perjantai 31. heinäkuuta 2009


Dr. Mercola
July 28 2009

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Do Drug Companies Secretly Favor a World Flu Pandemic?

By Dr. Mercola

In early May, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted the swine flu virus was not quite the fearsome plague it was widely reported to be in April when the novel influenza A strain (official name H1N1) first emerged in the U.S.
On May 6, Sebelius said:
“We are cautiously optimistic that what we are seeing right now is presenting itself as a much milder virus than the initial cases ... in Mexico.”[1]
Ms. Sebelius’ remark was likely prompted by the fact the swine flu virus is showing itself to have mild symptoms, quick recovery time, and low incidence of death among the vast majority of H1N1 patients throughout the world (with the single exception of Mexico).
A little over a month later, on June 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its swine flu pandemic alert from a 5 to a 6. [2] Phase 6 is the highest level alert, and reflects the speed with which a virus is spreading – not its severity.
WHO actually considers the severity of the H1N1 virus to be moderate, generally defined as an illness requiring neither hospitalization nor even medical care.[3]
From Cautious Optimism to High Risk Pessimism in Under Six Weeks
A few days after the Phase 6 designation, on June 16, Sebelius began urging school superintendents across the nation to prepare for the possibility their schools would be turned into swine flu shot clinics in the fall.
According to Sebelius, “If you think about vaccinating kids, schools are the logical place." She says if the current trend continues, "… the target may be school-age children as a first priority for vaccination.”[4]
And now it is being reported that the United States will spend an additional $1 billion on ingredients for an H1N1 vaccine. Another billion dollars for a virus with mild symptoms?
Why this sudden urgency to mass vaccinate, now that the real risks of the swine flu have been shown to be both mild and infrequent?
Where is the Logic in Mass-Vaccinating Kids?
Never mind the serious health risks of flu vaccines, which I’ll get to shortly. What happened to common sense?
Why are your school-age children being targeted by the Department of Health and Human Services as the “first priority” for novel H1N1 vaccinations that have not undergone adequate safety testing?
Per WHO, most cases of severe and fatal swine flu infections have occurred in people aged 30 to 50. Many of those cases were seen in people who were already ill with disorders like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and obesity.
Additionally, the swine flu virus presents much less threat of death to Americans than all other strains of influenza combined![5]
Why is your healthy youngster, who is highly unlikely to contract a severe case of swine flu, about to go to the front of the line to receive two doses of a rushed-to-market flu vaccine?
Worse yet, if you have a child with an established health condition, do you really want him or her injected with an experimental vaccine?
Children with underlying health problems will likely be the first to receive the vaccine, since they will be considered the most probable group to develop severe cases of the H1N1 virus. Unfortunately, these children are also the ones most vulnerable to serious side effects from the vaccine.
Your Child May Be Pushed to Get FOUR Flu Shots This Fall
On July 15th, Dr. Pascale Wortley, the U.S. CDC’s pandemic vaccine coordinator, announced,
"This vaccine campaign will unfold quite differently than seasonal flu. This is a huge endeavor we''re gearing up for."
According to the latest CDC recommendations, school children who have never had a flu shot may need four flu shots this fall. Two doses of the seasonal flu vaccine, and another two against the swine flu. Most everyone else should expect three shots.
Looking on the bright side, there are still two slivers of relief in this madness.
  1. It appears the pandemic flu shots (like the seasonal flu vaccine) are still voluntary, although most evidence strongly suggest that compulsory vaccinations is a HIGH probability.
  2. About 20 percent of the vaccines created will be preservative-free, and made available to children and pregnant women who want them
Adults, however, will receive shots from multi-dose vials that WILL contain thimerosal.
That said, please read on to find out why opting for a preservative-free vaccine is likely not enough if you want to protect the health of your child, and why you and your family may be FAR better off avoiding both the seasonal- and pandemic flu vaccines.
Flu Shots Simply Don’t Work
Because addressing the potential side effects of these untested swine flu vaccines is not the only problem here. Numerous studies have shown that flu shots simply do not work. Why would this case be any different?
For example:
  • According to the 2006 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 51 separate studies concluded the flu vaccine worked no better than a placebo in 260,000 children ranging in age from six months to 23 months.
  • A study published in the October 2008 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found flu vaccines in young children have made no difference in the number of flu-related doctor and hospital visits.
  • As reported in a 2004 publication of the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a study of 800 children with asthma concluded those receiving a flu vaccine had a significantly increased risk of asthma-related doctor and emergency room visits.[6]
  • A more recent study released at the 2009 American Thoracic Society International Conference showed children with asthma who received FluMist had a 3-fold increased risk for hospitalization.[7]
And not only are vaccines ineffective in preventing flu in your children, they are equally useless for adults, including the elderly.
  • According to the 2007 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, studies of over 65,000 healthy adults concluded vaccinations reduced the risk of flu by only six percent, and reduced missed work days by less than a single day. Vaccinations did not reduce the number of people who sought medical help or took time off from work.[8]
  • The 2006 Cochrane Database also includes a review of 64 vaccination studies of the elderly across nearly 100 flu seasons. The studies showed flu vaccines were ineffective in preventing the flu in either nursing home patients or elderly living in the community.[9]
  • A study published in the Lancet last year found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. This supports a study done five years ago, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
Last year, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases:
“We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”
Flu Vaccines Pose Significant Health Risks to Your Children
Most flu vaccines contain dangerous levels of mercury in the form of thimerosal, a deadly preservative that is 50 times more toxic than regular mercury.[10] If taken in high enough doses, it can result in long-term immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions.
Disorders associated with mercury poisoning include autism, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, and speech and language deficiencies.
The Institute of Medicine has warned that infants, children, and pregnant women should not be injected with thimerosal, and yet the majority of flu shots contain 25 micrograms of it.
It has been calculated that, by age two, American children have received 237 micrograms of mercury from vaccines alone, which far exceeds the current EPA “safe” level of 0.1 mcg/kg per day.

But that’s not all. Other toxic substances found in various flu vaccines include:
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) Neomycin and streptomycin (antibiotics) Resin and gelatin - known to cause allergic reactions
Formaldehyde – a known cancer causing agent Aluminum -- a neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease Polysorbate 80 (Tween80™) – which can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
Phenol (carbolic acid) Triton X100 (detergent) Egg proteins (including avian viruses)
What is the Current Status of the H1N1 Flu Vaccine?
In response to WHO’s Phase 6 alert level, the CDC declared the H1N1 flu pandemic a public health emergency, which allowed the FDA to authorize drug companies to “fast track” experimental vaccines. Fast tracking means the new vaccines are not tested as thoroughly as vaccines which move through the normal licensing process.
In other words, a fast tracked vaccine will be available for use long before it can be proved safe for use.
In total, five drug manufacturers are now in the process of creating experimental vaccines against the pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus. Between them, it is estimated they will produce between 40 million and 160 million doses of egg-based vaccine, to be available in the U.S. by October.
Pharmaceutical giant Baxter International announced on June 12 it has a patented cell-based technology which reduces the development time to 13 weeks, down from the usual 26, and was scheduled to be completed this month.
Baxter is nothing if not aggressive about getting their influenza vaccines to market. In December, a Baxter facility in Austria sent a human flu vaccine contaminated with deadly H5N1 live avian flu virus to 18 countries, including the Czech Republic. According to a report by The Times of India, the two viruses seem to have been “mixed in error.”[11]
The report continues,
“Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences. While H5N1 doesn''t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.”
Czech newspapers questioned how the potentially deadly contamination was possible. Baxter’s position is it was human error. Other sources, however, maintain the cross-contamination was virtually impossible in light of Baxter’s adherence to the highest level of laboratory safety, Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3).[12]
The same Czech newspapers, among others, questioned whether Baxter was involved in a deliberate attempt to start a pandemic.
As difficult as it is to contemplate an American pharmaceutical corporation could make such a potentially lethal mistake, or worst yet, intentionally orchestrate a deadly flu pandemic, the fact of the contamination is undisputed.
How comfortable are you with the thought you or your loved ones could be forced to receive injections of a fast tracked swine flu vaccine made by Baxter? An untested vaccine for a flu virus you may not contract, and which will probably only cause moderate discomfort if you do get infected?
Novartis, another Big Pharma player, also announced on June 12 that it, too, has produced a swine flu vaccine using cell-based technology and the adjuvant MF59®.
An adjuvant is an additive designed to generate a stronger immune response to a vaccine. In other words, its purpose is to kick your immune system into overdrive so the size of the dose and number of vaccine doses you receive can be reduced.
The MF59® adjuvant is oil based and contains Tween80, Span85, and squalene. In studies of oil-based adjuvants in rats[13] , the animals were rendered crippled and paralyzed.
Squalene brought on severe arthritis symptoms in rats, and studies in humans given from 10 to 20 ppb (parts per billion) of squalene showed severe immune system impact and development of autoimmune disorders.[14]
I will release a special report on this dangerous adjuvant next week, so stay posted.
Tamiflu Likely Useless Against Swine Flu
And what about the antiviral drug Tamiflu, which has been pushed as a remedy against the swine flu in lieu of a more specific vaccine? As predicted, Tamiflu is likely useless against the novel strain of flu.
According to a recent article in ABC News, public health authorities have reported three cases of the H1N1 influenza in which the virus was resistant to the drug. In one of the cases, the patient had not received the drug, but two others developed the swine flu after receiving Tamiflu as a preventive measure.
Fortunately, all three developed very mild cases of the flu, and have been fully recovered.
Overall, I find it interesting that despite the fact that the virus may be developing resistance to one of the frontline antivirals, it’s mutating into very MILD disease that you’re likely to recover from without much fuss…
That’s even more proof, in my book, that taking Tamiflu is not in your best interest. Because aside from the fact that Tamiflu may soon become completely useless against the swine flu, there are many other dangers associated with the drug. For a refresher, please review my previous article that covered Tamiflu’s hazards in greater detail.
Are Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccinations a Real Possibility?
In my opinion, yes.
There’s a great deal of money, political power and momentum behind the swine flu pandemic fear mongering movement, which I first wrote about in my hugely popular swine flu alert in April.
It is clear Big Pharma stands to make many millions through rising stock prices, the sale of dangerous prescription drugs like Tamiflu, and mass swine flu vaccination campaigns.
The progression toward more government control is equally obvious ...
The U.S. Public Health Service was established in 1946. Executive Order 9708 included a list of communicable diseases for which quarantines could be established. In 2005, “influenza caused by novel or re-emergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic,”[15] was added to the list.
Sounds tailor-made for something like the exotic hybrid swine flu we’re now faced with, doesn’t it?
In the years since 9/11, the U.S. government has made even more moves to clear the way for agencies like the Depts. of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to interfere in your freedom to choose how to manage your own health, and the health of your family.[16]
For example:
  • The Project Bioshield Act of 2004 gives NIH the authority to fast track drugs and vaccines deemed “qualified medical countermeasures” against threats to public health.[17]
  • Executive Order 13375, effective in 2005, amends Executive Order 13295, which gives the Secretary of HHS the power to detain, examine and quarantine indefinitely any individual thought to be infected with a communicable disease.[18]
  • The 2006 Division E -- Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act gives the Secretary of HHS the power to recommend the development and administration of covered countermeasures, defined as a “pandemic product, vaccine or drug.”
Translation: the need for quarantines and mandatory vaccinations for the swine flu pandemic is up to Kathleen Sebelius. The 2006 Act also releases involved parties, including drug manufacturers, from all liability for covered countermeasure drugs, including vaccines.[19]
Based on how the swine flu pandemic has been handled (marketed) to date, it appears drug companies and certain U.S. government agencies hope to scare you into signing up for swine flu vaccinations and prescription flu remedies. Failing that, it is within Ms. Sebelius’ discretion to mandate vaccinations.
I agree with Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC), who says:
“Citizens around the world can be easily manipulated by doctors and politicians engaging in fear mongering in the name of disease controls to forward agendas that have more to do with ideology, power and corporate profits than health.”
What You Can Do Right Now
The International Vaccine Conference is held about once every FIVE years. It is without question the single best conference on vaccines in the world. For every speaker that is speaking there are 5-10 others that were not able to speak.

It is the best of the best speakers on this topic and I am VERY excited about attending. Washington DC is absolutely delightful in the fall and all the world class museums there are free.

Please join me at this event. It is only $195 for the weekend and the hotel rooms are only $95 if you make a reservation before July 31. So even I you are only considering going, you should register for the hotel as there is no charge to cancel your reservation.

Visit the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) site and join in the fight against mandatory swine flu vaccinations.
Educate yourself about influenza strains, vaccination risks, and the public health laws in your state that may require you or your children to undergo either mandatory vaccination or quarantine.
Take care of your health to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting the flu. The key is to keep your immune system strong by following these guidelines:

Related Links:

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Vaccine Choice

ANH Vaccine Choice campaign launches 6th February 2009


  • It is becoming difficult for parents to make an informed choice about childhood vaccines in the face of increasing pro-vaccination pressure from government, the medical profession and the media.
  • Genuine parental concerns about possible side effects and longer-term health risks of vaccinations are being patronizingly labeled as ‘irrational’ and ‘selfish’.
  • What are the dangers of multiple vaccines and what is the truth behind official denials of adverse effects?
  • Research funded by pro-vaccination government agencies and vaccine manufacturing company grants is likely to be biased.
  • Selling vaccinations nets the multinational, Big Pharma drug companies over $10 billion per annum – why would they want to stop doing it?

To read the latest article by Dr Robert Verkerk for Caduceus magazine (July 09) titled "Swine flu: How proportionate is the pandemic response?" click here for a pdf of the article or here to read the article within the online version of the magazine.

Our medical director, Dr Damien Downing, a practicing medical doctor and President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, who has taken a deep interest in this issue for some years, tries to get closer to the truth about vaccine efficacy and safety.

Millions of parents every year face a grave dilemma; should we give our child the usual vaccines and risk autism, or refuse them and risk meningitis and other complications, plus increasing pressure to vaccinate from the authorities? How to evaluate the evidence? Who can we trust?

Government policy, in the UK and USA, is clear; all your children should have all the vaccines. If they don’t you may be prosecuted (New York), and proposals to bar unvaccinated children are being considered (UK). Some countries may refuse immigration of unvaccinated children (Australia). And year by year the list of vaccines just grows.

Because vaccines are the new Pharma. While most of the big-earning drugs are nearing the end of their profit cycles, vaccines are just selling more and more; over $10 billion per annum worldwide, not a profit centre any company wants to abandon. The pharmaceutical multinationals not only have preferential access to government circles via lobbyists and other less transparent links; they are the ‘jewel in the crown’ of industry, so successful that governments dare not threaten them lest they take their jobs and taxes elsewhere.

Do I — don’t I?

One of the first major health decisions parents
have to make on behalf of their children

What should you do? Should you give your child the MMR? Should your daughter have the cervical cancer jab? Should you have the flu jab yourself?

The first principle is that, in a democracy, it should be your choice. Most of us in Europe used to be a democracy until recently, but now, where the Lisbon Treaty is still being pushed through despite a 100% rejection rate by any citizens (France, Holland, Ireland) asked for their opinion, they talk about post-democracy. Post-democracy is a system where most policies and laws are made not by elected representatives voting according to the wishes of the electorate, but by regulations, establishing quangos, and presidential-style decrees that largely bypass any democratic process.

Where countries go to war despite the will of the people; where indeed the elections are not representative. And where compulsory vaccination, alongside compulsory medication of our children for their putative ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), is imposed against our will. And where nutrients that can provide cheap, safe and effective treatments for many problems are being outlawed on the basis of manipulated and flawed evidence.

The second is that you should be provided with the information necessary to make an informed decision. But you won’t get the truth from the government or from the manufacturers. You certainly don’t get the truth from your broadcasters, as those of us in the UK have found out to our chagrin now that dear Old Aunty (the BBC) seems to be towing the pro-pharma pro-vaccine health line. You won’t even necessarily get the truth from your doctors; although there are many excellent doctors who acknowledge and stand up for their patients’ rights, there are many who are, as some of them will admit, afraid to put their heads above the parapet. They have learnt what not to say in order to get on, to have a career. This couldn’t be truer of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

How do you decide when you don’t know who to trust? You do your own research and make up your own mind. You know that when people or websites are selling something they may not be offering completely unbiased information — and that goes for governments and companies as well as individuals of course. You know that medical research isn’t always pure and unbiased (see link on this website on how pharmaceutical advertising biases what journals publish). You know that you have to form your own judgment even about what we say — and we wouldn’t have it otherwise. So listen to what we say, then look at some of the links we provide, then exercise your vaccine choice.

The official line: "Vaccine-autism link disproved"....

The frequently-repeated assertion at the heart of autism-denial is that research has proved that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Much of the time this refers back to one paper by a Danish group[i] in 2003—a group with a vested interest, working as they did for the state-run vaccine industry. The paper considered children diagnosed with autism between 1971 and 2000; thimerosal was removed from vaccines in Denmark in 1992, and the paper argued that because they found that autism cases continued to rise after that date, thimerosal could not have been a causative factor. But regressive autism typically manifests in the second year of life, but is not diagnosed for some years; 75% of affected children in Denmark are thought to be diagnosed and reported between the ages of 5 and 19 years, so the reporting rate would not be expected to fall significantly in the 8 years from the removal of thimerosal to the end of the study.

This is not the most glaring problem in the study, however; that would be the fact that the authors moved the goalposts from 1995 onwards by including children diagnosed as out-patients; prior to that date only in-patients were included. Naturally, out-patients made up the vast majority—93% of all cases in the analysis, guaranteeing a rise in numbers whatever the mechanism.

The next favourite paper is by Andrews, Miller and others in the UK in 2004[ii]; again there are questions about both the ethical probity and the methodological soundness of the study. Ethical questions arose because the two main authors worked for the Health Protection Agency—so they were partly responsible for the vaccination policy which they were reviewing—and because they did not declare in the paper that they had received money from several vaccine manufacturers; multiple conflicts of interest in fact. The methodological issues included inadequacies in the UK General Practitioner Research database on which the study was based, and the fact that the authors, despite their affilliations, even got the dose of thimerosal wrong, throwing out their calculations. This came to light subsequently, but the study has never been withdrawn, and continues to be cited as valid.

Since then there have been a number of other studies claiming to demonstrate that there is no vaccine-autism link. Most of them have been reviews of other studies (which allows media to quote them as “new research shows that….” when it is nothing of the sort), but the latest is a study from Italy[iii] which is actual, not warmed-over research. The paper, by Dr Alberto Tozzi, has been publicized as demonstrating yet again that thimerosal does not contribute to autism or neurodevelopmental problems. But guess what; it also turns out to have ethical and methodological issues. The ethical one is that the author does not declare any conflict of interest, despite having received grants in the past from Wyeth, GlaxoSmithKline and from Novartis — all major vaccine manufacturers. The methodological one is that there was no real control group; the study compared subjects who had received two different doses of thimerosal in a whooping-cough vaccine in 1992-3. The authors themselves have admitted that “comparing children with no exposure to thimerosal could have improved the study”, which didn’t prevent it being hyped as further proof of the safety of thimerosal. The other curiousity about the study is that in 1700 students they found only one case of autism; hardly a useful group to compare to primary school children in the UK or USA, where the same number would have more than 20 cases. There may be good reasons why Italian children are different to American ones — chiefly to do with their exposure to other toxins such as pesticides[iv].

Which science?

The other standard assertion is that there is no research to link autism to mercury, as contained in the thimerosal preservative; but as Bernard Rimland pointed out time and again, you can only make that assertion by ignoring the evidence — which is what usually happens[v]. The next step is to muddy the waters by recommending that pregnant mothers should avoid eating fish due to its mercury content — although mercury in vaccines, or in your teeth, is perfectly safe! As is the tapwater, food and the air we breathe; the pesticides, flame retardants and other toxins we can’t avoid are all harmless, we’re told.

Let’s be clear on this. Mercury, wherever it comes from, is poisonous to some degree. The younger you are, the more toxic it is; developing brains are much more vulnerable to mercury and to all the other toxins than our adult brains. The mercury in vaccines is in addition to exposure from incinerator fumes, from the mother’s dental fillings, from all the background exposures we all receive. And in addition to the pesticides, flame retardants and so on that pervade our ecosystem. Polar bears, otters, fish, humans, we are all being poisoned. Just removing mercury from vaccines won’t solve that, it will only remove the worst culprit.


Dr Andrew Wakefield

One team of doctors then came up with some possible evidence for an MMR-autism link. The study was published in one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, The Lancet in 1998. Dr Andrew Wakefield and colleagues from the Royal Free Hospital in London reported specific bowel symptoms in a prospective case series of twelve consecutive vaccinated children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities, and alleged a possible connection with the MMR vaccination. In the wake of the paper’s publication, the doctors faced a massive assault from the media, the vaccine manufacturers, the government, the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) and a large clutch of doctors. They were accused of professional misconduct, booted from their jobs and in March 2004 the GMC announced it was going to instigate an inquiry.

Last month, the GMC resumed its hearing in the case of Andrew Wakefield, along with colleagues Dr Simon Murch and Professor John Walker-Smith. This hearing has now been running intermittently for 18 months, has cost the taxpayer millions, has kept good doctors from helping autistic and other children, and incredibly, still manages to control mainstream public opinion. Where are the dissenting views? Where is the news about events in this field in the USA? Well it is all on the web, most notably perhaps at Cry Shame (see also ANH feature, 10 July 2008), an apt name for the site that spearheads the news on this travesty of justice and its role in controlling us all; read Martin Walker’s fascinating account there of the entire hearing, and read also what is happening with regard to autism in real life.

Our position on Andrew Wakefield and his co-defendants is clear and unchanging; ethically they had no choice, back in 1998, but to report on their identification of what may still be an important finding in a minority of children with autism. The Lancet saw this at the time and published without hesitation; the editor, Richard Horton, must have come under severe pressure thereafter which led him to change his tune, and to allege a conflict of interest on the part of Wakefield. Nevertheless, in the GMC hearing (last year) Horton asserted that the science of the paper “still stands”, and that he “wished, wished, wished” that the clock could be turned back and the paper be considered again in the light in which it was first presented. So say we all.

A Fashionable Diagnosis

I couldn’t quite believe my ears last week when I heard everybody’s ‘favourite’ media doctor-cum-scientist, Ben Goldacre, on London’s BBC Radio 4 suggesting that autism is a fashionable diagnosis. I thought this one had been put to death long ago — if not by Bernard Rimland writing in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in 2000, and elsewhere, then by Gillian Baird’s Lancet paper in 2006.

In 2000 Rimland said[vi];

While there are a few Flat-Earthers who insist that there is no real epidemic of autism, only an increased awareness, it is obvious to everyone else that the number of young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has risen, and continues to rise, dramatically.

and went on to substantiate this by reference to a number of studies in several countries.

In 2006 Baird et al said[vii];

Prevalence of autism and related ASDs is substantially greater than previously recognised.

and reported that, of 56,000 children aged 9 or 10 they surveyed in the South Thames area, 1 in 86 had autism or ASD. Since then, further doubt has been left in the air by a report in the Observer in 2007 (since removed from the newspaper's website) that the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge had conducted their own studies, and found an incidence of one child in 58. All attempts to get this confirmed or denied have been unsuccessful.

So why do we now have a media ‘scientist’ jumping back a decade to imply that there is no epidemic of autism, only fashionably neurotic parents, misled by unscrupulous people (like me, I guess)? He’s entitled to his opinion, of course, so the question is more “Why do we never hear dissenting voices to the chorus of government, industry and academic voices declaring unanimously that vaccines are entirely safe?” Equally, why do we never hear, unless we log on to certain, mostly American, websites (see below for links), about the constantly accruing evidence that mercury and other toxins can cause autism? Not to mention that mercury is found in junk food.

We know that they are not right about these things, so they must be either lying or stupid. Since “they” includes the FDA in America and New Labour over here, it can’t be the latter. Could it be that they’re lying?

Information management; the truth and the BBC

Why do we hear no dissenting voice on the media? Why does, for instance, the UK’s BBC allow Professor David Salisbury to state, unchallenged and repeatedly on the Radio 4 Today programme, that;

  • Measles rates have risen as a result of the “scandal” about media scares over MMR.
  • Measles is a dangerous disease.
  • The MMR-Autism link has been disproved.
  • To refuse the vaccine is “irrational”.

The first two statements are questionable, the third is plain falsehood:

"Measles rates have risen as a result of the ‘scandal’ about media scares over MMR"

Unlikely. The ‘scare’ started in 1999, but as this graph (from a 2007 London Assembly report[viii]) shows, vaccination rates did not fall until 2002, and not significantly until 2005. Also, DPT vaccination rates fell exactly the same as MMR at the same time. This suggests a loss of faith in the government statements on the whole subject of vaccine safety — just as many young people lost faith in statements on drugs — rather than a response to the media “scare” about MMR.

Since rates for all vaccinations have always been much lower in London, other ethnic and cultural factors must play a part as well.

"Measles is a dangerous disease"

Up to a point, Minister. Since GPs seem to retire in their 40s these days, I wonder if there are many around with experience of managing measles? The MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK in 1988, and there is no doubt that it slashed measles rates, so very few GPs under 60 now will have seen much. But as a GP in the 70s I had responsibility for seeing a number of children through measles, and it was a relatively easy matter for the large majority; rest, quiet, minimal television, fluids, call again if any problems arise. The only serious risk of complications is in children with pre-existing problems or risk factors (living with two smoker parents for example).

The real problem with measles is the possible complication of measles encephalitis, which can be fatal, but this only happens in one in several million measles sufferers. As a parent, one has to weigh this against the risk of developing autism or a disease on the autistic spectrum, which is currently at least 1 in 100 for boys, and perhaps as high as 1 in 58; if MMR vaccination contributes to this risk, should you have your child vaccinated with it?

"The MMR-Autism link has been disproved"

See above; all the studies that claim to disprove the link have serious questions over their probity and methodology, which are never acknowledged. A reasonable guesstimate of the truth that will no doubt eventually emerge is that MMR is a minor factor in precipitating autism, or perhaps just a common “last straw”, but that toxins, particularly but not only mercury preservatives in vaccines, are a major factor.

"To refuse the vaccine is 'irrational'"

What is really irrational is to impose the multiple vaccines, such as MMR, on us all, when there is a real doubt over a link to autism. It is unprincipled for government to “manage” the information, and deny us the wherewithal to make informed judgements for ourselves. It is also “irrational” because it destroys trust in the government’s statements, on vaccines or on anything. This is the best explanation for the drop in vaccination rates — an entirely rational suspicion that governments and manufacturers are covering up the truth.

The manufacturers have a simple reason to do this; profit. Profit now, from the current vaccine programme, and future profit from the increasing numbers of vaccines that are being rolled out for other diseases. For government it’s about control; in our post-democratic surveillance state they seek to control everything we do, without recourse to the democratic process.

One London paediatrician has given more than 3000 single vaccines, and reports them to be equally as effective as MMR in achieving seroconversion, which is notably less effective than the manufacturers and the government claim; both MMR and single vaccines achieved 90% seroconversion for measles, 93% for rubella and only 80% for mumps, against manufacturers’ claims of 97% for all three. Equally important is the fact that none of the 1000 children given single vaccines has gone on to develop autism or ASD, in a population that should probably have contained around 17 cases. So why not make the single vaccines available on the NHS?

"Selfish" is the latest label the pro-vaccination media now give to parents who have thus far avoided vaccinating their children—out of concern for their most beloved. That kind of language pulls at the heart strings and requires even more effort on behalf of busy parents who care about making properly informed choices that effect not only their children but more and more, also themselves. It’s not fun being a social outcast because you’ve apparently decided that it’s okay to let other children be vaccinated so your own unvaccinated child’s risk is lessened.

Find out more

On the website of the University of Calgary, where the research happened, you will find one of the scariest movies you’ll ever see; This shows just what mercury can do to nerve cells, and at minute dosages. We don’t believe that anybody could view that and then dismiss the mercury-autism theory as “implausible”.

On Youtube you will find many other clips, including some of Robert Kennedy Jr. on mercury and autism; he wrote a seminal article in Rolling Stone on the subject. Listen to that and a few more (you’ll get both sides of the argument there), read what the excellent anonymous blogger, Acta Non Verba, has to say on his/her blog, and have a look at the links below too. Then make your own mind up.

What to do?

You decide — it’s your right. Personally, if it were my child, I would decide about each vaccine on its merits, and have, or give, single vaccines as and when appropriate. There is no question that vaccines do work, and there are some diseases so dangerous that it’s a “no-brainer”; the obvious example is tetanus. Bird flu would be another — if they could make a vaccine that worked. As to the vaccines in MMR; rubella can be very damaging to unborn babies, so girls should definitely be vaccinated before they are old enough to get pregnant. Mumps can be damaging to males’ wedding tackle after puberty, and rarely life-threatening. But do all these vaccines have to be given to babies and toddlers? In my opinion, and that of a growing group of my medical colleagues, their immune systems are just not geared up to handle this onslaught. And I would be particularly careful if either parent, or their parents, has a history of allergies or other immune problems, or of problems with chemicals, or of neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s or Multiple Sclerosis. There are a few private doctors and clinics around the country who will give you single vaccines (I’m not one of them). You’ll find them through any search engine.

But those are my opinions. Now it’s your turn to make your choice.

Dr Damien Downing MB BS
Medical Director, Alliance for Natural Health
President, British Society for Ecological Medicine

[i] Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB et al.Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Pediatrics 2003;112(3):604–6.

[ii] Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A et al. Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: a retrospective cohort study in the United Kingdom does not support a causal association. Pediatrics 2004;114:584-591.

[iii] Tozzi, A. et al. Neuropsychological performance 10 years after immunization in infancy with Thimerosal-containing vaccines. Pediatrics 2009; 123(2):475-482. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-0795.

[iv] D'Amelio M, Ricci I, Sacco R, Liu X, D'Agruma L, Muscarella LA, et al. Paraoxonase gene variants are associated with autism in north america, but not in italy: Possible regional specificity in gene-environment interactions. Mol Psychiatry 2005;10(11):1006-16.


[vi] Rimland B. The autism epidemic, vaccinations, and mercury. J Nutr Environ Med 2000; 10: 261–6.

[vii] Baird G, Simonoff E, Pickles A, Chandler S, Loucas T, Meldrum D, Charman A. Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP). Lancet 2006; 368: 210–5.

[viii] Still Missing the Point? Infant Immunisation in London. London Assembly Health and Public Services Committee, September 2007