Not Just a Bad Batch, But a Bad Idea


On March 25, GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix vaccine – used for a diarrhea-causing virus called rotavirus – was recalled because it was found to be contaminated with a supposedly "harmless" pig virus. The virus, called porcine circovirus type 1, is not known to cause disease in humans or animals – unlike porcine circovirus type 2, which causes a wasting syndrome marked by diarrhea in young piglets. As a precaution, the FDA ordered the vaccine destroyed. The company was quick to point out that children are exposed to the virus anyway from eating pork.

"PCV-1 does not multiply in humans and is not known to cause illness in humans. It is found in everyday meat products and is frequently eaten with no resulting disease or illness," said the company.

However, there is a huge difference between eating something and having it injected directly into your body. By itself, the high acidity of the stomach destroys most viruses – unless you foolishly disable this defense mechanism by taking acid-blocking drugs. And since when do two-month old infants eat pork chops?

This was a tough break for GSK because only this past November, they had to recall some of the swine flu vaccine they sent to Canada because of "serious allergic reactions." The 170,000 dose batch in question had mostly been already administered – the majority of it.

Rotavirus is a diarrheal illness affecting babies and children that is rampant in the Third World – particularly Africa. Even before the vaccine became available, there were only several dozen reported deaths from rotavirus each year in the USA. Compare that to 36,000 purported deaths in the USA from seasonal flu every year.

"Every child in the world will have at least one rotavirus infection before age five," according to the CDC and WHO. Therefore, it seems that recovery is quite spontaneous in most children. So, is this vaccine really necessary in countries like the USA and Canada? In the developed world, which has modern sanitation, ample nutrition, etc., how grave is the risk from rotavirus? It’s a fair question because injecting pig material into a child is hardly risk-free.

It goes to show how much faith and trust is involved in taking a vaccine – any vaccine. About one million American children received the tainted rotavirus vaccine. Worldwide, 30 million children received it. They’re saying it was just a harmless pig virus. Of course. No worries. But then again, the air was fit to breathe at Ground Zero after 9-11, according to authorities.

But when was the last time you reviewed the list of government-mandated vaccines for children? If you are anywhere close to my age (60) you may be shocked at how long the list has become. Here it is:

Hepatitis-B vaccine: 3 doses Hib vaccine: 4 doses Polio vaccine: 4 doses DPT (3 vaccines) 6 doses Pneumococcal vaccine: 4 doses Rotavirus vaccine: 3 doses Hepatitis A vaccine: 2 doses Influenza vaccine: 2 doses, and then annually for life MMR (3 vaccines): 2 doses Varicella vaccine: 2 doses Meningococcal vaccine: 1 dose, age 11 HPV vaccine (girls only): 3 doses, starting age 11

Makes your head spin, doesn’t it? I wonder if they have a vaccine for that.

You’ve probably heard the clamor about the mercury-laced preservative thimerosal, which is still being used in flu vaccine. I won’t go into it here, but the issue of vaccine safety goes far beyond thimerosal. In fact, I can’t possibly discuss all the safety issues involved with vaccines – it would take a book. However, I want to point out that no double-blind, controlled studies of vaccines are ever done. They refuse to do it, claiming it would be "unethical."

Dr. Amy Tuteur, a Harvard-trained OB/GYN, has the nerve to compare hypothetical controlled studies of vaccines with hypothetical controlled studies of car seats using real babies. But, that’s ridiculous! The risks to the unrestrained child are obvious, self-evident, and dictated by the laws of physics, which are immutable. The effectiveness of the car seat can be determined using dummies, as in crash tests for cars. The only thing you need the baby for is to determine whether he or she can unfasten the restraints, which can be tested in a non-moving vehicle.

With a new vaccine, there are a lot of unknowns. You do not know which group is at greater risk – the vaccinated or the unvaccinated – and to say otherwise is to presume the outcome that you’re testing for. And the risk to the unvaccinated child is simply the risk of being alive, which every child faces. Being exposed to microbes is a "usual" risk in life – it is part and parcel of life. In contrast, the "unusual" risk is being borne entirely by those children getting the new vaccine. To say that denying any child the rotovirus vaccine would be "unethical" is rank hubris. Some countries don’t vaccinate for rotovirus as it is. And what belies their sanctimonious bluster is that they refuse to do any kind of comparative testing of vaccines. Forget the double-blindedness. It’s not as though there is no value in doing an open comparison.

For instance, only 20 percent of Americans chose to take the swine flu vaccine, which means that it would have been very easy to do a large comparative study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. It would not have involved denying anyone a swine flu shot who wanted one. Of course, they would have had to "control" for everything else as diligently as possible, but that would be as feasible with vaccines as it with drugs and supplements. The same rules would apply. And to those who say that without placebo controls, it’s meaningless, I say poppycock. If there is a placebo effect at all, it accrues to those getting the vaccine. There’s no placebo effect from doing nothing. So, their dog in the fight would, if anything, be bolstered from it, not hampered. And what if, despite that advantage to the vaccinated, the unvaccinated fared as well or better? I sense that’s what they’re really afraid of. They claim that over 10,000 Americans died from the swine flu, but they never revealed what percentage of them were vaccinated. Don’t you think that is an important piece of data we could all use? Talk about withholding evidence. Vaccination is seeming more and more like another example of "crony science" like Evolution and Global Warming.

Now that national health care is upon us, I fear that it will be harder than ever to get children exempted from scheduled vaccinations. And I am sure that no amount of vaccine failures and fiascos, including the recent swine flu fiasco, in which doctors were ordered to diagnose swine flu automatically to prop up the numbers, will alter the course towards more and more vaccines.

I had only one child, a son, who is now a robust, healthy 36-year-old man, and his mother and I never subjected him to any vaccinations – NADA! – and he never developed any diseases for which others are vaccinated. There were absolutely no bad repercussions from that decision, and I would do it again just that way if given the chance. I realize that readers of this forum probably differ widely in their opinions about vaccinations. But everyone here (unless you are a spy) should be able to agree that the government has no right – under any circumstances – to inject anything into anyone’s body, or their children’s bodies, against their will.