Nurses Can Help Prevent Anti-Vaccination Beliefs
    By News Staff | June 14th 2014 12:25 PM | 24 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    In US states that strongly embrace myriad anti-science beliefs, like California, Washington and New York, dangerous preventable diseases like Whooping Cough have come roaring back after a long hiatus, due to a belief by cultural elites that as long as uneducated poor people get vaccines, things will be fine.

    It is going to take a lot to combat the entrenched mentality that causes some to distrust science and medicine, because groups have spent a lot of money promoting conspiracy stories about pharmaceutical companies and doctors and selling their 'alternative' medicine. It will take education, awareness and nurses can help, write Emily Peake, APRN, MSN, FNP-C, CLC, and Lisa K. McGuire, MSN, MBA-HCM, RN.

    Why? The anti-vaccination campaigns have focused on doctors and drug companies, just like anti-GMO efforts have vilified farmers and seed companies. Nurses are not part of the smear campaign.

    Caused by infection with Bordetella pertussis  bacteria, pertussis has been increasing in recent years. In the United States, average annual pertussis cases increased from less than 3,000 cases per year during the 1980s to 48,000 in 2012, including 20 deaths. Pertussis is a major cause of death in infants worldwide.

    Why is pertussis on the rise? Anti-vaccine beliefs in red states are the chief reason, that is why those states have the most outbreaks, and to a smaller extent the arrival of illegal non-vaccinated immigrants adds to it. The authors also make a note of religious objections but that is a tiny minority. Comparing super-religious Alabama and it's 99%+ vaccination rate to more atheist Washington state shows religion and vaccines are a non-issue today, compared to decades ago when religious fringes were the only anti-vaccine groups.

    Nurses should reassure parents that that recommended vaccines are safe, they write. Current diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines do not contain the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which was a hysteria promoted by discredited research Andrew Wakefield in England (where the anti-GMO movement also started). Adverse events occur in only a small fraction of vaccinated children, and most of these are mild local reactions.

    Education Is Key to Increasing Pertussis Vaccination

    "Practitioners must build a trusting relationship with patients and reinforce the need for vaccinations through face-to-face contact, engaging parents to discuss concerns, and provide evidence-based research to guide recommendations and reassure patients of the safety of vaccines," Peake and McGuire write. Waiting rooms provide a good opportunity to present videos and other educational materials.

    The World Health Organization is working to increase the percentage of infants who receive at least three doses of pertussis vaccine to 90 percent or higher, especially in developing countries. The authors discuss some international efforts to fight pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as the United Nations Foundation's

    Shot@Life campaign.

    Closer to home, partnerships should be formed with service organizations, food banks, churches, hospitals and schools. "These groups can help identify those most likely not to be vaccinated and help them find free or low cost immunizations," the authors write. "Faith community nurses are in an ideal role to create and lead these partnerships."

    Nurses can also advocate for policies aimed at making universal vaccinations available for adolescents and adults. Peake and McGuire conclude, "By using our resources and uniting, a global battle will be waged and won against pertussis and the children of tomorrow can breathe easier for a lifetime."


    Wakefield may have been successfully discredited, but what about the numerous other doctors and research that back correlation between vaccines and neurological disorders? What about the vaccine injury court?

    He was discredited because his hypothesis was wrong. The number of legitimate studies showing vaccines cause autism remains zero. Your new 'I will move the goalposts' premise is just as silly. 98% of America has vaccines so if you want to make goofy claims about neurological diseases, it is as simple as asking 'what do 98% of people with neurological diseases have in common? THEY ALL HAD VACCINES'!!!!!

    And then fist bump a bunch of other people who have no idea what they are talking about, because it's goofy.

    No one ever said vaccines has no risk for anyone ever. Just like no one would say that about water. Or organic food. What we do know is the risks of not taking them are 100,000X. 
    Yes, he was "discredited" (defamed and persecuted) because he dared to suggest a possible link between vaccines and autism. The charges that the GMC and Brian Deer came up with were fabrications made in an effort to protect the vaccine program.

    The 1998 Lancet article coauthored by Dr. Wakefield actually stated that, "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
and the syndrome described," but that "We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related 
to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after
measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed
 to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine."

    Very reasonable. This paper was a description of a group of children and a call for further study. It should have been met with scientific debate and study, not persecution and prosecution.

    For another side of this story see:
    Mary Holland's article in Chapter 25 of the book Vaccine Epidemic, available online here:
    and footnotes here:

    "Articles of Interest" here:

    This paper was a description of a group of children and a call for further study
    No, it was fraud. It was ridiculed not because it was a provocative hypothesis, it was studied for years before being discredited. It was fraud because he hand-picked 12 kids and then suggested that was a valid method, but he had to be taken to court to show his data. 

    You would know that if you were not engaged in anti-vaccine advocacy and actually cared about the health of children.
    It was not fraud. And the reason I spend time commenting is because I care about the health of children.

    An English court cleared Dr. Wakefield's co-author John Walker-Smith of wrongdoing and restored his medical license. Since most of the charges against Walker-Smith were the same as most of those against Wakefield, this ruling is very relevant.

    EBCALA statement about the court's decision clearing John Walker-Smith, world renowned pediatric gastroenterologist and co-author of the Lancet paper:

    Full text of the decision:

    A. There is no credible evidence showing a correlation between vaccines and neurological disorders.

    B. What about vaccine court? It's a good thing that there is a plaintiff friendly, no-fault mechanism to compensate the rare case of vaccine injury, but the small number of cases compensated - about 3500 in 25 years, even though the government often settles cases with very little evidence - is good evidence of how safe vaccines are.

    It's not just autism. Search NIH's Pubmed and see if your claim of zero studies is true. Please stop spreading misinformation. If you don't know, the US vaccine injury court has awarded more than a billion dollars to people who have been injured by vaccines. This is after their rejecting 75% of the claims.

    PubMed is an open repository, you seem to think that the US government is still promoting vaccines despite the NIH declaring them dangerous by having epidemiology claims on a website. Is that your contention, that vaccines are causing (how many cases) of neurological diseases each year?

    Since you are the only one not duped by "misinformation" show us your proof of how many times this happens per year.
    The 2013 Institute of Medicine report, reviewing all the evidence, concluded that there are no serious safety concerns about the childhood schedule. Nothing is 100% safe, but the evidence is that serious harms from modern childhood vaccines are extremely rare, and that their risks are much smaller than the risks of not vaccinating.

    IOM Issues Report on Safety of the Child Vaccine Schedule: When Will the Real Science Begin?

    2013 IOM Report

    In 2012, the Institute of Medicine published, Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality (2012). As detailed in this 894 page report:

    158 adverse event-vaccine (AE/v) combinations were studied. According to IOM, the evidence:

    Convincingly supports a causal relationship in 14 AE/vaccine relationships
    Favors acceptance of a causal relationship in 4 AE and vaccine relationships
    Favors rejection of a causal relationship in 5 AE/vaccine relationships (note: this includes MMR-autism)
    Inadequate to accept or reject: 135 AE/vaccine relationships (85%)

    How could this IOM report be viewed as such a ringing endorsement of vaccines when they concluded that the evidence is inadequate to accept or reject 85% of reported types of vaccine reactions?

    re: "Why is pertussis on the rise?"

    The Broken Vaccine
    Whooping cough is on the rise, exposing a worrisome trend: The vaccine that holds it in check is losing its potency, and nobody is sure why.

    When immunity fails: The Whooping Cough Epidemic

    Whooping cough evolves vaccine resistance
    WHOOPING cough is outgrowing the vaccine introduced a decade ago to prevent the potentially deadly disease, Australian researchers have found.

    Whooping cough antigen disappearing from U.S. bacteria
    An antigen used in whooping cough vaccines is now absent from more than half of all isolates of Bordatella pertussis, according to a study recently published ahead of print in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

    California pertussis epidemic, 2010 - JPediatr
    “Most pediatric cases were vaccinated according to national recommendations, although 9% of those aged 6 months to 18 years were completely unvaccinated against pertussis. High disease rates also were observed in fully vaccinated preadolescents, especially 10-year-olds.”

    A recent study exposed four groups of baboons to pertussis germs and found that:
    - Unvaccinated baboons who had previously come down with whooping cough did not get infected.
    - Unvaccinated baboons who had never come down with whooping cough got very sick.
    - Vaccinated baboons came down with mild cases of whooping cough but were infected with the germ and able to transmit it to others for an average of 18 days (DPT) or 35 days (TDaP).
    Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model
    "These data provide a plausible explanation for pertussis resurgence…"

    Scientific American
    Why Whooping Cough Vaccines Are Wearing Off

    Dr. Anne Schuchat, director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, speaking at a CDC briefing:
    “We think there are many things going on. Pertussis is a cyclical disease and the vaccines are not perfect. So even with increasing vaccination coverage, we expect to still have cycles. We think there are some unusual epidemiologic features that have caused us to launch a more detailed investigation in Washington State. Waning of immunity or a weakening of the time or waning of protection over time may be part of the story that we're seeing. On the other hand, we know that people who are not vaccinated have about an eight times higher risk of disease than people who are vaccinated. We know there are places around the country where there are large numbers of people who aren't vaccinated. However, we don't think those exemptors are driving this current wave. We think it is a bad thing that people aren't getting vaccinated or exempting, but we cannot blame this wave on that phenomenon. “

    We know vaccines are weaker, that was done in response to claims they caused issues, which were not based on any evidence but instead putting epidemiological curves together on a piece of paper.

    The anti-vaccine mentality most surely infects the current president. He said in the 2008 campaign he was "unsure" about vaccines and autism and during the 2010 flu epidemic refused multi-dose vials because of fears about preservatives.

    I'm not going to explain herd immunity.  It's ironic that people who want fewer vaccines are creating a situation where more of them will be needed.

    More people in the U.S. are getting more vaccines now than ever before in human history. Yet we are seeing constant cries for more vaccines. And vaccine failures are being blamed on non-vaccinators even when that is not accurate.

    The concerns about the former DPT shot were based on strong medical evidence. It is the vaccine defenders who put epi curves on paper and then claim proof of no causality.

    Mumps is another example of a vaccine showing waning effectiveness. In addition, the immunity from the mumps vaccine wears off after a few years. So we are seeing outbreaks of mumps at universities among students who were fully vaccinated as children. When we all used to come down with cases of measles, mumps, and rubella we mostly gained lifetime immunity. Now we have a adults who only received vaccines but not natural exposure. Apparently the solution to this is cradle to grave vaccines and boosters - with what unintended consequences?

    Diseases have risks, and vaccines have risks. I'm definitely not against all vaccines, and I'm not telling anyone not to vaccinate. But I do believe that people need to make careful decisions based on good information. And people must have the right to make those choices for themselves and their loved ones. In order to make those choices, we must have good accurate information - not exaggerations of the risks of diseases and denial of the potential adverse effects of vaccines.

    And we have good reason to distrust pharmaceutical companies, based on many incidents of corruption.

    Whistleblowing virologists sue Merck for alleged falsification of mumps data

    Counties sue narcotics makers, alleging 'campaign of deception'

    You are anonymous, so it is easy for you to allege corruption across a giant group of people. It is also distasteful and cowardly. Who are you? What industry are you in? Has there been no corruption in your industry? If so, are you not corrupt for not quitting your job?

    Why, yes you are. You must bear the actions of any CEO or employee in your entire industry, by your crank reasoning about drug companies.

    In America, we vaccinate about 4,000,000 children per year.  There is an adverse reaction in .0002 of those. That is not a sign something is wrong with vaccines, it is a sign that vaccines are bordering on miraculously low levels of adverse reactions. 
    Adverse reactions are very poorly tracked and studied. Reporting to VAERS is voluntary, no negative consequences for failure to report. Parents of vaccine injured children say that they have not been able to get anyone from the govt to study their children. We do not even know how to identify a vaccine injury, therefore almost everything is declared to be a coincidence.

    At the same time as the number of vaccines given to infants has increased, we have seen huge increases in a number of immune and nervous system disorders in children including asthma, allergies, IBD, autism, adhd, bipolar, diabetes, and more. What percentage of this is related to vaccines?
    Immune Systems Increasingly On Attack

    A growing body of research shows that immune system issues are a major factor in autism, including: inflammation of the brain, autoantibodies to the myelin basic protein coating nerve cells, imbalance between Th-1 and Th-2 immune cells, inflammatory cytokines in the spinal fluid, family history of autoimmune conditions, and more.

    "The Immune System’s Role in the Biology of Autism"

    Caltech Researchers Find Evidence of Link between Immune Irregularities and Autism

    Do we really know what we are doing when we give so many vaccines? No, we do not.

    I don't think you need to explain herd immunity to me, Hank Campbell. But I am wondering about something. According to this article, the rotavirus vaccine "also reduced illnesses among un-vaccinated children because fewer sick infants meant fewer to spread the virus, a process known as herd immunity."
    According to the CDC (link below), among 19-35 months old in 2012:
    -- 94 % had received at least 3 DTaP vaccines,
    -- 91% had received at least 1 MMR, and
    -- 69% had received 2 or 3 rotavirus vaccines.
    How odd that we hear a constant outcry that we are losing herd immunity to pertussis and measles due to under-vaccination (at over 90%), and yet we are told that a 69% vax rate for rotavirus causes herd immunity.

    And a new article today -

    Whooping cough vaccine efficacy called into question

    "Of the 621 people in San Diego County diagnosed with whooping cough this year, 85 percent were up to date with their pertussis immunizations, calling into question the effectiveness of the vaccine…

    "Of the 621 people who've had the disease in San Diego County this year, 527 had the six shots necessary to be up to date with their pertussis vaccine and 67 were not. Immunization status for 27 of the ill wasn't known."

    re: "Comparing super-religious Alabama and it's 99%+ vaccination rate to more atheist Washington state shows religion and vaccines are a non-issue today…"

    That makes no sense. Are all religions the same? The only difference is religious vs. nonreligious?

    It used to be that vaccine exemptions were religious fundamentalists - now they are instead primarily obtained by people in wealthy neighborhoods on the coasts.
    Richard King