Letter writer: Vaccine concerns worth a hearing

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Your recent health report on vaccination relied on a few voices and ignored certain realities about vaccines [“Community Immunity: Vaccinations Prevent Disease and Build ‘Herd Immunity,”’ Jan. 25, Xpress]. I vaccinated my children, but I now know aspects of our vaccine regimen I wish I knew when my children were young. It is time to consider some other facts.

Parents need to know that their right to sue vaccine manufacturers was eliminated in 1986 and that any parent who has a child with an adverse reaction to a vaccine has to go to a federal court and endure an arduous, lengthy experience to receive compensation. There are serious side effects to vaccines, and they are included in the vaccine inserts. In fact, this court has paid out over $3 billion in damages to families since 1986.

Any objective report on vaccines should also mention some of the ingredients that are being injected into our children’s bloodstream. Let’s take one ingredient — aluminum. At age 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention schedule has our children taking 68 vaccines with thousands of micrograms of aluminum. The FDA recommended dose of aluminum without causing long-term damage is 10-25 micrograms.

The movie Vaxxed that recently played at our local library while touring the country revealed that there is a CDC whistleblower who confessed to being a part of cooking the books on his measles, mumps and rubella studies to avoid revealing the damaging outcomes of the MMR vaccine on the very young, particularly young black males. This is distressing to say the least.

Most doctors and health advocates are quick to dismiss the ever-increasing number of vaccines with toxic ingredients given to newborns and young children, yet are simultaneously incurious about uncovering the cause of skyrocketing neurodevelopmental problems affecting our children. Unknowingly or knowingly, they are teaming with a multibillion [dollar] industry which is completely shielded from court liability. Is this industry really the pure voice for healthy outcomes in this country that your article implied?

There are plenty examples of on the internet of educated parents and doctors who are raising concerns, including, most recently, Robert De Niro and Robert F Kennedy Jr. They are worth a hearing.

— Christiana Dillingham

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

14 thoughts on “Letter writer: Vaccine concerns worth a hearing

  1. dyfed

    Literally fifteen seconds of Google proves that the FDA has extensively studied aluminum in vaccinations and proven that the maximum possible dose of aluminum from multiple vaccinations is far lower than the lowest level necessary to cause harm in infants.

    Robert De Niro and RFK Jr., regardless of their celebrity, are neither educated in pathology and toxicity, nor are they doctors.

    The film VAXXED is infamous in scientific circles for its paranoid anti-vaccination propaganda. It is irresponsible and ignorant.

    I support the writer’s right to free speech, and I believe that even foolishness should be allowed in the public forum. Nevertheless, this is foolishness and should be treated as such.

    • Bright

      Obviously you have not had a child who had neurological damage directly after a vaccine.

    • Diana LaSpada

      Fifteen seconds on Google will get you whatever the CDC wants you to see. You have to go deeper. But the CDC relies on the quick search mentality. I wonder if you have read the letter dated August 29, 2016 from scientists working at the CDC which was published in The Hill last fall. The letter is an internal attack on deep and massive corruption at the CDC. Misrepresentation, lies, fraud, malfeasance, cover-ups and criminal behavior at the very highest levels of that institution have been going on at the deadly expense of public health and to the monetary advantage of corporate interests for years if not decades. The FDA is complicit along with the Dept of Health and Human Services. That scrupulous and honorable scientists have to write anonymously, and that Ms. Dillingham, who had her name withheld from her published letter this week, should fear for their reputations, their livelihood and their personal welfare is ample evidence that the Great Halls of Science have replaced the Great Halls of the Medieval Catholic Church as public enemy number one. Those at the top may not be able to flay anyone alive these days but they destroy lives just the same. And this is exactly what you have tried to do in your comment: tarnish and humiliate – they are not doctors – they are paranoid – foolishness. Things have gone very dark in the field of enlightenment.

  2. luther blissett

    “Is this industry really the pure voice for healthy outcomes in this country that your article implied?”

    No industry is perfect. But if the healthcare industry wanted the guarantee of billions in profit, it’d bring back polio. Iron lungs don’t come cheap. Ask someone in their sixties or seventies whether they lost a sibling or cousin to a disease that has (had?) been largely eradicated in the developed world by vaccination.

  3. teadance

    “Vaccines Are Unavoidably Unsafe”
    Don’t take my word for it. These are the words of Justice Scalia in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, LLC in a Supreme Court decision in 2011. Unfortunately, due to the protections afforded the vaccine maker in the National Childhood Vaccine Act of 1986, the Court ruled against a vaccine injured plaintiff in the case. How?
    In the 1980s, children were having adverse reactions to the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine. Lots of lawsuits were being filed against docs and vaccine manufacturers. This caused the pharmaceutical industry to threaten pulling out of the vaccine market, and the alarm bells rang that the nation’s health and safety were at risk. Why were vaccine manufacturers getting ready to take their ball and go home? Because vaccines fall into a class of products considered “unavoidably unsafe.” I am not kidding you. This “unavoidable” word comes from the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act itself “products which, in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe.”

    In 1986, Congress decided on a way to compensate folks for these avoidable injuries and death. It is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. From 2001 until 2011 the program has compensated about 2500 families a total of $2 billion. There has been close to $4 billion paid to date since inception. But, that represents only a small fraction of those who actually brought claims to the Vaccine Court. You see, there is a 36 month window to bring the claim. There is no “tolling” granted for minors, unlike all the Civil Courts in the U.S. Guess what? Neurological injuries may not present in infants for long after 36 months. Furthermore, who knows how many cases were never brought by attorneys on behalf of a vaccine injured child, because the statute of limitations ran out?
    Don’t let anyone tell you that vaccines don’t cause injury. They have, they do and they will do so in the future. For years, Thimerosal was used as a preservative in multi-dose vials. While still proclaiming it “safe”, vaccine makers “voluntarily” removed Thimerosal. It is still present in trace amounts and in flu vaccine. Thimerosal was never approved by the FDA, as the patents predated the establishment of said regulations. Worried?

    With nearly 6,000 cases pending the USCFC held the “Omnibus Autism Hearings.” They decided not to make “autism” a “table injury.” How convenient. Since there would never be enough money to pay for all who claim an “autism” injury. But, there have been many cases compensated for “encephalopathy” as a diagnosis with reference to autism. You can read it: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1681&context=pelr

    For the record, I am not “anti-vaccine.” Both of my children were fully vaccinated. Unfortunately for us, our son was neurologically disabled by vaccines. It is indisputable, yet the government and the vaccine makers still think that there is a “greater good” to be served. They may be right. But, let’s not fool ourselves. Vaccines can be made safer. It is about money.

  4. There are some serious inaccuracies in the post.
    A. While there are limits to the ability to sue manufacturers, they are not absolute – and in return, parents can be compensated through a no-fault program. While the process is described here as long and arduous, it’s actually easier than the regular court: claimants don’t need to show the vaccine was a defective product, they just have to show it caused their harm under an easier causation standard than in regular courts, they can use any evidence – including types that would not be allowed in regular court – and they get their lawyer fees and costs covered. It’s a break for claimants.
    In contrast, in the more likely case that a child was harmed because a parent didn’t vaccinate because she was scared by the kind of misinformation in this letter, there is no recourse.

    B. It’s natural for someone who does not understand that one debilitating injury costs millions to be distressed by the 3 billion number. Such a person appears not to realize that this number covers injuries across over 30 years. If you look at the actual rate of compensation, it’s less than one million doses – most in settlements that don’t show causation.

    C. It’s natural to be scared by ingredients when you are not a chemist, and do not understand why they are there, or how small the amounts are. Especially when there are anti-vaccine sources willing to mislead you. For example, the letter writer appears to have been misled on aluminum: the amounts in vaccines not only do not violate FDA guidelines, a 2011 FDA article found them safe. See: Robert J. Mitkus, et al., Updated aluminum pharmacokinetics following infant exposures through diet and vaccination, 29 VACCINE 9538(2011).

    D. The movie Vaxxed is an anti-vaccine movie designed to scare from vaccines. If you look at the blog Leftbrainrightbrain, the documents behind the conspiracy theory it promotes were posted online – and don’t show any wrongdoing, or a real link between vaccines and autism.
    To remind readers, since the movie focuses on MMR, studies from all around the world looked at millions of children and compared rates of autism between those that got MMR and those that didn’t. the rates are similar. There is no link.

    I urge people to be careful when faced with these kind of anti-vaccine claims. It would be a shame to leave a child unprotected from disease because of such errors.

  5. Concerned

    I’ve heard that anti-vaxxers are the “climate change deniers of the left,” meaning that facts have no effect on their opinions. You seem educated and earnest, and I believe your expressed opinions come from a desire to keep your children– and those of others– safe. But I beg you to consider the harm your comments can cause, not on individual children, but on whole generations of children. If you did not vaccinate your children, that is (usually) your right, but it is also your privilege. You don’t have to vaccinate because other parents around you made the choice TO vaccinate, and that is the critical herd immunity point made in the original article. Your children are safe from these diseases because of choices made by other parents.

    Why trust Robert De Niro, but not your own doctor? Or the overwhelming majority of doctors that know and assert the value of vaccines? Yes, there are chemicals in vaccines, just as there are in everything we consume and touch, no matter how organic, “natural,” or holistic. Plants make chemicals toxic enough to kill you in high doses, yet we eat them happily in moderation (e.g. almonds and cyanide). Literally millions to billions of dollars are spent to make sure each vaccine is safe and effective–the FDA requires it.

    The popular “connection” between Autism and vaccines lingers, though it hinges on a single– now debunked and retracted– scientific study. The damage done by that single study is astronomical, while the thousands of contradictory follow up studies are largely ignored. Some children do have adverse reactions to vaccines, as they do to all medicines, and I understand the fear that this may happen to your child. But would you deny your child treatment for measles if s/he came down with the disease, just because the medicine has some risk of side effects (as literally all medicines do)? So why deny your child the chance to never catch measles in the first place? Bonus: you protect other children, too.

    Finally, some children do experience neurological damage after vaccines, and I understand how painful this situation can be for parents who just want an explanation if not a solution. But there is little evidence that this is causal. Vaccines often trigger fever and other hallmarks of an immune system response– this is how the body fights real infections, and why vaccines are effective (because they mimic infection). Fevers, even absent vaccines or infections, can reveal underlying neurological problems, making it appear that the vaccine caused the damage.

  6. Rebecca

    Hi Christiana and all–

    First, thank you Christiana for voicing your concern. Though I am not a parent, I care deeply about the health of our nation’s children. For myself, I can’t imagine making any medical decision without first understanding the possible risks and rewards involved. I completely appreciate that parents want to do the same. As a molecular biologist, I try extra hard to learn about the biology of any malady I may find myself facing, as well as the remedy. I applaud your efforts to educate yourself, and to encourage others to do so.

    When it comes to vaccines, I’ve learned one thing: the immune system is profoundly, profoundly complicated.

    For example, there are many compounds that, in low doses, prime our immune response, and these are often included in vaccines. Compounds that boost the immune system are called “adjuvants.” Aluminum is a great example of an adjuvant, which is why it is included in vaccines. With aluminum, less of the actual vaccine is needed. It’s like a coach in the corner of a boxing match, priming your body for fighting off the potential source of infection (which, in the case of vaccines, is inert).

    There are indeed lots of shocking things in vaccines, but I was surprised to learn that “toxic” might not be the right word for them. I always thought that something was either “toxic” or “non-toxic,” but when I joined a toxicology lab I learned that in fact “toxic” is a threshold, not a category. So something cannot be inherently “toxic” or “non-toixc”, instead, it’s all about the dose. Believe it or not, where I used to work, salt (as in table salt) was considered toxic, because if you feed enough of it to rats they’ll die. So we had to take extra precautions when throwing out salt (special labeled bins with the word “toxic” etc.) Water can also be toxic. Every year people in hot dry states like Arizona die from water poisoning.

    Many of the adjuvants in vaccines can be toxic at high doses, but in low doses they are safe and even helpful, just like water or salt.

    I fully appreciate how scary it would be to consider giving my child something that I was worried might harm them. It’s terrifying! But did you know that many diseases have been liked to the onset of neurological conditions? We know for a fact that many diseases we vaccinate against can have a major damaging effect on the nervous system. Just try googling any of the following to get an idea of how bad it could be: “measles nervous system”, “mumps nervous system”, or “rubella nervous system” (including “progressive rubella panencephalitis,” which may even impact your children’s children). All of these viruses can cause major life-altering or fatal neurological conditions.

    For example, SSPE is caused by measles, and the first symptoms include personality changes, mood swings and depression. These will develop over time into muscle spasms, which will escalate into writhing and rigidity. Eventually the person will have trouble breathing, and their heart will have trouble beating. Finally, they will fall into a coma. SSPE is always fatal. And all this will start *years* after they seemingly “recovers” from the initial measles infection (see this site for more info: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001419.htm). The only way to protect your child from SSPE is to get them vaccinated.

    For me, as both a scientist and a citizen, I see vaccination as the safest option given the alternatives. Again though, I value your skepticism (skepticism is the foundation of good science!) and willingness to ask questions and seek out answers. I wish you all the best.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.