A User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule
by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD
Vaccination is a controversial subject, and many parents worry about
subjecting their children to them. Readers of my article "Mercury on the
Mind," about vaccines and dental amalgams, have asked what vaccines I would
recommend their children receive. This article addresses that question.
In the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule put out by the CDC
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 12 vaccines are given to
children before they reach the age of two. Providers inject them against
hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough),
polio, pneumococcal infections, Hemophilus influenzae type b infections,
measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), chickenpox, and influenza (the
Infectious disease was the leading cause of death in children 100 years
ago, with diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, and pertussis accounting for
most them. Today the leading causes of death in children less than five
years of age are accidents, genetic abnormalities, developmental disorders,
sudden infant death syndrome, and cancer. A basic tenet of modern medicine
is that vaccines are the reason. There is growing evidence that this is so,
but perhaps not quite in the way conventional medical wisdom would have it.
A 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC decides
which vaccines should be on the Childhood Immunization Schedule. It calls
for one vaccine, against hepatitis B, to be given on the day of birth; 7
vaccines at two months; 6 more (including booster shots) at four months;
and as many as 8 vaccines on the six month well-baby visit. Before a child
reaches the age of two he or she will have received 32 vaccinations on this
schedule, including four doses each of vaccines for Hemophilus influenzae
type b infections, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis - all of them given
during the first 12 months of life. Seven vaccines injected into a 13 lb.
two-month old infant are equivalent to 70 doses in a 130 lb. adult.
The schedule states, "Your child can safely receive all vaccines
recommended for a particular age during one visit." Public health
officials, however, have not proven that it is indeed safe to inject this
many vaccines into infants. What's more, they cannot explain why,
concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an
explosion of neurologic and immune system disorders in our nation's
Fifty years ago, when the immunization schedule contained only four
vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and smallpox), autism was
virtually unknown. First discovered in 1943, this most devastating malady
in what is now a spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders afflicted
less than 1 in 10,000 children. Today, one in every 68 American families
has an autistic child. Other, less severe developmental disorders, rarely
seen before the vaccine era, have also reached epidemic proportions. Four
million American children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
One in six American children are now classified as "Learning Disabled."
Our children are also experiencing an epidemic of autoimmune disorders -
Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and bowel disorders. There
has been a 17-fold increase in Type I diabetes, from 1 in 7,100 children in
the 1950s to 1 in 400 now. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis afflicts 300,000
American children. Twenty-five years ago this disease was so rare that
public health officials did not keep any statistics on it. There has been a
4-fold increase in asthma, and bowel disorders in children are much more
common now than they were 50 years ago.
Health officials consider a vaccine to be safe if no bad reactions - like
seizures, intestinal obstruction, or anaphylaxis - occur acutely. The CDC
has not done any studies to assess the long-term effects of its
immunization schedule. To do that one must conduct a randomized controlled
trial, the lynchpin of evidenced-based medicine, where one group of
children is vaccinated on the CDC's schedule and a control group is not
vaccinated. Investigators then follow the two groups for a number of years
(not just three to four weeks, as has been done in vaccine safety studies).
Concerns that vaccinations in infants cause chronic neurologic and immune
system disorders would be put to rest, and their safety certified, if the
number of children who develop these diseases is the same in both groups.
No such studies have been done, so vaccine proponents cannot say that
vaccines are indeed as safe as they think they are. (One proponent,
interviewed by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes, who has financial ties to the
vaccine industry that he did not disclose, claims that vaccines "have a
better safety record than vitamins." He neglected to mention that the U.S.
government has paid out more than $1.5 billion in its Vaccine Injury
Compensation Program to families of children who have been injured or
killed by vaccines.)
There is a growing body of evidence that implicates vaccines as a causative
factor in the deteriorating health of children. The hypothesis that
vaccines cause neurologic and immune system disorders is a legitimate one -
vaccines given in multiple doses, close together, to very young children
following the CDC's Immunization Schedule. This hypothesis should be tested
by a large-scale, long-term randomized controlled trial.
Rather than obediently following the government's schedule, there is now
sufficient evidence, grounded in good science, to justify adopting a more
user-friendly vaccination schedule, one which is in the best interests of
the individual as opposed to what planners judge best for society as a
New knowledge in neuroimmunology (the study of how the brain's immune
system works) raises serious questions about the wisdom of
injectingvaccines in children less than two years of age.
The brain has its own specialized immune system, separate from that of the
rest of the body. When a person is vaccinated, its specialized immune
cells, the microglia, become activated (the blood-brain barrier
notwithstanding). Multiple vaccinations spaced close together
over-stimulate the microglia, causing them to release a variety of toxic
elements - cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins, proteases, complement, free
radicals - that damage brain cells and their synaptic connections.
Researchers call the damage caused by these toxic substances "bystander
injury." (Pediatricians and other professional colleagues who question this
should read these two reviews by the neurosurgeon Russell L. Blaylock:
"Interaction of Cytokines, Excitotoxins, Reactive Nitrogen and Oxygen
Species in Autism Spectrum Disorders," in the Journal of the American
Nutraceutical Association [JANA 2003;6(4):21-35], with 167 references. And
"Chronic Microglial Activation and Excitotoxicity Secondary to Excessive
Immune Stimulation: Possible Factors in Gulf War Syndrome and Autism," in
the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons [JAPS 2004;9(2):46-52],
posted online, with 54 references.)
In humans, the most rapid period of brain development begins in the third
trimester and continues over the first two years of extra uterine life. (By
then brain development is 80 percent complete.) Until randomized controlled
trials demonstrate the safety of giving vaccines during this time of life,
it would be prudent not to give any vaccinations to children until they are
two years old. From a risk-benefit perspective, there is growing evidence
that the risk of neurologic and autoimmune diseases from vaccinations
outweigh the benefits of avoiding the childhood infections that they
prevent. An exception is hepatitis B vaccine for infants whose mothers test
positive for this disease.
A user-friendly vaccination schedule prohibits any vaccines that contain
thimerosal, which is 50 percent mercury. Flu vaccines contain thimerosal,
which is reason enough to avoid them. (See my article "Mercury on the Mind"
for more on this subject.)
One should also avoid vaccines that contain live viruses. This includes the
combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; chickenpox (varicella)
vaccine, and the live-virus polio (Sabin) vaccine. This stricture would not
apply to the smallpox vaccine (also a live-virus one), if a
terrorist-instigated outbreak of smallpox should occur.
Finally, a user-friendly vaccination schedule requires that vaccinations,
after the age of two, be given no more than once every six months, one at a
time, in order to allow the immune system sufficient time to recover and
stabilize between shots.
Which vaccines should be put on this schedule (among those that do not
contain live viruses or thimerosal) is not entirely clear. The top four
would be the pertussis (acelluar - aP - not whole cell), diphtheria (D),
and tetanus (T) vaccines - given separately (not together, as is usually
the case); and the Salk polio vaccine, with an inactivated (dead) virus,
one that is cultured in human cells, not monkey kidney cells. Perhaps it
should only contain these four vaccines. A good case can be made (for
example, see Gary Null's Vaccines: A Second Opinion) for avoiding the three
other newer vaccines on the CDC's schedule - the hepatitis B, pneumococcal
conjugate (PCV7), and Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines.
Your pediatrician will not like this schedule. They are taught in medical
school and residency training that childhood immunizations are essential to
public health. As one pediatrician puts it, "Achieving adequate and timely
vaccination of young children is the single most valuable thing a doctor
can do for a patient." They do not question what their professors teach
them, nor are they inclined to critically examine studies in Pediatrics and
the New England Journal of Medicine that tell them vaccines are safe.
There were 482,000 cases of measles in the U.S in 1962, the year before a
vaccine for this disease became available. Now, with all fifty states
requiring that children be vaccinated against measles in order to attend
school, there were only 56 cases of measles in a population of 290 million
people in 2003.
These facts are well known and proudly cited by vaccine proponents. What is
less known, and doctors are not taught, is that the death rate for measles
declined 97.7 percent during the first 60 years of the 20th century. The
mortality rate was 133 deaths per million people in the U.S. in 1900, and
had dropped to 0.3 deaths per million by 1960. Measles caused less than 100
deaths a year in the U.S. before there was a vaccine for this disease (in
1963). The same thing happened with diphtheria and pertussis. Mortality
rates dropped more than 90 percent in the early 20th century before
vaccines for these diseases were introduced. This was due to better
nutrition (with rapid delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables to cities and
refrigeration), cleaner water, and improved sanitation (removing trash from
the streets and better sewage systems), not to vaccines. The World Health
Organization promotes mass vaccination, but knowing these facts states,
"The best vaccine against common infectious diseases is an adequate diet" -
fortified, one might add, with vitamin A.
Since the measles vaccine came into widespread use in this country this
disease has virtually disappeared, and it has prevented 100 deaths a year.
But now, instead, several thousand normally developing children become
autistic after receiving their MMR shot. Termed "regressive autism," it
accounts for about 30 percent of the 10,000 to 20,000 children who are
diagnosed with autism in this country each year.
To put to rest concerns that MMR vaccination might cause autism (in a small
percentage of children), the New England Journal of Medicine, in
2002,published a population-based study from Denmark, where its authors
concluded, "This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that
MMR vaccination causes autism." The NEJM did not disclose that the "Statens
Serum Institut," where three of the authors work, is a for-profit vaccine
manufacturer, Denmark's largest, or that four other authors have financial
ties to this company. Only one of the eight authors is not associated with
this institute, and the CDC employs him. The study compares the prevalence
of autism in 440,000 MMR vaccinated and 97,000 unvaccinated children in
Denmark born in the 1990s. A statistical slight-of-hand in age adjustment
makes the study show no causal effect; but when unmasked and reformatted,
the data actually shows a statistically significant association between MMR
vaccine and autism (as Carol Stott and her coauthors make clear in "MMR and
Autism in Perspective: the Denmark Story," in the Fall 2004 Journal of
American Physicians and Surgeons, posted online).
Pediatrics and the Journal of the American Medical Association also have
published studies like this supporting U.S. vaccine policy, written by
authors with similar, undisclosed conflicts of interest. Looking elsewhere,
however, one comes across a number of disquieting facts about vaccines.
Investigators have found, for example, live measles virus in the cerebral
spinal fluid in children who become autistic after MMR vaccination.
Antibodies to measles virus are elevated in children with autism but not in
normal kids, suggesting that virus-induced autoimmunity may play a causal
role. A study published in Neurology this year implicates hepatitis B
vaccine as a causative factor in multiple sclerosis.
A communitarian ethic increasingly governs health care in the U.S. It
places a greater value on the health of the community, on society as a
whole, than on the health of particular individuals. Public health
officials have put together a vaccination schedule designed to eliminate
infectious diseases to which the population is prey. These officials
recognize that these vaccines will harm a small percentage of (genetically
susceptible) individuals, but it is for the common good. The communitarian
code posits that it is morally acceptable, if necessary, to sacrifice a few
for the good of the many. Or as one observer more bluntly puts it,
"Individual sheep can be sheared and slaughtered if it is for the welfare
of their flock."
In this framework, health care providers become agents of the state charged
with injecting vaccines into people that the central planners deem
necessary. Physicians who remain true to their Hippocratic Oath and place
the interests of their patient above that of the herd are considered to be
out of step with the times, if not an anachronism.
Like central planners everywhere, the CDC's Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices (ACIP) promulgates a self-serving, one-size-fits-all
vaccine policy. Members of this committee have ties to vaccine makers, such
that the CDC must grant them waivers from statutory conflict of interest
rules. Even so, and with little evidence to show that it is safe to subject
young children to the ACIP's crowded immunization schedule, states
nevertheless dutifully make its vaccine recommendations compulsory.
All 50 states require children to be immunized against measles, diphtheria,
Hemophilus influenzae type b, polio, and rubella in order to enroll in day
care and/or public school. Forty-nine states also require vaccination
against tetanus; 47, against hepatitis B and mumps; and 43 states now
require vaccination against chickenpox. In order to shield themselves from
any liability for making vaccinations compulsory, all states grant
religious and medical exemptions. Eighteen states, in addition, allow a
philosophical exemption. Some require only a letter from a parent and
others, from a physician or church leader. (To see the exemptions allowed
in your state, their wording and requirements, click here.)
Doctors who conclude that the risks of the government's immunization
schedule outweigh its benefits are placed in a difficult position. If they
counsel parents not to have their children follow it, health care plans,
which track vaccine compliance as a measure of "quality," will find them
wanting. And if their patient should contract and develop complications
from the disease the vaccine would have prevented they may find themselves
confronting a lawsuit. If a child becomes autistic following a vaccination,
however, the doctor is protected from any liability because the government
requires it and the child's parents, if they had chosen to do so, could
have obtained an exemption. (Anti-vaccine advocates call developing autism,
asthma, and Type I diabetes after vaccinations "vaccination roulette.")
Parents should have the freedom to select whatever vaccination schedule
they want their children to follow, especially since health care providers
and the government (except via its Vaccine Injury Compensation Program)
cannot be held accountable for any adverse outcomes that might occur. But
if parents elect to not follow the CDC's immunization schedule, delaying
some vaccinations, refusing others, or avoiding them altogether, then they
must accept the risk that their child might contract the disease that the
vaccine against it most likely would have prevented.
One consideration, which vaccine proponents do not address, is this: Could
contracting childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox
play a constructive role in the maturation of a person's immune system? Or,
to put it another way, does removing natural infection from human
experience have any adverse consequences?
Our species' immune system - a one-trillion-cell army that patrols our
(100-trillion-cell) body - serves two main purposes. It destroys foreign
invaders - viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. And it destroys aberrant
cells in the body that run amuck and cause cancer. Behind the barricades of
skin and mucosa, our innate immune system (composed of phagocytes, natural
killer cells, and the 20-protein complement system), which all animals
have, is the body's first line of defense. It reacts to invaders lightening
fast and indiscriminately, but it is not very good at eliminating viruses
and cancerous cells. Vertebrates have evolved a second line of defense -
the adaptive immune system. It targets specific viruses and bacteria and
has better artillery for eliminating cancerous cells. This system matures
during childhood, and it has a cellular (Th1) and humoral (Th2) component
(Th = helper T cell).
The viruses that cause measles, mumps, and chickenpox have infected
countless generations of humans, akin to a right of passage for each member
of our species. Contracting these diseases strengthens both parts of the
adaptive immune system (Th1 and Th2 ). Mothers who have had measles, mumps,
and chickenpox transfer antibodies against them to their babies in utero,
which protect them during the first year of life from contracting these
infections. Vaccinations do not have the same effect on the immune system
as naturally acquired diseases do. They stimulate predominantly the Th2
part of this system and not Th1. (Over-stimulation of Th2 causes autoimmune
diseases.) The cellular Th1 side thwarts cancer, and if it does not become
fully developed in childhood a person can be more prone to have cancer as
an adult. Women who had mumps during childhood, for example, are found to
be less likely to have ovarian cancer than women who did not have this
infection. (This study was published in Cancer.) Could the fact that cancer
has become a leading cause of death in children be a result of
vaccinations? Only a randomized controlled trial can conclusively answer
With rare exception, a well-nourished child who contracts measles will
recover smoothly from the infection. Fifty years ago almost all children in
the U.S. had measles. And after contracting this disease, one has life-long
immunity to it. The protection provided by vaccination is temporary. Adults
who contract measles (when the protective effects of the vaccine wears off)
are much more likely to have neurological, testicular, and ovarian
complications. Likewise, rubella is a benign disease in children, but if a
woman acquires it during pregnancy fetal malformations may develop. One can
argue, heretical as such an argument may be, that it would be better to let
children have measles, at an age when the infection helps the adaptive
immune system mature in a balanced Th1/Th2 fashion and complications from
this disease are minimal, rather than vaccinate them against this disease
(especially considering the risks of vaccination).
Pertussis and Diphtheria are a different matter. These diseases are more
virulent. Children who contract whooping cough (pertussis) can be
incapacitated for more than a month. Polio can be devastating in
susceptible individuals. And no one wants to get tetanus (lockjaw). A
user-friendly vaccination schedule would include vaccines against these diseases.
Whatever vaccination schedule one chooses, mothers should breast-feed their
child for as long as possible - a year or more. Failing that, add Omega-3
fatty acids, especially DHA (docosahexanoic acid), to the child's formula.
In summary, this is a vaccination schedule that I would recommend:
No vaccinations until a child is two years old.
No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
No live virus vaccines (except for smallpox, should it recur).
These vaccines, to be given one at a time, every six months, beginning at
Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)
American children are the most highly vaccinated kids in the world. This
schedule is an alternative to the one that rules our "vaccine nation" (as
the Village Voice terms it). In contrast to the CDC's immunization
schedule, it is user-friendly.
December 10, 2004
Donald Miller (send him mail) is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery
at the University of Washington in Seattle and a member of Doctors for
Disaster Preparednessand writes articles on a variety of subjects for
LewRockwell.com, including bioterrorism.His web site is
Copyright C 2004 LewRockwell.com
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