An example of how alternate vaccine schedules endanger children

28 Jul

With apologies–this post has nothing to do with autism except in pointing out where groups like Generation Rescue give out bad advice.

There is an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in California right now. It looks to be a major outbreak, possibly the largest in fifty years–since vaccination was implemented.

Generation Rescue has a number of alternative vaccine schedules that they promote on their website. Their “favorite” schedule was created by a doctor named Donald Miller. Let’s look at it, shall we:

In summary, this is a vaccination schedule that I would recommend:

1. No vaccinations until a child is two years old.
2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
3. No live virus vaccines (except for smallpox, should it recur).
4. These vaccines, to be given one at a time, every six months, beginning at age 2:
1. Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
2. Diphtheria
3. Tetanus
4. Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)

*No vaccinations until a child is two years old.* That’s right, don’t vaccinate infants. The deaths in California so far are for children under the age of 6. Dr. Miller’s schedule, the one most recommended by Generation Rescue, would leave children vulnerable to pertussis until at least age 2.

This is just plain dangerous advice.

It isn’t even well thought out. Not in the least. The reason is found in the FDA list of vaccines licensed in the U.S.. You can take a look or you can take my word for it: there is no single pertussis vaccine available.

It is impossible to follow Generation Rescue’s favorite vaccine schedule, which calls for a single pertussis vaccine to be given after age 2.

Even Dr. Sears acknowledges that (a) pertussis is a vital vaccine to give to infants and (b) you can’t get pertussis as a single vaccine. (also, (c) he sees rotavirus as an “immediate danger” to babies and children, contrary to the position of Generation Rescue).

Diseases that don’t exist in the U.S. or that don’t occur during infancy in the U.S. (so even though they can be very severe, a child has almost no risk of catching it in the U.S.) that could be safely delayed are polio, Hep B, tetanus, and diphtheria (although to get a pertussis vaccine, tetanus and diphtheria have to come along with it).

Diseases that DO pose an immediate danger to babies and children are HIB and PC meningitis, Rotavitus, and Pertussis. So, I would rather children stay on time with those four vaccines and delay the flu shots (if you feel comfortable delaying flu shots).

The whooping cough epidemic is getting a lot of coverage in the press. Just today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman of the Today Show discussed this:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Dr. Snyderman has a lot of good points, including the fact that there are immune compromised people in the community are at risk from the spread of diseases like pertussis.

Dr. Snyderman also makes a mistake in the interview. She claims that children died of measles in the U.S. last year. Watch for groups like the Age of Autism to ignore all the facts and concentrate on that mistake.

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17 Responses to “An example of how alternate vaccine schedules endanger children”

  1. ANB July 28, 2010 at 22:56 #

    Great post. There is a diptheria and pertussis vaccine, which I had a few months back when I asked for a pertussis booster. I didn’t walk backwards or speak with an Aussie accent afterwards, so I’m assuming it worked.

  2. Catherina July 29, 2010 at 09:29 #

    To my knowledge, there is no diphtheria-pertussis vaccine. There is a diphtheria-tetanus vaccine, but since the adult dip-tet-pertussis vaccine was licensed, everyone should really be getting that. Do you have a brand name or acronym for which vaccine you got, ANB?

  3. EnoughAlready July 29, 2010 at 15:48 #

    The whooping cough vaccine is not 100% effective. In fact it is closer to 0% effective. Last year in New Jersey they had multiple outbreaks of pertussis (Whooping Cough) in elementary schools. Kids in elementary schools have had 5 shots to protect them from this. Since New Jersey is the home to many vaccine manufacturers, they have one of the most stringent vaccine policies in the country. It was determined that 100% of the kids who came down with pertussis were properly vaccinated. A cynic might say this vaccine does not even work. Would you still take the risk of seizures or brain injury knowing this fact? Not me. Your article brings back memories of the fear mongering H1N1 p(l)andemic. Any chance you will correct your missinformation?

  4. Orange Lantern July 29, 2010 at 16:34 #

    EnoughAlready,

    It’s 60-90% effective, depending on the study, which is closer to 100 than 0. A recent study during an outbreak in Colorado showed that children were 23 times more likely to contract pertussis if they were unvaccinated.

    However, because it is not 100% effective, in a well-vaccinated population, you would expect there to be some children who come down with pertussis when they are vaccinated.

    Don’t worry about correcting your own misinformation. I’m happy to do it for you.

  5. Dawn July 29, 2010 at 18:24 #

    EnoughAlready: So, put the REST of the story in your comment. 9 children were from 1 town. All were 7 years of age or older.

    We know that protection wanes over time and boosters need to be given. We also know that 1)vaccination is NO GUARANTEE that people won’t get pertussis and 2)those who were vaccinated tend to have less severe cases and 3)even getting the disease does not confer lifetime immunity.

    You also didn’t add these parts, from the Hunterdon NJ Health Dept press release:

    Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits that may well be followed by whooping noises, vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching one’s breath. Older children, adults, and very young infants may not exhibit the characteristic whoop sound. Coughing often intensifies at night, and cough medicines usually do not provide adequate relief. Symptoms and complications of pertussis generally are less apparent among older children and adults.

    Serious complications including pneumonia can result among all age groups due to pertussis infection. Although deaths related to pertussis are rare, they do occur, especially among young infants who have not yet started or completed the pertussis vaccinations. While up to approximately 30 percent of persons with pertussis require hospitalization, about 70 percent of these are infants under six months of age…</i

    Persons diagnosed with pertussis must take the full course of antibiotics prescribed by their physician and remain isolated until they have completed five days of treatment in order to limit potential spread of the disease.

    Maybe you have time to stay home from work for 5 days with your child. Maybe you have a nanny, or family, or whatever. There are many people who can’t afford 5 days of isolation nor the full course of antibiotics or hospital bills. For those people, the vaccine is MUCH cheaper.

  6. Science Mom July 30, 2010 at 16:14 #

    Sullivan,

    The deaths in California so far are for children under the age of 6.

    You may wish to change this to reflect that it has been 6 infants, at least 5 of who were under the age of 3 months that have died of pertussis. I could never understand the recommendation to begin vaccination at 2 years old for diseases that pose such a threat to infants. Completely irresponsible.

    • Kathryn February 12, 2013 at 20:38 #

      But dtap is not given to infants until they are 2 or 3 months old, even when the cdc schedule is followed.

  7. James Cole July 30, 2010 at 20:15 #

    Sadly, it’s now been reported that seven children have died from whooping cough in California.

  8. randi November 4, 2013 at 18:30 #

    Well look at it this way as an adult,you prob only have a hand full of these vaccines. I bet out of the 63 that is recommend you have about 10. You are not protected. And if your kids vaccinated why are you worried about un vaxed kids? Its non of your business. Even vaxed kids go to school sick because of parents who wont keep there sick child home. If every parent vaxed child or not kept there child home while sick, it would be better. As a child of the 80s and not even getting half of these vax, I could tell you that I have not been sick with such stuff that kids get now. Look at how many kids have learning disability’s and immune disorders and you think the fact that we are putting so much mercury in them before 2 ( 23 vaccines) has nothing to do with it? Do your research, im sure the government cares more about your child then money.

  9. superultrafast December 20, 2013 at 21:11 #

    I was very happy to find this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff in your site.

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