Faith in the magical power of drugs often blunts the critical senses, and comes close at times to mass hysteria, involving scientists and laymen alike. Men want miracles as much today as in the past. If they do not join one of the newer cults, they satisfy this need by worshiping at the altar of modern science. This faith in the magical power of drugs is not new. It helped to give medicine the authority of a priesthood and to recreate the glamour of ancient mysteries.

Richard Moskowitz, M. D. – The Case Against Immunizations

For the past ten years or so, I have felt a deep and growing compunction against giving routine vaccinations to children. It began with the fundamental belief that people have the right to make that choice for themselves.

But eventually the day came when I could no longer bring myself to give the shots, even when the parents wished me to. I have always believed that the attempt to eradicate entire microbial species from the biosphere must inevitably upset the balance of Nature in fundamental ways that we can as yet scarcely imagine. Such concerns loom ever larger as new vaccines continue to be developed, seemingly for no better reason than that we have the technical capacity to make them, and thereby to demonstrate our right and power as a civilization to manipulate the evolutionary process itself.

Purely from the viewpoint of our own species, even if we could be sure that the vaccines were harmless, the fact remains that they are compulsory, that all children are required to undergo them, without sensitivity or proper regard for basic differences in individual susceptibility, to say nothing of the values and wishes of the parents and the children themselves.

Most people can readily accept the fact that, from time to time, certain laws may be necessary for the public good that some of us strongly disagree with. But the issue in this case involves nothing less than the introduction of foreign proteins or even live viruses into the bloodstream of entire populations. For that reason alone, the public is surely entitled to convincing proof, beyond any reasonable doubt, that artificial immunization is in fact a safe and effective procedure, in no way injurious to health, and that the threat of the corresponding natural diseases remains sufficiently clear and urgent to warrant the mass inoculation of everyone, even against their will if necessary.

Unfortunately, such proof has never been given; and even if it could be, continuing to employ vaccines against diseases that are no longer prevalent or dangerous hardly qualifies as an emergency.

Finally, even if there were such an emergency, and artificial immunization could be shown to be an appropriate response to it, the decision would remain at bottom a political one, involving issues of public health and safety that are far too important to be settled by any purely scientific or technical criteria, or indeed by any criteria less authoritative than the clearly articulated sense of the community about to be subjected to it.

For all of these reasons, I want to present the case against routine immunization as clearly and forcefully as I can. What I have to say is not quite a formal theory capable of rigorous proof or disproof. It is simply an attempt to explain my own experience, a nexus of interrelated facts, observations, reflections, and hypotheses, which taken together are more or less coherent and plausible and make intuitive sense to me. I offer them to the public in large part because the growing refusal of some parents to vaccinate their children is so seldom articulated or taken seriously. The fact is that we have been taught to accept vaccination as a kind of involuntary Communion, a sacrament of our participation in the unrestricted growth of scientific and industrial technology, utterly heedless of the long-term consequences to the health of our own species, let alone to the balance of Nature as a whole. For that reason alone, the other side of the case urgently needs to be heard.

1.   Are the Vaccines Effective?

There is widespread agreement that the time period since the common vaccines were introduced has seen a remarkable decline in the corresponding natural infections; but the usual assumption that the decline is attributable to the vaccines remains unproven, and continues to be seriously questioned by eminent authorities in the field. The incidence and severity of whooping cough, for example, had already begun to decline precipitously long before the pertussis vaccine was introduced, [1] a fact which led the epidemiologist C. C. Dauer to remark, as far back as 1943:

If the mortality [from pertussis] continues to decline at the same rate during the next 15 years, it will be extremely difficult to show statistically that [pertussis immunization] had any effect in reducing mortality from whooping cough. [2]

Much the same is true not only of diphtheria and tetanus, but also of TB, cholera, typhus, typhoid, and other common scourges of a bygone era, which began to disappear toward the end of the Nineteenth Century, largely in response to improvements in public health and sanitation, but in any case long before antibiotics, vaccines, or any specific medical measures designed to eradicate them. [3]

Reflections such as these led the great microbiologist René Dubos to observe that microbial diseases have their own natural history, independent of drugs and vaccines, in which asymptomatic infection and symbiosis are much more common than overt disease:

It is barely recognized, but nevertheless true, that animals and plants, as well as men, can live peacefully with their most notorious microbial enemies. The world is obsessed by the fact that poliomyelitis can kill and maim several thousand unfortunate victims every year. But more extraordinary is the fact that millions upon millions of young people become infected by polio viruses, yet suffer no harm from the infection. The dramatic episodes of conflict between men and microbes are what strike the mind. What is less readily apprehended is the more common fact that infection can occur without producing disease. [4]

Yet how the vaccines actually accomplish these changes is not nearly as well understood as most people like to think it is. The disturbing possibility that they act in some other way than by producing a genuine immunity is suggested by the fact that the corresponding natural diseases have continued to break out, even in highly immunized populations, and that in such cases the observed differences in incidence and severity between immunized and non-immunized populations have often been much less dramatic than expected, and in some cases not measurably significant at all.

In a recent British outbreak of whooping cough, for example, even fully-immunized children contracted the disease in large numbers, and their rates of serious complications and death were not reduced significantly. [5] In another recent outbreak, 46 of the 85 fully-immunized children studied eventually contracted the disease. [6]

In 1977, 34 new cases of measles were reported on the UCLA campus, among a population that was supposedly 91% immune, according to careful serological testing. [7] In 1981, another 20 cases were reported in the area of Pecos, New Mexico within a few-month period, and 75% of them had been fully immunized, some quite recently. [8] A survey of sixth-graders in a well-immunized urban area similarly revealed that about 15% of this age group are still susceptible to rubella, a figure essentially identical with that of the pre-vaccine era. [9]

Finally, while the incidence of measles has dropped sharply, from about 400,000 cases annually in the early 1960’s to about 30,000 by 1974-76, the death rate has remained exactly the same, [10] while among adolescents and young adults, the group with the highest incidence at present, the risk of pneumonia and liver abnormalities has increased quite substantially, to well over 3% and 20%, respectively. [11]

The simplest explanation for these discrepancies would be to stipulate that vaccines confer at most partial and temporary immunity, which sounds reasonable enough, inasmuch as they consist of either live viruses, rendered less virulent by serial passage in tissue culture, or bacteria and bacterial products that have been killed by heat and/or chemical adjuvants, such that they can still elicit an antibody response without initiating a full-blown disease. In other words, the vaccine is a “trick,” in the sense that it simulates the true or natural immunity developed in the course of recovering from the natural disease, and it is therefore reasonable to expect that such artificial immunity will in fact “wear off” in time, and even require additional “booster” doses at regular intervals throughout life to maintain peak effectiveness.

Such an explanation would be disturbing enough to most people. Indeed, the basic fallacy in it is already evident in the fact that there is no way to know how long this partial, temporary immunity will last in any given individual, or how often it will need to be restimulated, since the answers to these questions presumably depend on the same individual variables that would have determined whether and how severely the same person, if unvaccinated, would have contracted the disease in the first place. In any case, a number of other observations suggest equally strongly that this simple explanation cannot be the correct one.

In the first place, one careful study has shown that when a person vaccinated against the measles again becomes susceptible to it, even repeated booster doses will have little or no long-lasting effect. [12]

In the second place, the vaccines do not act merely by producing pale or mild copies of the original disease; they also commonly produce a variety of symptoms of their own, which in some cases may be more serious than the disease, involving deeper structures, more vital organs, and less of a tendency to resolve themselves spontaneously, as well as being typically more difficult to recognize.

Thus in a recent outbreak of mumps in supposedly immune schoolchildren, several developed atypical symptoms, such as anorexia, vomiting, and erythematous rashes, but no parotid involvement, and hence could not be diagnosed without extensive serological testing to rule out other concurrent diseases. [13] The syndrome of “atypical measles” can be equally difficult to diagnose, even when it is thought of, [14] which suggests that it may not seldom be overlooked entirely. In some cases, atypical measles can be much more severe than the regular kind, with pneumonia, petechiæ, edema, and severe pain, [15] and likewise often goes unsuspected.

In any case, it seems virtually certain that other vaccine-related syndromes will be described and identified, if only we take the trouble to look for them, and that the ones we are aware of so far represent only a very small part of the problem. But even these few make it less and less plausible to assume that vaccines produce a normal, healthy immunity that lasts for some time but then wears off, leaving the patient miraculously unharmed and unaffected by the experience.

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