Your Baby's Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives
by Stacy Mintzer Herlihy , E. Allison Hagood, Paul A., M.D. Offit
1.0 out of 5 stars shoddy propaganda, December 28, 2012
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This review is from: Your Baby's Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives (Hardcover)
This is a sloppily-written book which, in many cases, omits
giving a true and factual picture of what is being discussed. Stacy Herlihy
starts the book by trying to show how she identifies with parents who are afraid
of vaccine damage. She tells of her two-month old baby daughter starting to
scream four hours after getting the DTaP shot. The baby cried inconsolably for
maybe twenty minutes, maybe an hour, and then stopped. The daughter is eight
years old now, and normal.
Nowhere does she give an account of a damaging vaccine reaction. I had told my daughter's pediatrician that I didn't want her to get the hep-B vax at birth, as I had read even in 2000 that it often caused autism. They gave it to her at midnight her first day of life without asking permission, and without even giving me a sheet of vaccine reactions to look for, or telling me of them. She started to scream inconsolably when she was four days old, literally all night, I rocked her in my arms all night, completely unaware of what the cause was. Four days, four nights of inconsolable screaming, eight hours in a row before passing out exhausted for three hours, then waking to scream some more. It was encephalitis caused by the vaccine. Even the Merck Manual recognizes that encephalitis can be caused by vaccines, and most reactions to that vaccine occur between three and five days after the shot. My mother told the pediatrician, and he tried to dismiss it as colic, which never occurs in the first week of life, and does not interfere with feeding. My baby stopped nursing because of the unbearable pain, and lost one pound two ounces in the first two days of the screaming.
I let her get the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, but, because it is a very ineffective vaccine, caught pertussis anyway at a La Leche League meeting when she was eight months old, and gave it to me. But at that age, it is very rarely dangerous, and wasn't dangerous for either of us, though it was alarming, ten coughs a breath, coughing up sheets of mucus at the end of each coughing fit. She missed all her language milestones, but was sweet and smiling, nursed well, grew well. She had started saying uh for up at the playground and uff for dog by the time she was 18 months old. It wasn't much for that age, but it was something. As soon as she got the DTaP booster at 18 months old, like Alex Hintz in Vaccine Epidemic, she never said those or any other words again until she was 34 months old, the shot did further damage to her brain. She was diagnosed with autism at 20 months old, and also has bowel disease. Now that was a damaging vaccine reaction, but the authors of this book would have you believe that the hundreds of thousands of vaccine-damaged families like mine only tell our stories to confuse and frighten those trying to make the vaccine decision.
On p. 6, they say that our stories are more colorful than that of a child not getting sick or dying of measles because he got the MMR. It is also not very colorful to say what is the truth, that until the 1970s, virtually every child in the U.S. got measles as a small child, was sick with a high fever for ten days or so, and then got well, with permanent immunity. I did, as well as everyone I knew. Very few children had a dangerous case of measles. It is very colorful to read the innumerable horrifying accounts of children regressing into chronic severe diarrhea, stomach pain, and autism within days or weeks of getting the MMR. Parents need to be aware of all aspects of this decision, whether or not they are colorful, as their child's life and present and future health are at stake.
On p. 27 they say that vaccines do not change your body's fundamental chemistry, nor do they introduce toxins into your blood. Mercury is still in most flu vaccines, aluminum is still in most of them. These are toxins, as well as formaldehyde, and many more. Dr. Sears has a much better explanation of vaccine ingredients than what is found here. Vaccines skew the body's chemistry from an appropriate Th-1 response to an auto-immune Th-2 response, starting allergies which otherwise would not have occurred.
On p. 29 they say that an adult is less likely to suffer serious side effects from diseases like measles or meningitis than a baby. Adults are more likely to have a bad case of measles or chickenpox than a baby or child, which is why it would be better to let people get and overcome these diseases as children, the way they used to. Babies are more likely to have a bad case of pertussis, but the vaccine, though it is given at two months, does not provide any protection at that age (see Walker et al), because the immune system hasn't developed enough at that age to react as desired. Response isn't very good at four months either, it is only at six months that many respond as desired. Far from all, the epidemic this year in the U.S. of pertussis affected about 40,000, and 80-90% of them had been appropriately vaccinated. Even CDC doctor Anne Schuchat said that the unvaccinated could not be blamed for this epidemic. Usually a few of the newborns who get it die, the disease is not usually serious in those older than six months. These newborns should be protected by being kept home in quarantine, as even appropriately vaccinated people can transmit the disease to them, and statistically, most of the twelve newborns who died this year of pertussis got it from vaccinated people.
The reason the authors give for giving the hep-B vax at birth is because hepatitis B can be transmitted from mother to baby as the baby passes through the birth canal. OK, that's true, it can be. But Dr. Sears in the Vaccine Book searched for and found the facts, which he presents, with full documentation. Before the vaccine program was begun in 1991, there was an average of 360 babies and children diagnosed with hep-B, most born to infected mothers. The vaccine proponents artificially elevated the number to 30,000, with no basis in fact, to justify putting a lot of resources into this program. This virus is not transmitted by casual contact, but usually by exposure to contaminated needles used for illegal drugs and by sexual contact, in other words, like AIDS. If it were a harmless vaccine, it would just be a question of a lot of wasted money, but a congressional hearing in May 1999 found that it was a very dangerous vaccine that should never be given with mercury. (And they gave it to my baby a year later, without asking, and with mercury.) Michael Belkin, whose baby was killed by it; school nurse Patti White, who testified that it was this vaccine that had caused the sudden deluge of autism to hit Missouri schools in 1996; and Judy Converse, whose son was given the vaccine at the hospital without asking permission and reacted with encephalitis and bowel disease, and was later diagnosed with autism. She wrote a book, When Your Doctor is Wrong: Autism and the Hepatitis B Vaccine, with many pages of documentation on the damage caused by this vaccine. She said more adverse event reports had been filed on this vaccine than on all the others put together.
Chapter 2 is about the smallpox vaccination. The glowing account given here neglects to mention that the vaccine often caused fatal gangrene, syphilis, cancer, and permanently wasted limbs, as well as outright death. Many countries mandated the vaccine, and saw horrible, unprecedented smallpox epidemics in populations with a background vaccination rate of 98%, in which tens of thousands died. Some villages in Europe in which all the people had been vaccinated saw 80% of their population killed by smallpox. The vaccine wasn't very effective. Many cities saw riots of a hundred thousand people, as in Leicester, England, protest the mandatory smallpox vaccination that was killing them and their children. The vaccine was dangerous. Smallpox disappeared in countries without vaccination campaigns as well as in those with them. Diseases have their own life history, and vaccination may or may not have much to do with it. Leprosy, English sweating sickness (which killed tens of thousands in England between 1460 and 1560, including King Henry VIII's brother Arthur) disappeared completely after about 1560, centuries before vaccines. When my daughter had chickenpox, I took her to the doctor to get it on the record, and the doctor said he'd been glad to see the smallpox vaccine taken off the market, he had seen the horrendous effects it often had. But these negative aspects of the smallpox vaccine are not mentioned in this book. They are in Wendy Lydall's well-documented book Raising a Vaccine Free Child.
On p. 21 the authors say that "the creation of antibodies by the immune system is the same process whether you have received a vaccine for the disease or have had the disease itself." This is not true. A shot causes powerful antigens, including heavy metals and highly-antigenic animal proteins from the culture medium as well as the pathogens themselves to show up suddenly in the blood, bypassing the defensive filters in the respiratory and digestive systems that neutralize most threats before they reach the bloodstream. The immune system reacts in panic, pulling out its last-ditch defenses, activating the Th2 auto-immune system rather than the usual, normal threat Th-1 system. That means that vaccines cause the immune system to create allergic responses to harmless substances trying to counteract the perceived threat. Natural immunity is much better and usually much longer-lasting.
When the body overcomes natural diseases, it creates antibodies which will last for a lifetime, unlike those provoked by vaccines, which usually don't last for that long. Immunity to measles, mumps, chickenpox will be permanent. Immunity to diseases like Prevnar or Hib meningitis or HPV is partial, at best, because there are innumerable serotypes of the pathogens that can cause disease, and immunity gained by exposure will only be partial. This is true also if you get the vaccine, and is a big problem, new serotypes
On p. 49, they try to say that ethylmercury, the kind used in thimerosal, still in most flu vaccines, is not like most mercury, and is always quickly excreted from the body. But those who have read the books The Age of Autism, Evidence of Harm, and Vaccine Epidemic will know that that is not true. Not only is ethylmercury as damaging as methylmercury, but there are many people, like me and my daughter, who for genetic reasons store the mercury in the brain rather than excrete it, and so we continue to suffer the symptoms of mercury poisoning many years after getting the shots. I reacted to a tetanus booster with brachial plexus neuropathy, both arms being paralyzed for several days, starting the day of the vaccine. I then went on to develop MS, all of the symptoms of which are also symptoms of mercury poisoning, just as mercury poisoning can cause all the symptoms of autism.
In the section on vaccine reactions, they classify prolonged crying fits as a moderate side effect that do not typically require medical attention. This is not true, prolonged inconsolable crying for three hours or more is a prima facie symptom of encephalitis, and the child should be taken to the ER. That being said, Dr. Sears says there's not much doctors can do to treat an encephalitic reaction, though they can try steroid drugs to try to reduce the brain inflammation. The bottom line is that if your child experiences this reaction, screaming, like my baby, for four days and nights, you have lost that round of vaccine roulette, and your child has probably been permanently damaged. Herlihy and Hagood say: "A mild vaccine reaction is easily treatable with a few aspirin." This even though for over thirty years it has been known that giving aspirin to babies, children, or teens can cause Reye's syndrome, a possibly fatal disease. No medical professional would advocate giving aspirin to treat a vaccine reaction, but then, the authors are not medical professionals. On p. 134, they say: "The CDC will help you find ways to comfort your child if she has a vaccine reactions." And how will they do that? Do they have a 1-800 number for helping parents witnessing a severe adverse reaction? Can they stop a seizure, encephalitis, or severe diarrhea and agonizing abdominal pain over the phone? This kind of statement trivializes the whole tragedy confronted by thousands of parents.
Dr. Wakefield did what was not supposed to be more than a small case study on twelve children who had developed autism and/or bowel disease within a short time of getting the MMR. He and his colleagues thought this was alarming and strange, and something people should know about. Their hospital approved the study, as did the editorial board of the Lancet. As the authors of this book note, they did not say it had been proven that the MMR had caused the syndromes, just that further investigation was warranted. Years after it was published, Big Pharma hired freelance journalist to discredit Drs. Wakefield, Murch, Walker-Smith, and others. He did so, and independently brought an action before the GMC, which took away these doctors licenses. The latter two doctors sued the GMC last winter, and won. The authors of this book only mention that in the last sentence: "Dr. Walker-Smith appealed the GMC's decision and won his appeal in 2012." They don't mention that Sir John Mitting, the prominent London judge who heard the case, was deeply troubled by it, took several extra weeks to study it, and restored the licenses of these doctors, saying that there had been no fraud, the children had been appropriately treated for their illnesses, and the GMC had used shallow reasoning to reach false conclusions. Dr. Wakefield's insurance would not pay for him to take part in the lawsuit.
In chapter 8, the authors of this book describe a Danish study which was touted ten years ago as proving that vaccines did not cause autism. The authors neglect to mention that the author of the study, Poul Thorsen, was guilty of fraud in the study, and bilked the CDC of a lot of money. He is sought for trial in the U.S. for fraud and money-laundering. Denmark used to only count children as autistic if they were diagnosed as inpatients in a medical institution, though most autistic children lived at home and were diagnosed as outpatients. Denmark decided it should include all these children in its tally of the numbers of autistic Danish children, and so overnight the numbers of autistic children greatly increased. Thorsen said that since mercury had been taken out of vaccines years before, this increase in numbers could only mean that mercury had nothing to do with it, without mentioning the new method of counting them. This was fraudulent, and everyone except the authors of this cheap book now recognizes it as having been fraudulent.
On p. 120, they describe a study that purports to prove that the pertussis vaccine does not cause asthma, while ignoring the many studies, such as the Manitoba study, which have proven that it does. One in nine vaccinated children now has asthma, compared with only one in between fifty and one hundred unvaccinated children.
This book had sloppy editing. On p. 71, it says "a killed form of a virus is hardly likely to provoke a less severe reaction than an actual full-blown case of the disease." That, of course, means that the killed virus is just as likely to cause a severe reaction as the natural disease, but I'm sure that's not what they meant to say.
They say that the Amish have autism just as much as anyone else. The fact is that only those Amish who have caved to pressure and gotten vaccinated have autism, plus one boy who lives near a mercury-producing electrical plant. Dr. Mayer Eisenstein has treated 30,000 children in his Chicago practice over the last forty years, many of them Amish, and says that in his largely unvaccinated patient base, there have been zero cases of autism. In a group this large, now that the autism rate is at least 1 or 2% of U.S. children (it's lower in other countries that don't vaccinate as much), there should be at least 300 to 600, but there are not. And again, the authors do not tell the whole truth.
The authors of this book say that at a CSC clinic in Amish country, in Lancaster Co., Dr. Kevin Strauss sees lots of Amish chldren with autism. They neglect to say that the autism these children get is genetic in origin, and causes short stature, distinctive facial features, and mental retardation. It is different from the autism we have become familiar with, normal-looking children often of normal intelligence, but with severely impaired communication and social skills. Dr. Strauss called this kind "iatrogenic," of unknown origin, and said that Amish children do not get this kind. Mark Blaxill said:
"Over all this time, Dan has gathered evidence from most of the major Amish population centers. There are just a few of them in the US, including 22,000 in Lancaster County, over 35,000 in and around Goshen County in Indiana and over 50,000 in Holmes and Geauga counties in northeastern Ohio. Out of a national population of close to 200,000 Amish (over two thirds of which reside in these three states) if we had applied the best current estimate for autism prevalence of 1 in 150, we would have expect to find quite a large autistic populations, well over a thousand, but so far Dan has identified only a small handful of cases, a minute fraction of the autism population size one would expect to find. In his most aggressive possible count of autistic Amish, Dan has identified less than 20 cases, which would give us a rate of no more than 1 in 10,000. Dr. Heng Wang, Director of the Clinic for Special Needs Children in Ohio told Dan that the rate of autism in the Amish in Ohio was 1 in 15,000. In Dan's words from a June 8, 2005 column, "He means that literally: Of 15,000 Amish who live near Middlefield [Ohio], Wang is aware of just one who has autism [Note: the child was vaccinated]. If that figure is anywhere near correct, the autism rate in that community is astonishingly low...'I take care of all the children with special needs,' he said, putting him in a unique position to observe autism. The one case Wang has identified is a 12-year-old boy."
The consensus over low autism rates in the Amish population is as true in Lancaster County Pennsylvania as it is in Middlefield Ohio. Dan interviewed a Lancaster County doctor named Frank Noonan who had cared for thousands of Amish patients over nearly 25 years and he confirmed the same assessment. "We're right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none", said Dr Noonan, "and that's just the way it is."
Again, the authors of this book have twisted the truth to try to make it appear as though reality supported their contentions, and parents may easily reach the wrong decision when deciding whether or not to vaccinate if they rely on the information found in this book. They should at least read Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book: he at least takes the problem seriously, shows how many of the studies purporting to show the safety of vaccines were pharma-funded, how dangerous aluminum is, how little studied, and how the amounts in the vaccines far exceed the FDA "safe" limits. He accepts that vaccines may cause autism, asthma, allergies, etc., and respects parents who wish to refuse vaccines. In my opinion, he doesn't go far enough in warning about the dangers of vaccines, and so I also recommend that parents read Dr. Mayer Eisenstein's Make an Informed Vaccine Decision, a book jam-packed with scientific studies, epidemiological studies, and individual accounts of severe vaccine damage. The life of your child is worth reading a lot on every side of this issue before making a decision. This particular book is not worth being read, it is just poorly-written propaganda whose only purpose is to push people into line with their children and be sure to pay in full before getting ALL the recommended shots.
On p. 86, the authors say: "There was no consistent pattern of timing between the supposed receipt of the vaccine (?) and when the children began displaying the symptoms that led to their diagnosis (of autism). In fact, one of the subjects was reportedly developing normally until about fifteen months of age (when he got the MMR). Then, that subject underwent a slowing of development but didn't experience a sudden loss of developed skills until four or five years of age!
From pp. 86-7, on children's vastly different ways of reacting to the MMR: "This lack of a consistent relationship between the time of a vaccine and the time of the symptoms' apperance greatly undermines Wakefield's original study. This weakness is also found in any other research that claims to find a relationship between vaccines and disorders such as autism. Some parents claimed to see an immediate loss of skills (speech, movement, social interaction, and so on) the second their child received a vaccine. Other parents claimed to see a gradual loss of those skills over the course of days or weeks after a vaccine. This lack of a consistent pattern is more likely to be explained by factors other than vaccines."
Parents should notice how the authors dismiss parents who see their child regress after vaccination with the words "claim to see." Parents should also ask themselves if it is unusual for every child to react differently to many different phenomena. Some people catch the flu when exposed to it, some don't. Some get a severe or even fatal case, while most don't. Does this mean that those who get a severe case are lying about it? The vaccine schedule should not be regarded as "one size fits all," as it currently is. Individual factors such as a child's overall health, the fact that he may have inherited genes that predispose him to severe reaction to vaccines, as evidenced by his parents or grandparents having an autoimmune disease like asthma or allergies, and the child's health at the moment, children who are currently battling a germ may react more severely than those healthy at the moment. For a phenomenon as complex as autism caused by reacting to a vaccine (in this case the MMR, but many children react with autism to the DTaP or the hep-B vax, as my daughter did), and given that we understand so little about the immune system, why would it be at all surprising that different children react differently, with different degrees and kinds of disability, or that the disability may arise at different lengths of time after getting the vaccine? All the different diseases have a period of time of incubation before causing symptoms, and this incubation period can be very different for different people. This is another red herring, again, put forth only to make parents vaccinate.
On p. 120, the authors say that it has been proven (by pharma-funded studies) that vaccines do not cause asthma. Again, the parent is not being given all the relevant data to consider before making the vaccine decision. A study was done in Canada, published in J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Mar; 121(3): 626-31, by McDonald KL, et al, "Delay in DPT Vaccination is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Childhood Asthma." This was a study done on 11,531 children born in Manitoba in 1995 (hence its usually being called the Manitoba study). It was designed to test the hypothesis that shots given to young babies stimulate a Th-2 autoimmune response, shifting the immune system balance between Th-1 (the usual kill the invader immune response which young babies' immune system must develop towards) and Th-2 autoimmune response. In babies who started the DPT series at two months, the age at which it usually starts, their risk of asthma at the age of seven was more than doubled as compared to babies who didn't start the series until after four months of age. The likelihood of asthma in children with delays in all three doses was 0.39 (95% CI, 0.18-0.86).
The shots do nothing to protect young babies from asthma, because their immune system has not developed enough to respond appropriately to the vaccine (which often isn't effective even in older people). Starting the series at two months more than doubles their risk of asthma as compared with starting the series just two months later. So why are they doing it? Probably because they know it's a slippery slope, that if they admit one major screw-up in the way they give vaccines, people will realize there are a lot more screw-ups where that came from. There have been literally dozens of studies proving that vaccines cause asthma, which now affects one in nine American children, and asthma fatalities have gone up a lot in the last decade. Unvaccinated children only have an asthma risk somewhere between one in fifty and one in a hundred. The interested reader should look at the relevant sections and lists of works cited in Neil Miller's, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein's , and Randall Neustaedter's books.