend in life expectancy that we have seen over the past 50 years (about 9 years), “is neither as  rapid  as  it  should  be  —  we  lag  behind  dozens  of  other  nations – nor is it uniformly experienced by people in the United States.” And that is because “life  expectancy  and  other  key health outcomes vary greatly by race, sex, socioeconomic status, and geographic location.”

And after working to eliminate trans fats from restaurants in New York City and have chain restaurants post calorie information on their menu boards, he has continued to confront many of the more modern era epidemics, like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

He resigned from the CDC on January 20, 2017 and was replaced by Anne Schuchat, MD, who became the  became Acting Director.

For More Information on Thomas Frieden

Updated January 22, 2017

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Chiropractors on Vaccines

greg-werner-vaccines-facts
Most chiropractors list the same 9 to 11 anti-vaccine myths on their websites.

Are chiropractors anti-vaccine?

Although there is overwhelming evidence to show that vaccination is a highly effective method of controlling infectious diseases, a vocal element of the chiropractic profession maintains a strongly antivaccination bias.

Chiropractors and Vaccination: A Historical Perspective

It would be hard to find someone who says that they aren’t. Even their own professional association policy statements don’t endorse people getting vaccinated.

Since the scientific community acknowledges that the use of vaccines is not without risk, the American Chiropractic Association supports each individual’s right to freedom of choice in his/her own health care based on an informed awareness of the benefits and possible adverse effects of vaccination. The ACA is supportive of a conscience clause or waiver in compulsory vaccination laws thereby maintaining an individual’s right to freedom of choice in health care matters and providing an alternative elective course of action regarding vaccination.

That’s the public policy of the American Chiropractic Association that was revised and ratified in 1998. The problem though, is that even with all of their talk of vaccine choice, most chiropractors don’t seem to give their clients must choice, only talking about negative aspects of vaccines and the risks.

For example, many chiropractors:

  • don’t believe in the germ theory of infectious disease – they don’t think that viruses or bacteria actually cause people to get sick
  • think that vaccines are harmful and too risky
  • don’t believe that vaccines work or are necessary
  • think they can stimulate the immune system via chiropractic spinal manipulation, as an alternative to immunization

Of course, many of these are standard myths that other anti-vaccine groups use.

Surprised? You probably shouldn’t be, as many anti-vaccine ‘experts’ give talks at chiropractic conferences, from Sherri Tenpenny to Andrew Wakefield.

And with more chiropractors trying to do “pediatrics,” even seeing newborn babies to do craniosacral therapy, their anti-vaccine message could reach more parents.

We saw that as chiropractors tried to influence the passage of SB277 in California in 2016. Chiropractors overwhelmingly lobbied against the vaccine law.

For More Information on Chiropractors on Vaccines:

History of Vaccine Manufacturers

Currently, the main manufacturers of vaccines used in the United States include:

  1. Emergent Biosolutions – Anthrax vaccine
  2. GSK Vaccines – Bexsero, Boostrix, Cervarix, Energix-B, Fluarix, Havrix, Hiberix, Infanrix, Kinrix, Menveo, Pediarix, Rabavert, Rotarix
  3. Mass Biologics (Massachusetts Public Health Biological Laboratories) – made the first DTP vaccine and continues making a generic Td vaccine
  4. MedImmune (owned by AstraZenaca) – FluMist
  5. Merck – Gardasil, MMR-II, PedvaxHIB, Pneumovax23, ProQuad, Recombivax HB, RotaTeq, Vaqta, Varivax, Zostavax
  6. PaxVax – Vivotif typhoid vaccine
  7. Pfizer – Prevnar, Trumenba
  8. Protein Sciences Corporation – Flublok
  9. Sanofi Pasteur – Adacel, Daptacel, Fluzone, Imovax Rabies, Pentacel, IPOL, Pentacel, Menactra, YF-Vax,
  10. Seqirus – Afluria, Fluad, Flucelvax, Fluvirin
  11. Valneva – Japanese encephalitis vaccine (IXIARO), Dukoral cholera vaccine

Of course, there used to be many more.

During the past fifty years, companies devoted solely or primarily to manufacturing vaccines (such as Lederle and Praxis) have been acquired by other pharmaceutical companies; the number of companies making vaccines has decreased from twenty-six in 1967 to seventeen in 1980 and to five in 2004 (GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, Wyeth, and Chiron).

Paul Offit, MD

And then there were four…

21st Century Vaccine Industry Changes

Unlike changes in the 1970s, the latest changes in the vaccine industry and among vaccine manufacturers don’t have a lot to do with companies being forced out of business because of lawsuits.

Mergers and consolidation seem to be fueling the changes.

For example, Novartis, recently considered one of the top five pharmaceutical corporations that make vaccines, sold off its vaccine business to CSL Limited and GSK.

CSL Limited then formed Seqirus to produce their flu vaccines.

In other changes:

  • Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2008
  • Chiron Corp became Novartis Vaccines in 2006
  • Aventis Pasteur and Sanofi merged to become Sanofi Pasteur in 2004
  • SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome merged to become GlaxoSmithKline in 2000

But you don’t really get how big these mergers are until you understand that:

  • Pasteur Merieux and Aventis merged to become Aventis Pasteur in 1999
  • Wyeth acquired Lederle Laboratories/Praxis in 1994
  • Lederle Laboratories and Praxis  merged in 1989
  • Connaught Laboratories was purchased by the French Merieux Institute, forming Pasteur Merieux in 1989

Still other vaccine manufacturers simply stopped making vaccines.

Older Vaccine Manufacturers

What ever happened to these vaccine manufacturers?

eli-lilly-vaccine
Eli Lilly used to make a Small Pox vaccine
  • Bionetics Research Inc.
  • Cutter Laboratories – made anthrax vaccine and the Salk polio vaccine that was involved in the Cutter incident. Was bought by Bayer in 1974, but they no longer make vaccines.
  • Dow Chemical (Pitman-Moore) – got out of the vaccine business in 1977-78 and stopped making 12 vaccines
  • Eli Lilly – got out of the vaccine business in 1976 and stopped making 14 vaccines
  • Evans Medical Ltd.
  • Mich (Michigan Department of Public Health) – once made 8 vaccines
  • Miles Inc. – exited the vaccine market in 1970 and stopped making 11 vaccines
  • North American Vaccine, Inc. – was purchased by Baxter International Inc. in 2000, a company that sold off its remaining vaccine business in 2000, including vaccines for meningitis C and tick borne encephalitis. North American Vaccine, Inc. once sold a DTaP vaccine – Certiva.
  • Organon Teknika Corporation
  • Parke-Davis – purchased by Warner-Lampert in 1970, but had sold off their flu vaccine division as King Pharmaceuticals, stopping production of 16 other vaccines. King Pharmaceuticals later changed its name to Parkdale Pharmaceuticals and stopped making vaccines in 2002.
  • Richardson-Merrill – got out of the vaccine business in 1976-78 and stopped making 14 vaccines
  • Sclavo
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals – purchased by Abbott Laboratories in 2010, but Solvay’s flu vaccine business was sold off and their Influvac vaccine is no longer used in the United States
  • Squibb & Sons – now known as Bristol-Myers Squibb, since their 1989 merger, Squibb used to make vaccines, including Maurice Hilleman‘s first Japanese B encephalitis vaccine
  • Texas Department of Health Resources – exited the vaccine market in 1979 and stopped making 7 vaccines
  • University of Illinois – once made the BCG vaccine

Unlike other companies that merged or had their vaccine business sold off, these companies and their vaccines are gone. And some, like Bionetics Research Inc. and Organon Teknika Corporation were acquired by the same companies (ABL). They just don’t make vaccines anymore.

For More Information on Vaccine Manufacturers:

References on Vaccine Manufacturers:The Children’s Vaccine Initiative: Achieving the Vision. Historical Record of Vaccine Product License Holders in the United States
Pereira,Nuno Sousa. Vaccine Supply: Effects of Regulation and Competition. International Journal of the Economics of Business 18(2):239-271.October 2010

Celebrities Who Advocate For Vaccines

Some of the first celebrities to advocate for vaccines did so to help combat polio.

lucy-desi-polio
In 1954, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz asked everyone to “give every dime and dollar” they could spare to fight polio.

From Grace Kelly to Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, stars lined up to support the efforts of the March of Dimes to end polio, with celebrity comedian Eddie Cantor leading the way.

Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Red Skelton, Johnny Cash, Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and many others were a part of the Polio Crusade.

Before that though, there were celebrities that were working to fight smallpox. Celebrities of the time like Lewis Carroll, who is best known for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

There are, not surprisingly, many pro-vaccine celebrities now too.

  • Kristen Bell
  • Ewan McGregor
  • John Oliver
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Olivia Wilde
  • Amada Peet
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • David Beckham
  • Keri Russel
  • Julie Bowen
  • Serena Williams
  • Salma Hayek
  • Christy Turlington Burns
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Kristi Yamaguchi
  • Marc Anthony
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Kendra Wilkinson
  • Marissa Jaret Winokur

And like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the 1950s, many are working with organizations to help fight vaccine-preventable diseases and protect children.

Many, like Ewan McGregor and Salma Hayek, work with UNICEF.

Others promote flu vaccines, combat pertussis, or simply fight the anti-vaccine misinformation that is that out there.

For More Information On Celebrities Who Advocate For Vaccines: