Penthouse Retrospective

by Gary Null Originally Published: March, 2001

Vaccination Speculation | 20 Years Ago This Month

It can’t be emphasized too strongly that this phenomenon of an immunization producing only temporary immunity, and thus resulting in an upward age shift in those who will get the disease, is a problem with a number of vaccines. Consider varicella, or chicken pox. Normally 90 percent of adult women are immune to chicken pox because they had it as children and may transfer this immunity to their babies during pregnancy. But the immunity induced by vaccination, which lasts only five to ten years, may be gone by the time a woman enters her reproductive stage, leaving pregnant women at risk of contracting the infection, and transmitting it to the fetus. Fetal varicella syndrome is characterized by multiple congenital malformations and is often fatal for the fetus. What’s more, adults who get chicken pox are 30 times more likely to die of complications than are children.

The introduction of live attenuated virus vaccines, such as MMR (measles/mumps/rubella), has raised questions about whether live vaccine virus could be a cofactor in causing chronic diseases like diabetes. There have been several reports in the medical literature — including New Zealand’s Drug Safety Journal and Diabetologia: Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes — investigating the possible occurrence of diabetes following live rubella and measles vaccination. Furthermore, the rubella virus has been shown to persist in the body up to several years after vaccination.

In 1996, J.B. Classen, M.D., a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health, showed that in New Zealand, initiation of a campaign to vaccinate babies for hepatitis B was followed by a 60 percent increase in Type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Classen found out more about a vaccine — diabetes connection by looking at the experience of Finland. In 1974, the country started experimenting with an HiB (Haemophilus influenza type 8) vaccine on 130,000 children aged three months to four years. Then in 1976 a second strain of bacteria was added to the pertussis vaccine. Following these changes in vaccination practices, Finland experienced a 64 percent increase in juvenile diabetes. In 1982 the live MMR vaccine was added to the country’s vaccination schedule, and six years later the HiB vaccine was incorporated.

The introduction of these new vaccines was followed by a surge in diabetes. Dr. Classen summarized his disturbing findings in the journal Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: “The net effect was the addition of three new vaccines to the zero- to four-year-old age group and a 147 percent increase in the incidence of IDDM [insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus], the addition of one new vaccine to the five- to nine-year-olds and a rise in the incidence of diabetes of 40 percent, and no new vaccines added to the ten- to 14-year-olds and a rise in the incidence of IDDM by only eight percent between the intervals 1970-1976 and 1990-1992.” Dr. Classen’s conclusion: “The rise in IDDM in the different age groups correlated with the number of vaccines given.”

Even more disturbing is the fiasco surrounding the creation of a vaccine for rotavirus — a common condition that usually causes mild and self-limiting diarrhea in children. In 1998, Wyeth Lederle Laboratories, Inc., of American Home Products, released RotaShield, a new vaccine against the infection. Since four major types of rotavirus cause disease in humans, the vaccine was tetravalent, consisting of genes from four viral strains.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommended universal use of RotaShield for healthy infants at two, four, and six months of age. A year later, though, the vaccine was removed from the market after the citation to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System of 99 cases of bowel intussusception — a serious case of obstruction in which one segment of the intestine telescopes inwardly into another — and two deaths.

Bowel intussusception often requires surgical intervention and can lead to death in the absence of prompt treatment. As soon as the CDC started warning doctors about the possibility of such a complication, cases of bowel intussusception started being reported around the country.

After the drug was approved, an estimated one million U.S. infants were vaccinated with RotaShield. At $38 per dose, the vaccine certainly could have been very profitable. But what is particularly outrageous about the history of the rotavirus vaccine is not the cost or the realization it may have caused the hospitalization and even death of some children, but the fact that as Mothering magazine reported in November 1999, “a statistically significant rate of bowel obstruction was reported in the vaccine trials that occurred before it was licensed for use.” So, what we have to ask is, Why did the FDA approve it? Why had nobody warned doctors to watch for such a complication?

As Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, wrote in a letter to Representative Dan Burton (A-Indiana), “The situation with the rotavirus vaccine may be a clue to a far more serious problem with the vaccine-approval process.” Dr. Orient went on to say that “the Surgeon General and CDC claim the vaccine’s withdrawal was prompted by the VAERS reports received through July 1999. But why was the vaccine approved in the first place …? We must ask, what did they know and when did they know it?”

Dr. Orient thinks that a reevaluation of the approval process is in order. “As increasing numbers of vaccines are being mandated,” she observes, “one has to inquire whether the rotavirus story is the tip of the iceberg. Just how rigorous is the process of safety testing? What are the guarantees of the integrity of the process? We believe the process may be tainted by conflicts of interest.” She emphasizes that “decisions about vaccines given to children should be made by parents in consultation with the child’s attending physician, not mandated by a small group of ‘experts’ with minimal accountability.”

More and more people, disturbed by what the literature shows about vaccines, are coming to that same conclusion.

If you find yourself still craving more reading material even after that round of nearly 4,000 words, you migh consider Germs in the Arsenal or even the Penthouse article on Dr. Fauci. Those have the benefit of not having been written two decades ago at least. Still, in the course of doing these legacy articles — particularly the political or scientific ones — we have found it fascinating how people keep arguing over the same thing year after year … after year.

Despite what both parties of whiny brats in Washington tell you, people have been questioning the vaccination system forever. Some people just don’t like to be poked. Go figure.

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