So, in my first article, I talked about what vaccines are, and what types of substances are in them. In my second article, I discussed the possible link between autism and vaccinations. In this article, the final part of a 3 part series, I am going to discuss whether vaccines actually cause disease, and whether there is any scientific evidence to back this up.
First of all, what diseases are vaccines supposed to cause? It’s very interesting, my research into this has led me onto various different websites, with lots of different viewpoints. Below is a partial list of different diseases that vaccines are supposed to cause:
- Autoimmune diseases (body attacks itself)
- Blood disorders
- Bowel diseases
- Nervous system diseases
- Skin disorders
These are broad categories – I found it amazing to learn that vaccines are accused of causing everything from AIDS, to CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, otherwise known as mad-cow), to ear infection and, yes, even shaken-baby syndrome.
Is there ANY evidence that vaccines can cause these types of diseases? I will take two examples – the polio vaccine, and the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.
There are two different types of polio vaccine – oral polio vaccine (OPV) and injectable polio vaccine (IPV). In a study done for the Healthy People 2010 initiative, the OPV has been found to increase the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP). The injection, or the IPV, has no risk for VAPP. The direction is to move the country entirely to the IPV (as far as I can find out, this has been done, oral polio vaccinations are no longer given). The incidence (how often it occurs) of VAPP in the population receiving the OPV is about 0.4-3.0 people per million vaccinated – this translates into about 0.0000004-.000003 percent of all people vaccinated.
The pertussis (whooping-cough) vaccine is another interesting example. It seems as though whole-cell pertussis vaccines can cause seizures in controlled clinical trials, at a rate of about 1 per 1750 doses. These seizures very rarely result in any long-term side effects, although they do result in an increase of emergency room visits. Whole-cell vaccine is being replaced by acellular pertussis vaccine (vaccine using pieces of the cells, instead of the entire cell), which has a seizure rate of 1 per 14280 doses. It is important to stress that, even though seizures are a scary occurrence, it is extremely rare for any long-term side effects to occur.
Now, like I stated in my first post on this subject, there are well-documented side effects from vaccines, including fever, redness at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, etc. Getting a live attenuated vaccine (a vaccine containing a live, but weakened version of the virus/bacteria) might result in some of the symptoms of that disease. These do not, however cause disease.
One more thing I would like to point out. I saw on a couple of sites that “experts” were complaining that vaccines were given to immuno-compromised children, who had symptoms of a suppressed immune system such as runny nose and cough. These are not symptoms of a disease – these are natural body defenses against disease. When your throat becomes infected, the body wants to get rid of the organism that is infecting it – and so, you cough. This is why it is extremely dangerous to treat a cough in someone who has pneumonia – the body needs to get the liquid out of the lungs, and coughing is an important part of that. So, coughing, sneezing, etc do NOT indicate a suppressed immune system – rather, they indicate an immune system that is working exactly like it is supposed to.
So, do vaccines cause disease? In very rare cases, you can get the symptoms of some diseases through a vaccine, but these symptoms are usually very short lived. Personally, I would much rather have some symptoms of a condition like polio, and be able to recover from that, than get the real thing and possibly be paralyzed for life. Yes, there is a risk for any vaccination. What you have to do is weigh the risks against possibly getting the disease.
In the end, there are risks for anything you do. Every time you take a medication, even something like Tylenol, you are putting a foreign substance into your body – and there are possible side-effects from that. Think of vaccinations like any other medication – and weight the risks and benefits for yourself. Until next time!
P.S. The easy way to tell quackery from real science? Look for dates on their studies, or references. Note that I link to a couple of articles above, as this is an evidence-based blog. Most of the sites I could find trying to prove that vaccines cause disease had no studies, no scientific proof for what they were presenting, presented heresy, or were presenting studies that were extremely out of date – some by as much as 30-40 years!