Vaccines are safe and effective

COLUMN

THE opinion piece by Hilary Butler suggests doctors want to hide some vague but terrible information about vaccines from parents. She uses as evidence two quotes, both over 20 years old, from United States documents.

This is a conspiracy theory, with no logic behind it. Doctors and nurses work hard to do the best they can for patients, using best possible evidence. Our information is from scientists who have spent years studying and researching, not from an evening with Dr Google.

When I was 22 I caught up on all the vaccines my parents had not let me have as a child. I was about to become a doctor and I did not want to risk getting a serious disease and passing it on to patients. I had studied science and medicine and learnt that vaccines are the best way to prevent getting many serious illnesses, and infecting others.

My parents were doing their best, but they were influenced by others who were suspicious of immunisation. It was more than just luck that I did not suffer from serious, vaccine-preventable infections when I was growing up. My parents, and others who don’t vaccinate, rely on what is called herd immunity. There were enough vaccinated children around me to stop the diseases taking hold in the community. Vaccination protects the whole community, including unborn children, babies too young to be vaccinated, or people who already have serious illnesses.

From the moment you get up in the morning and risk slipping in the shower, nothing in life is 100 percent risk-free.

Vaccines get much more scrutiny than everyday risks, as they should. New vaccines are rigorously tested with a series of trials, and once they are released there is post-marketing surveillance. If a safety problem is found at any stage, the vaccine is withdrawn. As with other medicines there can be side effects but these are mostly minor and short-lived. Severe effects are exceptionally rare. The best source of information on vaccines in New Zealand is the Immunisation Advisory Centre website.

I work as a GP in a beautiful but poor community which can do without misinformation about vaccines. This will lead to a decrease in vaccination rates, as we’ve seen in babies in Tairawhiti over the past few months. An epidemic of whooping cough this year has been predicted, and the number of cases has already started to increase. This is a miserable disease, with coughing that can go on for months. For small babies it is very dangerous, as they struggle to breathe, or stop breathing, after coughing bouts. They may still be too young to be fully protected by whooping-cough vaccination, but they are much safer if those around them are vaccinated, and their mother had a booster in pregnancy.

So yes, doctors do recommend vaccination because they know it is safe and effective, and protects people from serious illness. No one would say vaccination has saved the world, although vaccination wiped out a terrible disease, smallpox, and led to huge decreases in others, including tetanus, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease, rotavirus, HPV, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella.

Improvements in living conditions and medical care have also helped to decrease the risk of dying from infectious diseases, and of course good nutrition and not smoking are very important for health. However, these important measures will not stop anyone from acquiring a vaccine-preventable disease if they are in contact with someone who is infectious.

Making an informed decision is important but this is different from being terrified by misinformation. Most people know this. As a GP with a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, I wish that the “anti-vaxxers” would take their scare tactics elsewhere.

THE opinion piece by Hilary Butler suggests doctors want to hide some vague but terrible information about vaccines from parents. She uses as evidence two quotes, both over 20 years old, from United States documents.

This is a conspiracy theory, with no logic behind it. Doctors and nurses work hard to do the best they can for patients, using best possible evidence. Our information is from scientists who have spent years studying and researching, not from an evening with Dr Google.

When I was 22 I caught up on all the vaccines my parents had not let me have as a child. I was about to become a doctor and I did not want to risk getting a serious disease and passing it on to patients. I had studied science and medicine and learnt that vaccines are the best way to prevent getting many serious illnesses, and infecting others.

My parents were doing their best, but they were influenced by others who were suspicious of immunisation. It was more than just luck that I did not suffer from serious, vaccine-preventable infections when I was growing up. My parents, and others who don’t vaccinate, rely on what is called herd immunity. There were enough vaccinated children around me to stop the diseases taking hold in the community. Vaccination protects the whole community, including unborn children, babies too young to be vaccinated, or people who already have serious illnesses.

From the moment you get up in the morning and risk slipping in the shower, nothing in life is 100 percent risk-free.

Vaccines get much more scrutiny than everyday risks, as they should. New vaccines are rigorously tested with a series of trials, and once they are released there is post-marketing surveillance. If a safety problem is found at any stage, the vaccine is withdrawn. As with other medicines there can be side effects but these are mostly minor and short-lived. Severe effects are exceptionally rare. The best source of information on vaccines in New Zealand is the Immunisation Advisory Centre website.

I work as a GP in a beautiful but poor community which can do without misinformation about vaccines. This will lead to a decrease in vaccination rates, as we’ve seen in babies in Tairawhiti over the past few months. An epidemic of whooping cough this year has been predicted, and the number of cases has already started to increase. This is a miserable disease, with coughing that can go on for months. For small babies it is very dangerous, as they struggle to breathe, or stop breathing, after coughing bouts. They may still be too young to be fully protected by whooping-cough vaccination, but they are much safer if those around them are vaccinated, and their mother had a booster in pregnancy.

So yes, doctors do recommend vaccination because they know it is safe and effective, and protects people from serious illness. No one would say vaccination has saved the world, although vaccination wiped out a terrible disease, smallpox, and led to huge decreases in others, including tetanus, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease, rotavirus, HPV, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella.

Improvements in living conditions and medical care have also helped to decrease the risk of dying from infectious diseases, and of course good nutrition and not smoking are very important for health. However, these important measures will not stop anyone from acquiring a vaccine-preventable disease if they are in contact with someone who is infectious.

Making an informed decision is important but this is different from being terrified by misinformation. Most people know this. As a GP with a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, I wish that the “anti-vaxxers” would take their scare tactics elsewhere.

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Sally Birks, Auckland - 2 months ago
Hillary Butler is not an example of an evening with Dr. Google. This lady is highly informed and knows about as much as anyone on the planet about vaccines. Patronising and insulting.

Hilary Butler - 2 months ago
Dr Lush, we have met before, as you may recall. In your response above, you call me a conspiracist.
You were born around 1970. As ACTING Director of Health you had a large library at your disposal, with the exact same information I have. How did you miss out on catching measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox since all those diseases routinely circulated at that time, and there was no MMR or chickenpox vaccine for you to have as a child? Neither was there a Hib vaccine. Nor a Hep B.
You certainly didn't "escape" whooping cough as a child, because you were surrounded with vaccinated people . . . because the vaccination rate for DPT was appalling, and . . . the vaccine didn't work. I refer you to the following Department of Health graphs on my website, in particular to the Communicable disease December 1987, which clearly shows the rising whooping cough rates when you were a child. So much for herd immunity.

http://www.beyondconformity.co.nz/hilarys-desk/whooping_cough_in_new_zealand

In 2013 you received an Expert Review https://www.pinnacle.co.nz/uploads/The wider implications of Pertussis and Varicella infections.pdf in which Professor Grant explained on the front page, that the pertussis vaccine has had no impact on the circulation of pertussis in our population from the year 1873 to 2013. In fact he goes on to state that the hospitalisation rate between 2000 - 2005, was 1.5 times higher than the 1960s. It is now, higher still. The graph on the following page, should make any honest man blush. (I will upload that to my website for readers here to check along with other articles he has written in the past with graphs which illustrate the same.)
I also have the graphs for cases and deaths from diphtheria from 1873. Have you? Because if you have you will know that the use of the diphtheria vaccine in this country had nothing to do with either decline in deaths or cases. Both declined drastically before the vaccine was incorporated into the DPT vaccine in 1960. It was not used during the polio years, and before that, had a maximum uptake of 9 - yes - NINE measly percent.
But back to your story. In the year you were admitted, all medical students were first blood tested. I knew quite a few in the years you were there. One was a Maori woman who wasn't vaccinated either. All she "needed" was the Hep B. She told me about her vaccinated colleagues showing no titres, who were re-vaccinated, a topic wryly discussed with one of your tutors, Dr Roger Booth.
See, in the 1990s I practically lived in Auckland Philson medical library, often talking to medical students, so I know what was going on at the time. Even if you had no titres to anything, you would only have had DPT, polio, Hep B and MMR. That's it. Have you considered how it is that your parents, and grandparents got to live to a ripe old age?

I will continue this reply to my website as a blog and embed all the medical data to prove my case.

Kevin, USA - 2 months ago
Vaccines are rigorously tested he says LOL!

Jonathan Eisen, Auckland - 2 months ago
Unfortunately, Dr Lush is shockingly misinformed about the so-called "efficacy" of vaccines, as he is with the rest of his tired, shop-worn arguments.
He thinks it is just "luck" that he avoided "vaccine-preventable" illnesses as a child as his parents didn't vaccinate him.
It's not luck, Dr Lush. It's called your immune system, and all the evidence indicates that vaccines disturb the immune system in ways we are only now beginning to learn.
Doctors in this country are indoctrinated into a belief system that hardly recognises the human immune system, and is addicted to medical interventions like vaccines, so it is not surprising that Dr Lush uses the word "luck".
Regrettably, Dr Lush totally ignores the fact that all of the so-called "vaccine-preventable" illnesses dramatically decreased in their mortality and morbidity PRIOR to the introduction of the vaccines.
Look it up.
He also ignores the shocking fact that according to the NZ Ministry of Health, the medical system itself is our third leading cause of death in this country - a statistic that does not even take into account the cancers actually caused by vaccines themselves, as NO VACCINE is tested for its ability to cause cancer.
The chief of Merck's vaccine division actually admitted several years ago that their polio vaccine was contaminated with SV40, a virus known at the time to cause cancer.
He actually laughed about it at the time.
The NZ MoH chief virologist warned the NZ government about the dangers of importing this vaccine but he was ignored.
As for Dr Lush's reckless assertion that vaccines are rigorously tested and removed from the market if found to be dangerous (too late for those injured by these vaccines ...) I need only to cite the example of the Gardasil vaccine, which has caused countless seriously debilitating illnesses - and which is STILL on the market.

Carron, Napier - 2 months ago
I wish the medical sector would at least be open to hearing what the non-vaxers are trying to say!

Fiona Lynch - 2 months ago
Please comment on the fact that pertussis is capable of being transmitted by those vaccinated with Dtap and the concern by the scientific community, regarding this pertactin deficient vaccine, or the component that relates to pertussis. How can this mean protection of those unvaccinated, if those vaccinated with Dtap are asymptomatic carriers? Do you agree that cocooning therefore is not effective, as it may put at risk the very infants you are trying to protect?

Michael Godfrey - 2 months ago
I have a problem with Dr Lush's commentary. I am a 79-year-old doctor retired a few years ago after 50 years of registered medical practice including an initial seven years working in British hospitals. When I took over a medical practice here in 1971, kids were generally very healthy. There were few routinely given vaccines and no one questioned safety or effectiveness. However, by the mid 1980s the vaccination load rapidly increased although again, no one in the medical profession thought to question their use. The American CDC guidelines were uncritically accepted. At this time I began seeing far more chronic illnesses with eczema, asthma and glue-ears in kids. I was also consulted by mothers with infants that had suddenly become almost impossible to handle. I met a British paediatrician at a medical conference in America who described how his practice had become almost intolerable with the increasing numbers of kids literally bouncing off the walls. Psychiatrists began listing numerous conditions known as autism spectrum disorders.
I realised that these previously normal kids almost invariably became sick following multiple vaccinations and that the unvaccinated appeared to be much healthier. As a result, my daughters did not vaccinate my grandchildren and likewise a great-granddaughter. I had also told their mothers how to minimise the immediate effects of these naturally-acquired childhood infections that would then give their children a lasting immunity. They have all been remarkably healthy having sailed through measles, chickenpox etc. Recent publications in the mainstream literature have indeed confirmed that vaccinated infants do have increased rates of chronic illnesses compared to the unvaccinated (Mawson 2017). This literature has now also identified reportedly common genetic predispositions whereby individuals cannot effectively detoxify environmental toxins including vaccine adjuvants. The latter can not only have nanoparticles of aluminium but also iron, cadmium, nickel, copper and other metals as contaminants that do not belong in an infant's brain (Gatti 2017). Relatively cheap tests are available and ought to be a prerequisite as they can identify those where vaccines could be contraindicated as well as guidance for health practitioners in effective remedies for those adversely affected.
It seems that in the zeal to eliminate infections, we have created a generation with various degrees of chronic ill-health as well as apparently requiring repeated booster vaccines every decade for life. These damaged kids are a far greater burden on not only their families but also on society and the tax-payer. Compounding this, and despite the published evidence, is a widespread denial of parental concerns of any possible vaccine harm. This lack of empathy and consideration is an insult to parents. It also warrants complaints under the Health and Disability Act. Conversely, humble acknowledgement of potential harm would not go amiss.

Footnote from ed:
The Mawson study referred to was funded by anti-vaccine groups and was retracted. See:
"http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2017/05/10/the-mawson-vaxedunvaxed-study-retraction-the-antivaccine-movement-reacts-with-tears-of-unfathomable-sadness/"

And here on the Gatti study:
"http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2017/02/02/antivaccinationists-try-to-show-vaccines-are-dirty-but-really-show-that-they-are-amazingly-free-from-contamination"

S.Williams - 1 month ago
Dr Lush, it is very alarming that an ex-acting Director of Public Health refuses to look at the data and evidence from his own medical sources/publications.
And when Hilary Butler, with the use of your own published data, refutes all your arguments in favour of vaccines and shows that vaccines are not effective, all you can say is "this is a conspiracy theory". Is this the best you can do, when confronted with data and science? Instead of apologising for misinforming the public?
In case of whooping cough, in spite of booster shots, the rate of this disease is increasing! You are fear-mongering re predicted whooping cough epidemic this year. An epidemic? In spite of all those vaccines and booster shots? If only you could see what thin ice you are walking on! Even an unborn child in his mother's womb is not safe, as you want to vaccinate pregnant women too. No doubt the tiny fetus will feel invigorated by the flow of Aluminum, Mercury, Formaldehyde, etc. through his blood-brain barrier to his brain. I thought sound medical advice to pregnant women is to avoid chemicals, drugs, smoking, alcohol etc. let alone heavy metals and embalming liquids!
It is no wonder that most parents who do not vaccinate their kids come from educated backgrounds with ability to research.
It is a shame that our editor hasn't published the replies to your printed piece from Hilary Butler, Jonathan Eisen and Dr. Godfrey. These are so informative and reveal the holes in your argument and would give parents an opportunity to really make informed decisions.
Dr Lush, your vaccine myths are busted using your own medical sources, evidence and data. Whose interests are you protecting? It certainly can't be the health of our children and our community, who gain no benefit from these poisonous vaccines and plenty of side-effects.
You had a choice when you were 22 to get all these vaccines. Now our medical students have no choice, it is compulsory for them to get vaccinated. Medical fascism, one step at a time!

S.Williams - 1 month ago
Dr. Lush, it seems your medical studies have done nothing to educate you about the significant differences between the complete immunity gained by exposure to a virus or bacteria, which includes a series of complex immune system responses, including cell immunity plus antibodies, compared to the appearance of humoral antibodies due to vaccines.
If you understood the extensive medical articles on how it is that the whooping cough vaccines doesn't activate cellular lung immunity therefore making the vaccinated the carriers in society you would never have made such flippant statements about pertussis.
Did you know, when a vaccinated person gets Whooping cough or measles for example, they often don't make it into the records? Un-vaccinated cases, on the other hand, get highly publicised!
Your understanding of herd immunity is also flawed. Take measles for instance, only when a mother has immunity from infection can she pass solid protection to her unborn child and to her infant via breastfeeding. By vaccinating communities on a large scale, the ability to completely protect babies and older adolescents and adults with natural immunity built over many generations has been ruined, and, you are now putting public health at greater risk in the future.
Furthermore, by use of Aluminum, Mercury, Formaldehyde, human DNA, animal DNA, and host of other nasty chemicals and pathogens in vaccines, you are assaulting and compromising our immune system's ability to fight any future exposure to viruses and bacteria.
A healthy breastfed child whose immune system has been strengthened by exposure to childhood illnesses can deal much better with other viruses throughout his lifetime. Haven't you heard that measles and other viruses are now being used as treatments against cancer? Maybe the cancer rates wouldn't be rising so fast if children got infections when they should and if the medical system had invested into treatments helping an immune system get rid of infections.
The most shocking argument you put forward in favour of vaccines is:
"From the moment you get up in the morning and risk slipping in the shower, nothing in life is 100 percent risk-free."
Well, Dr. Lush, parents can eliminate this one risk completely, by keeping their kids well away from your needles.

S. Williams - 1 month ago
Dr. Lush, again you misinform your readers by: "Vaccines get much more scrutiny than everyday risks, as they should. New vaccines are rigorously tested with a series of trials, and once they are released there is post-marketing surveillance."
Have you noticed that all phase 1 - phase 3 trials have exclusion criteria which effectively eliminate around a third of the population? Have you noticed that post marketing, these same vaccines are then said to be even more needed by the fragile, who were excluded from the pre-marketing trials because they are fragile? Have you noticed that the fragile are told that these vaccines were 'tested' and said to be safe? Have you noticed that the fragile aren't told that it was 'them' that were excluded from the safety trials?
Have you noticed that new vaccines are not even tested against a neutral placebo like an inert saline solution! They are tested against other vaccines or a solution consisting of vaccine excipients! Worse, multi-vaccines given at the same time are not even safety tested along with each other. The growing schedule is just presumed to be safe. As bad as a measles vaccine is on its own, it is far worse combined with Mumps and Rubella, and then injected into a child with a couple of others which provide aluminium for good measure. The constantly combining vaccines are not also tested with a never-vaccinated control arm either. And don't tell me there aren't enough never vaccinated people as a control arm, or that it's unethical to do it. That is rubbish.
"Post-marketing surveillance"? True. How few parents realise that our children are guinea pigs to test the safety of your vaccines!
Dr. Lush I have a question for you. Do you give the inserts that come with each vaccine to parents to read? Do you go through the list of ingredients and possible side-effects mentioned on the inserts with them? Do you tell them there has been no safety studies re multi-vaccines, nor any safety study on the combined 2017 vaccine schedule? Do you tell them that you cannot with any certainty say that their child will not get autism? Dr Offit, (top vaccine PR) can't, can you?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2cHZa8t98w

S.Williams - 1 month ago
Dr. Lush, can you assure parents that the exponential rising of autoimmune diseases, neurological problems, cancer, etc. has nothing to do with vaccines? If so, could you please show us peer-reviewed research (PRR) re this? Could you please show us PRR pre-marketing safety of aluminium, madin darby kidney cells, or any of the other excipients given separately or together, let alone injecting it into tiny infants?
Could you please show us that the "one size fits all" vaccine programmes are safe, irrespective of weight, age, genetics, health status? Do you think it is OK to give the same vaccine to a tiny infant as to a mature adult?
Dr. Lush, do you test children for genetic traits that may make them more susceptible to vaccine side effects, such as MTHFR gene? Dr.Thompson, CDC scientist, has let the cat out of the bag; black vaccinated boys are four times more susceptible to autism. CDC, shredded the data, but he kept a copy!! That is how we know!! Even more interesting in the Gardasil 4 trials, one arm had a large number of deaths amongst Asians, yet they were only a fraction of the total population. Is that why Japan is having so many serious reactions to Gardasil? Yet that's dismissed as a coincidence nothing.
If you don't have answers to the above questions or provide parents with the datasheets around the vial you inject into them, then please refrain from vaccinating kids.
Dr. Lush, have you considered the indisputable facts in this presentation re smallpox?
https://www.facebook.com/wearevaxxed/videos/477268609287087/
Can you please pull out your own medical sources and provide parents with the graphs for death and case incidences for all those illnesses you mention which were already on a sharp decline, as well as whooping cough which has risen? Parents may also like to see the same for a lot of the other infectious diseases, for which there has never been a vaccine, like slap cheek disease, scarlet fever, STDs, like gonorrhoea and syphilis.
You "wish that the 'anti-vaxxers' would take their scare tactics elsewhere". So that you can use your scare tactics on young parents to coerce them into vaccinating their babies based on pure misinformation and myths?

Footnote from Ed:
Claims of a link between vaccination and autism have been thoroughly debunked. This is probably the most concerning myth to see being perpetuated in these posts. Regarding William Thompson's efforts, please read the following:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2015/08/06/a-congressman-a-cdc-whisteblower-and-an-autism-tempest-in-a-trashcan/#4b61ef425396

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/08/05/the-cdc-whistleblower-william-thompson-appears-to-have-gone-full-antivaccine/

S.Williams - 1 month ago
Finally to all doctors:
By changing disease dynamics in communities and altering how each individual's immune system works, vaccines are destroying community immunity to many illnesses. Medical literature has recently expressed considerable disquiet about the effect of the flu vaccines and that the unvaccinated people are the ones who provide community immunity (Hayward 2015) not the vaccinated. Even more recently (Gostic 2016) concern has been expressed that flu vaccines are setting the community up for potential disaster in terms of limiting immunity rather than expanding it. You are playing not only with every individual immune system, but with humanity's DNA.
Do not cavalierly coerce people into playing Russian roulette with everyone's health and future generations. Understand and respect what it means to give full information and informed choice. Realise that people do have the intelligence to make their own decisions. Too many young kids have already paid the price because of the bullying and coercion from people who can't see past a needle.

S.Williams - 1 month ago
Regarding editor's footnote re autism's link with MMR vaccines.
I didn't see any Peer Reviewed Research showing Vaccines can't cause autism, in either references.
One is written by a "contributor" to Forbes. The other one is a blog post by Orac (aka known as David Gorski) who himself says: "medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice".
I didn't see any science in either of these articles, more like the usual desperate PR exercise to use smear tactics whenever truth gets out from their own medical sources.
If you listen to this presentation by Dr. Suzanne Humphries:
https://www.facebook.com/wearevaxxed/videos/477268609287087/
you will see such smear tactics and cover-ups re vaccine damage is nothing new. They are as old as vaccines themselves, as vaccine-injuries and vaccine-damage started from the very first vaccine and continue to date.
On the same presentation around 50 minutes, you will learn that autism is associated with brain inflammation and neuro-inflammation and inflammatory brain lesions. The evidence is overwhelming.
And guess what, Aluminum and Mercury are both known neurotoxins, and they do cause inflammation in brain. Couple that with not-fully developed blood-brain barrier of a baby, and then see if any informed parent would risk the life of their perfectly healthy child. Have you seen a severely autistic child banging his head in agony?
Autistic spectrum disorders are rising rapidly, ask any doctor or teacher. Until assurance are given to parents by PRR that vaccines do not cause autism or any other neurological disorders or autoimmune illnesses or cancer, this "medical intervention" should be ceased. It is criminal, unethical and illegal to destroy the life of perfectly healthy children, on the basis of busted myths re vaccines preventing illnesses.
In the meantime, some good news coming from Europe:
https://www.sott.net/article/354323-Bravo-European-Court-issues-common-sense-ruling-on-the-link-between-vaccines-and-disease
In the absence of doctors not sharing vaccine inserts, showing vaccine ingredients and possible side-effects, these could be helpful for parents, doing their own research:
https://www.sott.net/article/353724-The-scary-ingredients-in-childhood-vaccines

Footnote from Ed:
Please read the following very clear statements from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that there is no link between vaccines and autism, and the multitude of scientific research that confirms this.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html

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