Vaccinations Article in WAPF Wise Traditions Summer 2012

As anybody who has been reading my blog for any time knows the subject of vaccines is something I feel strongly about. Not so much that parents should follow any one side over the other but that education, careful thought and informed decisions be made. It takes effort and time. But what part of parenting doesn’t?

When I can I like to share studies, articles and resources that come across my path that other parents might find interesting or informative. One of the best sourced articles I’ve come across in a while was published in the most recent copy of Wise Traditions. Since it won’t be available in digital form for quite a while on the WAPF website I’m going to type it up in it’s entirety here. Please pardon any typos. Transcription work was never a strong point. ūüėõ

Further preface this with the disclaimer that this is *not* an unbiased article. It’s on the anti-vaccine side but some of the points made are quite valid in my opinion. Especially as it pertains to safer protocols in the manufacturing of vaccines. Also, at the time this goes live on my blog the source links have not been vetted for accuracy or made live yet. When I have time I’ll go back and test/make the links live. They are included for those who wish to check them out for themselves though.

Vaccinations: The Ongoing Debate by Leslie Manookian

Vaccinations, what a topic! They rank right up there with politics and religion as things not to discuss around the Thanksgiving table. Vaccinations are sure to elicit emotional responses from most people, though generally these responses are based largely on belief and lore rather than facts and hard science. It is easy to understand why the subject is so charged given that all parents would want to protect their children. And of course all people, even those who aren’t parents, want to believe there is a way to protect themselves from the dangers of life, which makes it easier for vaccine makers and policy makers to spread fear and sell products that promise a safer existence.

But do we really understand all there is to know about vaccines? Are those who ask questions about vaccines really fringe lunatics or are they perhaps more informed than the masses and using this information and their intelligence, combined with a healthy diet, to choose another path to health? In this heated debate, it is imperative that we parse fact from fiction so that we can all make genuinely well-informed decisions about our health and well-being.

My film, The Greater Good¬†does just that. The Greater Good weaves together the stories of families whose lives have been forever changed by vaccination with the perspectives of doctors and scientists from around the world. Our tagline for the film is “If you think you know everything about vaccines…think again.” The film shares different perspectives on vaccinations to help the viewer understand what we know and what we don’t know about vaccine science, and shows that parents who ask questions about vaccines or forgo them for their children are not crazy or ill-informed. The film also shows that vaccines may be responsible for the epidemic of chronic illness that plagues our planet today.

So let’s address the facts of what we do and don’t know about vaccines today as we begin to reconsider this controversial topic.


CDC Photo of Infant Vaccine

CDC Photo of Infant Vaccine

How many vaccines do kids get today? A child receiving all the recommended vaccines and boosters today receives:

  • Twenty-six doses of nine vaccines by the first birthday
  • Forty-eight doses of fourteen vaccines by age six
  • A total of seventy doses of sixteen vaccines by age eighteen

This is almost three times the recommended number of shots recommended by the CDC in 1983.

  • Eleven doses of four vaccines by the first birthday
  • Twenty-two doses of seven vaccines by age six
  • A total of twenty-three doses of eight vaccines by age eighteen


Is vaccine safety just an issue for new parents? No. The DCD is now recommending a flue shot every year from cradle to grave as well as many adult booster shots for childhood diseases and new vaccines such as shingles. The pharmaceutical industry has an estimated two hundred vaccines in development for use in many population groups, not just children.


Are vaccines safe? A large, long-term clinical study comparing the medium or long-term health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of people has never been done. Moreover, while vaccines are often given simultaneously, with as many as ten vaccines given in one visit, safety studies do not evaluate the safety of simultaneous shots. Nor have the different ingredients of human infant vaccines taken individually or in combination been evaluated in large, long-term clinical studies. Until these studies are done, it is not possible to fully answer this question.


What kinds of risks am I taking if I vaccinate my child?

Like all pharmaceutical products, vaccines carry risks. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 signed by President Ronald Reagan, acknowledged that vaccines can cause injury or death. It sets up a trust fund for resolving vaccine injury and death claims and provides compensation to those found to be injured by vaccines.

Recent research has shown neurological damage including motor function deficits, cognitive impairment, and behavioral changes in mice given the aluminum in vaccines.(2) Research has also shown impaired immune function and auto-immune disease in humans following administration of these same compounds. (3,4) Despite these findings, large scientific gaps remain, until those gaps are filled, the overall safety of vaccines is difficult to assess.


How often do adverse vaccine reactions occur?

A large, long-term clinical study comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated patients has never been done therefore this question is difficult to assess. In addition most vaccine trials last only a few weeks so many reactions may be unknown. Furthermore, the U.S. has a system called the vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) to monitor vaccine reactions. VAERS is a passive reporting system and the CDC states that underreporting “is one of the main limitations of passive curveillance systems, including VAERS. the term underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events.” (5)


Doctors often say that reactions such as swelling, soreness, tenderness and a lump at the injection site, fever, fussiness, tiredness, and vomiting after vaccination are normal and nothing to worry about. Is this true?

While most of these reactions may seem benign on the surface, it is not known for certain what causes these reactions and whether they reflect some deeper problem. In The Greater Good, Dr. Lawrence Plevsky states that no studies exist to determine what happens to the body’s systems and tissues when a vaccine is given. In the making of the film and while conducting screenings, we have come across many parents who said their child had these “normal” reactions after a round of vaccines but never was quite the same again and went on to develop a learning disability, allergies ADHD, or another type of chronic disease.


Are all the ingredients in vaccines safe? The truth is that vaccine ingredients have not been tested for safety in doses given to human infants either singularly or in combination for c0-toxicity. The list of ingredients in vaccines includes but is not limited to: mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, cells from aborted fetuses, cells from monkey kidneys chicken embryos, viruses, antibiotics, yeast, polysorbate 80 and detergents.(6) While the amount of mercury has been reduced in most vaccines, it is still used in the manufacturing process and trace amounts (less than 1 mcg) still exist after filtering. (7) MOreover, most flu vaccines still contained 25 mcg of mercury.(8)

Mercury is a well-known neurotoxin and is particularly damaging to the brain of a developing fetus or child. (9) Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.(10)


Adjuvants are substances added to vaccines to stimulate an immune response because without adjuvants, the vaccines do not work. Aluminum is the adjuvant most commonly used in vaccines. In their study, “Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are they Safe?” published in Current Medicinal Chemistry, Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher Shaw write: “Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost eighty years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their¬†mechanism¬†of action is still remarkably poor…Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular,¬†aluminum¬†in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences.”(11)


Are vaccines properly studies for safety and effectiveness:

Vaccine studies often last just a few weeks and focus on efficacy, namely whether the vaccine being studies stimulates the “desired” inmune response in the blood. The pharmaceutical company developing the vaccine conducts the studies and then submits them to the FDA for approval for licensure.

Most seriously, the study is allowed to use another vaccine or a liquid containing an adjuvant such as aluminum as the placebo. (12) This way the vaccine producer can say that the vaccines cause no more adverse reactions than a placebo.

The complete vaccine schedule has not been studies for safety nor have all the various possible combinations of vaccines that might be administered on a single day.


Do doctors know all there is to know about vaccines and their safety?

Doctors are taught that vaccines are safe and effective; they are not taught how vaccines are studied, the components of vaccines, or the gaps in research. Doctors are taught that decades of clinical use in vaccines have demonstrated their safety and that vaccine side effects are rare, but there are no large, long-term clinical trials comparing the health and well being of those vaccinated to those unvaccinated to back up these assumptions.


Aren’t vaccines safer than getting the disease?

This is a very difficult question to assess, as we don’t know the long-term health outcomes of the vaccine schedule. Given that we only have a passive surveillance system to determine adverse reactions, we don’t know the true numbers of reactions that occur. Many disease vaccinated against today were considered fairly benign in past decades (flu, chicken pox, pumps, rubella) or quite rare (Hepatitis A and B,¬†meningitis).

This does not mean that all disease are rare or benign, but rather explains the difficulty in maing a statement assessing the relative risk when the true health outcomes and reactions are as yet unknown.


Are vaccines responsible for the low levels of mortality we see from infectious diseases in the developed world?

According to a study by Bernard Guyer and others, published in Pediatrics in December of 2000 ,”nearly 90 percent of the decline in infectious disease mortality among U.S. children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccines were available.” What happened? According to the authors: “State and local health departments implemented these public health measures including water treatment, food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and public education about hygienic practices.”(10)


Do vaccines cause chronic illness?

There are studies linking vaccines to chronic cognitive dysfunction, behavioral changes, motor function impairment, eczema, learning disabilities, arthritic, asthma and more. (2-4, 14-18)


Do vaccines cause autism?

While vaccine authorities assert there is no science linking mercury or vaccines to autism, there is in fact peer-reviewed scientific evidence connecting both to autism. A study by Gallagher and Goodman found that boys who received the birth dose of Hepatitis B containing mercury were nearly three times more likely to receive an autism diagnosis than those that did not receive the vaccine. They went on to study the three doses of Hepatitis B and found that the boys who received the whole series were nearly nine times more likely to require special education services than boys who did not. (14,17)

A recent study bo Tomljenovic and Shaw connected the rising incidence of autism to the use of aluminum in vaccines. (19)

Helen Ratajczak, PhD, a former senior scientist at a drug company, conducted a review of all the available autism research since autism was first¬†described¬†in 1943; her results were published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology. When interviewed after publication and asked whether the science on autism shows any relationship between vaccines and autism she said: “The data show that when more vaccines were given, and were given at earlier ages, the incidence and prevalence of autism increased. There are many aspects of vaccines that cause autism.” (20)

But hasn’t science proved there is not link between mercury and autism? A review by Catherine DeSoto, PhD, of all the impirical research available on the mercury-autism link found that the body of research actually shows a link between mercury and autism by more than a 3-1 margin. Her findings are in stark contrast to government claims that there is no scientific link. (21)


Are vaccines mandatory?

The fact is that all states have excemptions for vaccines: medication, religious or philosophical. Some states have only medical exemptions, some have medical and religious and some have all three types. The difficulty of obtaining exemptions differs from state to state. Visit our website to explore the laws in your state: 


What recourse does one have after vaccination damage?

If you or your child suffers a vaccine injury, you must apply to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for damages. The program manages a trust fund that pays damages to those injured by a vaccine and is funded through a seventy-five-cent tax levied on every vaccine given in America. To date, the program has paid out more than two billion dollars and has about three billion dollars in reserves.

If you are denied compensation or are un-happy with the award, you are not allowed to sue the doctor, nurse, government or vaccine manufacturer. On Februrary 22, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no resource in civil course even if the vaccine manufacturer could have made a safer vaccine. (22)


Won’t disease come back if we stop vaccinating?

The fact is that disease incidence is a very complex issue determined by many variables such as general health and a robust immune system due to proper nutrition; and public health measures such as sewage management and drinking water systems. (13)

Moreover, disease outbreaks regularly occur in fully vaccinated populations so vaccination may not be as effective a preventative as generally believed . (23) Given these facts, it is difficult to make any statements about what patterns disease might take if vaccination rates declined.


The coming few years will be critical for the issue of vaccine safety, and I hope you will get involved. I was thrilled to bring my film The Greater Good to WAPF’s national conference last fall, and to hear from so many chapters that the film has been a valuable discussion starter. If your chapter hasn’t screened the film yet, plase visit our website for detailsa nd resources to help you do that, including a discussion and facilitation guide, tips for hosting a screening, a FAQ, links to stuies and resources mentioned in the film and much more available at

One particularly important policy issue emerging in the coming months is the protection of state level exemptions to vaccines for philosophical, religious and medical reasons. It is important that all fifty states give families the right to all three of these exemptions. Coalitions are forming across the country to educate their communities about the complex issue of vaccine safety. These groups include natural health practitioners, families, midwives, doulas, nurses, teachers, elected leaders and vaccine safety advocates of all stripes.

A vital link in that emerging group is the WAPF community. I encourage you to reach out to groups in your community and learn what is happening in your state. Collaborating on a screening is a great way to get started. I believe that together we can create a world where:

  • Vaccines can be made safer
  • Doctors and parents are educated about adverse reaction to vaccines, so that these reactions may be treated appropriately, thereby reducing long-term impact.
  • Parents have the information they need to make informed choices about vaccines.
  • Schools and doctors respect and value parents’ rights to choose how they keep their families healthy;
  • Families feel safe to make their own choices regarding their families’ health and well being without fear of expulsion from school or exclusion from their communities
  • Scientists are free to pursue research into vaccine safety without fear of jeopardizing their income or career prospects
  • All fifty states uphold family’s rights to exemption from vaccination for religious, philosophical or medical reasons.
  • The top priority is health and wellness, and all vaccines go through vigorous due diligence process for safety.

I hope you will visit our website and consider bringing the film to your chapter and to those you love. You can stream the film, buy a DVD or share either as a gift. Consider hosting an event yourself, or make a donation to our engagement campaign online to help us bring the film to families, healthcare practitioners and policymakers nationalwide so they too can “think again” about vaccine safety issues.

Most importantly I hope you will tell friends about the film, and continue to learn more yourself.


  2. Petrik M.S. Shaw C.A., et al. Aluminum Adjuvant Lined to Gulf War Illness Induces Motor Neuron Death in Mice. NeuroMolecular Medicine 2007: 9: 83-100.
  3. Shoefeld Y., Agmon-Levin N., “ASIA”-Autoimmune/Inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants JAutoimmun 2011; 36:4-8
  4. Couette M, Boisse MF. Maison P, et al. Long-term persistence of vaccine-derived aluminum hydroxide is associated with chronic cognitive dysfunction. J Inorg Biochem 2009; 103: 1571-1578
  11. Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA, Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe? Curr Med Chem. 2011: 18(17):2630-7
  12. Jacobson RM, Ovsyannikova IG, Poland GA. Testing vaccines in pediatric research subjects Vaccine. 2009 May 26;27 (25-26):3291-4
  13. Guyer B, etal. Annual Sumary of Vital Statistics: Trends in the Health of Americans During the 20th Century. Pediatrics, Dec. 2000; 108(6): 1307-1317
  14. Gallagher CM, Goodman MS, Hepatitis B triple series vaccine and developmental disability in US children aged 1-9 years. Tox & Environ Chemistry 2008; 90(5): 997-1008
  15. Hawson CP, et al. Chronic Arthritis after Rubella Vaccination. Institute of Medicine, Clin Infect Dis. 1992 Aug; 15(2):307-12
  16. McDonald, K et al. Delay in diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccination is associated with a reduced risk of childhood asthma, J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2008; 121 (3); 626-631.
  17. Gallagher CM, Goodman MS, Hepatitis V Vaccination of Male Neonates and Autism Diagnosis NHIS 1997-2002. J Toxicol Environ Health 2005; 115 (4): 737-744
  18. Enriquez R, et al. The relationship between vaccine refusal and self-report of atopic disease in children. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 115:(4): 737-744
  19. Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA, Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the risking prevalence of autism: Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 2011; Nov; 105(11): 1489-99
  21. DeSoto C and Hitlan R. Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence. Acta Neurobiol Exp 2010, 70: 165-176
  23. Plotkin, S and Oenstein, W, Vaccines, 3rd edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company,1998.409-441 and 508-531.

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