May 1999 (vol. 15, #4)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 1999 Physicians for Civil Defense
Radical environmentalists terrorize mothers with alarms about parts per billion of synthetic organic chemicals. The public health establishment mobilizes against chicken pox, hepatitis B, Big Macs, and restaurants that permit smoking (an otherwise legal act) on the premises. Meanwhile, serious chronic illnesses have increased rapidly, in children and others-and one possible cause seems to be immune from scrutiny.
Diagnosed cases of diabetes increased by 2.2 million between 1980 and 1994, with most of the increase occurring in the 1990s: 784,000 new cases per year. Compared with 1980, age-adjusted prevalence is up by 16%, and age-adjusted incidence by 49%. The largest increase in prevalence (34%) occurred in persons under the age of 45. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 1994 and contributed to more than 3.5 million hospitalizations.
Asthma has nearly doubled since 1982, with the prevalence in children under age 18 increasing from 4% to 7%. About 4.8 million children are afflicted. More than 5,000 deaths in 1995 and 500,000 hospital stays per year are attributed to asthma.
There is increasing concern about behavioral disorders in young children. A March 1, 1999, report from the California Department of Developmental Services noted a 273% increase in the number of client referrals with autism between 1987 and 1998, a much faster increase than for other developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and mental retardation. The percentage of the total client population with this diagnosis doubled, from 4.85% to 9.37%, over this period.
Up to 10% of American schoolchildren are now being labeled as having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, the ``disease of the 1990s.'' This is a controversial diagnosis, which is solely based on subjective measures. The availability of government funding is an incentive to overdiagnosis. Social changes such as decreased parental supervision and a chaotic public school environment could contribute to the exploding incidence of behavioral problems. Nonetheless, there is a neurological substrate for at least some cases of what, in the 1960s, was called ``minimal brain dysfunction or damage.''
The good news is that the incidence of childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and hemophilus infections has decreased dramatically with the introduction of new vaccines and widespread requirements to receive them in order to attend school. The question is, could the good news be related to the bad news? Are we overlooking an obvious connection?
There are plausible mechanisms for vaccine induction of illness. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, for example, is now believed to require an environmental trigger for an autoimmune attack on the beta cells in the islets. Mumps, Coxsack-ie. virus, hepatitis, and other infections have been associated. The loss of insulin reserves may occur over a period of years.
Parents of sick children are demanding answers. Half the parents who call the Cure Autism Now (CAN) foundation report that autistic behavior began shortly after the child received a vaccine: without a major media scare campaign.
In written testimony to Congress, Patti White, RN, a District Health Service Coordinator in Missouri, stated: ``For the past three or four years our school districts have noted a significant increase in the number of children entering school with developmental disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders and/or serious chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and seizure disorders. There is only one common thread we can identify in all these children: they are the children who received the first trial hepatitis B injections as newborns in the early 1990s....
``Our own school district's confidential health statistics show at least 20% of our schoolchildren (K-3) have significant neurologic damage and/or chronic illness.''
Case reports of demyelination and other serious neurologic sequelae of hepatitis B vaccine-with onset as long as 8 months post vaccine-were published as early as 1988 (see www.waisbrenclinic.com). These are called ``anecdotal.''
Since the last discussion of vaccine adverse effects in this newsletter (see Sept 1998 issue), more state mandates have been passed and more parents are fighting for the right to refuse vaccines. On May 18, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) held a hearing before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources.
Testifying strongly in favor of universal immunization of infants, Dr. Harold Margolis of the CDC stated that ``hepatitis B vaccines are among the safest vaccines that we have.'' He stated that several reviews ``have not shown a scientific association between hepatitis B vaccination and severe neurological adverse events.'' He noted, however, that ongoing studies are evaluating alleged adverse events, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is maintained by the CDC and FDA, were downplayed because ``they may not represent the correct diagnosis and they may be duplicate reports.''
Under-reporting may be more serious than suspected. One witness testified that resident physicians had told her they were being ordered not to report suspected adverse reactions in infants receiving hepatitis B vaccine.
With the exception of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), organized medicine, particularly the AMA and the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly supports mandatory vaccines. Physicians receive materials for patient education, such as ``Baby Shots: a Healthy Dose of Love'' from the Arizona Department of Health Services, which states that ``no serious reactions have been known to occur due to the hepatitis B recombinant vaccines.'' Coercive tactics have allegedly been employed: one mother said the doctor threatened to report her for child abuse if she refused the third dose of hepatitis B vaccine, even though her child had screamed inconsolably for hours after the first two doses.
The National Vaccine Information Center has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the FDA and the CDC, seeking the data that supported licensure of the hepatitis B vaccine. (The NVIC web site is www.909shot.com.)
While recognizing that all insurance requires a premium, many parents suspect that the risks of certain diseases are being overblown, while the potential dangers of the newer vaccines are being ignored-or even deliberately covered up.
The raw data from the VAERS (available by e-mail as a compressed Microsoft Excel file from [email protected]) belie the reassuring statement on vaccine information sheets: ``The most common side effect of hepatitis B vaccination is soreness where the shot is given.'' Not so.
Pain localized to the injection site was the first listed side effect in 605 cases of 24,772. More common was prolonged screaming, in 631 cases. Altogether there were more than 4,600 cases with a first listed side effect suggesting central nervous system involvement. These included agitation, apnea, ataxia, visual disturbances, convulsions, tremors, twitches, an abnormal cry, hypotonia, hypertonia, abnormal sensations, stupor, somnolence, neck rigidity, paralysis, and confusion. Especially notable was the occurrence of oculogyric crisis in a total of 218 cases, counting those in which it was listed as any one of the eight listed side effects. This is a spasm of the eye muscles, one of the most striking features in post-encephalitic Parkinson's disease, also seen as a side effect of certain drugs such as phenothiazines. Parents might describe it by saying ``the eyes rolled back.''
About 24% of the reports, and 85% of the deaths, involved children 0-2 years old. About 10% of the patients had not recovered from the adverse effect, and recovery status was listed as unknown in 33%. Two-thirds of the reported adverse effects had their onset within 10 days of the vaccination. There is no long-term follow-up on the reports to determine whether behavioral disorders or learning disabilities are seen years later.
Diabetes mellitus was listed in a total of 44 cases, and pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes, in an additional 10. Of course, these numbers are small and could easily be coincidental. But hepatitis itself has a better-than-chance association with diabetes; the mechanism is not precisely known and could involve ``molecular mimicry.'' Looking at only the first listed effect in VAERS, there were 2,775 cases of abdominal pain, 77 cases of back pain, and 1,453 cases of nausea and/or vomiting. These can be symptoms of pancreatitis, a diagnosis that will be missed unless specifically sought. They are also very common symptoms in persons who have not just received a shot.
As Dr. Margolis stated in his testimony, the VAERS cannot prove causal relationships, only give clues to be followed up with further investigation. But those studies need to be done.
About 20 million doses of hepatitis B vaccine have been administered. If one-tenth of the adverse reactions have been reported (as often assumed), and one-third of the reactions are serious (as in the ones that are reported), then a person receiving the vaccine has about a 4 in 1,000 chance of experiencing a serious reaction. Certain persons may be at considerably higher risk due to currently unknown predisposing factors.
The incidence of hepatitis B in the U.S. peaked at 12 per 100,000 in 1982. It was 4 per 100,000 in 1996, with much of the decrease being attributed to behavioral chances in high-risk groups such as homosexuals. Deaths from hepatitis B in American children under the age of 15 totalled 11 in 1996. Thus, a member of the general population has a 100 times greater chance of having a severe adverse reaction to hepatitis B vaccine than he has of acquiring the disease-if the assumptions are correct.
In children of uninfected mothers, the risk of disease is very small. Infants with immature nervous and immune systems might be at much greater risk of vaccine reactions: there are no long-term data to support or disprove this hypothesis.
*** Patients who believe they have suffered an adverse vaccine reaction should ask their doctor to file a VAERS report. Or they can file the report themselves by calling (800)822-7967.
Pressure is building to add Varicella Virus Vaccine Live (Varivax) to the list of required immunizations. It is already required for school attendance in several states.
The summary for the basis of approval can be downloaded from www.fda.gov/cber/products/varmer031795.htm.
Highlights from this summary that you might want to consider in your decision-making:
The threat of the hour in the view of Consumers Union and 20/20 is plastic: soft plastic in medical devices and plastic wrap (softened using ``chlorine, the devil's own chemical'') or hard plastic as in baby bottles. The key building block for the polycarbonate bottles is bisphenol A, minuscule quantities (2-5 ppb) of which migrate from the bottles when autoclaved. (One drop of chemical in a swimming pool containing 15,000 gallons of water gives a concentration of 1 ppb.)
Using FDA procedures, a maximum intake of < 0.0125 µg/kg/day due to food-use applications of polycarbonate food and beverage containers, or < 0.108 µg/kg/day from epoxy can coatings, is estimated. ``Normal'' body levels of bisphenol A have not been determined; as it is manufactured from acetone and phenol, two normal body components, small amounts may conceivably be present. Bisphenol A is rapidly metabolized and does not accumulate in fat. Based on dose-response results from seven reproduction and development tests and lifetime exposure cancer bioassays in rodents, a NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect level) is estimated to be 50 mg/kg/day (or 50,000 µg/kg/ day). An estrogenic (``endocrine disruptor'') effect reported in one small study at 2-20 µg/kg/day could not be replicated.
Plastic is much safer than vaccines, and use is voluntary.