Vaccine Myth #2: Vaccines Don’t Work

This is the second entry in a series from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child.

Probably the best recent example of the positive impact of vaccines is the Hib vaccine, which prevents meningitis, ear infections, and other serious infections caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).

When the current Hib vaccine was introduced to this country in 1990, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis.

For decades, Hib had caused approximately 15,000 cases of meningitis and 400 to 500 deaths every year. After the current Hib vaccine was introduced, the incidence of Hib meningitis declined to fewer than fifty cases per year—typical of all widely used vaccines.

In England, it is estimated that the meningitis C vaccination has saved 500 lives since 2000 and the pneumococcal vaccine, introduced in 2006, has prevented 470 deaths or serious illness in young children.

Before routine meningitis immunization was introduced in 1999, up to 78 children a year were killed by the infection.

The incidence of disease is dramatically reduced within several years after a vaccine against a disease is introduced.

Not only do vaccines work, they work phenomenally well—and they save lives!

You can read more about vaccine myths in my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child.

Here are other blogs in this series you might find useful:

7 thoughts on “Vaccine Myth #2: Vaccines Don’t Work

  1. Dr. Walt

    Hi Katie,

    You have one of my favorite names. We named our first child Kate.

    According to the CDC, conjugate vaccines have reduced the incidence of invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae, type b (Hib), in industrialized countries and may be highly effective against Streptococcus pneumoniae.

    However, the serotype specificity of these vaccines has led to concern that their use may increase carriage of and disease from serotypes not included in the vaccine.

    However, serotype replacement has not occurred with the use of Hib vaccines but has occurred in trials of pneumococcal vaccines.

    Mathematical models can be used to elucidate these contrasting outcomes, predict the conditions under which serotype replacement is likely, interpret the results of conjugate vaccine trials, design trials that will better detect serotype replacement (if it occurs), and suggest factors to consider in choosing the serotype composition of vaccines.

    You can read more about this here: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol5no3/lipsitch.htm.

    Dr. Walt

  2. not2gullible

    Dr. Walt,

    Amazing that you don’t footnote the above info.

    There are NO double blind, definitive studies showing that vaccines actually work. Your info is from drug manufacturers and the CDC which has removed all info from their website which supports the fact that Vaccines do not work.

    Example: entire countries did not vaccinate for polio but experienced the same if not greater declines in cases than did the U.S. until Americans began using the Polio vaccines, at which point, U.S. cases increased by some 450%.

    Please do your homework and reference just ONE credible study proving Vaccines work.

  3. Dr. Walt

    Dear “not2gullible,”

    I would have used your name in the salutation, but apparently you were not willing to share it. Pity. Not to mention . . . rude.

    Anyway, I’m not real sure where to start. Maybe this . . .

    First of all, it’s hard to imagine where you are coming from. But, given your very unscientific and uninformed comments, I am not optimistic that you will be convinced regardless of what evidence I put forth.

    Nevertheless, for the reader truly seeking truth, here are some comments for consideration:

    1) You criticize me for not providing citations, and then you provide none. Does that strike you as hypocritical?

    2) And, you’re wrong. All of the citations for my series on “Vaccine Myths” are available and accessible in my books, (1) The Highly Healthy Child, (2) God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child, and (3) God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen. You might want to check those sources out.

    3) There are SO many studies I could point you too, but let me share just a couple: Hib vaccine is probably the best example of a vaccine that has been subjected to many, many, modern, state of the science efficacy trials.

    Furthermore, the vaccine has led to the virtual extinction of the disease from well-vaccinated populations.

    You can find the abstract for the first major published trial of Hib conjugate vaccine here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3306379?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum.

    You will note that this is a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial — the highest level of evidence available. And, it looks pretty definitive to me.

    4) With regard to polio vaccine, the many, many trials of efficacy trials were done years ago. But, here’s just one for your consideration. The abstract for this one is not on line, but here is the reference:

    Sabin. Status of field trials with an orally administered, live attenuated poliovirus vaccine. J Am Med Assoc. 1959 Oct 17;171:863-8.

    5) Before vaccines became widely used, infectious diseases killed thousands of children and adults each year in the United States. Here are just a few “real-life” examples:

    a) Before 1985, Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) caused serious infections in 20,000 children each year, including meningitis (12,000 cases) and pneumonia (7,500 cases). In 2002, there were 34 cases of Hib disease.
    b) In the 1964-1965 epidemic, there were 12.5 million cases of rubella (German measles). Of the 20,000 infants born with congenital rubella syndrome, 11,600 were deaf, 3,580 were blind, and 1,800 were mentally retarded as a result of the infection. There were 9 cases of rubella in 2004 and only four cases of congenital rubella between 2001 and 2004.
    c) Before 1963, more than 3 million cases of measles and 500 deaths from measles were reported each year. More than 90% of children had measles by age 15. In 2002, there were 44 cases of measles.
    d) In 1952, polio paralyzed more than 21,000 people. In 2002, there were no cases of polio in the United States.
    e) In the early 1940s, there was an average of 175,000 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) per year, resulting in the deaths of 8,000 children annually. In 2002, 9,771 cases were reported — almost all in non-immunized individuals.
    f) In the 1920s, there were 100,000 to 200,000 cases of diphtheria each year and 13,000 people died from the disease. In 2002, there was only one case of diphtheria in the United States.

    As a result of the high level of immunization in the United States these diseases have declined to near zero. (You can find the citations to these data here: http://immunizationinfo.org/parents/vaccine_effectiveness.cfm)

    6) And regarding your false contention that there are NO double blind, definitive studies showing that vaccines work, all you have to do, if you are really seeking truth, is go the the National Library of Medicine website and click onto their advance search engine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/advanced).

    Enter the subject “vaccines.” Then check the boxes for “humans,” “randomized-controlled trial,” and “ages 0-18.”

    You will find that there will only be 2,427 listed. Kinda different that the none you believe exist, eh?

    Hmm.

    Hopefully this helps.

    If you are sincere about searching for more truth on this topic, look at at this website:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines

    When you are there, look in the section where the ACIP recommendations are listed. There you will find multiple MMWR articles on each vaccine which describe the evidence for effectiveness of each one.

    Once you’ve completed your search on this topic, if you want to address the hogwash about the polio vaccine not being effective in “entire countries,” please write back . . . just this time, have the courtesy to identify yourself.

    Committed to the truth, I remain, you servant,

    Dr. Walt

  4. Burt

    Hi Dr Walt I am having trouble finding a PEER review or non drug company funded study proving that vaccines work out of the 2427 you link to. Can you please identify one good one of these studies that proves they work for all the readers to read. Thanks Burt

  5. Dr. Walt

    Hi Burt,

    Since you just asked for one, take a look at this one:

    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.Neuropsychological performance 10 years after immunization in infancy with thimerosal-containing vaccines. Pediatrics. 2009 Feb;123(2):475-82. Epidemiology Unit, Bambino Gesù Hospital, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy.

    This study was funded by the CDC.

    According to the AP coverage of this study (http://www.pharmpro.com/ShowPR.aspx?PUBCODE=021&ACCT=0000100&ISSUE=0901&RELTYPE=PR&ORIGRELTYPE=IN&PRODCODE=0000&PRODLETT=PE&CommonCount=0):

    “A new study from Italy adds to a mountain of evidence that a mercury-based preservative once used in many vaccines doesn’t hurt children, offering more reassurance to parents. …

    “Randomization sets the new study apart. The random assignment of children rules out the chance that factors other than thimerosal, such as education or poverty, caused the results. …

    “The study, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drew praise from outside experts.

    “It’s yet another well done, peer-reviewed research study that has demonstrated there is no risk of any neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with thimerosal in vaccines,” said epidemiologist Jennifer Pinto-Martin of the University of Pennsylvania.

    “This becomes the fourth study to look for subtle signs of mercury toxicity and show the answer was ‘no,'” said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the author of a book on autism research and the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine.

    “Tozzi said comparing children with no exposure to thimerosal could have improved the study. ‘However, if thimerosal were a cause of harm, it is likely that this effect would increase with the administered dose,’ he said.”

    It’s studies like this one that sunk the anti-vaccine movement’s boat in front of the U.S. Court of Claims. You can read my blog about this ruling here (http://www.drwalt.com/blog/2009/02/12/special-court-rules-against-families-who-claim-vaccines-caused-autism/).

    Basically, this special court ruled rather dramatically against three sets of parents with autistic children, saying that vaccines are absolutely not to blame for their children’s neurological disorder (autism).

    The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and their ruling backs years of science and mountains of evidence from around the world that found no risk for either the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, having any role in autism or ASD.

    More than 5,000 claims were filed with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children.

    To win, the parents and their attorneys only had to show that it was more likely than not that the autism symptoms were directly related to the measles-mumps-rubella shots they received.

    They did NOT have to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt – which is the usual standard in court cases.

    Furthermore, only the best cases, those most likely to uphold the accusation that vaccines caused autism were considered. And, not even the strongest cases held any water.

    Hope this helps.

    Dr. Walt

  6. Dr. Walt

    Burt,

    If you don’t like the one study I reference above, there are many, many more.

    Look at this page: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/ACIP-list.htm

    Scroll down the page to the vaccine-specific recommendations.

    Then when you get into the individual vaccine recommendation document for the vaccine you are interested in, there is a list of references (tons of them) at the end of the document.

    In the text of the document, you can read past the description of the disease and epidemiology, and then it starts to talk about the vaccine itself — safety, efficacy, cost-effectiveness, etc.

    Each of these assertions will be referenced by number, and you can then go to the end of the document and those studies will be there under the corresponding reference number.

    ALL of the referenced studies are peer-reviewed. ALL of them Hundreds and hundreds (perhaps, thousands) of them.

    Many are CDC or NIH funded (NOT drug company funded).

    Of course, many ARE drug company funded, and if you want to discuss drug funding bias, let me know. I’d be happy to do so.

    Hope this helps.

    Dr. Walt

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